Tumblr's most significant shortcoming, as a platform for artists and writers, was that it never figured out payments. When it purged smut and adult material, that was likely a hamfisted attempt to make Tumblr more attractive to banks and payment processors. Yesterday it finally announced Tumblr Post Plus, a Patreon-like way to pay your favorites, with $4 a month buying access to subscriber-only content. Jacob Kastrenakes at The Verge:
The 14-year-old blogging platform is starting to add the ability for writers to put their posts behind a paywall. The feature, called Post Plus, lets creators offer a $3.99, $5.99, or $9.99 per month subscription, which will give readers access to any posts they decide to designate as for subscribers only. For now, the feature is available in a "limited beta" for select creators only. … A wide launch of the feature is planned for this fall, a Tumblr spokesperson tells The Verge. Tumblr will take a 5 percent fee from subscriptions, which is competitive compared to Substack's 10 percent cut. If readers subscribe on iOS or Android, though, those platforms' 30 percent app store fees will come out of what a creator gets to keep.
Tumblr's lost much of its userbase since it was sold and sold and sold again—the price dropping from $1bn to a few million dollars along the way. And the only reactions I've seen to this are negative. People seem especially upset that the "creators" in the beta are now an elite class on the platform, with the usual corporate signifiers such as "verification". A seeming misjudgment of Tumblr's culture to say the least.