Love Thy Developers

Tumblr Nixes Another Popular Independent Tumblr App, FindTumblr.com, After the Directory’s Booming Weekend

findtumblr Tumblr Nixes Another Popular Independent Tumblr App, FindTumblr.com, After the Directorys Booming Weekend

Texas-based developer Manny Mendez launched the independent Tumblr directory FindTumblr.com about a month or two ago. It had about 50 users, mainly in his town of Corpus Christi, he told Betabeat in an email. But Mr. Mendez revisited the site this weekend and made a few changes, and suddenyl the directory was slammed with about 100,000 visits. Betabeat noticed a tweet from Reuters blogger and social media powerhouse Anthony DeRosa, who had listed his Tumblr; but when we clicked through, the link spit out Tumblr’s error page. It turns out Tumblr had banned the app, which called to mind the recent dust-up over the popular “Missing e” extension, during which Tumblr threatened to pull the developer’s personal blog if he didn’t cease and desist. Considering Tumblr has been building its own directory for several months, Betabeat wondered if the startup was merely trying to quash the competition.

But after a harried day of noncommunication, Mr. Mendez says the signs look good for his directory. 

“Unfortunately this morning I awoke to an email from the Tumblr staff revoking API access for my site,” Mr. Mendez said. He was considering a pivot or expanding the directory to include blogs hosted on other services, he said. But around 7 p.m., he heard back from Tumblr: apparently the issue was just the use of the Tumblr trademark. “They will re-enable access for us after a url and name change,” Mr. Mendez said.

“I can’t say how the actual traffic started but a few prominent bloggers tweeted about the site and the traffic took off from there only slowing down once the Tumblr API was disconnected,” he said. The site’s landing page currently encourages users to send an email to invite users to FindTumblr, but originally it connected to Tumblr, grabbed a user’s blogs and connected to a page to create an account tagged with the user’s location.

Tumblr has been trying to put the kibosh on the popular third-party app “Missing e,” on the ground that it violated the startup’s terms of service and was putting an undue burden on the site’s backend and its customer service team, who received requests related to the unofficial app. Tumblr sent the app’s developer a cease and desist letter and threatened to shut down his personal blog. (The developer’s blog and Missing e are as of now still both intact.)

Tumblr did not respond to request for comment Monday regarding FindTumblr. “I would love to get the traffic flowing again once the changes to the site are made. I think the site has been a great help to peopl and I have been getting emails as far away as Tunisia thanking us for helping them discover other bloggers in their city,” Mr. Mendez said.

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