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Tumblr jumps into advertising with two feet

Once scorning ads, the microblogging site is now opening its arms to the prospect by hiring Groupon sales exec Lee Brown.

Dara Kerr Former senior reporter
Dara Kerr was a senior reporter for CNET covering the on-demand economy and tech culture. She grew up in Colorado, went to school in New York City and can never remember how to pronounce gif.
Dara Kerr
2 min read

Tumblr has resisted putting ads on its site for years, but little by little the idea of advertising has become more acceptable. Now, the company seems to be jumping in with two feet.

The microblogging site has hired sales guru Lee Brown, according to All Things D. Brown joins Tumblr from his position of senior vice president of national sales at Groupon. Before that, he was the vice president of East Coast U.S. and Canada sales for Yahoo.

Brown is slated to report to Tumblr founder and CEO David Karp, according to All Things D, which should be fun to watch since Karp is known for disliking ads. In an AdAge interview in April, Karp said that his company has no interest in placing ads on its service, saying that the microblogging tool is "selling our desks to avoid that, it's a complete last resort."

However, Tumblr had already began moving into advertising territory in February when it launched "highlighted posts" allowing users to pay $1 to get their post to stand out in the Dashboard. In May, the company launched Tumblr Radar and Tumblr Spotlight, which are two types of advertising products available to sponsors for an entry-level price of $25,000.

With more than 72 million blogs, Tumblr has a massive audience. In the five years since it launched, users have posted to blogs more than 22 billion times and site currently has more than 59 million daily posts.

Brown confirmed that Karp has indeed warmed to allowing advertising on Tumblr. "Those comments were over a year ago, and since then, he has seen the power of the advertising medium," Brown told All Things D. "David has seen that advertising can be extremely creative and have a value and place in the community as it is encouraged, endorsed and reblogged."