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Submitted by on Aug 19, 2021

Tumblr (pronounced “tumbler”) is an American microblogging and social networking website created by David Karp in 2007. Automattic now owns it. Users can upload multimedia and other content to a short-form blog using the service. Users can read and comment on other people’s blogs. Bloggers have the option of making their blogs private. Many of the website’s capabilities are available through a “dashboard” interface for bloggers.

Tumblr now hosts over 475 million blogs as of August 12, 2019. The website had over 500 million monthly visits in January 2016, but by August 2019, it had plummeted to fewer than 400 million.

Tumblr was founded in 2006 during a two-week break between contracts at David Karp’s software consulting firm, Davidville (headquartered at Karp’s old internship with producer-incubator Fred Seibert’s Frederator Studios, which was a block away from Tumblr’s present offices). Karp had long been intrigued by tumblelogs (short-form blogs, thus the name Tumblr) and had been waiting for one of the big blogging sites to launch their tumble logging platform.

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After a year of waiting, Karp and developer Marco Arment decided to create their tumble logging platform because no one else had done it. Tumblr was founded in February 2007 and had 75,000 users within two weeks of its introduction. In September 2010, Arment departed the business to work on Instapaper.

Tumblr launched its first significant brand advertising campaign in early June 2012, partnering with Adidas to establish an official soccer Tumblr blog and purchase spots on the user dashboard. Tumblr stated two months ago that it would be going toward paid advertising on its platform.

On May 20, 2013, Yahoo and Tumblr announced that they had reached an agreement for Yahoo! Inc. to buy Tumblr for $1.1 billion in cash. Many Tumblr users were outraged by the revelation, prompting some to launch a petition with almost 170,000 signatures. The acquisition was completed on June 20, 2013, with David Karp remaining as CEO. Due to a failure to meet advertising sales targets, Yahoo wrote down $712 million of Tumblr’s value in 2016.

In June 2017, Verizon Communications purchased Yahoo and merged it with Tumblr under its Oath subsidiary.

Karp announced his departure from Tumblr at the end of the year in November 2017. Tumblr’s President and COO, Jeff D’Onofrio, has taken over as CEO.

Under Verizon, the site, like the rest of the Oath company (renamed Verizon Media Group in 2019), struggled. Tumblr had lost 30% of its user traffic since December 2018, when the site implemented a tighter content policy with more substantial limits on adult content, according to SimilarWeb (which had been a notable draw to the service).

Verizon was rumored to consider selling the site in May 2019 due to its continued struggles since the purchase (as it had done with another Yahoo property, Flickr, via its sale to SmugMug). Following this development, Pornhub’s vice president openly showed interest in acquiring Tumblr, promising to re-establish the company’s former adult content standards.

Tumblr was sold to Automattic, the operator of the blog service WordPress.com and corporate backer of the open-source blog software of the same name, for an unknown sum on August 12, 2019. According to Axios, the sale price was less than $3 million, a substantial discount from Yahoo’s original acquisition price. According to Automattic CEO Matt Mullenweg, the site will be a supplement to WordPress.com, which also indicated that there are no intentions to alter the content policy choices established during Verizon’s ownership.

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