Let's talk a bit more about #tumblr, because it actually is a good example showing what's wrong with how tech start-ups are valued (beyond the short answer: capitalism, which is always the worst) as well as why decentralised federated tumblelogs may be a good idea after all.
Tumblr got sold for $1.1 billion to yahoo in 2013 while not having made any noticeable revenue at that time ($13 million in 2012). That's not uncommon, and it's where the problem begins.
Especially when it comes to social infrastructure, and tumblr, as a social blogging service is certainly part of that, the question wether we want to have that linked to such an gap between the exchange value and practical value should be asked. There are two points in this: The exchange value of many start-ups is usually much higher as their practical value; this is one part. The other is, that the usage of basic infrastructure shouldn't be as much a matter of class as it is made by start-ups to that.
Tumblr kinda crashed because Yahoo and Verizon tried to push tumblr into a kind of market compliancy, trying to make good guesses about an marketing audience that never existed except on paper, whilst ignoring the wants and stated wishes of the community entirely; trying to close said gap between the values. The alternative to getting sold would've been to close tumblr down.
I don't want to say that this strategy Verizon tried always fails to work, since obviously, it worked for Instagram in its Facebook acquisition as Instagram and Tumblr shared a similar situation before being acquired; but talking about why it worked for insta would broaden the scope of this thread too much.
But the most important part is, that capitalist valuing and the market itself always leads to authoritarian structures; as the profit is in that scope more important than the constituted will of the users, which is pretty antidemocratic. Having like decentralised federated services is a good counter-concept; and both demands, one for decentralised, federated and in some way democratic social networks and the other for breaking up monopolies that are harmfully monetising basic infrastructure, are good ones.
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