Remember Tumblr? That microblogging site you lived your life on, and then abruptly never went to again as other alternatives made themselves available? Well, thanks to new owners, the good times are coming back! Possibly!
At least, it’ll be interesting to see what Tumblr’s new owners do with it because the current ones seemed to miss what people used it for.
Mobile company Verizon (owners of Yahoo, another internet reverse-success story) paid a billion American dollars for the platform in 2013 and proceeded to clean it of all its sexiness in December last year, using notoriously unsophisticated AI which had trouble doing things like distinguishing nipples from flowers and went “eh, delete the whole lot, everyone will be fine with that”.
Oddly enough, in removing the stuff that its users wanted to see and share the traffic took a hit – as in, millions of users fled – and now the site is going to Automattic Inc (owners of WordPress) for rather a lot less than it sold for.
How much less? Reportedly below the US$3 million mark. Which is a profit of minus a billion dollars, give or take.
The bargain-basement price reportedly drew interest from Pornhub, who would presumably have been down with bringing back all the sexy stuff, since they’ve been busily becoming the go-to pornographers for free speech protection.
However, the sale to Automattic was reportedly conditional on them not allowing a content change, which is a genuine missed opportunity.
Sure, there was a lot of weird stuff on there – fan-made art of sexy Transformers was always going to be a niche interest we sincerely hope – and would need some sophisticated efforts to weed out illegal stuff.
However, the old platform was also a sex-positive meeting place for a lot of marginalised communities who have been left further isolated by the stifling effect of the FOSTA/SESTA laws in the US on sexual expression.
Anyway: ball’s about to be in your court, Automattic. Once that deal’s signed, how’s about returning Tumblr to its golden age? Carn.