Tumblr, the five-year-old blogging platform, will introduce ads to its site as soon as May 2. David Karp, CEO and founder of the popular blogging service, announced the plan for ads on Tumblr at Ad Age’s Digital Conference on Wednesday. Karp has made statements in the past in opposition of ads on the site, saying that it was a last resort to generating revenue. But rather than running traditional display ads, Tumblr will allow advertisers to purchase spots for branded posts on the site’s Radar feature, a move that will serve to keep the site’s clean aesthetic intact.

tumblr“This is about making Tumblr much more accessible to brands,” said Karp.

Radar is a feature on the Tumblr dashboard that highlights popular and editorially selected posts. Currently, about fifteen posts are featured every day on Radar, which, according to Karp, gets 120 million impressions a day from Tumblr’s 50 million users. Now advertisers can take advantage of those numbers by placing their branded posts there.

Tumblr Spokesperson Katharine Barna explained that the sort of ad space being offered to advertisers would be less like an ad unit and more like a “package of native promotion for the Tumblr post — the most essential and versatile piece of our network.”

Karp noted that the Radar posts won’t feature big blocks of ad copy, keeping the look and feel of Radar essentially the same. To better integrate with Tumblr’s feel and format, advertisers should be encouraged to be creative with these featured posts. While the cost of the ads is currently unknown, featured posts need to be interesting and engaging, much like the kinds of posts that rise to the top of Tumblr organically.

Tumblr wants to take on advertising in a way that maintains the integrity of the site, and we’re looking forward to seeing how it plays out. Readers, what do you think about Tumblr’s approach to introducing advertising? Let us know in the comments section below!

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