Does Tumblr Have a Porn Problem?

While just about everything is seemingly going Tumblr’s way these days, take for example a rumored $800 million valuation and booming popularity, the blogging website is quietly struggling with a porn problem. Though Tumblr doesn’t seem to mind the raunchy images that are frequently posted and searched for on its site, the rampant pornographic content might make investors do a double take. However, policing content and kicking elicit content to the curb would certainly cause Tumblr’s user numbers to drop. So what’s a company to do?

Gawker’s Ryan Tate reports that of the 30 most searched for terms on Tumblr, quite a few of them are down right dirty. Tate points out that this dependency on risqué posts to attract users also puts them in quite a vulnerable position. “If Tumblr were to begin evicting porn, Richard Branson, Greylock Partners and the other VCs [venture capitalists] behind Tumblr’s latest funding round would find the company’s numbers had become suddenly less impressive,” writes Tate.

And let’s don’t forget about Tumblr’s spam problem as well. The site recently experienced a chain letter scam this summer that claimed 130,000 victims, and they weren’t shy about letting Tumblr know about their displeasure. And as with any user-content driven site, with growing popularity Tumblr further exposes itself to copyright risks. Ryan Tate writes, “DMCA provisions of copyright law might limit the company’s liability, but there’s a fair amount of Tumblr sharing that simply could not go on if copyright rules were strictly interpreted and enforced.”

Overall, there is a lot of uncertainty surrounding Tumblr’s future. Despite a lack of revenue, there are certainly some big name venture capitalists that are willing to place their bets on the success of the company. Do you think it has what it takes to make it?

To contact the reporter on this story: Ashley Cloninger at staff.writers@wallstcheatsheet.com

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Damien Hoffman at editors@wallstcheatsheet.com