Social sharing site Tumblr is changing hands yet again. After being acquired by Verizon as part of its Yahoo purchase in 2017, the platform has seen a notable downtick in popularity. Now, Automattic, the company that owns WordPress, has bought the site.
Users who have remained dedicated hope that Tumblr’s new owners breathe fresh life into the platform. While it will likely take some time to figure things out, Tumblr should serve as a nice partner for WordPress as the two blogging giants combine.
The Tumblr platform has been a steady home for creative people ever since it started. Recently, however, users have started migrating towards other social media platforms like Instagram, Twitter, and Snapchat. The significant user decline has certainly impacted Tumblr.
In 2013, the platform was purchased as part of a larger deal by Yahoo for a whopping $1.1 billion. Although the cost of Verizon’s sale to Automattic wasn’t officially disclosed, Axios reports that it is somewhere in the range of $3 million or less. That shocking drop goes to show how much Tumblr has changed over the course of the decade.
Even so, the acquisition could be the best-case scenario for the platform. Tumblr has a rich mobile interface with roots in the blogging world. Of course, Automattic’s WordPress platform is arguably the world leader in blogging. As such, it will be able to use some of Tumblr’s background digital infrastructure to give WordPress an upgrade.
Verizon CEO Guru Gowrappan said about the sale, “Tumblr is a marquee brand that has started movements, allowed for true identities to blossom and become home to many creative communities and fandoms.” He goes on to add, “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.”
Staying the Course
Perhaps the activeness of Tumblr’s platform was most apparent when it protested the company’s move to ban adult content in December. Since users turned to it often for that reason, many people decided to boycott the site altogether. Though the news of new ownership gave hope to many users hoping for the revival of those features, it appears that won’t be happening.
In fact, not much will be changing in the short term. Automattic plans to run Tumblr as a complementary site to WordPress. This will likely include harnessing the latter’s sharing services and the aforementioned mobile interface. However, there will likely be plenty of experimentation as the two platforms come together.
For avid Tumblr users, the acquisition is a good sign. Though the platform probably will never return to what it once was, Automattic should run it well and ensure users have a place to express themselves for many years to come. Meanwhile, WordPress users can look forward to a better mobile experience in the future.