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Yahoo: Let's Get Ready to Tumblr!?
By: Shawn Paul Wood
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The periwinkle-hued buzz was in the air for months. The Yahoo corporate flag has been flying at half-mast for a good part of a decade based on declining earnings reports, consumer attrition, and overall lack of relevance, but Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer thinks she has an adroit way to get back into the hipster's sphere of knowledge. Thanks to Kara Swisher of  'All Things D' fame (The New York Times, for those without a nerdom reference guide handy), we know what her way is: Buy back cool points and unload a truck (literally) to microblogging phenom Tumblr for an all-cash deal of $1.1 billion! So, question of the day: Will she get her money's worth? 

Sources said that Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer had decided that buying the company was going to be “the stake in the ground of what her strategy is going forward for Yahoo.” And that is to attract younger audiences with just the kind of user-generated content Tumblr has pioneered to impressive growth. According to numerous sources, Mayer determined quickly in her research that the site was just the kind of property that Yahoo needed to make it both “cool” and relevant to new consumers. Yahoo is looking to bolster its strong set of existing media offerings to appeal to a different demographic and also get into the social space via consumer-based software solutions that are both elegant and easy to use.

This all has to do with the world going mobile and Yahoo running out of breath to catch up. Yahoo has rebranded and relaunched and is still looking to be revived since the fabled days of its yodeling commercials. It seems Yahoo has morphed into the 21st century's AOL. How's that working out? AOL defragmented itself into many great sub-brands, but it hasn't resulted in bupkus for the parent because, as most kids do, the child brands have left the coop and begun enjoying life on their own. Will Tumblr do the same? Time will tell, but if you follow the pubescent angst of most hipsters out there (and almost 90 percent of them troll Tumblr on a daily basis, giving each story a hearty 'Meh!'), Tumblr will keep its brand relevance and Yahoo will be sitting in its diamond-encrusted bay window that offsets its breakfast nook, looking longingly down the street for its very affluent child (fresh with a 'SMedium' shirt and cuffed jeans) to come back home. 

And the major domos of Yahoo could be getting bedsores from sitting so long. You see, if Marissa did her homework, she would note that Yahoo, which can't seem to find its footing in the ever-evolving world of social, doesn't do such a good job at encouraging status quo and corporate culture. In the late '90s, they tried their hand at the WebTV craze and portly guys building sites with HTML for dummies when it purchased GeoCities. Where is it now? Vanished like a fart in the wind. So, Yahoo's fit-not-to-be-tied to failure looked for another coup in 2005: Flickr! That should do it, right? The world is all about selfies in the bathroom for some dumb reason, so why not? ZZZZZZ.

Sorry, the world that moved to Instagram, SnapSeed, PhotoGrid and even friggin' Adobe Photoshop via app was snoring. Flickr went nowhere, as did the supposed ROI Yahoo was going to collect. Yet, perhaps the head honchos at Yahoo have a thing with kitschy brands that oppose vowels — Flickr...and now, Tumblr. (Ironic, no?) Now, if you have been to Tumblr lately, you know it's a smattering of discontent posts, political satire, and...well, porn. Will this simmer with the corporate dollars now in control? Who knows; however, this purchase does legitimize the world of microblogging. Now then, will it legitimize Yahoo to the younger world it wants so badly to be invited to their all-week kegger?

Not for nothing, but microblogging seems to be catching on and the keggers continue. And with big URLs left in the dust, it looks like Marissa Mayer may be trading in some of those Jimmy Choos for a smooth pair of hipster-friendly Toms. Fetching.


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About the Author
Shawn Paul Wood is a hack-turned-flack with more than 20 years of collective journalism, copywriting and marketing communications experience. Shawn Paul is founder of Woodworks Communications in Dallas, Texas. If you need him, ping him here or follow him on Twitter @ShawnPaulWood
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