WIRED NEW YORK: Gotham’s tech crowd headed downtown to the Museum of Jewish Heritage Tuesday to Wired’s Bizcon 2014 — where the promise of advertising on Tumblr and the mobile future of eBay were getting time in the spotlight.
This story first appeared in the May 14, 2014 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
It’s been a year since David Karp, founder and chief executive officer of blogging platform Tumblr, agreed to a $1.1 billion buyout by Yahoo. While Karp noted Yahoo “got a good deal” — Facebook agreed in February to pay $19 billion in cash and stock for messaging service WhatsApp — he did not confess to any regrets, despite some gentle prodding on stage from Wired senior writer Steven Levy.
“I have my dream job,” he said.
Karp pitched Tumblr as a creative outlet for users that offers more flexibility than, say, a Facebook page and also holds plenty of potential for brands. “We found a huge, huge business in creative brand advertising on Tumblr,” he said. “We have the most creative, most expressive canvas on the Web today, including on the mobile Web, and you have the biggest brands in the world that have built those brands using creative brand advertising that frankly there just isn’t a lot of room for on the Web today.”
He pointed to Apple’s campaign on Tumblr for the iPhone 5c, which featured a series of colorful videos playing off the phone’s plastic casing. “This is going to be a big business for us,” Karp said.
R.J. Pittman, senior vice president and chief product officer of eBay Marketplaces, also focused on mobile, noting the e-commerce giant sold more than $20 billion in merchandise annually through its mobile platform. “It’s absolutely our growth engine going forward,” Pittman said. “The future of shopping is [the mobile phone]. It’s with you 24-7. It’s your alarm when you wake up in the morning. It’s with you on the train ride…home. And that’s when people have their attention units available and focused on shopping.”
The veteran of Apple and Google noted that about 60 percent of the goods at eBay are sold at a fixed price, rather than through the auction process the company was founded on.
“We are getting not only mass retailers, but big brand names as well that are very interested in stepping onto the eBay platform and bringing interesting collections of their inventory. This is a very fast-moving part of the business for us, and we are embracing it.”