Tumblr should stop making users watch horror movie ads against their will

Wednesday, September 30th, 2015



I mostly didn’t mind when Tumblr started running “Sponsored Posts” in my dashboard. Tumblr has to make money. Most of the ads were boring, a few were interesting, but they weren’t a big deal.

Then the horror movie ads started.

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This is an older post, but this is exactly the problem I’m coming across now. I use tumblr as an escape and most of what I follow is silly, happy, or pretty content. I can’t do horror. Horror should not be placed on our dashboards with no easy way to hide it on mobile. The fact that this has been a problem for over two years is ridiculous!

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For the record, the draculauntold (I guess for the movie of the same name?) sponsored post that just…

Wednesday, October 1st, 2014

For the record, the draculauntold (I guess for the movie of the same name?) sponsored post that just ran in my dash did not creep me out as much as some of the previous horror movie sponsored posts Tumblr has made me look at. Thanks, staff!

I guess a closeup of a vampire face with pointy teeth is not as fear-inducing for me as, say, the feet of a swaying corpse, or a woman with a creepy mask and blood-spattered nightgown skipping toward me with a sword. I think that’s because vampires seem vaguely silly to me, while the suicide victims and violent sword-wielders of previous sponsored posts seemed disturbingly real.

On the minus side, this ad was not tagged #horror, as some previous horror movie ads have been. So people trying to blacklist on that term are out of luck.

Tumblr: One set of community guidelines for ordinary users. A different, more-permissive set for horror movie advertisers, who get to post disturbing images intended to be shocking, glorifying gore, violence, and self-harm with no way for sensitive users to opt out.

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looking to ask tumblr staff a question Please help!

Thursday, August 14th, 2014


how convenient they don’t have an ask feature on the staff page

i know certain things can be sponsored posts on my dashboard regardless of whether i follow the blog or not 

today i came across a sponsored post from the movie “As Above so Below”. The post contained gifs of horrifying zombies and general movie gore/scary things.

i do not normally have this stuff on my dash because i generally tend to follow blogs about broadway musicals and stuff. I feel that other users might be frightened and uncomfortable as the gifs are made to stun or shock and, in my opinion, sort of like silent “screamers”.

I looked at the post and BECAUSE it was sponsored there was not a way to dimiss it or block it on my dash. I went to the original poster and the tumblr staff page, neither of which have ask boxes so here i am making this post.

I am not looking to censor tumblr in any way I am just looking for a way that posts I do not follow nor want to see on my dash can be dismissed regardless of sponsorship.

I am all for tumblr making money through whatever but I wish they screened the sponsored posts more or made it easier to dismiss. I am asking tumblr staff to at least address this problem. I know I don’t have too terribly many followers but if you could reblog this and help me to bring this to their attention it would be great. Thank you so much for your time reading this 


If you are using a desktop computer, rather than a smartphone or tablet, the XKit browser extension and the Tumblr Savior extension may be helpful. I’ve used, and currently use, XKit; Tumblr Savior I haven’t used in a while. Both offer features to help you avoid seeing posts that contain specific content or have specific tags.

When horror movie sponsored posts first appeared they did not include tags. These days they appear to be tagged with #horror, at least some of the time. It’s possible Tumblr is requiring that, or at least requesting that, of advertisers.

Something I’ve asked Tumblr support about in the past (without getting a specific reply) is the fact that sponsored posts depicting gore, mutilation, and corpses appear to violate Tumblr’s own Community Guidelines, which say, in part:

Don’t post gore just to be shocking. Don’t showcase the mutilation or torture of human beings, animals, or their remains. Dick.

Cute, huh? They feel righteous enough to call a gore-posting user “dick”, while doing the same thing themselves.

Actually, what staff (who I assume is david, Tumblr CEO David Karp, for the purposes of this discussion) is doing is arguably worse. If a regular user were posting gore in my dash, I could just unfollow and/or block him. When david posts gore in my dash, there’s nothing I can do about it. I’m required to look at it as a condition of using the service.


I’ve written about this in these older posts:

Good luck!

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God fucking dammit, Tumblr

Saturday, July 20th, 2013




1. There is a way to block all sponsored posts by blocking the $ symbol on them. But I don’t remember how to do that and it certainly won’t work forever.

Using Tumblr Savior, I think you can blacklist sponsored_badge_icon ?

2. I don’t understand their algorithm for handing out these ads. I’ve had neither of the horror movies (so far…) but I did have vh1’s Lets-Objectify-Women ad.

My best guess is, there is no algorithm at all. They just have a few ads and they show up at random, with no relation at all to what is on your blog or dash.

3. Mostly I’m frustrated because tumblr could have come up with really cool ways to do advertising* but instead they chose the absolute most boring and, incidentally, the one that is the least consumer friendly.


4. I understand if you choose to leave but I will miss you.

That was addressed to lies, and I want to echo the sentiment.

*For instance:

 – have us choose one “ad-blog” to follow per 100 regular blogs. (this would be a pretty great way to do it i think.)

 – have us select a classification rating (eg G, PG, M) and/or the ability to block certain topics (like tags!) like: suicide, nudity… etc??

 – have us select, from a list, several topics of ads.

I like these ideas for other ways they could handle advertising that would be more friendly. So, signal boosting.

Thank all of you who’ve been willing to think and post about possible solutions for this.

Just to clarify, I think I’ve almost always seen the horror movie sponsored posts on the Tumblr iPad app, rather than when browsing Tumblr on my computer. I believe sponsored posts were introduced first on the app, before they ever appeared on the website, and it appears that sponsored posts are still more intrusively implemented (with more ads/worse ads) on the app. I think that was true even before I started using Tumblr Savior in an effort to block the sponsored posts when viewing the website (which I’ve now done).

I don’t know if the ads being worse on the app is intentional, or if it’s just a side-effect of the development pipeline for the app working differently than the one for the website. Having worked on development teams that were delivering both app-based and web-based interfaces, it wouldn’t surprise me if updating the app takes substantially longer than updating the website, which could mean that even if Tumblr chose to respond to the complaints there might be delays before any changes filtered down to the app (or they might choose to just leave the app with the old behavior, even if they backed off from running the horror movie sponsored posts on the website).

Besides technical issues, there could be business issues involved as well. For example, it might be that Tumblr entered into a sales agreement that commits them to running a certain amount of horror movie advertising. Even if a negative response from their users made them decide that they didn’t want to continue running the ads, there might be a big difference for them between letting the current agreement expire without renewing it, versus canceling it in mid-stream. I could see that being a factor in the noncommittal responses they’ve been making to the complaints.

Reposted from http://lies.tumblr.com/post/56031013920.