Bohemea is a popular blogger on Tumblr. Wait, let me rephrase that. Bohemea was a popular blogger on Tumblr. Bohemea no longer has any blogs or followers because Tumblr took them all away from her.
Bohemea ran two separate blogs on Tumblr, posting photos about fashion, art, and photography. Over the course of five years, she amassed over 150,000 followers while creating over 100,000 posts. Bohemea didn’t do this for money; her blogging was something she did for fun.
Bohemea’s Tumblr adventure came to an abrupt end last month when Tumblr shut down her account and informed her that if she were to start another Tumblr blog, it too would be shut down.
You’re probably wondering why Tumblr would target such a popular user of their service with the death penalty. The problem was this: Bohemea had received 5 complaints over the past two years from other people claiming that she had used their photographs without permission.
Bohemea says that she always tried to cite the source of any photographs she used so the photographer could receive credit. But that’s not enough in the copyright world. Citing the source doesn’t always give you the rights and permissions to use someone else’s work. And after receiving a few complaints from copyright holders, Tumblr opted to shut down an entire blog instead of just removing the offending content.
There are lessons to be learned from all of this, but the point I would like to make is that the loss of Bohemea’s blog never would have happened if she would have owned her site instead of “rented” it. When you choose to run your blog on platforms such as Tumblr, you ultimately give control of your site to them.
If a service provider such as Tumblr (or any other website provider for that matter) doesn’t like what you’re doing, you could lose everything you’ve worked for without any recourse.
That’s why hosting and owning your website is so important. Had Bohemea hosted her own blog (“owning”) instead of using Tumblr (“renting”), she could have kept her popular blog instead of losing it. The most likely scenario for Bohemea, had she owned her site, is that she would have had to remove a photograph from her blog and move on.
I have been a huge proponent for years on owning your website instead of renting it, and situations like the above just strengthen my resolve. This is one of the reasons why I started my popular service of migrating websites to WordPress (self-hosted, of course), so people can have complete ownership of their websites.
If you currently are blogging on platforms such as Tumblr, Blogger, or Weebly, I ask that you consider what you would do if your site were to suddenly disappear because you didn’t have control of it.