Yahoo’s financial struggles mean more autonomy for Tumblr

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There’s been quite a lot of fighting between Tumblr and Yahoo over the last year, as the latter company has been trying to integrate Tumblr’s sales team into its own sales organization. Not only does this go against Yahoo’s promise that Tumblr would remain mostly autonomous even after its acquisition, but because Yahoo can’t even monetize its own products, so how the hell is it supposed to monetize Tumblr’s? Yahoo’s missed earnings expectations must have lent enough weight to Tumblr’s argument to change Yahoo’s mind, because Business Insider reported on Sunday that the company has decided to abandon its original plan, and will allow Tumblr to have an independent sales team.

Yahoo is reportedly set to make Tumblr a bit more autonomous, at least where monetization is concerned. Business Insider is reporting that after combining the Yahoo and Tumblr sales staff, Marissa Mayer is now positioning the Tumblr sales staff a standalone entity — just as it was in 2013 when Yahoo acquired the company. Yahoo also promised Tumblr would remain a standalone company, but reneged on that. This move comes as Yahoo missed earnings expectations, and is in the midst of reorganizing internally as it forges a path forward. Oddly, it seems Mayer and the board are at odds on what Yahoo’s next steps may be. The popular thinking is that Yahoo will become like a shell corporation that does little more than hold shares of Alibaba. If that’s the case, Tumblr may be sold off, which makes this move an interesting one. Less ties to Yahoo make it low-hanging fruit for anyone looking to acquire a social solution with a hefty user base. Tumblr’s official line on the sales team folding back into the company proper is that it “has introduced a number of innovative ad products to maximize value for our advertisers and best meet their needs. To further support these efforts moving forward, we have returned to a dedicated direct sales team.”

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