Verizon Sells Tumblr for 98% Discount After Banning Adult Content

Teenagers in a Tumblr photobooth
Mat Hayward/Getty

The once-mighty Tumblr — a social media site that hosts blogs, photos and videos and was favored by young people — is being sold by Verizon at what some reports are saying is a 98 percent discount from its $1.1 billion purchase price just a few years ago.

The fire sale comes after Tumblr experienced a marked decline in traffic following the site banning pornographic content in December.

Verizon Media said this week that it is selling Tumblr to Automattic, the parent company of, the popular online publishing system. While Verizon didn’t disclose the terms of the deal, Axios cited anonymous sources saying the sale price is “well below” $20 million and perhaps below $10 million.

Another report from Extreme Tech pegged the sale at a paltry $3 million.

Verizon became the owner of Tumblr as part of its 2017 acquisition of Yahoo, which acquired Tumblr in 2013 for $1.1 billion.

Automattic CEO Matt Mullenweg put a positive spin on the acquisition, saying in a statement: “Tumblr is one of the Web’s most iconic brands. It is an essential venue to share new ideas, cultures and experiences, helping millions create and build communities around their shared interests. We are excited to add it to our lineup.”

Tumblr made headlines in December when the site announced that it was banning all adult content. The decision came after Apple removed Tumblr from its App Store over “child sexual exploitation” posts.

While it once held a major place in social networking, Tumblr has fallen far behind Facebook and Twitter in terms of popularity.

The ban on adult content has not helped, with Tumblr reportedly seeing a nearly 30 percent drop in traffic.

PC Magazine reported that in December, Tumblr had an estimated 520 million visits, which dropped to 436 million in January and then 369 million in February.

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