Frankly I think the Reddit model is probably the best bet for monetizing tumblr. I’m not sure what kind of “perks” Tumblr could offer that would make optional premium memberships worthwhile, beyond basic stuff like “no ads”, “ability to make posts unrebloggable”, and a handful of useful organization features.
Would it be annoying? Sure. But as profitability is necessary for the site’s continued survival and most other ploys have failed, and optional monthly memberships for certain reasonable perks is a hell of a lot more practical than… well. Other options.
Also? Having a tumblr analogue to Reddit gold would be incredibly funny.
“I’m going to spend five Real Human Dollars to buy a glittering turd award so that everyone knows your post is shit”
Yeah sounds about right
glittering turd awards of disapproval would only enrich the preexisting culture of tumblr honestly
If y’all think performative virtue is bad now, imagine if tumblr gave us the ability to earn glittering turds from our enemies if they hated our posts enough
I feel like monetizing tumblr would actually put the nail in the coffin. Pretty sure a good 80% of the user base would just leave. If I wanted to waste money reading the fucked up shit on this digital hellscape, I’d just move to New York and see it in person.
I mean, they’re literally already monetizing it. It has gone over very poorly.
The majority of the userbase would prefer tumblr to go on as it has, unmonetized and ineffective. But as we’ve seen with Vine, simply being popular isn’t enough to keep a website afloat if it isn’t profitable. There is no way Tumblr’s bizarro ads are bringing in much revenue, and I would rather pay a few bucks a month than endure invasive algorithmic adverts a la Facebook and Instagram. Loads of people still use reddit, after all.
Also, while there is a lot of worthless dogshit here on tumblr (which I do my part to contribute to), a lot of people put out some really cool stuff. If you don’t follow interesting people whose posts you value reading, that’s on you.
The monetization of social media is a blight and a curse in every instance and the fact is that is becoming increasingly difficult to find online spaces where you’re allowed to simply exist without being charged money for it. This should be resisted by tooth and claw at every turn. I would, in fact, rather this site not exist at all than see “Unlock content with Post+!” scrolling by on my dash.
Man you really don’t seem to understand what I’m suggesting. I’m not advocating for Post+ or subscription content—I would never trust tumblr to function as Worse Patreon. This model is more like Discord Nitro.
Every website has operating fees just to keep the servers running. AO3 and Wikipedia manage to stay afloat through yearly fundraisers, but they’re also text-based websites. Tumblr is an unlimited multimedia image and video-hosting website—it’s costs are much higher, so a similar donation scheme probably wouldn’t cut it.
I don’t want to pay money for tumblr, either. I like that it’s clumsy and poorly-run. However, if it needs to generate revenue, I would vastly prefer it does so via selling optional bonus features (NOT content) that could be gifted to non-paying users like reddit gold over the alternatives: 1.) selling off user data to corporations, 2.) invasive targeted advertisements, or 3.) Post+/Worse Patreon.
Tumblr can go under, sure. But any other website where you “simply exist” is going to face exactly the same revenue problems. What alternatives would you prefer? More sketchy advertisements? Your data and activity monitored and sold? Tying a billionaire to a chair and forcing them to pay all the hosting fees out of pocket is a really good idea but I’m not sure it’s practical.
What I’m suggesting seems to me like the least invasive and objectionable model. The other option is once again permitting NSFW content under a Post+ subscribers-only system—something which I don’t see happening any time soon, given the general cultural crackdown on sex work.
Paying for bonus features on social media is not new. Paying for access to individual content is. But not for additional features and perks. Some of the oldest forums back in the dayes of yore had paid memberships because maintaining servers is Expensive, and people understood that and didn’t want their favorite sites to shut down.
I mean, shit, livejournal and dreamwidth have optional paid accounts that were/are extremely popular with people because they allow for bonus features. I used to maintain paid accounts on both sites for things like extra user icons, additional storage for pictutre uploads and other perks I don’t remember anymore. And iirc you could gift such accounts to other people too and it was very popular. It also wasn’t unattainably expensive, nor was it a requisit. It was just a perk you could choose if you had the means to.
Also, Tumblr is not just my fun space, it’s also where my job is. 70k of my readership is on here. If I could pay for additional FEATURES to help with that and maybe avoid ads in the background of my browsing, I would. And frankly so would a lot of others who rely on this hellsite because our content is actively repressed on other platforms. Like god, there are so many ways they could go about this that is better than Tumblr plus, and Yes I have brought them up in the survey where they’re currently asking for feedback because if Tumblr actually needs to start making money to avoid being shut down, I want to contribute what few brain cells I have left because god fuck and damn me the people in charge aren’t currently using theirs.
Okay. So. Here’s the thing. The first MAJOR social media site I had an account on was deviantART. I was around for Myspace but I never had one because I was a feral forest child without internet when it was big. Didn’t really get internet access until I was about 12, which was during deviantART’s heyday. And I was ON deviantART. I was a volunteer, I helped run events, I wrote user guides, I welcomed new users, I alpha and beta tested new features, I had a free lifetime subscription. Hell, they even offered me a JOB at one point. (Which I did not take because no amount of money in the world could ever make me move to LA.)
What’s discussed above is EXACTLY how deviantART worked. At first. You paid a subscription to remove ads, get cool skins for your journals, be able to customize your page, change your username, etc. But if you didn’t subscribe the site still worked 100% fine. There was zero monetization of content. DeviantART was THE place to be an artist back then. Great communities, tons of interaction and feedback, recruiters poking around for studios and other big projects, and just a general good time. There was some weird stuff, of course, but where isn’t there on the internet?
Then deviantART introduced “Points.” They created a way to monetize not just features of the site, but content produced by the users. (Yeah, there was the print shop before this, but that was paying for a PHYSICAL product outside of the site itself.)
Points DESTROYED deviantART. And you know what else? They massively hurt the art community as a whole, even for people who’d never heard of deviantART. Commission prices dropped drastically because of how Points worked and conversions and people just not understanding them. These price drops quickly spread outside the site because people knew they could just go to deviantART for cheap art, forcing other artists to lower their prices to compete.
Within a few years deviantART was a shell of itself, barely clinging on to functionality. It still is, even with its revamp a couple years ago. The art market is also still feeling the effects of how Points effected prices.
Bad monetization efforts are ABSOLUTELY worse than no monetization efforts at all, and Posts+ is bad monetization. Tumblr staff needs to approach this as a feature subscription model, not a content subscription model. Hell. Hire the xKit developers and make xKit the subscribed version of tumblr.
(Also, I think there’s something to be said for websites relying on their users to generate income for them rather than innovating themselves to provide features people are willing to pay for. They’re basically asking us to be their employees which has lots of other interesting implications.)