Yahoo buys Tumblr, promises “not to screw it up”


So Yahoo buys Tumblr, the micro blogging platform for 1.1 billion and then announce that they “promise not to screw it up“.

That’s inspiring, isn’t it?

It says, “yeah, we know we’ve messed up before, but we’re going to try real hard not to do that again.”

I know, they want to assuage the fears of some 100 million customers they seem to know won’t be happy about the acquisition. But from a marketing standpoint, “we won’t screw it up” is not a good message.

Why call attention to your past screw ups? Why tell the world what you won’t do?

Can you imagine an attorney getting a big case and issuing a press release that says, “I won’t lose this one”.

Tell the world what you will do, not what you won’t. Tell the world where you are going, so they can see why they should follow.

Apparently, more than a few Tumblr customers don’t believe the promise and have migrated their blogs from Tumblr to But while might have a track record of “not screwing up,” customers who depend on their blogs for business purposes should avoid the hosted and opt for, the self-hosted, open-source version that I and millions of other websites use.

With the recent demise of Posterous, millions of people found out the hard way what happens when your hosted website shuts down.

But shutting down the service that hosts your business website is only one of the ways a host can “screw up”. If Yahoo/Tumblr,, Blogger, or any of the other hosted platforms change something, customers have to live with those changes, even if they don’t like them. If they want to do something that isn’t allowed, they’re also out of luck.

I use because it is the best software for the job. I host it myself because I want complete control over what I can and can’t do.

And I promised myself I won’t screw it up.