[…] With a fresh infusion of $85 million, Tumblr has a lot to prove in 2012. For one, it needs to prove it can turn a profit.
Karp has a few ideas. Currently two dozen designers have been creating and selling Tumblr templates on its marketplace. Karp says the company is seeing “really meaningful revenue” even though the marketplace isn’t publicly open to developers yet. “It’s not even an up-to-date product,” says Karp. “Our designers are always complaining about how old the marketplace tools are. But some of them are making so much money as Tumblr designers that they’ve been able to quit their jobs. Some of them are making hundreds of thousands of dollars.”
Karp is also toying with ways to create non-intrusive ads that actually benefit users. “We ran a sponsorship with Cartoon Network for a new show they were launching,” says Karp. “We selected a few of our bloggers with big followings for the network to promote. Cartoon Network designed a really cool sponsored template for the blogs, and the bloggers loved it. It made their blogs stand out and sent them more traffic. Sponsorships that can actually help our users, like fashion companies working with fashion bloggers, are interesting.”
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