Tumblr’s long, strange tumble from the top

The micro-blogging platform Tumblr is up for sale again after it was purchased by Yahoo and then ended up with Verizon -- and it has some strange suitors.


May 6, 2019

Last week, Verizon revealed plans to sell off Tumblr, the blog hosting platform it has owned since 2017. 

Once a fast-growing social media site in a league with Pinterest and Reddit, Tumblr has fumbled through multiple acquisitions. Now that it’s for sale again, it’s attracting some strange bidders… including the adult video giant, Pornhub.

A humbler Tumblr

Founded in 2006, Tumblr was on top of the world when it was acquired by Yahoo in 2013 for $1.1B: In April 2013, the site had 13B page views.

Today, Tumblr’s monthly page views have fallen to 420m. The company’s financial fortunes followed suit: In 2016, Yahoo wrote down Tumblr’s value to $230m — well less than ¼ of its former value.

So, how did Tumblr crumble?

Bad buyouts cause Tumblr’s stumbling

Tumblr rose to prominence as a place with few rules that allowed for freedom of self-expression, sexual and otherwise.

But then Tumblr sold to Yahoo (and, later, Yahoo sold to Verizon) — and users didn’t respond well. When the company first sold, nearly 170k circulated a petition of protest. Last December, when Tumblr banned adult content, its viewership dropped 17%.

Meanwhile, as Tumblr has declined, both Medium and Instagram have soared in popularity, giving former Tumblrs places to post.

Can anyone recover this Tumble?

It seems unlikely Tumblr will recapture its former glory.

But Pornhub seems undeterred, having courted Tumblr’s customers for months. When Tumblr made the controversial decision to ban adult content, the adult video site tweeted: “Tumblrs: Pornhub welcomes you with open arms.”

So far, no other companies have publicly expressed interest in buying the aging blogging platform. 

But, as TechCrunch reports, a Pornhub acquisition would be a bad deal for Tumblr’s once-open adult community — Pornhub parent MindGeek has a poor track record protecting porn performers.

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