Verizon’s selling and Pornhub’s buying — Tumblr is on the market

Image: TechCrunch

Tumblr has been riding the acquisition wave for a while now. Initially bought by Yahoo in the Marissa Mayer era the microblogging platform was snapped up for a cool US$1b to bolster the ailing giant’s user base and hopefully entice a younger generation back to whatever it was Yahoo was offering (spoiler alert – very little).

From there it was on to Oath, the Verizon owned conglomerate whom picked up Yahoo and AOL, which it quickly found to be worth almost nothing let alone the US$4b+ they paid for Yahoo at the time.

Now sitting under the “Verizon Media Group” (VMG) Tumblr has suffered another blow in value and appeal after implementing a controversial and devastating policy to ban pornography from the platform using a questionable AI. Shedding more than 30% of its traffic in the first month after introducing the ban Tumblr, and its owner VMG, find itself finding a losing battle with numerous copy-cat platforms spinning up overnight to capitalise on the bifurcated user base.

Verizon now find themselves fighting a continual downtrend and see the severing of  its now a gangrene Tumblr limb as an opportunity to survive. Far from confirmed, the rumours of Tumblr’s sale run rampant after being reported on by The WSJ last week with some wild speculation of who might pick it up.

One of those interested in the sale is pornography portal Pornhub whom have expressed interested in the potential sale of the platform. Pornhub VP Corey Price unabashedly stated that the company is “…extremely interested in acquiring the platform and are very much looking forward to one day restoring it to its former glory with NSFW content.”, ideally along with the tens of thousands of users that have fled Tumblr returning to a once again to be presumably porn-friendly platform.


But Pornhub isn’t without its detractors. Its parent company MindGeek has been accused of under paying its performers amongst its pornographic media studios and allowing its child sites allegedly actively steal content from one another as a means of lowering performer’s residual payments.

Tumblr’s now departed pornography audience was often comprised of copyrighted material supplied by MindGeek’s major production houses and was largely ignored with a blind-eye turned towards the millions of looping GIFs and snippets of content. The fear is this continues to grow out of control under the potential operation of MindGeek further alienating its workers and lowering the rightful returns.

Regardless the potential sale is seen as a win by many and if the numbers add up I have no doubt VMG will see it fortuitous to continue with it should Pornhub and parent MindGeek put money where their mouth is and are not not simply using the idea of a sale as a coup in public relations to champion the freedom of sexuality online.

Source: Verizon Looks to Unload Tumblr Blogging Site