Why you should never use Tumblr as a professional blogging platform

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In October 2010, I started the BitShare blog. The intent was to create a daily or every-other day or so, news blog that curated daily bits to share (hence the name). BitShare is focused on content related to internet, tech, culture, apps, and more. At the time in 2010, the Tumblr blogging platform was still somewhat new but starting to catch on and be popular. They had some features that I found appealing, so I decided back then to commit to using Tumblr as a blogging platform. Over the years, BitShare had become a popular news blog on Tumblr, where at it’s highest point I had accumulated 212,000+ followers.

Although the Tumblr platform was still pretty new and still experimenting with new features, adding, removing, and testing, I stuck with them. Overtime though, it had become clear that Tumblr was gearing and focusing content toward a younger crowd; this is by no means a bad thing, as BitShare appeals to any audience provided the reader wants to read general tech news. However, it seems that the audience and focus delved into posts that were just memes, animated gifs, adult content, and quick reblogs of regurgitated unoriginal content.

Through all of this I kept BitShare going on with Tumblr. My intent for the news site was to be a quasi-professional news blogging site. This is not the Huffington Post, Mashable, or Techcrunch – I know this. But it doesn’t mean though that I couldn’t run this news blog in a similar fashion, in a professional way. Because of this, and the blog’s popularity, I decided I wanted to monetize the content. This means I setup Google Ads which consisted of 2-3 ads in strategic places on the blog. When I signed up for Tumblr, I never read anywhere in the terms that Google Ads were not allowed or that they break the terms in any way. In addition to help drive traffic, and also a way for me to do side-projects where as a developer I could work on things I enjoy, I setup a few sub-blogs on Tumblr.

Tumblr has a feature that allows blog accounts to have sub-blogs, as many as you want. I created a few sub-blogs for different things, such as one called DailyKwotes, which I created a daily quotes aggregator to curate quotes and publish them daily. On the blog, I linked to BitShare to help drive advertise BitShare. I also setup a couple of other aggregators too, for example an animated gif site called GIFBINGE. I also had Google Ads on these sites as well. Everything up until this point was going well.

Things begin to go haywire

Fast forward to December 2015, when one day I went to login to the Tumblr dashboard to submit a new post, and to my shock, my password no longer worked. I thought something was off, but maybe I just had a brain freeze and didn’t remember it. Something made me check the front-end of my site, and to my horror, I got the dreaded 404 page not found. I checked my sub-blogs and even more shocking, 404 pages all around.

I quickly shot off an email to Tumblr support, telling them I could not log in, and I’m getting error pages. Going back to my email logs, the date was December 26, 2015, the day after Christmas. One day later on December 27, I received a response back from Tumblr Support:

Mathieu (tumblr)

Dec 27, 12:38 PM

Hello,

We’ve terminated your Tumblr account at bitshare.cm for spam or affiliate marketing and deceptive means to generate traffic/revenue. Per the policies you agreed to when creating your account, Tumblr prohibits such activity.

You can find all our Community Guidelines at https://www.tumblr.com/policy/en/community

Best,
Mathieu
Tumblr Community Manager

Well, this is surprising. Although I know that I had Google Ads and a few sub-blogs, I didn’t think at the time this would cause my site to be shutdown by Tumblr. And at no time have I ever run any affiliate programs. I never thought for a second I was breaking any of Tumblr’s terms or conditions. In addition, since it’s been six years as a Tumblr user, I never thought for a moment that I would get shutdown, without even an email notifying me or any communication at all. Since my blog content was always tech focused, it never contained shady or controversial content that warranted a shutdown either.

Since December 27, I spent the next month and half emailing Tumblr Support every few days asking them for clarification, and to please reinstate my account. Eventually my contacts to them turned into me begging to just have access back to get my content back. Since December 27, 2015, I  have never heard back from Tumblr. I have asked them many times what terms I broke, in what fashion – was it the Google Ads? Was it the sub-blogs? Was it a misunderstanding, a mistake maybe since I didn’t run any affiliate programs? Could I at least get access back to my content? Complete radio silence from Tumblr. I waited and waited, sending emails, until finally a few days ago I finally gave up.

Here is a screen capture of some of the emails that I sent to Tumblr Support which have gone unanswered. Some are collapsed together, and some aren’t even shown in this screen capture because Tumblr forces users to submit a new email through their support form only now, and you cannot email them directly at their email address anymore. But you can get the point from the image below that I emailed them many times, and the only response was back on December 27 saying I broke the terms.

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Tumblr Support doesn’t like responding to their users

After giving up on working with Tumblr in some manner to get my content back, I decided to move my blog to WordPress. I’m a WP user already and have a lot of experience with it. I’ve always liked it better, but since I was such a long time user of Tumblr, I stuck with them. This was a huge mistake. WordPress is a much better platform in every way possible. Users have full control of their content, top-to-bottom and I don’t have to worry about my blog being shutdown if I post a Google Ad or link back to my blog.

What Tumblr did is terrible, and I don’t want anyone else to experience being shutout of their blog with no way of getting their content back like I did. I had six years of content, which was completely closed off to me forever. 

Unfortunately I been forced to re-add my content back to my site by using the Wayback Machine, which has been a savior in many ways. The bad thing is this is a completely manual process, and a lot of content is going to be missing as there is just simply too much content over six years to go through and add back; and sadly it seems that some content wasn’t saved in the Wayback Machine.

Warnings signs went unheeded

I should have realized the red flags over the years, and moved my content to WordPress, but I didn’t. From many growing pain issues with Tumblr, to them being purchased by Yahoo!, which is now doing terrible, to the entire Tumblr brand focus not even being serious and becoming a joke, the writing was on the wall. So for any of you still using Tumblr as a serious blogging platform, and you care about your content, get out now while you still can with your content. Please heed my warning.

For those of you who may have reached this page from old content that I could not get back, find, and replace, please excuse the missing content and stick around. I plan to rebuild and start over, with new and exciting content to come. In the meantime, please feel free to use the search function or check the archives.