Once a place for posting erotic black and white images (or as some would call it, “hipster porn”), Tumblr will soon find itself a haven for multinational corporations looking to find new ways of marketing their goods. Tumblr recently inked a deal with Ditto, a company who specializes in the scanning of photos for brand images — everything from the Nike “swoosh,” to the logos like Coca-Cola, and more — selling that information back to those corporations. The deal will give Ditto “wholesale access” to Tumblr’s vast repository of user generated content (read: photos). All those images of girls sharing their Starbucks drinks? Ditto certainly has plenty to work with.
In a statement to Motherboard, Ditto CEO David Rose said:
“Twitter and Instagram have been suppliers of data to us for over a year and we’re able to look on behalf of brands at what the conversation about them looks like through photos. What’s different about Tumblr is that they’re supplying us with the entire firehose of all photos that we’re then able to interpret.”
Ditto’s unique image identifying algorithm doesn’t just identify brands, but even the expression of faces in photos to indicate the general feelings towards a specific brand. And although Ditto says they don’t identify individual people, they can pinpoint top “influencers” on any given social network, handing off this information to corporations looking to team up with these influencers for promotional campaigns (see the spammy sh*t show Vine has turned into in recent months).
While Ditto and Tumblr’s new agreement isn’t likely to raise any privacy concerns, if the Instagram fiasco of 2013 has taught us anything, it’s that the internet has some major trust issues. Tumblr and Ditto wouldn’t comment on if this was a money-changing-hands kinda deal, or if users would be notified of how Tumblr is planning on using these photos. User data is a lucrative business. We’ve all seen what Google and Facebook has done with it. Now it seems Tumblr — and parent company Yahoo — are looking to cash in on photos and the unspoken data therein.