According to Forbes, Tumblr’s traffic growth has continued to stagnate, suggesting poor stewardship by Yahoo in the wake of last May’s $1.1 billion acquisition.
A simple graph of unique visitor volume tells the story perfectly. After hockey-stick like growth in the first half of 2013, traffic took a dip in June — only the second monthly decrease in Tumblr’s recent history — then proceeded to level off.
Yahoo’s explanations of the stubborn traffic trends are not encouraging. A spokeswoman tells Forbes that, “Comscore does not fully capture mobile traffic….in the past year we’ve seen a 55% total engagement growth and on mobile this number is 251% growth.”
The company used a similar excuse in December, in a response to Valleywag, when they claimed, “In order to remain consistent with the rest of the tech sector and improve traffic reporting, we are now measuring Tumblr’s audience engagement only through comScore analytics.”
Presuming Yahoo’s internal numbers are to be believed, we’re left to assume that comScore — frequently cited in the tech media as a reliable source of traffic data — is wildly untrustworthy, under-reporting total user traffic by over 250%.
Such excuses may not help Yahoo’s reputation as a place where “startups go to die.”
Much of the hype surrounding CEO Marissa Mayer is her ability to inspire highly-innovative cultures, and although she has injected the company with high-profile talent — including the Tumblr team, an 18-year-old British app prodigy, and celebrity journalists Katie Couric and David Pogue– the company has yet to impress the public (or the media) with any new products.
She’s still in the very early stages of her Yahoo leadership, so no one can write her off yet….but when Mayer is posing for Vogue photo shoots AND leading one of the world’s largest tech companies, you have to wonder how many ends of the candle she has left.