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Blogging Software: Tumblr finds new home with the owner of WordPress

By Gina Milani

September 4, 2019

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Yahoo acquired Tumblr in 2013 for $1.1 billion with high hopes for the platform. But after Verizon agreed to buy Yahoo in 2016 it just didn’t seem like it was a good fit with Verizon’s long term plans for Yahoo. Apparently, there were some safety issues arising from Tumblr’s less controlled, user-generated environment, which included a child-porn problem last year.

We see acquisitions all the time in the tools marketplace and this one seems to be more about consolidation. Automattic is reported to have paid around $3 million according to the Axios reporting which I’d like to actually share below as published recently in one of their newsletters:

(Originally published by AXIOS):

By the numbers: Automattic reportedly paid a “nominal” sum for “Tumblr, per the Wall Street Journal. The actual figure, reports Axios’ Dan Primack, was around $3 million.  The service previously sold for $1.1 billion to Yahoo in 2013.
• Yes, that means Tumblr dropped to .3% of its previous value.
Background: Tumblr was once the trendiest of social networks. A last holdout of the nonconformist spirit of the early web and the blogging movement in the age of Facebook, it proudly hosted renegade content, including porn, that more mainstream networks shunned.
• That, of course, made it less attractive to advertisers, and therefore less valuable as a business.
• Still, it had a coveted youthful demographic, which was why — despite all the unmonetizable content — its founders were able to sell it to Yahoo.
• But Verizon acquired Yahoo in 2017, banned porn from Tumblr in 2018, and then decided to sell the service. As of May, Pornhub had been the only bidder to show public interest.
Where it stands: Automattic is the last major company to actively develop, promote and maintain a blogging platform and software.
• Google still operates Blogger but doesn’t invest much in it.
• Medium, the media platform founded by Blogger and Twitter founder Evan Williams, inherits some of the blogging world’s traits but is dedicated to longer-form writing.

What they’re saying: From Tumblr’s announcement: “Automattic shares our vision to build passionate communities around shared interests and to democratize publishing so that anyone with a story can tell it, especially when they come from under-heard voices and marginalized communities.”

Our thought bubble: Tumblr’s new owner is probably more likely to be a better steward of its community than, say, a porn site or a telecommunications giant.”

I’d like to make one addition and that is while Axios may be correct in that Automattic is the last major company to actively develop, promote and maintain a blogging platform and software, according to PRToolfinder, there are three other blogging platforms that are still around and being updated to give folks a choice of blogging platforms.

LiveJournal
BlogDrive
MovableType

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