31 votes

Verizon to sell Tumblr to WordPress owner Automattic

17 comments

  1. [5]
    Deimos (edited ) Link
    According to Axios, the price was "well below" $20 million. Yahoo paid $1.1 billion for it in May 2013. Edit: Dan Primack (Axios' business editor) now says it was less than $3 million.

    According to Axios, the price was "well below" $20 million. Yahoo paid $1.1 billion for it in May 2013.

    Edit: Dan Primack (Axios' business editor) now says it was less than $3 million.

    18 votes
    1. [4]
      JakeTheDog Link Parent
      LMAO! Presumably Pornmaggedon had something to do with it? Or was it already going downhill?

      LMAO! Presumably Pornmaggedon had something to do with it? Or was it already going downhill?

      9 votes
      1. [2]
        Emerald_Knight Link Parent
        Honestly, I wouldn't be surprised if it was a combination. It was probably already lacking profitability and "Pornmaggedon" could've exacerbated the problem by removing a substantial part of their...

        Honestly, I wouldn't be surprised if it was a combination. It was probably already lacking profitability and "Pornmaggedon" could've exacerbated the problem by removing a substantial part of their user base. They probably tried to make the platform more appealing to advertisers, but ended up having their strategy backfire spectacularly. I've only done a cursory look into the subject, but it seems like a likely enough explanation.

        12 votes
        1. NaraVara Link Parent
          Even worse, it made the interface kind of a chore. Any NSFW blog would give you a giant "REGISTER BEFORE SEEING THIS" banner if you got linked to it. Any shot bloggers had of being seen by the...

          It was probably already lacking profitability and "Pornmaggedon" could've exacerbated the problem by removing a substantial part of their user base.

          Even worse, it made the interface kind of a chore. Any NSFW blog would give you a giant "REGISTER BEFORE SEEING THIS" banner if you got linked to it. Any shot bloggers had of being seen by the internet at large disappeared if they had any amount of NSFW content on there.

          I can understand the frustration of not wanting your blogging platform to be known, primarily, as a smut-shop. But they went about it in such a clumsy and hamfisted away.

          9 votes
      2. bbvnvlt Link Parent
        As I understand it, the general interpretation of the porn ban is actually that it was as a move to make Tumblr more saleable.

        As I understand it, the general interpretation of the porn ban is actually that it was as a move to make Tumblr more saleable.

        3 votes
  2. [4]
    Deimos Link
    Here's another article that seems to have a fair amount more info, including chatting directly with the CEO and collecting some stuff floating around on Twitter and other places:...

    Here's another article that seems to have a fair amount more info, including chatting directly with the CEO and collecting some stuff floating around on Twitter and other places: https://poststatus.com/automattic-has-purchased-tumblr/

    The "initial goals for Tumblr" are very interesting:

    1. Move infrastructure off Verizon.
    2. Support same APIs on both WP.com and Tumblr.
    3. Switch backend to be WP.
    4. Open source Tumblr.com client similar to Calypso.

    So it sounds like they're intending to basically convert all of the Tumblr blogs into WordPress ones.

    15 votes
    1. [2]
      JakeTheDog Link Parent
      Why would they do this? Isn't the Tumblr style the whole appeal in the first place? This just seems like archiving old content. How much of that content is even valued anymore? (porn lasts longer...

      Why would they do this? Isn't the Tumblr style the whole appeal in the first place? This just seems like archiving old content. How much of that content is even valued anymore? (porn lasts longer than memes and fashion anyways...)

      8 votes
      1. moocow1452 Link Parent
        I was thinking the exact same thing, and the best I can come up with is they're linking up the userbases and making Tumblr into a "federated" social solution, similar to how WordPress hosts it's...

        I was thinking the exact same thing, and the best I can come up with is they're linking up the userbases and making Tumblr into a "federated" social solution, similar to how WordPress hosts it's own blogs for a premium, but anyone can host a WordPress. Kind of an odd way to go around it, but I guess it was $3 mil and that's pretty cheap as far as services go.

        6 votes
    2. bbvnvlt Link Parent
      I wonder what this will do to the feature that made/makes Tumblr unique: the fact that all answers, responses and reblogs show up on their author's own page. I've always found the theory...

      I wonder what this will do to the feature that made/makes Tumblr unique: the fact that all answers, responses and reblogs show up on their author's own page. I've always found the theory compelling that it is this that made Tumblr suitable for the kind of communities it hosts. No hate-bombing others' blogs without your comments filling the page under your own name.

      5 votes
  3. JXM Link
    According to the CEO of Automattic, they aren't going to be reversing the ban on adult content. So I guess they're just buying the user base?

    According to the CEO of Automattic, they aren't going to be reversing the ban on adult content. So I guess they're just buying the user base?

    10 votes
  4. [6]
    Bullmaestro (edited ) Link
    For those not in the loop, Tumblr was briefly pulled from the iOS App Store over concerns of child abuse images being shared on the site. On investigating, removing offending content and getting...

    For those not in the loop, Tumblr was briefly pulled from the iOS App Store over concerns of child abuse images being shared on the site. On investigating, removing offending content and getting the app reinstated, Tumblr's executives decided that rather than investing in more human moderation or better algorithms to remove illegal content, they should ban all adult content from the site instead. This infuriated the community and led to a huge exodus towards other sites like Reddit, Twitter, Newgrounds, Pillowfort, BDSMLR, etc.

    Tumblr lost roughly 20% of its traffic overnight when the porn ban hit, and their traffic is falling even further.

    Other than porn, Tumblr was only well known for SJWs and various fandoms. The only thing I really used the site for was porn. There were some pretty good NSFW blogs on the site. Now that adult content is banned, there isn't really an alternative that can pick up Tumblr's slack. It sucks that Automatic aren't reversing the ban either, because snapping up Tumblr for a bargain bin price then undoing the one change that killed the platform would be an incredibly smart business move.

    I also don't understand why they sold Tumblr to Automatic for 0.28% of the original price they purchased the blogging platform for either. Mindgeek (owners of Pornhub) were apparently willing to pay ten times the price of their paltry $3,000,000. The acquisition would have made the NSFW blog fans happy, would have allowed Verizon to wipe their hands clean of this mess, and they would have made a far better return on investment, if you could call a 2.8% sale that.

    I'm sad that Tumblr isn't being restored to its former glory. I mean I wouldn't consider Pillowfort or BDSMLR alternatives either. Any website that makes you register to browse is a no in my book, especially one like Pillowfort which makes you pay a registration fee.

    5 votes
    1. [4]
      Deimos (edited ) Link Parent
      I think the mistake almost everyone makes is thinking there's a simple relationship of: porn brings traffic, which brings money. That's not really how it works. Yes, porn attracts a ton of...

      I think the mistake almost everyone makes is thinking there's a simple relationship of: porn brings traffic, which brings money. That's not really how it works. Yes, porn attracts a ton of traffic, but traffic on its own is a cost, not a benefit. You have to monetize that traffic somehow, and porn doesn't monetize well at all. Almost no respectable advertisers want to advertise anywhere near porn, and it also comes with a lot of difficult legal and moderation issues that cost you money to deal with (and employees usually hate working on). If the site actually hosts the content (which I believe Tumblr does), it also represents huge costs in storage/bandwidth, and even more legal liability.

      Reddit (which still does have a lot of porn) recognizes this, which is why you can't advertise on NSFW subreddits at all, why those subreddits can't use reddit's image or video hosting, and various other restrictions. They're not even trying to monetize it, and actively trying to minimize the costs by not letting them host content on reddit. They've even been specifically excluding NSFW subreddits from most new features, because they probably just don't want to deal with all the potential issues that might come with it, and aren't interested in becoming a better porn site than they already are. For example, they recently added Gallery Collections which would obviously work great for porn, but all NSFW subreddits are blocked from using it.

      Porn is excellent for boosting your traffic numbers, which is great if all you're trying to do is show some massive growth and sell to Yahoo or something, but it's almost certainly a net negative when you want to actually make some money.

      14 votes
      1. [2]
        Diff Link Parent
        They haven't really solved that though. There's still porn on there, all over the place, it's just not "allowed" anymore. And if you have direct permalinks to NSFW files whose posts got nuked, you...

        it also comes with a lot of difficult legal and moderation issues that cost you money to deal with (and employees usually hate working on). If the site actually hosts the content (which I believe Tumblr does), it also represents huge costs in storage/bandwidth, and even more legal liability.

        They haven't really solved that though. There's still porn on there, all over the place, it's just not "allowed" anymore. And if you have direct permalinks to NSFW files whose posts got nuked, you can see that those files still exist, are still being hosted, and are still accessible to anyone with that link. You can't take a formerly NSFW-friendly site and purge it, you'll just never get it all scrubbed out.

        3 votes
        1. Deimos (edited ) Link Parent
          Oh, absolutely. But now there's not really much ambiguity left in the decisions: if they find porn or it gets reported to them, they can just remove it without any deeper investigation than "yep,...

          Oh, absolutely. But now there's not really much ambiguity left in the decisions: if they find porn or it gets reported to them, they can just remove it without any deeper investigation than "yep, that's porn". When porn is allowed, there's a huge gray area, and it's not a pleasant place. It's full of decisions that are hard to make and not enjoyable to be trying to figure out.

          5 votes
      2. Algernon_Asimov Link Parent
        Unless you can convince those porn viewers to then look at the rest of your website. Porn could be a loss-leader, like cheap milk is for Australian supermarkets: get the customers in the door for...

        Porn is excellent for boosting your traffic numbers, which is great if all you're trying to do is show some massive growth and sell to Yahoo or something, but it's almost certainly a net negative when you want to actually make some money.

        Unless you can convince those porn viewers to then look at the rest of your website. Porn could be a loss-leader, like cheap milk is for Australian supermarkets: get the customers in the door for your dollar-a-litre milk, and they'll buy other, more profitable, groceries while they're in the store. Porn can bring the eyeballs to your website, and those eyeballs can then look at other pages where they'll see ads.

        That's why Tildes needs a ~porn group!

        3 votes
    2. Diff Link Parent
      Wouldn't be surprised if the talk of PornHub buying it up was just a PR move to gather good will without any actual intent behind it.

      Wouldn't be surprised if the talk of PornHub buying it up was just a PR move to gather good will without any actual intent behind it.

      2 votes
  5. Deimos Link
    The CEO of Automattic made a short post yesterday with a few more thoughts: https://ma.tt/2019/08/tumblr-the-day-after/ This is an interesting chart someone made too, showing the number of posts...

    The CEO of Automattic made a short post yesterday with a few more thoughts: https://ma.tt/2019/08/tumblr-the-day-after/

    This is an interesting chart someone made too, showing the number of posts made each day on Tumblr with some significant events marked. The site's activity had already been dropping off massively for 4 years before the porn ban.

    3 votes