Reading List: Entering the Year of Tumblr

Each day we provide a roundup of five stories from around the Web that our editors read and found noteworthy. Follow us on Twitter for updates throughout the day @digiday.

The Year of Tumblr?: If there’s any platform that’s tough to figure out, it’s Tumblr. On the one hand, it has incredible and growing reach — 13 billion pageviews a month — but it’s not totally clear if there’s a cohesive center to Tumblr, unlike social giants like Facebook and Twitter. Some compare it to WordPress, pretty much a nice back-end publishing tool. Mike Lazerow, CEO of Buddy Media, thinks marketers and brands will soon pay attention to what’s on at Tumblr. In fact, this week he predicted 2012 will be “The Year of Tumblr.” That seems a bit much, but there’s little doubt that we’ll see more brands and publishers set up shop on Tumblr, in much the same way they did on Facebook and Twitter. It’s doubtful, however, they’ll reap the same type of rewards on Tumblr, at least as the platform is currently constructed. Business Insider – Brian Morrissey @bmorrissey

YouTube’s Part-Time Hollywood Celebs: YouTube wishes that it had put a lid on all these “Google Courts Hollywood” stories, because as it turns out, its new YouTube channel lineup isn’t as Hollywood/TV rich as originally billed. First of all, while 100 new channels are nothing to sneeze at, Steven Spielberg and George Lucas aren’t exactly ditching their latest movie projects to churn out YouTube channels. Meanwhile, Ad Age dug into some of the celebrity-driven channels that are part of the new 100-channel lineup and found that there isn’t as much there as one might have thought. Ashton Kutcher has no plans to appear on his channel. Nor does Madonna. Meanwhile, Shaq is only going to appear in about three of the planned 350 episodes on his channel — which doesn’t even go live until July. One wonders, what is Shaq doing exactly? He’s retired, and the NBA is locked out anyway. Get to work, big fella! Ad Age — Mike Shields @digitalshields

Still Losing, Just More Slowly: For the once-dominant AOL, the news was kind of not bad. Global ad revenues are up, due largely to the acquisition of the Huffington Post, and, according to CEO Tim Armstrong, the site had its “lowest rate of decline in five years.” But there are still weights around AOL’s ankles, including Patch and the unit that sells Internet service to consumers (does anyone still pay for AOL?).  NYT– Anne Sherber

Who Verifies the Verification Companies?: The IAB has realized that nobody is minding the ad minders. The group is calling for an audit of ad verification companies. Ad verification companies have in the past been accused of shoddy monitoring and even outright fraud. Now, as privacy legislation is mulled by the White House, and brands are increasingly aware that where an ad is placed is just as important as the ad itself, the group is suggesting a standardization of practices. Finally, the IAB is realizing that a badge is just a bunch of pixels. Clickz — Carla Rover @carlarover

FT Grows Subs With Mobile Web App: The Financial Times officially pulled its content from Apple’s AppStore in August, after the pair failed to come to an agreement over the processing of in-app subscription payments. Following the spat, the FT instead began driving users to its HTML5-based Web, and that move appears to be paying off. The switch has had little effect on the growth of the FT’s mobile subscriber base, suggesting native apps might not be the be-all and end-all for subscription-based content on mobile and tablet devices. PaidContent — Jack Marshall @JackMarshall