Tumblr bloggers can soon charge for access to their posts

The platform is testing paid subscriptions with the Post+ feature.

·2 min read
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Tumblr is giving its bloggers a way to make money directly from their posts. They’ll be able to switch on paid subscriptions and paywall as much of their work as they want.

For now, only a few invited US creators have access to the Post+ feature during the limited beta. All bloggers have to do to restrict a post's visibility to subscribers is to check a box. Post+ memberships cost $4, $6 or $10 per month.

"Something profound is happening on Tumblr right now, with 60 percent of new user sign ups being Gen Z," a Tumblr spokesperson told Engadget. "We wondered how we could build Tumblr now that’s perfectly attuned for them and their creativity. Post+ is a first step towards building a Tumblr for Gen Z, and what better way to support them than by getting them paid."

Tumblr plans to roll out Post+ broadly in the fall. It will keep five percent of subscription payments, The Verge notes, with the rest going to bloggers. Creators will receive less if a reader signs up on iOS or Android, due to the 30 percent cut those platforms take from in-app payments.

Post+ appears to be Tumblr's answer to newsletter subscriptions from Substack, Twitter and Facebook. There's at least a chance that the move will entice new users to hop into Tumblr. Lapsed users who built a massive audience for their blogs back in the day might be tempted to return as well.

"Not reserved only for professionals, or those with 10K followers or higher, Tumblr’s Post+ will push the boundaries of what’s considered money-making content on the internet: Shitposters, memelords, artists, fan fiction writers, all of the above and everyone in between will be able to create content while building their community of supporters, and getting paid with Post+," Tumblr said. "With more than 48 percent of the platform being Gen Z we can't wait to see what they do with Post+."

Tumblr has endured some turbulence in recent years. Many users revolted after the platform banned nudity and sexual content in late 2018. It made the decision soon after the iOS app vanished from the App Store following the discovery of child exploitation on Tumblr.

Monthly page views dipped by almost a third in the months after the porn ban, according to TechCrunch. The number of daily posts has also dropped over the years from around 67.7 million in 2012 to 11.3 million today. Verizon (Engadget’s parent company) sold Tumblr to Wordpress operator Automattic in 2019. The subscription model could help Automattic generate more revenue from the service.

Update 7/21 3:07PM ET: Added comments from Tumblr.