Popular on Tumblr? Here's a Brand for You to Pair With

Yahoo Chief Executive Marissa Mayer speaks at a news conference in New York May 20, 2013. REUTERS/Adrees Latif. Adrees Latif/Reuters

Do you command a large following on Tumblr? Have hundreds of thousands of those followers been reblogging your GIFs of dogs dressed as Lord of the Rings characters? Management would like to have a word with you.

The eight-year-old microblogging platform, which has long eschewed conventional web ads in favor of "sponsor products," has unveiled a program to pair its most popular and "creative" bloggers with interested advertisers. Dubbed Creatrs by Tumblr, the program, first disclosed Thursday, aims to benefit both marketers, who can tap into Tumblr's network of heavily followed users, and artists, who will be paid directly by the website.

Making Tumblr a more advertiser-friendly space could ruffle feathers on the site, just as its $1.1 billion acquisition by Yahoo unnerved large swaths of Tumblr's user base in 2013. But David Hayes, head of creative strategy at the company, said the initiative is consistent with Tumblr's longtime mission.

"At the end of the day, if our mission statement is to empower the world's creators, then there's nothing more powerful than giving them an opportunity to do what they love all day long and make a career out of it," Hayes told Newsweek.

Hayes explained that there are two separate initiatives involved: Creatrs and Creatr Network. The former is an "art-meets-content collective" in which Tumblr itself will partner with the platform's most prolific artists and designers to help execute campaigns "that are dear to our hearts as a company."

Creatr Network is a larger group of about 300 artists who will be partnered with brands and advertisers. The move reflects a larger industry trend in which social networking and content sites work with advertisers to create ads uniquely geared toward their platform. BuzzFeed, for instance, routinely works with brands on sponsored or branded listicles.

"We have not had a single incident where an artist has been uncomfortable," Hayes said, adding that artists "routinely trip over themselves" to partner with Tumblr's own marketing initiatives. "Because they know that we're all about creators," he added. "That's probably the second most important word in our canon, after Tumblr."