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Tumblr to introduce paid adverts from next month

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Tumblr
Tumblr is to launch paid adverts on its blogging network from next month as a way to make money, despite its founder previously stating his opposition to the move.

David Karp, the founder and chief executive of Tumblr, said that companies, organisations and brands would be able to run ads on the site's "dashboard" from May 2.

Various brands such as IBM, EMI Music and Huggies already use Tumblr to promote their services, but this will be the first time that they can pay for advertising exposure.

This comes despite Karp previously saying in an interview the online adverts "turn our stomachs".

Tumblr has experienced major growth over the past 12 months and now has more than 50m individual blogs, including pages from celebrities such as Beyoncé and Kelly Brook.

The company, which last year raised $125m in funding, currently makes money by taking a cut from sales of custom blog themes created by third-party designers.

In February, Tumblr introduced 'highlighted posts' in North America, enabling users and brands to pay to get more visibility for their blogs, but the shift to paid adverts is significant.

Working similarly to online rivals Facebook and Twitter, the ads will appear on Tumblr among flagged popular posts in the "radar" tool on a Tumblr user's dashboard.

Tumblr is understood to have already secured partnerships with 15 advertisers, including the Cartoon Network.

Speaking at the Ad Age Digital Conference in New York, Karp said that he was an "idiot" for saying that he was "opposed to advertising" in a 2010 interview with the Los Angeles Times.

However, he also accused other technology firms such as Facebook and Google of being "devoid of creativity" in their advertising.

In a swipe aimed at Twitter, Karp said that there's "no 140 characters, [and] no little box" in the Tumblr Radar.

Karp had previously said that Tumblr could seek to make money by hosting Google's ad links, but insisted that this would be "a complete last resort".

He did not indicate how much the new Tumblr ads would cost.

Tumblr had 21.8m unique visitors in March, up by a million on February, according to comScore data. The site is currently the fourth-most popular social network in the UK by unique visitors.

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