2012 / 12 October

Thinking of Making a Site with Tumblr? Think Again!


9 times out of 10, when people are looking to put out a blog, they decide to go with WordPress. However over the past year or so, I have seen a number of sites who have chosen to make their blogs using Tumblr.

Tumblr, a micro-blogging site, has an option that allows you to assign a CNAME to your Tumblr account, so that you can have it live on your own domain as your entire site or as a sub-domain.

I even played around with using a CNAME to create a site for the domain, which I bought a long time back. I, like many others, did not sign up to have a Tumblr profile specifically, but rather to use Tumblr as a blog platform for my domain.

After running fine for about 2 years, my account started getting suspended for some reason a couple months ago. I would email them about it and why it was suspended, and I would get the same response each time:

We’ve restored your content.

Thank you for bringing this problem to our attention. We’re sorry that it occurred, and we’ll do our best to make sure that it doesn’t happen again.

After probably 5 times having the account suspended, I asked them if they could let me know what was causing the account to be suspended in the first place, since I would prefer to stop doing whatever they did not like, rather than getting my account fixed every other week.

Finally today I got a response saying that the issue ‘stems from having a blog that resembles spam. Because all of your posts are of the same media type…’

Now I do have some auto-updated content on the page from a number of my sites, as they all relate to what the blog is about and it was definitely not spam.

So I decided I would go ahead and stop the auto-updating content I had and just focus on only the manual updates for the page, but when I went to the page, it was still suspended… again…

This time I got a completely different response to my inquiry about why it was suspended again so quickly.

We’ve terminated your Tumblr account at As per the policies you agreed to when creating a Tumblr account, we do not allow affiliate marketing on Tumblr.

Now for starters, I am not an affiliate marketer, so it is not like I am publishing a bunch of affiliate links or similar content, but I had been updating products I thought were cool from the site, which has affiliate tags in their updates, as that is how they make money on the site. (Phenominal site by the way)

So apparently if you have a Tumblr driven site, on your own domain, and functioning as your own site or blog, you are not allowed to update that blog with any content that might contain an affiliate link at all. 

Don’t get me wrong, Tumblr is a free service and they have every right to enforce whatever silly rules they want to, just as you have a choice in whether to use them to run your site or not.

I just wanted to shed light on this for others who might be considering running a site using a Tumblr account.

In short, don’t!

  • Hey Brent, thanks a lot for warning us on the drawbacks of running a site by using a Tumblr account. You have now reminded me of using other free services such as where we always have to be aware of their silly rules as you say in order to prevent from having our account suspended. By the way, I am definitely going to play around with Tumblr when building my personal brand but am not going to run my site using Tumblr as you advise.
    Thank you.

  • Camp America / April 3, 2013 AT 10:30 PM

    I love the way you have described all this. I have been searching for this information and now I found it. Thanks and keep posting new things.

  • I have just been searching for this type of information for a while and finally found here so far. Thanks !

  • OtakuApologist / February 18, 2015 AT 9:20 AM

    After using Tumblr for 4 months without problems, I decided it's time to "go legit" and ask clarifications for some of their terms of service. I found many of their rules ambiguous. However, it doesn't actually matter if you play by the rules, as their TOS clearly states they retain rights to do anything they want for "any reason, or no reason at all" (read the TOS, they state this).

    My followerbase was growing and everything was set up to start doing some serious brand building. I was enlisted into two affiliate marketing programs. I sent a message to Tumblr help desk, to provide me clearer instructions about which type of content is and isn't appropriate. I wanted to play by all the rules, straighten up my act so no problems would arise on a later date.

    A day after sending out my question, my account was terminated. I pleaded the decision, no answer.

    I can't see myself blogging on Tumblr again. Problem is, every blog site has ambiguous rules that you must follow perfectly – oh, and pretty much every blogger breaks copyright rules, which are only selectively enforced, giving you false ideas of what's tolerated. I've read nasty stories of people losing years of their work due to sudden copyright enforcement, with no chance for the blogger to rectify their mistake.

    My advise is this: Keep a backup on everything you post and don't rely on a single platform. Scatter your presence on many sites, so your online existence can never be completely wiped out. This is tons of work, but I can't see another way way to build brand in an unstable environment like this.

  • Hi there,
    I've had a blog with tumblr over the last three years or so and suddenly it has been stopped with no warning or explanation. I had thousands of pictures in it. There was a copyright infringement a few months ago so I deleted the pictures. No problem. Then suddenly this. Multiple emails have got me nowhere. All I get is automated replies, not one single human has replied yet. I don't know if it has anything to do with Tumblr now being part of Yahoo or not and I don't care. As OtakuApologist says above, I don't see myself blogging on Tumblr again and I will certainly discourage anyone within my circles from joining.