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WordPress owner Automattic signs deal to buy Tumblr

Despite the dramatic loss in traffic, Automatic must see great potential for the platform.
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Microblogging site Tumblr is being sold to WordPress owner Automattic for an undisclosed sum – although a source puts the sale price at around $3 million.

The Verizon Media Group, which owns Tumblr, said that the acquisition will include the 200 staff that work on Tumblr and that there will be no immediate changes, according to the WSJ.

Yahoo had purchased Tumblr back in 2013 for $1.1 billion in cash but it’s thought to be currently worth significantly less as the platform never managed to reach the heights of its rivals such as Reddit or Facebook.

A sale price of around $3 million is eye-wateringly low compared to the $1.1 billion Yahoo paid for it.

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Tumblr is a free platform that hosts millions of blogs where users can upload photos, music, art and more.

It became a popular place to hold pornographic and erotic content before the company changed course last year to stay in Apple’s good graces and they announced that pornographic content would no longer be permitted on the platform – a move that helped them be allowed back in Apple’s App Store.

Tumblr’s traffic rapidly declined after the move to not allow pornographic content:

According to a recent survey by Similar Web Analytics, the visitors to Tumblr reduced by 1/5th ever since their recent porn ban. While December 2018 had 521 million visits, January 2019 had only 437 million visits. Tumblr banned porn on 17th of December 2018.

Its popularity for hosting porn was one of the reasons it was so heavily rumored that Porn Hub would purchase the blogging platform earlier this year.

Verizon is currently in the process of making rapid changes to its media group, having struggled to reach target revenue potential. Now owners of Yahoo, AOL, TechCrunch, HuffPost and more – it appears that Tumblr doesn’t fit its vision for the future.

Executives from both Tumblr and Automattic say they will “look for ways WordPress.com and Tumblr can share services and functionality.”

“It’s just fun,” Automatic CEO Matt Mullenweg told the Journal. “We’re not going to change any of that.” Mullenweg also stated that he plans to keep the ban on pornographic content.

Automattic Inc. is a web development company founded in August 2005. It is most famous for WordPress.com, as well as its contributions to the open source version of WordPress for those that want to host their own blog.

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