Coverage: Verizon is looking to sell blogging platform Tumblr
Verizon is seeking a buyer for Tumblr, the blogging platform it acquired along with other Yahoo assets in 2017.
Chris Welch of The Verge had the news:
On Thursday evening, Pornhub VP Corey Price claimed in a statement to BuzzFeed Newsthat his company is “extremely interested” in buying Tumblr and “very much looking forward to one day restoring it to its former glory with NSFW content.” The company did not say whether it has actually made any legitimate offer to Verizon, however.
Price is referring to a major change implemented late last year, when Tumblr took the controversial step of banning porn on its platform. The company has been using AI to detect and automatically block images and videos that contain certain adult content. Existing posts containing porn were made private and are no longer publicly accessible. The move resulted in harsh criticism toward the company and a steep decline in web traffic, but Tumblr has given no indication that it plans to reverse its decision. Pornhub quickly sought to attract those users that Tumblr drove away.
Tumblr itself was acquired by Yahoo for $1.1 billion in 2013 during the Marissa Mayer era as an attempt to revitalize and steer new, younger users to the sinking internet staple. But Yahoo never really knew what to do with Tumblr, and the micro-blogging site — with its millions of personal blogs and some of the weirdest, best things on the internet — did nothing to reverse Yahoo’s business fortunes.
Janko Roettgers of Variety reported that Verizon won’t get anywhere close to $1.1 billion for Tumblr:
There is no word on how much money Verizon is looking to get from a sale, but it’s unlikely anywhere close to some of the site’s previous valuations. Yahoo acquired Tumblr for $1.1 billion in 2013. Verizon got its hands on the site when it acquired Yahoo in 2017.
Tumblr was at one point enormously popular with teens and other users looking for a mixture of blogging and social networking, and has to date amassed some 172 billion posts on 465.4 million individual blogs. However, user numbers have been steadily declining as its audience has moved on to other social networks.
Emarketer estimated Thursday that Tumblr’s U.S. user base peaked 2 years ago, and has since declined from 20.9 million to 18.8 million monthly active users. The service now has a U.S. audience share of less than 10% among social networks, according to Emarketer’s estimates.
Becky Peterson of Business Insider reported that Verizon is looking to cut costs:
The sale process comes as Verizon Media Group looks to cut costs and improve its finances related to properties formerly under the Oath banner that combined Yahoo and AOL. The group laid off 7% of its workforce in January, including employees at the media websites HuffPo and TechCrunch. Those cuts impacted 750 employees.
At the end of 2018, Verizon said it would write down the value of that business by $4.6 billion.
Tumblr was founded in 2007 and grew in popularity when microblogging was a popular trend on the internet. The platform currently has 465.4 million blogs and 21.6 million daily posts.
Tumblr took a major hit in the first quarter of the year after it banned Not Safe For Work content from its platform. Its daily visitors dropped by 30% between December 2018 and March 2019, according to the Verge.