will somebody just let me know when this tumblr worm war is over?


call the studio, thanks. :)

we have a phone?

"Really, two people growing up were my idols, Steve Jobs and Willy Wonka and that showmanship, the kind of mystery factory, that’s the stuff that I stay up late thinking about."

Tumblr founder David Karp

Tumblr is what would happen if Steve Jobs and Willy Wonka had a baby. Everything makes sense now. (via kileyrae)

Neither Steve nor Willy would have tolerated this search function.



~ Your Freedom To Use Your Browser Is Under Attack ~

Tumblr’s Terms of Service hasn’t changed yet. So please read and help out!

The Tumblr staff recently requested feedback on updates they will be making to their policies. They specifically mention one of their goals is to prevent the promotion of self-harm. However, their updated Terms of Service includes something a lot less laudable.

Unable to find the required avenues to stop developers from creating and distributing browser extensions that enhance the way you use Tumblr and not getting enough of a response to their scary warning campaign, they now seem to be preparing the groundwork for coming after users of these extensions.

~ Who, you? Yes, apparently. ~

Tumblr had been previously unable to prevent all development of these extensions, scripts and add-ons because they function within your web browser, allowing you to direct these extensions to use your browser to automatically perform tasks for you on Tumblr (like quickly reblogging from the dashboard, uploading images to posts, adding control buttons to your sidebar or hiding content you don’t want to see). The extensions, themselves, do not interact directly with Tumblr, only help your web browser to do it for you!

With the upcoming changes to the Terms of Service, Tumblr will soon be able to punish someone: you.

~ How is it wrong to use something to help me enjoy Tumblr more? ~

The important part of the new Terms of Service is under the section titled Limitations on Automated Use:

You may not do any of the following while accessing or using the Services: … (c) access or search or attempt to access or search the Services by any means (automated or otherwise) other than through our currently available, published interfaces that are provided by Tumblr… (d) scrape the Services, and particularly scape (sic) Content (as defined below) from the Services, without Tumblr’s express prior written consent

These limitations will make using almost any browser extension, add-on or script for Tumblr (and even some not specifically intended for Tumblr) against the rules!

Do you use Missing e, XKit, Tumblr Savior or any Greasemonkey script for Tumblr? Well, pretty soon, that will mean you will be in violation of Tumblr’s Terms of Service. That would be grounds for terminating your account!

~ What’s the Big Deal? ~

Extensions, add-ons and scripts like Missing e, XKit and Tumblr Savior help you get better use of Tumblr. They might mean that you decide against leaving Tumblr, or that you come back to it. They make it easier to spend more time on Tumblr than you might have normally and become a more involved member of this community. These are the kind of things a company like Tumblr should want, but is instead fighting against.

This most recent step effectively means that Tumblr apparently wants to reach into your web browser and tell you exactly how you are to use it to interact with their website. Their way, and NO OTHER WAY.

~ So, What Can We Do? ~

Tumblr’s new Terms of Service policy has not yet been put into effect. They are still looking for feedback. My suggestions is that we give them feedback.

Contact Tumblr (policy@tumblr.com) and let them know that this decision will alienate the userbase they work so hard to grow. Let them know that a browser extension (be it any of them) brought you back to Tumblr, or convinced you to stay, or kept you on this site longer. Tell them that your Tumblr is better off with a Savior, a Kit of the ‘X’ variety or that Missing e!

ABOVE ALL, BE POLITE. The best way to present your case is with clearheaded statements that show Tumblr that these tools make you want to use their product more!

This will become a big issue for Tumblr in the next few days, particularly the scraping thing, which is how services like Missing e and others work. Not sure how to feel about all this yet, but this is certainly not the kind of thing that I think Tumblr should be doing. We’ve been big backers of Missing e in the past, and it would break our hearts to see it taken down like this. So this needs to be explained and dealt with. Are there any other social media services which codify that you can’t modify their interfaces in this way?

I still feel really icky about the way Tumblr has, with the exception of a vaguely threatening pop-up, been completely opaque with their userbase about their “feud” with missing-e, when a large number of people are so obviously fond of the functionality it provides.

Will my Tumblr experience be better when all of the best missing-e elements are either incorporated or replicated by the Tumblr engineers, without giving the credit due to Jeremy Cutler for his work?  Probably, but I’ll still feel icky about how this entire situation has been handled.  

Does Tumblr OWE anyone an explanation?  Of course not.  But it’d sure be nice to have some transparency about the issues Tumblr users have been very vocal about.

Tumblr, you have developed a VERY devoted base of evangelists that love you, warts and all (myself very much included).  Throw them a bone.

Pretty please.

Occupy Tumblr



Here’s the idea as described by my friend Patrick Rhone from Minimal Mac:

What if, 1% of the users of a particular free service of 36 million clients and growing, were to decide to drop $10.00 cash every month into an envelope and mail it to said service? What if that envelope had no return address? Perhaps there was an note inside that begged them to create a model to let us pay them to use the service. To make sure the service continued on once the bubble inevitably bursts and the VC’s take their payout and fly to the Grand Caymans.

I like it.

He described it better and talks about it on his latest Enough podcast:

Here the deal, I love Tumblr. I use Tumblr. I fear for Tumblr. You see, they have no discernible business model. They have taken mountains of VC investment money. I think they should allow a way for me, and others that use the service, to pay. I think they should take our money instead. So, I’m done waiting for them to come up with a plan for this. I’m going to send them a ten dollar bill, every month, with a note, asking them to consider letting me pay at least this much or more to equal the value I get from the service. I’m inviting others, who I’m calling The 1% – that being 1% of Tumblr’s 36 million blogs, to join me. I personally think three hundred thousand people each sending a ten dollar bill might let them know they don’t need VC money to survive they need us.

I’m with Patrick. I’m going to start sending the $10 each month.
Tumblr is hosting Minimal, Pack Light Go Fast, Red Teams and My Bag is Badass. All for free. And while free might sound good, we, the users, suffer from it. I like paying for good service. If my paying for service will assure that my blogs stay online with no or little downtime I’ll gladly pay. If my paying allows the service to remove ads or other annoyances, I’ll gladly pay.

Tumblr has an incredible platform that has made blogging as simple and as beautiful as it’s ever going to be. Let’s help the folks at Tumblr by paying for the service.

Just send your $10 via snail mail to:

Tumblr, Inc., 35 East 21st Street, 9th Floor, New York, NY, 10010

Thank you.

I say again… yes to the above ^^^ .

Matt and I have discussed this regularly here at the studio over our 4+ years using tumblr, actively, freely. By giving the users a product for free, tumblr essentially turns us into the product (or might) and I’d have much preferred it the other way around… unlike facebook (among others).

Yes Yes YES!

I WILL GLADLY PAY FOR A SERVICE THAT I USE DAILY, provided that the money I’m spending affords me security, minimal downtime, regular feature updates, and accountability.  Also, a payment model would seem to eliminate some of the spam problems.

What I DON’T want to see is a payment model come as some sort of last-ditch effort to monetize a service I love dearly.  It should have been implemented years ago, IMHO, and I still think it’s the way to go.

It’s hard not taking this personally…




considering all the free time I put into this.

I just get the feeling the disagreement is over more than just page scraping and API usage. Maybe I’m just imagining things due to the mood I’m in.

Frankly, Missing e became slightly more of an onerous task than a labour of love months ago. It occasionally interferes with my full-time job and my home life. I just saw all the people using it and suggesting it to their friends and posting about how much they liked this feature or that one. That kind of thing is addictive to a developer.

Hobbies and crafts you do in your spare time should be enjoyable. When they start feeling like work, they’re tolling their own death knell.

I am going to see what I can do to fix it up. Be a better Tumblr API citizen. Prune the features they don’t want that I didn’t feel right about including in the first place. If it’s much more than that, I have my doubts about whether it is something I will continue to pursue.

I will say that it was eerily simple to disable installation of Missing e. Click, click, short shell command. That was it.

Can you share what features they had an issue with? You can contact me privately if you wish.

I can understand them having problems with things that would have a serious impact on their system, adversely affecting the experience of the entire user base. I just hope they realize the tremendous value Missing e brings to Tumblr and work with cutlerish, rather than against him.

I also wish Tumblr was more forthcoming and transparent about decisions like this, instead you have people speculating what the reasons were, you can nip that right in the bud by posting a message on your staff blog so the entire community is aware.

This guy has made my life on Tumblr MUCH better with his amazing tool and I appreciate the hell out of what he’s done.

Soup’s commentary about Missing e is spot-on. The problem that we’re seeing with Missing e is the same one that we’ve seen with Tumblr many times before. This is a company that doesn’t really play its hand until it’s time to throw down. It’d be nice to know what was going on in cases like these, instead of being kept in the dark. This thing has a much wider user base than most other improve-the-interface apps of its kind, and that’s because of the user interface tweaks — many of which are things that Tumblr could add themselves.

I just wanted to co-sign.  Missing e (or a significant number of its features) improves the Tumblr interface, and Tumblr needs to realize that and possibly reward the developer.  Tumblr doesn’t OWE me transparency, Tumblr doesn’t OWE me consideration, Tumblr doesn’t OWE cutlerish anything, but it’d be a cool move.


Fill out this anonymous Google Docs survey, then post the link on your Tumblr (the shortened link is http://goo.gl/9mJeZ).

I’ll share the results here next Tuesday (with fancy pie charts and everything).

Special thanks to the 125 people who’ve filled it out since last night!

tumblr luv