In an online world where ads have become inseparable from social media, Tumblr — yes, it’s still around — is going against the grain. Its message: Say goodbye to the bizarre ads on Tumblr, if you want.
Unsurprisingly, it’s going to cost you (Tumblr has to make up for those lost ad dollars in some way, after all). On Thursday, the social media platform announced new subscription options for users who “love Tumblr but hate ads.” For $US4.99 ($7) a month, or $US39.99 ($56) a year, Tumblr will allow users to set up ad-free browsing on desktop and mobile. The opt-in subscriptions are now available for purchase worldwide.
“If you love ads, then this post is not for you,” Tumblr staff wrote in the announcement. “If you love Tumblr but hate ads and want the one to continue without having to endure the other, then this post is literally for you. Hello, you.”
While ads can be annoying on every social media platform, Tumblr ads have gained notoriety for being annoying, random, and strange. According to Shitty Tumblr Ads, a blog dedicated to documenting the serious WTF ads on the platform, ads on Tumblr can be classified into a variety of categories.
One of those categories is questionable medical advice. As documented by Weird Ads on Tumblr, this advice knows no limits. For those suffering from tinnitus, for example, there’s an ad that appears to show a man inserting hand sanitizer, or some other clear liquid, in his ear. (Please don’t do this. Go see a doctor).
Another ad encourages users to “apply garlic to a freshly opened cut or burn to immediately intensify the pain.” Frankly, why?
Relatedly, another group of ads claim to share outlandish weight loss secrets and appear to promote eating worms. (Again, don’t do this).
The weirdness doesn’t stop there, though. There is also an abundance of ads where the featured image is completely unrelated to ad text. See, for instance, the bison used to illustrate retirement below.
And so on.
When I first saw Tumblr’s announcement, I was taken aback. I couldn’t think of any other mainstream social media sites where you can pay to make ads go away, a proposition a large swath of the population would undoubtedly be interested in. In a way, Tumblr is offering users a virtual time machine that takes them back to the early days of the internet, when it wasn’t so commercial.
However, Tumblr’s ads are different. They are so bad — and I don’t even want to think about the poor people who have taken them seriously — but they’re also hilarious. I was highly entertained while I was researching ads to include in this article. Overall, I was torn over Tumblr’s new ad-free browsing announcement.
The folks over at Shitty Tumblr Ads helped me gain perspective.
“At this point the shitty terrible awful ads are just a part of the culture tbh,” Shitty Tumblr Ads wrote.