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Yahoo bought Tumblr for over a billion. Verizon sold Tumblr for under $20 million. Guess all that NSFW content they banned was worth more than they thought it was...

And/or maybe it was never worth over a billion in the first place.

<$3 mill is the latest number. I agree it was never worth a billion dollars, but tumblr definitely lost a huge amount of value during its stay at Yahoo. You don't just overvalue an asset by 99.8%.

Do you? I have to believe you don't.

Today you do. You overvalue everything by 99% and hope that one thing your invested in pops. Because all the social properties are ad-based, what you really hope for is that your thing will be the thing, at least until you cash out.

The ad dollars generally just flow to whatever is the biggest, whatever is believed to deliver the highest ROI. It doesn't even have to be good, just large and slightly better than everything else.

Tumblr didn't become Facebook or Twitter. But it could have. If something ever manages to deliver ads that are slightly better than FB or Twitter than those disappear as well.

The bar is simultaneously really low and really high. Low because all you have to do is create a platform that delivers ads with an ROI that is slightly better than nothing, at scale. High because that's actually really hard to do. In some cases "better than nothing" is actually too high a bar. A lot of businesses—maybe even the majority—would be better off spending $0 on FB. Google is the only one who can consistently provide a positive ROI, reliably, for most of their customers.

For a while it looked like Tumblr could have done it. They had the users, the growth, the content and probably more data on what people ACTUALLY liked than anyone else has ever had.

This graph provides valuable context on changes in engagement over time, relative to key milestones in the company's history. https://twitter.com/somospostpc/status/1161024458460712962

Don't most VCs overvalue most startups by ~100%? This doesn't seem that crazy to me.

It wouldn't be 99.8%, it had a 99.8% loss, so it was almost a hundred times overvalued, if nothing else caused the drop (which isn't plausible, but still).

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