A micro-blogging platform, a great way to save cost for start up businesses

What does Lightweight Models & Cost-Effective Scalability means in Web2.0?

In the web 1.0 era, online start-up businesses do not know about scalability in business models or technology which helps to deliver products to the market faster and cheaper without sacrificing future growth. All these can be depicted by the use of web 2.0 which qualifies in a strategic move that can be done for a fraction of the initial price. With the olden web 1.0, traditional cost and risk are relatively high. A huge amount of initial capital is required which leads to a longer reach to foresee a good return on investments.

Developpement durable

“Most widely deployed web service is because of its simplicity, while the complex corporate web services stacks have yet to achieve wide deployment’ –Tim O’Reilly 

In relation to the above quotation, any start-up business model should be as simple as possible to attain a high possible success rate. It is recommended to utilise a scalable business model that allows one to start small with a small budget but gradually increase costs as revenue is increased. An online business without a big budget will certainly be a cost-effective approach. If the business fails, there is no large amount of capital that is being lost. Another reason to start an online business is one would recognise a quicker return on investments as the capital is low and after the business products has been marketed and revenue has been generated.


Tumblr is a micro-blogging platform that receives over 15billion page views/month thanks to David Karp, the founder for Tumblr.  Tumblr is a young company that has a lot of opportunity growth. Recently, the platform has been ramping up its content curation efforts, building out its fashion community and expressing plans to build out communities in other entertainment sectors as well. As Tumblr continues to facilitate content curation and help its users discover more of what it has to offer, we can see it becoming a ripe playing field for business of all stripes.

tumblr pic1

Tumblr is a great platform to enhance ones business brand’s presence and drawing more customers into the fold. It visually presents an image of what the company is and who is ‘behind the scene’, as well as what products to offer.

Compare to WordPress, Tumblr is super simple. It is easy to set up and customise and within minutes, posting is easily reachable. Tumblr is one of the most visually appealing and user-friendly platforms. It is an effective way to build community or small business online. With a little modification of HTML wizadry, one can alter Tumblr themes by adding widgets and sidebars, etc.

How does Tumblr contributes to the pattern: ‘Lightweight Models & Cost-Effective Scalability’?

Tumblr followed some best practices that help to minimise start-up costs. It uses available tools such as API. Tumblr uses LAMP (a combination of free, open source software, such as Linux, Apache HTTP Server, MySQL and PHP/Perl/Python, to build a viable general purpose web server).

Tumblr did not manage their own servers and are not responsible for backups. Instead, they acquire a cost-effective solution of outsourcing their storage for their media to Amazon S3 service while tumblr themselves did the development for their platform. Tumblr’s decision to reach out to Amazon S3 is that they have the intention of creating a large user-base that requires the building of platform with scalability in mind. The growth in user-base in Tumblr over the years had made Amazon the need to enlarge the storage space.

Tumblr has self-service accounts which increases scalability where users are able to manage their accounts freely. This means that Tumblr are able to work on the main platform only rather than managing individual user accounts. Hence, saving cost (small expertise needed to maintain platform only).

In regards to Tumblr’s scalability in its revenue model, it generates most of its revenue through organisation and individuals who participated alongside with the Union Square Ventures (in an 85 million dollar investment round in 2011).

The downsides of Tumblr

Compare to WordPress, Tumblr has lesser control over formatting which might be a hassle for some who alters a lot. Tumblr doesn’t allow self hosting where when one host your own site and in which Tumblr has issues where the site is required to be shut down momentarily, your site will go down with it.

Other Links:

Tim O’Reilly’s web2.0 report 

Amazon web services (Amazon S3)

Best practices for maximising scalability and cost effectiveness of queue-based messaging solutions on windows azure


45 Responses to A micro-blogging platform, a great way to save cost for start up businesses

  1. atang says:

    Hey Jerfen,

    Totally agree that “An online business without a big budget will certainly be a cost-effective approach” by using tumblr business will no doubt have a cost-effective approach. It costs virtually nothing (tumblr is free i assume? i never used it before) and it is easy, simple to set up and use.

    Do you think that for brand new online businesses they would rather go with tumblr than wordpress because of the simpler interface and less coding? Or would they use wordpress which is generally a much more popular blogging/micro-blogging tool.


    • ngjerfen says:

      Hi Andy,

      That depends on what kind of flexibility that particular start-up business wants to do. If it’s purely for branding, it doesn’t harm using Tumblr for its easy to use interface. WordPress has a wider range of customisation if one’s start-up business has to deals with selling of products on a micro-blog. In Singapore, there are multiple small start-up businesses such as blogshops which sells fashionable clothes. There mainly uses micro-blogs that allows them to customise their webpage. Tumblr might not be a good start for people who requires lots of customisation. I hope this answers your question! Cheers!

  2. Wilson says:

    Hi Jerfen,

    Nice comparison you have there between wordpress and Tumblr. This is definitely an interesting and insightful read. I never knew that Amazon has such outsourcing capability of managing internal servers for other social media platforms like Tumblr. I definitely agree with you that start-up businesses can save costs through micro-blog, and that Web2.0 is a transformational game-changer for many businesses right now in the present online communities!

    Looking at the capabilities and characteristics of both wordpress and Tumblr, which of these platforms would you then recommend for start-up businesses?

    Best wishes,

    • ngjerfen says:

      Hi Wilson,

      Just a thought, the Amazon S3 i was referring to in my blogpost is a web service provider, not the retailer platform (Amazon). As i mentioned to the earlier comments above, that depends on what kind of flexibility that particular start-up business wants to do. If it’s purely for branding, it doesn’t harm using Tumblr for its easy to use interface. WordPress has a wider range of customisation if one’s start-up business has to deals with selling of products on a micro-blog. In Singapore, there are multiple small start-up businesses such as blogshops which sells fashionable clothes. There mainly uses micro-blogs that allows them to customise their webpage. Tumblr might not be a good start for people who requires lots of customisation. I hope this answers your question! Cheers!

  3. smitty260 says:

    Great post on Tumblr. I did Tumblr on my post for this week too. You have some information that I couldn’t find such as that they outsource to Amazon S3 and they use a LAMP setup. I couldn’t find anything like that. Oh well. I like your post and think that Tumblr is a lightweight model and definitely has cost-effective scalability in the company.
    Does Tumblr implement any other features to generate revenue such as advertising at all?

  4. sukhshans says:

    Hi Jerfen,

    The explanation of how Tumblr uses multiple technologies and scalable resources is very well explained and really points out how important and effective a website can become cost-efficient. Many websites like Facebook and DeviantArt using LAMP to power the site which in my opinion is a well good option to go with as it is both scalable and easy to deploy. While Tumblr is still a new and growing community, it has been facing a lot of competitions. Do you think that I will be harder for new start ups to be introduced into the market in the future because of the current options and low cast development?


    • ngjerfen says:

      Hi Sukshan,

      As you say Tumblr is a new and growing community, One day it will have a huge number of increase in the traffic flow of users. This poses a great way to sell one’s brand for free. But for highlighted post to encourage users to spot the brand is for a dollar for each post that will be advertised through tumblr. It is relatively cheap for an advertisement. As I mentioned, tumblr is only good at advertising the brand of ones small start up business. Not necessary to input the sell-able products online in tumblr.

  5. PrapatW says:

    Hi Jerfen

    I think Tumblr follow closely to this pattern. Since they are using lots of services from others such as media storage from Amazon S3 and also LAMP stack which reduce their development cost and ongoing cost greatly. Also as you said that Tumblr give a lot less flexible when blogging which sometimes cause a problem. I have visited one blog from Tumblr which you can’t comments on it and it a blog from Enterprise 2.0 class from last semester which is definitely not the way the owner of the blog want. He said that he has to fix it by select options. I don’t know whether this is by default or not but I can see that sometimes people just don’t want comments and only want to post for their readers to read.

    Prapat W.

    • ngjerfen says:

      Hi Prapat,

      Yes prapat, you do have to customise when you wish for people to comment on your blog post. Tumblr is more like “word of mouths” where people just come and read the post and off they go. I myself have a tumblr account and a blog to it. I share pictures. Especially pictures that are taken from elsewhere. It also credits the original person who took the pictures of wrote the particular post. Tumblr still can allow some easy customisation to suit the needs of any individual. cheer!.

  6. Hey Jerfen 🙂

    Great post! I do prefer Tumblr over WordPress, I think Tumblr is just easier to use because the layout is so simple. WordPress has a lot of functions and links that it’s hard to see where each link will take you. Its very easy for you to just reblog and share pictures on Tumblr because you just have to click one button or so.

    I find that a majority of Tumblr users are teenagers to young adults. For businesses targeting the younger demographic they should try advertising there since it would be a great opportunity to advertise to their chosen target customer base directly.

    Great post Jerfen! Kind regards, Laura 🙂

    • ngjerfen says:

      Hi Laura,

      Base on the tumblr pictures that are floating around in my account because i follow them. They are mainly all young people’s pictures or food 😛 Great to know that you like Tumblr! Well, it’s all about sight and after it is “words of mouth” when advertising ones brand. Cheers!

  7. Marayka says:

    Hi Jerfen,
    Great post about Tumblr, I think it is great for businesses creating an online identity. What is so great about Tumblr is that it is not necessary to have any programming knowledge, proving to be a great tool for anyone to use. For those with programming knowledge, Tumblr allows users to edit the HTML code to their preferences which is great flexibility. Because WordPress and Tumblr are competitors, do you think Tumblr will new features to compete with WordPress??


    • ngjerfen says:

      Hi Marayka,

      That depends on the Tumblr team whether they are in the midst of integrating some newer features. There are other platforms such as Blogspot.com, livejournals.com or xanga.com as well. Tumblr has its own uniqueness that attracts a certain group of people! Cheers!

  8. azizalkaldi says:

    Hi Jerfen!

    Thanks for the informative post. I didn’t know that tumblr did not allow self hosting on a different web server. 🙂

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