Tumblr announced today that users can opt out of ads (on the desktop and in its mobile apps) by paying $4.99 per month or purchasing a year of ad-free browsing at a discount for $39.99.
That means long-time posters can go back to the way things were before Yahoo bought Tumblr in 2013 for $1.1 billion, before Tumblr banned porn and lost a massive chunk of its audience, and before Verizon sold Tumblr to WordPress owner Automattic Inc. for a tiny fraction of its original price.
Founder David Karp was opposed to allowing advertising, and once the company bent on that principle, it’s been plagued by tacky, cheap-looking advertisements that seemed to flood the feed and often make little to no sense. But now, anyone who still uses Tumblr can have the ad-free version of the site back — if they pay up.
That pitch is a bit less appealing than it would’ve been when Tumblr was at its peak, but it does show new signs of life for the platform, that may be appreciated by anyone who’s stuck around through the transitions. Of course, another way to tell long-time users that there’s a future for Tumblr would be to develop more new features that don’t cost money, and its new blog viewer on the dashboard is a decent start. For the next move, here’s a free idea: Tumblr NSFW, $14.99, ad-free and unblurred for less than the cost of HD Netflix.