by Staff Writers
New York (AFP) May 20, 2013
The billion-dollar deal for Tumblr has stirred talk on the next big acquisition target in the sector, with cash-rich tech giants looking for the next potential star.
Yahoo!'s blockbuster deal for the popular blogging platform comes amid a battle for eyeballs on the Internet among big tech firms such as Facebook, Google, Amazon and Apple.
"All the big internet companies that have money are potential buyers," said Michael Pachter, analyst at Wedbush Securities.
"Then it depends on what they want to be and how much they are willing to pay."
Each of these firms is trying to get more users into their ecosystem to be able to gather data and "monetize" their user base, mainly by targeting them with ads tailored to their usage patterns, analysts say.
Yahoo! is believed to have outmaneuvered Facebook and Microsoft to get Tumblr, as the major tech giants look past the static Internet boxes to "streams" of content.
"We're all shifting our attention to mobile devices, and we've adopted the 'stream' as our preferred method of content discovery and consumption," says John Battelle, an entrepreneur who founded Wired and Federated Media Publishing.
"Yahoo! is already shifting its home page and other content sections to a stream like interface... And Tumblr was built from the ground up as an activity stream."
The price tag paid by Yahoo! means "the bar now has been set high in terms of valuation," said Allen Weiner at the research firm Gartner.
"It raises the question of what is a company like Twitter is worth."
Perhaps the most prominent of the social media startups to remain private, Twitter "has yet to show an inclination to go public," said Weiner, and it remains unclear whether Twitter will remain independent or be acquired.
Pinterest, which allows users to decorate virtual bulletin boards with pictures showcasing interests in anything from food to sports, fashion or travel, is clearly one of the new companies expected to be a target.
Weiner said, however, that Pinterest, seen last year as one of the rising starts in social media, "has not evolved quickly enough."
"The ability to replicate the idea is pretty easy," he said. "That said, I think someone will probably buy them."
Trip Chowdhry at Global Equities Research said the hefty price for Tumblr could discourage buyouts, because the return on the investment is less clear.
"You may have engagement (at new social media sites) but maybe not the possibility to grab ad dollars," he said.
"I just wonder if the acquisition that we see prices a lot of companies out of the market."
Several other startups are likely still being courted, but the landscape has shifted in recent weeks, say analysts.
Dailymotion, the popular video-sharing site, was among those, but the French government's move to block Yahoo!'s acquisition probably dampened enthusiasm for the unit of France Telecom.
That leaves Hulu, which is trying to catch Netflix in the streaming video space. Some reports suggested that Yahoo!, Amazon and others could be interested.
Foursquare, the location-based social media app, "was a prime target two years ago, I don't think as much today," said Weiner, because it is "struggling to monetize" its platform.
Shazam, an application allowing users to find music, is "interesting," Weiner said, making it a possible target for a hardware maker.
Weiner said that "my favorite company to be acquired" is now Storify, a social network which allows users to create stories or timelines using social media.
"It is just in the right place at the right time," he said, and could generate interest from companies like Google, Yahoo! or Facebook.
"It all depends on the price," he said.
Tumblr fans get sassy on Yahoo! takeover news
Reaction was swift as the youthful user base of Tumblr put the California company on notice that they would hold it to the promise of allowing the New York firm to remain independent.
One Tumblr user posted an endlessly looping vide snippet of pop singer Britney Spears repeatedly saying "I'm sad" while another uploaded a picture of a man vomiting in front of a large Yahoo! sign in a hallway.
A petition titled "Stop Yahoo! from buying Tumblr" at website ipetitions.com topped 168,000 online signatures by midday.
"Here we were in a land of great promise, pain, and porn," wrote a Tumblr user with the screen name "50shadesofitsadamnshame."
"I feel like our land is going to go from land of the free and home of the fangirls/boys to oppression and censorship."
The post and others expressed fear that Yahoo! would clamp down on content in an effort to make Tumblr more family friendly.
"You are now Yahoo!'s damn bitches," the poster contended.
Along with imaginative and unfettered social or political satire, Tumblr is known for its troves of adult content. Many wondered what being taken over by Yahoo! would mean to how Tumblr handled porn.
"Per the agreement and our promise not to screw it up, Tumblr will be independently operated as a separate business," Yahoo! said in announcing the acquisition.
"The product, service and brand will continue to be defined and developed separately with the same Tumblr irreverence, wit, and commitment to empower creators."
A Tumblr user responded by posting an animated cartoon that showed cartoon character Homer Simpson wearing a sandwich board sign bearing the message "The end is near" as he strode repeatedly past a Yahoo! logo altered to feature a giant "T."
Some questioned how successful aging Yahoo! would be in making itself more attractive to young Internet users by taking over Tumblr.
Mat Mullenweg of blog hosting service WordPress.com said in an online message that there was a huge spike in imports of posts after rumors of Yahoo! buying Tumblr broke on Sunday.
"Some people are reading too much into the import numbers," Mullenweg said in an update to his blog post. "I don't think there will be an exodus from Tumblr."
Tumblr user "godoftheinternet" called for calm, reasoning that features at the service would improve thanks to Yahoo! resources like massive datacenters for server power.
"Tumblr's still Tumblr, it just has a new owner," the user maintained.
"That doesn't mean David Karp is a sell-out or any less of the creator," the post continued with a reference to Tumblr chief executive and co-founder Karp.
"But yeah, I'd get tired of millions of 12 year old white girls calling me daddy all the time too."
Satellite-based Internet technologies
|The content herein, unless otherwise known to be public domain, are Copyright 1995-2014 - Space Media Network. AFP, UPI and IANS news wire stories are copyright Agence France-Presse, United Press International and Indo-Asia News Service. ESA Portal Reports are copyright European Space Agency. All NASA sourced material is public domain. Additional copyrights may apply in whole or part to other bona fide parties. Advertising does not imply endorsement,agreement or approval of any opinions, statements or information provided by Space Media Network on any Web page published or hosted by Space Media Network. Privacy Statement|