Why Tumblr May Be the Next Tech Buzz Word

Friday, 18 May 2012 | 10:15 AM ET

Tumblr may soon be the next social networking buzz-name. It is an interactive website that allows users to post texts, photos, music and videos — a kind of juiced up Twitter.

Source: tumblr.com

Founded in 2007, it has grown into the world's 12th-largest website.

While it has some investor attention — the company is operating with $125 million so far — the question is whether the site can achieve profitability in the fiercely competitive world of online social media.

"We make a little bit of revenue off of selling themes for blogs," Andrew McLaughlin, Tumblr's vice president, said in a Friday appearance on CNBC's "Squawk Box."
The company has yet to make profit, but that may soon change. The site had roughly 140 million unique visitors and clocked 18 billion page views in April alone. Harnessing this traffic for advertisers is the company's next step.

"We're going to sell blog posts as an advertising unit. We're saying to brands, 'Come and be bloggers, be creative, promote yourself and get popular,'" said McLaughlin.

Tumbling to Success with Tumblr
The blogging website Tumblr is making waves in the social networking world, but will it last? Andrew McLaughlin, Tumblr vice president, weighs in on the company's strategy for growth.

Questions swirling around Tumblr, on the heel's of Facebook's recent acquisition of photo-sharing site Instagram, include whether its aim is to be acquired or to raise money via an IPO.

"We're not counting on some kind of grand exit through acquisition," McLaughlin said. "The best exit is to be master of your own domain. Make money, and be profitable standing on your own two feet."

McLaughlin made no mention of IPO plans. Right now, he's focused on would-be partners: brand names with a global audience in sectors such as entertainment, fashion, luxury and autos.

The pitch? "We let people blog about what they want to be rather than who they are, which is sort of what Facebook is," said McGlaughlin.

High expectations for the small company are in part based on McLaughlin himself. He served as deputy technology officer under President Barack Obama and was Google's global public policy director from 2004-2009.

  Price   Change %Change


Contact Technology


    Get the best of CNBC in your inbox

    › Learn More
  • Matt Hunter is the senior technology editor at CNBC.com.

  • Cadie Thompson is a tech reporter for the Enterprise Team for CNBC.com.

  • Working from Los Angeles, Boorstin is CNBC's media and entertainment reporter and editor of CNBC.com's Media Money section.

  • Jon Fortt is an on-air editor. He covers the companies, start-ups, and trends that are driving innovation in the industry.

  • Lipton is CNBC's technology correspondent, working from CNBC's Silicon Valley bureau.

  • Mark is CNBC's Silicon Valley/San Francisco Bureau Chief covering technology and digital media.