Blogging site Tumblr finds a new home (and it’s not PornHub)

A Tumblr logo is seen on a computer screen in this photo illustration in Warsaw, Poland on March 5, 2019. (Photo by Jaap Arriens/NurPhoto) Source: NurPhoto

Automattic. Inc has agreed to take the microblogging platform to keep it “fun”.

Nostalgic-blog-site-of-your-teens Tumblr has officially found a new owner, with Wordpress parent company Automattic Inc. announcing that they have bought the floundering site.

Automattic Inc. CEO Matt Mullenweg told the Wall Street Journal that the company will take on Tumblr and 200 of its employees with intentions of transforming it into a site “complementary” to fellow blogging platform, WordPress.

Current owners Verizon Media came under fire in 2018 for introducing a ‘harmful content’ ban that emptied the site of "human genitals or female-presenting nipples" among other things.

Up until then, Tumblr was seen as a safe space for LGBTIQ+ adult content makers and artists. After the ban was put in place, the website saw a 30 per cent drop in web traffic.

Community members were hopeful when, in May 2019, Pornhub Vice President Corey Price told Buzzfeed News that the company was interested in purchasing Tumblr.

"Tumblr was a safe haven for those who wanted to explore and express their sexuality, adult entertainment aficionados included," Price said. 

"We’ve long been dismayed that such measures were taken to eradicate erotic communities on the platform, leaving many individuals without an asylum through which they could comfortably peruse adult content."

The news that Automattic has secured the site has also squashed any notion that the ‘harmful content’ ban would be rolled back, with Mullenweg confirming that it will stay in place.

“It’s just fun,” he told US media. “We’re not going to change any of that.”

While Mullenweg did not specify how much the company paid for Tumblr, many reports put the sale price at under US$10 million with some reporting it to be as low as $3 million.

It’s a massive drop in value for the site. 

Yahoo paid $1.1 billion for Tumblr back in 2013 before it came into Verizon’s hands in a 2017 acquisition. 

Shortly after the Verizon handover, Tumblr founder David Karp left the company for reasons he did not disclose. 

“I beg you to understand that my decision comes after months of reflection on my personal ambitions,” Karp said at the time.

“...And at no cost to my hopefulness for Tumblr’s future or the impact I know it can have.”

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