UPDATE: Besides being a haven for pornography, Tumblr is a destination for millions of web browsers. Bought back in May of 2013 for its user base, Tumblr has experienced a downward trend in traffic. In fact, traffic seems to have peaked for Tumblr in November 2012.
I suppose one could suggest that Tumblr was sputtering out before Yahoo bought it. (I wonder what Yahoo knows about this that we don't?). But it looks like the micro-blogging site has peaked. Time will tell if the downward trend will continue.
But anybody who's been on the internet for longer than a week knows that big tech companies usually buy small tech companies to kill them. Maybe not on purpose, but that usually is the outcome. Yahoo pretty much killed Flickr when they bought it. It's still around and still pretty neat, but there really hasn't been much innovation there in a long, long time and I'm not sure anybody ever talks about it…at all any more.
The one HUGE notable exception is YouTube. When Google bought YouTube way back when for
a billion and a half dollars$1.65 Billion, they put that audience to good use. YouTube is now the second most popular “search engine” (next to Google itself) and Google runs ads all over YouTube.
But Yahoo isn't Google. Oh, yes, Yahoo now has former higher up at Google, Marissa Mayer, as CEO. She could certainly pull something like this off. You can bet that Tumblr users will begin to see a lot more ads in the near future.
EDITOR: Mayer left Yahoo! in 2017.
It's my hope that they keep the micro blog site alive. There is a lot of cool stuff there and it's easy for people to create and share content–especially for folks who really don't care about hosting their own blog. Self-hosted blogging is not for everybody, of course, and Tumblr is pretty fantastic at what it does allow people to do–share stuff easily.
EDITOR: Tumbler is still alive but it's “gone through some things,” to say the least. I hope it stays alive.
Links to a couple stories about Tumblr being acquired by Yahoo: