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  • Lawrence Ng

Tumblr Angers Fans With Paywall Beta, Competes With Patreon

Updated: Aug 11, 2021

Tumblr announced that it will soon bring the paywall beta Post+ to users, providing content creators with the option to charge monthly subscribers US$3.99, US$5.99 or US$9.99 to view exclusive posts. This will let fans support the creators they love on the site. 

Tumblr Post+

Credit: Tumblr

As Post+ is in its beta phase, Tumblr added that people can sign up to be beta testers for the upcoming feature through this link. Users who seek to give feedback about Post+ can fill out this survey.

The blogging platform explained that it wants to set up Post+ to encourage artistic and creative expression on Tumblr.

“Creators are the backbone of Tumblr—whether they’re GIF artists, illustrators, comedians, cosplayers, or just really good shitposters. Since our founding, we have always believed in empowering the world’s creators to show off their best work. Post+ now gives these same creators the ability to earn money from their work,” said Tumblr in a blog account dedicated to Post+.

But users were not happy as Tumblr released the feature to a small group of chosen creators, with one of them being the writer and astrophysicist Kaijuno.

Since he was the most prominent user who was bestowed the opportunity to take advantage of Post+, the 24-year-old blogger experienced violent backlash from users who do not want Tumblr to let capitalism ruin the social media site.

As numerous death threats were targeted to Kaijuno, the platform issued a statement against the harassment and bullying that took place.

“We want to hear about what you like, what you love, and what concerns you. Even if it’s not very nice. Tell us. We can take it. We WANT that feedback. It helps us make Tumblr better. What we won’t ever accept is the targeted harassment and threats these creators have endured since this afternoon. These creators are some of the most talented people around, and all they’re doing is testing out a feature,” Tumblr’s staff wrote in a post dated 21 July 2021.

As Tumblr is poised to make monetisation avenues for its creators, it could be in direct competition with platforms like Patreon and Ko-fi, which also let users buy access to special posts that artists and content producers have made. 

Twitter introduced similar revenue streams for social media influencers with Super Follows and Tip Jar. Super Follows — currently in beta testing — will give Twitter personalities a chance to offer fans paid subscriptions to bonus content. On the other hand, Tip Jar serves as a way for users to extend monetary support to people on the app.

Only US residents who meet the criteria for Super Follows beta participants can test the feature. Meanwhile, anyone using Twitter in English can tip select accounts belonging to content creators, journalists, experts and non-profit groups.

Just like Twitter, YouTube will let users send money to their favourite channels with Super Thanks, but only at four different price points: US$2, US$5, US$10 and US$50.  

In related news, app developer and leaker Alessandro Paluzzi revealed that Instagram’s Exclusive Stories is in development, a claim that Instagram confirmed in a TechCrunch report. This will let content creators show exclusive Instagram Stories to paying fans.


Written by Sophia Lopez

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