As you have probably seen all over the Internet, you television and just about anywhere else your eyeballs might have landed today, Yahoo announced that it has reached a deal to buy microblogging and social media platform Tumblr for $1.1 billion.
I can't help but be reminded of Facebook's purchase of Instagram last year. There are some striking similarities between the two deals, and not just the similar price tags. Both are fast growing companies within their spaces, and both are being left alone as stand-alone service, only with the resources and backing of a major property behind them.
When the Instagram deal was announced last year, I thought it would be interesting to see what other similar services were out there, and how such a big acquisition would affect the space. And so now I feel like I should do the same thing for other Tumblr-like services out there as well.
- Medium: founded by Twitter co-founders Evan Williams and Biz Stone in August of last year, Medium organizes posts into collections with a theme and a template. Collections include This Happened To Me, which is a collection of crazy stories, or When I Was a Kid, which features pictures of users as children. Medium made its first acquisition, purchasing long-form journalism project Matter, in April.
- Touchtalent: founded in 2011, it is a platform that allows its users to post and share their original creative work to the Touchtalent community and on other networks, including Facebook and Twitter. Touchtalent currently offers services in 19 diverse categories which include: 3D Art, Animation, Calligraphy, Comics, Crafts, Design, Digital Art, Fashion, Graffiti, Literature, Music, Painting, Performing Arts, Photography, Poetry, Sculpting, Singing, Sketching and Video Editing.
- Snagular:is a social publishing network founded in 2012, where users share images, links and blog posts. Some of the most recent posts include Top Ten Sci-Fi Movie Villians, a review of the most recent album from Vampire Weekend, and a link to the story about Yahoo buying Tumblr.
- Sprokk: is a micro-blog that take its from a different angle than many other similar service. Instead of having users blog funny pictures, or even things that they create, with Sprokk users share thoughts and interact with others using their voice. A “sprokk” is a 17 second (at maximum) voice note created through a web interface or an iOS app. Founded in 2012. the company has raised $350,000 in seed funding.
- Checkthis: a micro-blogging image service, where people are offered a frictionless way to post items of interest for other people to check out. People are able to use checkthis to invite friends to an event, setup a quick poll, or even sell objects. The company raised a $910,000 seed round from Lerer Ventures, SV Angel, Index Ventures, Betaworks and Seedcamp, along with angel investors Taavet Hinrikus, Steve Martocci and Jared Hecht in June of last year.
- YouAre: a platform that seems to be kind of a mix of Twitter and LinkedIn. It allows for 140 characters, including text, video and images. Users are encouraged to promote their professional profile, including skills and services, and to use it to get to know more people in their network, local area, or target audience. Users can also import content from your YouTube, Flickr, and Delicious accounts.
Some of Tumblr's competitors have already seen themselves shut down or get bought up:
- ZooLoo: founded in 2008, it was a blogging service built around each user's unique domain name, and giving them one simple place to create, connect and control anything on the web, including their own site, dashboard, widgets, blog, news from anywhere on the web, social networks, photos, videos, tools to organize your life and everything else online. It is unclear what happened to ZooLoo, but its website no longer works and there seems to be little trace of it having ever existed on the web.
- Another competitor to Tumblr was Storylane, a blogging platform that launched in October 2012 as a way for users to share meaningful content with each other. It was purchased by Facebook in March, and seems to have been shut down.
What happens to Tumblr's competition now?
The purchase of Tumblr is huge news, of course, and it will no doubt have an effect on the entire space. But will that effect be good or bad?
One of two things is bound to happen: either the purchase of Tumblr will reinvigorate the space, causing other big properties to buy up their own blogging services to compete with Yahoo, or Tumblr could become so big it simply drowns out the competition.
The second scenario seems to be what happened after Instagram was purchase. After being purchased by Facebook , the app simply exploded, gaining 10 million new users in just 10 days, bringing its total to 40 million. In October, the Instagram Android app hit 50 million downloads alone.
As a result, at least two of its competitors were forced to shut down, as they were simply unable to keep up. PicPlz shut down in early July and Color, the app that organized photos by event and location, was gone by December.
Tumblr is already dominating the space, so there is a good chance the second scenario happens all over again.
It now has over 50 million posts, more than 300 million monthly unique visitors, 120,000 signups every day, 900 posts per second and 24 billion minutes spent on site each month.
Of course, there is also the possibility that Yahoo breaks its promise "not to screw it up" and drive people away. And some are put off simply by the move itself, without even seeing what it means. WordPress has already seen 72,000 blog posts imported within an hour of the deal being announced, WordPress’ co-founder Matt Mullenweg wrote on his blog.
Perhaps a trend in this direction is the best that Tumblr's competitors can hope for.
(Image source: http://nbcnews.tumblr.com)