The economy might be imploding, but Tumblr is RICH! The microblogging service/hipster nerve center raised $4.5 million in a round led by Union Square Ventures and Spark Capital, which means the company is worth $15 million, on paper, even though it doesn't make any money, at all. But next year it's going to start selling some "really sexy" add-on features, founder David Karp told All Things Digital. Oddly, Karp's friend/ex-girlfriend Caroline McCarthy hasn't posted this news to her CNET social-network-news blog yet. So we guess the breakup wasn't amicable?
It was kind of an awkward joke to begin with: CNET News.com writer Caroline McCarthy publicly imagining how her fameball buddies David Karp and Charles Forman would be mocked by Perez Hilton if the celebrity blogger worked for Valleywag. Hilton would, of course, call the cuddle-buddies gay, as McCarthy made clear in a mockup posted to her Tumblr Wednesday night. But throw in the fact that McCarthy and Karp very recently, we heard, broke up, and the image takes on an entirely more vicious, passive-aggressive sheen.
The golden boys of New York's start-up scene are just as flashbulb-driven as the women who dote on them, a new Details mag feature reveals. Mostly they followed Tumblr's enfant terrible, David Karp, and his heterosexual beard Charles Forman, who pimps "social gaming" at iminlikewithyou but is still better known as last season's Mr. Julia Allison. There's a guest appearance by Kevin Rose, which you can just tell is going to get messy. He's inserted towards the end as the wise old sage, warning these new guys away from male Internet fameballing:
Maybe the fact that the 2.0 world allows everyone to "be their own publicist" and "control their own image" isn't such a good idea, after all. We love, love, love the obligatory blog-posting post-profile/article teeth-gnashing that such luminaries such as heiressblogger Emily Brill, Wired cover girl Julia Allison, and writer Emily Gould put themselves through. People used to crafting every facet of their public face themselves don't tend to like what they look like when someone other than themselves is taking the picture. Details profiled techboys and fameballs Charles Forman and Tumblr founder David Karp as part of a story on the "Playboys of Tech." It's not Forman gnashing his teeth about the resulting article (he ain't dumb)—it's his attention-requiring ex-girlfriend doing it for him."If a blog post is like an essay and a tweet is like a haiku, then a tumblelog is like stream-of-consciousness poetry," the article begins. That's right—and boy, is it a scary idea for literacy. (But it's also such a great embarrassing content-creator for our purposes. So, don't shit where ya eat.)
It's so familiar a tale: An online community, once obsequiously friendly, turns nasty as it gets bigger. But the loss of innocence is hitting users of blogging service Tumblr especially hard. Perhaps it's because the audience, once limited to young New York hipsters in the social circle of founder David Karp. The latest cri de coeur comes from Silicon Alley Insider's Eric Krangel, who complains that Karp hasn't done enough to stem the tide of "anonybloggers" who "follow" users on the site in order to mock them. "Following" sounds a bit creepy, unless you know that its Tumblr slang for 'reading." Where's the button for banning anyone who deviates from the party line, users have started to whine. Would it be too much to ask Tumblr's fragile millennials to grow up instead?If you so desperately want an audience for what I'm sure is your boundless and inimitable wit, you're going to have to put up with the occasional heckler. Karp is a talented designer and developer, but there's no CSS or PHP code that will hack the incivility out of the human condition. Since nobody seems to be able to limit the intimate details of their personal lives to private channels of communication anymore, I recommend getting a therapist who will hold your deepest hopes and fears in confidence. I've found it can help.
David Karp's Tumblr, the New York-based blogging startup, rolled out a site redesign yesterday. One of the new features is a Google Map showing where Tumblr users are located. We weren't surprised to see the highest Tumblr densities are in Brooklyn and San Francisco — "sisters in idiosyncracy" dubbed Sanfrooklyn by the New York Times. We were shocked, however, to learn that there are actual Tumblr users in the rest of America — like say Kalamazoo, Michigan, for example. The cartographic evidence:Tumblr users in Kalamazoo, Michigan:
[Editor's note: You probably didn't read Sassy magazine's Cute Band Alert back in the '90s. But that girl in your campus lab, the one who made her own zines and wore slips as outerwear? She did. In homage, we give you Cute Startup Alert!] Tumblr is at the apex of blog cute right now. We blame founder David Karp and his short pants. There's something indierock about the way Karp avoided Silicon Valley to found his company in Manhattan and stock it with Williamsburg residents.You won't find Tumblr in your sysadmin's RSS feeds. Tumblr bloggers follow one another on the site's internal Dashboard system. By design, the site limits bloggers to a few formats, gracefully styling their most self-aggrandizing prose into tasty niblets. It's like the beauty of a three-chord postpunk love song packaged as a middle-school love note: "Do you want to / Follow me? / Yes/No" New York's chattering classes — the new old media kids, the new new media kids, and the even newer kids who want to be the new new kids — have gleefully hopped aboard Tumblr. Karp's ladylove, CNET reporter Caroline McCarthy, is there. So are a raft of current and former Gawker editors and their hangers-on, drunklinking one another late into the night, thanks to Tumblr's one-click reblogging tool. "In one particular social circle," Karp explained recently, "we've collected a lot of New York users. It's a clique like any other where you'll see a lot of negativity." True, and what cuddly, darling negativity it is. (Photo by Rex Sorgatz)
Mashable founder Pete Cashmore makes a living throwing parties. Tumblr founder David Karp seems to get by on going to them, if only to make people say, "Why who's that fellow dressed so much like, Chuck Bass, and how can I join any website he's created?" This must explain why the two make such good dancing partners. But won't Iminlikewithyou founder Charles Forman get jealous? Write your own caption for this post and we'll use the best one as its new title. Friday's winner is bloggerman with "And in the end the stock you take is equal to the mess you make."
CNET News.com writer Caroline McCarthy published a nice scoop today on how social networking site I'm In Like With You raised $1.5 million from venture funding firm Spark Capital. Silicon Alley Insider has been chasing the story for weeks! How did McCarthy pull the exclusive out from under their nose? Who's to say! But, um, it's probably worth noting that McCarthy is dating David Karp, founder of blog network Tumblr and an intimate, bed-cuddling, entire-body-carrying friend of I'm In Like With You founder Charles Forman. Karp's company also shares Spark Capital as a venture funding backer. So, basically, McCarthy had sources close to her boyfriend to draw on. (Pictured, the happy threesome of Forman, Karp and McCarthy, as photographed by Richard Blakeley.) Should McCarthy's CNET blog post have carried a disclaimer? She doesn't think so:
One in a while a Web application comes along that's so damn useful, even we'd invest in it. Facebook? Nah. MakeMeBabies, the site that lets you create ruddy-cheeked mashups from any two photos? Its diapers will be filled with nothing but spun gold. Here's what the site came up with from photos of Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg and girlfriend Priscilla Chan. After the jump, we give a few other notable couples the same treatment. Please do add your own in the comments with our image-upload feature — best and worst fake babies will win an as-yet-undetermined prize of nominal value!
Who uses David Karp's microblogging site Tumblr? To us, they are trustafarians and their hangers-on — men with beards and thick glasses, girls with rainbow leggings and bangs. They are Sanfrooklyn's creative types and those who dress like them. Or — according to David Seger's Tumblr: the documentary, embedded below — they are "the dumbest babies of them all." We take exception to this as a Tumblista ourself, though we can't deny a sad correlation between our self-worth and the number of those who follow us.
IAC subsidiary CollegeHumor's Hottest College Girl in America Party, held Thursday night at New York club Room Service, was not an official Internet Week party. Yet above, we have Tumblr's David Karp, said college girl and a piece of tape in photographic proof that such a minor detail didn't stop New York digerati attending. The photo needs a caption. Make your suggestions in the comments and we'll rename the post with the best one. Friday's winner is Vulture with: "Serge Faguet cameos in a John Hughes movie VH1 special."
Spotted at the MashBash in New York City on Saturday, CNET reporter Caroline McCarthy with Tumblr founder David Karp and Michelle DeForest of NextNewNetorks. Karp and McCarthy are officially an item we understand, which warms our geeky hearts. Can you suggest a better caption? Do so in the comments, and the winning one will become the new headline on this post. Friday's winner, in a close one: rwe112, for "Now it's time on Sprockets when we dance." (Photo by Leora Zellman)
When the Daily News needed to illustrate a story on karaoke bars, guess who appeared in the photo? Julia Allison, omnipresent media figure and karaoke aficionado! Her face is the mandated illustration for at least one-third of all breaking lifestyle stories within the confines of Manhattan. And her singing partner is none other than Tumblr founder David Karp, no doubt belting out "Ride of the Valkyries" as undercover PepsiCo advertising operatives furiously scribble notes. Though this song lasted but a moment, the blog debate over the song will surely consume hundreds of hours. Julia Allison's Tumblr'd question that night: "What are the top Geek songs of all time?" Oh, the synchronicity. [via NYDN]
Is Tumblr now fertile ground for stealing ideas? Sierra Mist has a new ad—a cross promotion with The Office on NBC—showing a bunch of office workers flying toy helicopters around their workspace as Wagner's "Ride of the Valkyries" plays in the background. "Is your office this much fun?" the voice-over asks. The Sierra Mist spot is amazingly similar to a promo video that the young blog wizards at Tumblr released seven months ago. The same helicopters buzzing around the office; the same background music. Tumblr founder David Karp tells us he came up with the idea on a lark, to show off life in the office of the young company, and that the musical idea was "the result of being raised by a composer with an appreciation for theme music." He also tells us he wasn't contacted by Sierra Mist's ad agency before their ad went up. Scandal? We've emailed PepsiCo. for a response. It could be an uncredited rip off—or just a case of both being inspired by Apocalypse Now. Click to watch the clip above juxtaposing the two ads, and decide for yourself. [Full original Tumblr spot here. Full Sierra Mist ad here.]