Tumblr finally has a home that suits it.
The social ‘blogging, kinda’ platform sold to Yahoo for $1.1bn back in 2013, before being swallowed by Verizon when Yahoo was acquired. Tumblr was neglected under Yahoo and actively harmed under Verizon. The banning of adult content went way too far and helped drive a wave of negative sentiment to the point that Verizon had struggled to sell this once great platform.
And now along comes Automattic, which paid peanuts for Tumblr — perhaps lower than $3m, according to Axios’ Dan Primack
. The WordPress owner will take on 200 staff with the acquisition.
I’m super excited to have the Tumblr team and product join the Automattic family. We’ve been evolving Automattic to be more of a Berkshire Hathaway-inspired model and businesses with a lot of autonomy, and this continues that trend.
I was very impressed with the engagement and activity Tumblr has continued to have, and I hope that with this new ownership and investment the product will blossom.
This is what should have happened originally. Yahoo never felt like the right destination. But it may be too late. Is there room for Tumblr to grow? The next generation are far more into the likes of Instagram and TikTok to bother with old-fashioned Tumblr.
The staff there could still turn it around, but it will be a tough ship to steer. Still, even if it is in decline, an enthusiastic Automattic is a better steward for Tumblr than a corporation that didn’t care.