Tumblr’s Fake Checkmark Leads to Real Revenue – Social Factor Alert

What started as a joke against Twitter Blue has worked out significantly in Tumblr’s favor. In February 2023, Tumblr announced a revenue increase of 125% since launching its paid verification spoof on iOS platforms. Twitter removed its former verification system, which required proof of identity, in favor of a monetized and more vulnerable version. This led Tumblr to launch the Important Blue Internet Checkmark, their alternative version that allowed individuals to buy multiple badges for themselves or others. However, the only benefit was that users received multiple checkmarks to symbolize they were a “very important person on the internet.” 

In response to Twitter’s paid verification, consumer spending on Tumblr’s iOS app increased to $263,000 in net revenue in November 2022. As ad revenue decreases, social platforms are trying to devise new monetization methods. The recent mocking of the bird platform done by Tumblr has revived the once-prominent website like a phoenix rising from its ashes. Meanwhile, Elon Musk’s Twitter Blue lost over 26k subscribers between February 14th and February 23rd alone.

It’s no secret that many formerly forgotten social platforms are seeing a resurgence of interest. With the average user looking for social media alternatives, Tumblr alone saw an increase of 135 million monthly active users. By leaning into the community and culture that make up the website’s foundation, Tumblr took a meme-able moment and turned it into a social lesson that their more “corporate” peers could (and should) learn a thing or two from.

Action Items for Brands

  • As ad revenue models wane for social platforms due to recessionary forces, subscriptions are becoming a viable option. Now is the time to ask yourselves, are you growing with social networks or simply buying from them? (Psst, if you’re looking for all the facts about subscription models, contact us). 
  • Companies must rethink what platforms still align with their brand in this shifted social landscape. Although this will look different from brand to brand, it is clear that what worked in the past is transitioning toward more community-based, less broad audience. Hey, it worked for Tumblr!
  • This experiment shows that not only is now the time to stand out but also have a clear personality. As digital chaos continues to rise, future generations will pay attention to what brands do online and support those that align with their values.

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