Tumblr Decides to Discontinue Its Content Subscription Feature Post+

Samanta Blumberg


Tumblr Decides to Discontinue Its Content Subscription Feature Post+

In a recent announcement, Tumblr revealed plans to phase out its subscription service, Post+. Initially introduced in July 2021, the service was designed to let creators monetize their content by creating a paywall for subscribers. Although it aimed to support the platform's diverse community of artists, writers, and fans, Post+ faced backlash from a user base that is generally young and resistant to conventional monetization methods or changes.

Kaijuno, one of the writers who participated early in Post+, shared experiences of facing intense criticism from the community. Kaijuno anticipated some negative feedback but was caught off guard by the direct targeting from Tumblr users against the creators themselves rather than the platform or its representatives.

Despite these challenges, Post+ was made available to all users, with the platform also removing the identifying badge beside creators' names to avoid unwarranted focus on them. Tumblr introduced an additional, more affordable subscription tier of $1.99/month to complement the existing options of $3.99, $5.99, and $9.99. Furthermore, Tumblr presented a competitive edge by claiming it would only keep a 5% commission from creator earnings, a rate comparable to or less than what its competitors offer.

However, Matt Mullenweg, the CEO of Automattic, which acquired Tumblr in 2019, indicated that Post+ was one of the initiatives being discontinued. Automattic, which also runs WordPress.com, has had to reallocate Tumblr's staff to other areas as the platform continued to report financial losses. Mullenweg highlighted the intent to concentrate on the features that users treasure about Tumblr and abandon those that have not been successful.

Specifically addressing Post+, Mullenweg attributed part of the failure to misinformation propagated by fan fiction writers concerned about copyright lawsuits, which he said fueled a campaign resulting in every launch creator withdrawing from the program.

Post+ is set to cease operations, with the platform outlining a timeline for the shutdown. From December 1, users will not have the option to activate Post+ for their blogs, but existing subscriber-only content will remain accessible until the end of the year. Starting in early 2024, the generation of new Post+ content will discontinue, and previously posted material will be set to private. Users will have the choice to make those posts public once again at their discretion.

The billing for Post+ subscribers is set to stop in January 2024, although users subscribed through the App Store will need to cancel manually to avoid future charges.

While Post+ will no longer be available, Tumblr assured that creators could still receive support through tipping. The company refrained from providing details on any future strategies for creator monetization. Instead, they reaffirmed, as previously mentioned by Mullenweg, that Tumblr's short-term focus on monetization will continue to be through supporter badges, virtual goods, and advertising.