Tumblr founder slams drive-by nastiness on YouTube

David Karp

“We had to keep the jerks out.”

The man who invented Tumblr made a sideswipe at YouTube today for allowing negative comments to be made beneath videos that can damage the confidence of content creators.

David Karp, the 26 year-old now worth $200m following the $1.1bn sale of the microblogging platform to Yahoo! last month, said that as Tumblr does not allow comments to be posted immediately, there is less opportunity for the “drive-by nastiness” that is seen on YouTube.

“We had to keep the jerks out,” said Karp, talking about the creation of Tumblr at the Cannes Lions festival today. “The last thing a content creator wants is to be hit with ugly comments about their work.”

Tumblr users can communicate with one another, but initially only in the form of a question. “It’s a little harder to be a jerk when you ask a question. Asking a question forces you to be more open minded.”

Karp had advice for brands using Tumblr and other similar platforms, saying that brands needed to be authentic and produce content that people care about.

“If you’re not authentic, then your output tends to be worse,” he said, after pointing out that there is no advertising on Tumblr.

“Creative agencies are squeezed in their approach to the web. They are still too traditional, and using the old approach is not going to build a billion-dollar brand,” he said. “Brands need to find out what people love, and give it to them.”

Karp pointed to American car brand Lincoln as the best example of how a brand uses Tumblr. Lincoln post images and videos of vintage cars to tie in with its brand positioning around heritage.

“They dove into the community, found out what they loved and cared about, and came up with a Tumbler account that is truly amazing,” he said.


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