Tumblr Post+ Subscription Service Set to Shut Down in January 2024

Unpacking Tumblr’s Decision to End its Creator Subscription Service

Tumblr, a popular microblogging platform, has announced the impending termination of its Post+ subscription service, signaling the end of its monetization experiment. Post+. Introduced in July 2021, Post+ aimed to enable creators to monetize their content by offering exclusive paywalled posts to subscribers. However, it is now being phased out, with the complete cessation slated for January 2024.

The decision to discontinue Post+ arrives amid a backdrop of mixed reception and challenges faced by the service. Tumblr’s attempt to empower creators and facilitate a revenue stream through paid subscriptions encountered significant resistance within its community, known for its aversion to traditional monetization models. In trying to work around this aversion, Tumblr implemented an awkward subscription experience, which further doomed the service.  The announcement to terminate Post+ reflects a strategic shift by Tumblr’s parent company, Automattic, to reevaluate and streamline the platform’s offerings based on user feedback and performance metrics.

Tumblr Post+ as promoted on the its website on Nov 28, 2023.

What is Tumblr and Post+?

Tumblr is a multifaceted social media platform founded in 2007 by David Karp. It combines blogging with multimedia sharing, accommodating diverse content types like photos, music, videos, quotes, GIFs, and textual posts. Over the years, Tumblr has evolved into a hub for artists, fandom enthusiasts, writers, and content creators, fostering a creative and interactive space for expression.

Post+, a feature introduced by Tumblr, aimed to empower creators by allowing them to create exclusive content behind a paywall. Through Post+, creators could offer subscriber-only content and perks, providing a means for fans to support their favorite artists through monthly subscriptions.

However, the journey of Post+ was marred by challenges, including resistance from the platform’s community and unforeseen complexities in adoption.

The Plus+ Subscriber User Experience

Example of a Creator Subscription from the Tumblr website on Nov. 28, 2023. The “Show Your Support” button at the bottom is how a creator’s supporter would subscribe.


Timeline of Post+ Termination

The phased shutdown of Post+ will commence on December 1st, 2023, as Tumblr users will no longer have the option to enable the service on their blogs. Existing Post+ content will remain accessible until the end of 2023. In early 2024, the platform will disable the creation of new Post+ content, marking existing content as private, leaving it to creators to decide whether to make these posts public.

Subscribers will cease to be billed starting January 2024. Notably, users subscribed via in-app purchases on iOS devices will need to manually cancel their subscriptions to avoid charges.

While the discontinuation of Post+ marks the end of this subscription model, Tumblr assures creators that alternative means of support, such as tipping, will still be available. The platform remains committed to exploring supporter badges, virtual goods, and advertising as potential avenues for future monetization.

INSIDER TAKE

The demise of Post+ underscores the challenges faced by Tumblr in aligning its innovation with the preferences and expectations of its user base. Despite efforts to adapt pricing and features, the service struggled to gain traction among users, prompting its eventual discontinuation. The termination of Post+ may mark the end of an era, but it also presents an opportunity for Tumblr to refocus its efforts on fostering a supportive environment for creators while engaging its dedicated user base.

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