Verizon to sell Tumblr

Happier times... Tumblr chief executive David Karp on stage in Las Vegas in 2014

Happier times... Tumblr chief executive David Karp on stage in Las Vegas in 2014

In a statement, Verizon described Automattic as "the flawless partner" and said that the new deal was "the culmination of a thoughtful, thorough and strategic process". "We are excited to add it to our lineup", said Automattic's CEO Matt Mullenweg in a statement. Though the sale price is undisclosed, reports say it is a fraction of what Yahoo paid for Tumblr in 2013.

The price that Automattic is paying for the microblogging site is a bit surprising as well; the company is reportedly only paying less than US$3 million (~RM12.58 million) for the site.

The service was originally owned by Yahoo, and it was later purchased by Verizon for a whopping $1 billion in 2017. However, traffic to the blogging platform fell after it enacted a ban on adult content last December that forced porn enthusiasts and erotic artists off from the site. This took place after the Verizon takeover, and after Tumblr was banned from the Apple App Store after it had emerged that the blogging platform was hosting child pornography. The platform became a Verizon property with the company's Yahoo acquisition, and the transition hasn't been entirely smooth - Verizon chose to ban adult content in 2018, causing an uproar among many users.

Tumblr's CEO Jeff D'Onofrio, said that in the longer term, the decision will help turn Tumblr into a platform where more people would "feel comfortable expressing themselves".

A large portion of the site's user-base identified as young and gender- and sexually-diverse, who used the platform to build a sense of community and explore their interests. It has cut jobs and sold some Yahoo properties, including the photo-sharing site Flickr and Polyvore, a fashion and collaging site that was then shut down.