Yahoo! and Tumblr., punctuation ahoy!

By now everyone’s aware of Yahoo!’s $1.1 Billion (with a “b”) deal to buy Tumblr.  I wrote about another Yahoo! acquisition, a little while ago:

At this stage, when Yahoo! comes knocking on a start up’s door they have to be looking at their track record. And then it comes down to whether you want to cash in, or whether you want to create something that will last.

David Karp has made his choice.  No one can blame Tumblr. users for also making theirs, as highlighted by WordPress’s Matthew Mullenweg:

Imports have actually spiked on the rumors even though it’s Sunday: normally we import 400-600 posts an hour from Tumblr, last hour it was over 72,000.

That’s over a 100x increase.

What’s not been clear is why Yahoo! purchased Tumblr, so today’s conference call with Marissa Mayer was eagerly anticipated.  The take away for me was this:

Mayer says Tumblr will help grow engagement on Yahoo media brand pages and will also help grow its search business

Hmm.  The audience for Yahoo! and the audience for Tumblr. seems poles apart.  I’m not in agreement with people like Jim Dalrymple and John Gruber, both of whom think this is a smart move.  Quite the opposite.

Rather than Tumblr. making Yahoo! cool, it’s entirely possible, and I would say likely, that Yahoo! will make Tumblr. uncool.  Especially if they’re using Tumblr. as a way to “grow engagement on Yahoo! media brand pages”.  All the kids are down for that.

And how confusing is it having two properties with punctuation marks in their names? My grammar checker is giving a very displeased frown right now.