Tumblr Apologizes to Danah Boyd, Restores Her Original Username

Tumblr President and customer service special agent John Maloney. (Source: john.io)

Tumblr has restored Microsoft researcher and pundit Danah Boyd’s blog to its original location after a public spat.

Yesterday, Microsoft researcher of 43,900+ Twitter follower fame Danah Boyd discovered her Tumblr account, zephoria.tumblr.com, had been changed to zephoria1.tumblr.com to make room for Zephoria Inc., a New York-based social media marketing agency. Ms. Boyd is an infrequent Tumblr user–her last entry was in January–but she was irritated that one, Tumblr would automatically give preference to a corporation, and two, she had no idea her blog was being moved until it happened.

Ms. Boyd wrote a miffed open letter to Tumblr saying she was “shocked, outraged, and disappointed” and “pissed.” Tumblr’s CEO David Karp and President John Maloney scrambled to defuse the situation, at first via Twitter and through the company’s Richmond-based customer service office, making contradictory statements about how and when Ms. Boyd had been notified.

Mr. Maloney and Ms. Boyd spoke by phone late last night. In a conversation that Ms. Boyd described on her blog as “lovely” and that ended after 10:30 p.m., Mr. Maloney apologized for a “human error” in customer service and said Tumblr was restoring Ms. Boyd’s account to its original location. Tumblr had shifted Ms. Boyd to zephoria1.tumblr.com, keeping her followers and content, but breaking any links to her posts elsewhere on the web.

Mr. Maloney told Ms. Boyd that Tumblr has only had four issues where users were upset after being booted due to potential trademark infringement, and argued that the Gawker-publicized case of a user who was kicked off pitchfork.tumblr.com ten minutes after Pitchfork Media requested the domain was a case of squatting.

“I’m really grateful for Tumblr’s willingness to take this seriously and restore my account as well as my respect for them as a company,” Ms. Boyd wrote, but said she will blog about her full thoughts on the situation and the larger issue of corporations kicking users off their names later today.

Zephoria the company has been moved to zephoriainc.tumblr.com. Tumblr Apologizes to Danah Boyd, Restores Her Original Username