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Verizon sells Tumblr to WordPress owner Automattic Inc.

Verizon sells Tumblr to WordPress owner Automattic Inc.

Verizon, who first acquired Tumblr in 2017, has sold the platform to web development corp Automattic Inc. 

Reported by The Wall Street Journal, Automattic reportedly purchased the blogging and content sharing platform for less than $3 million, a $1.1 billion decrease in value since Yahoo bought the site in 2013.

“Tumblr is a marquee brand that has started movements, allowed for true identities to blossom and become home to many creative communities and fandoms,” chief executive officer for Verizon Media Guru Gowrappan said in a statement.

“We are proud of what the team has accomplished and are happy to have found the perfect partner in Automattic, whose expertise and track record will unlock new and exciting possibilities for Tumblr and its users.”

Adult content ban

Tumblr’s initiation success was due to becoming a prominent platform for bloggers, though has seen a shift in users onto competitor platforms like Instagram, Snapchat and YouTube.

However, Verizon banned adult content on Tumblr in 2018 and its users were affected, with many using the explorative, and acceptive site as self-exploration of interests.

In addition, many LGBTQ+ users used the site as a platform to safely discuss their sexuality and gender orientations.

When the ban was announced, Ysabel Gerrard, a lecturer for the University of Sheffield on social media and society said, “there are so many different people that this impacts in so many different ways,"

“In particular, it feels like a big middle finger to women, to sex workers, and to queer kids. It’s saying, ‘We don’t want you here.’”

The decision to ban all types of adult content led many to boycott the site, and the ban alienated a significant portion of Tumblr’s user base, with no plans to reverse those decisions, Automattic Inc.’s CEO Matt Mullenweg told the Journal, “it’s just fun, we’re not going to change any of that.”

Though Mullenweg says that Tumblr is set to complement WordPress and blogging functionalities the site offers.

Tumblr and WordPress both offer users mobile platforms, and as such could see the casual social environment of Tumblr translate into the blogging realm of WordPress. Though it is to be seen as to how well this will compete with the increase in visual media blogging, as highlighted on Instagram, Snapchat, YouTube and TikTok.


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