NEW YORK – Verizon is selling Tumblr, a darling of early social media, to the owner of blogging platform WordPress.
Tumblr is known for its devoted fan base and has been home to angry posts from celebrities like Taylor Swift. It angered many users last year when it banned porn and “adult content,” which made up a big part of its highly visual and meme-friendly online presence.
But well before that, the site has already been drifting in the face of competition from Facebook and its Instagram service and from Google’s YouTube. Tumblr has also been overshadowed by Twitter.
Verizon got Tumblr through its 2017 purchase of Yahoo. Yahoo had bought Tumblr for $1.1 billion in 2013, but ended up writing off much of its value. Terms of Verizon’s sale to WordPress owner Automattic weren’t disclosed.
Verizon had hoped to create an ad business to compete with Google and Facebook but its media business ran into trouble. 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.