Still, considering the fact that Tumblr still does over 2.5 billion page views per month , not even counting their mobile usage, I can't help but gawk at what a steal Automattic got. Really drives home what their CEO Matt Mullenweg said on here the other day about adopting a "Berkshire model"—although he was referring to independent management, what he's really talking about is buying companies grossly undervalued for dirt-cheap. Just monetizing the web traffic 2.5 billions monthly hits at a $1 CPM alone would generate $2.5 million a month in revenue, $30 million annually.
What kind of business, let alone web business, sells for 1/10th annual revenue? For reference, Reddit does 6x the page views, but is valued at $3 billion. Reddit's prospects are obviously better, but are they 1000/6 = 166x times better per current page view? Mind-boggling.
This is not the Berkshire model at all. Berkshire buys businesses that have high cash flow models where money can compound over and over, usually in well established businesses that have operational issues that can be optimized for cash flow.
> Just monetizing the web traffic 2.5 billions monthly hits at a $1 CPM alone would generate $2.5 million a month in revenue, $30 million annually.
That napkin math doesn't take into consideration:
- hosting costs
- software maintenance cost
- sales & marketing required to drive $30M/year
- Decrease in traffic due to ads
> What kind of business, let alone web business, sells for 1/10th annual revenue?
Retail does...retail. Hate to break it to you, but businesses aren't bought and sold on revenue (despite what TC tells you). It's usually on a multiple of earnings or discounted free cash flow. Note - it's important to remember that DCF can get real fuzzy and hence why its much easier for media to just revert to "revenue".
> Reddit does 6x the page views, but is valued at $3 billion.
And Tumblr's valuation was once $1.1B and they couldn't monetize it. How is that comparable a valuable reference point?
Compared to revenue, hosting cost is next to nothing for sites like Tumblr that serve text/image content. A similar video site would need to spend a ton of money on bandwidth, streaming CDNs, encoding servers, etc.
If you get 2.5 million hits a month, it is certainly possible to cover the said selling price of $3m in ads alone in a month.
How do you figure? That would be over $1 per hit.
home_project123 at protonmail dot com
It is non-yukky and does not affect your content/users
Unfortunately, they're private, profitable, and to my knowledge not seeking investment, otherwise I'd buy a slice of them in a heartbeat.
Meanwhile, Twitter and Reddit are massive social networks with millions of daily active users.
Obviously they haven't been able to do that yet. There's a chance those platforms are very over-valued... but you can see where some people think the golden goose is.
It's kind of hard to put a monetary value on a product that is free
Yahoo wrote down almost the entire value of Tumblr before the Verizon acquisition
A business that is losing a lot of money and shrinking. Automattic have to invest a lot more than $3M to keep Tumblr alive and turn it around (200 employees) - the total investment isn't just the acquisition cost
With the headline figure it might seem like a nobrainer but Automattic could end up spending years investing in a turnaround that never happens
Keeping most of the 200 employees on payroll may have been a condition of the $3m sale price.
Verizon, not Yahoo.
> One of the things that really surprised me is I thought — as probably many do — that Tumblr had kind of died under its variety of corporate parents. And then actually being able to see some of the numbers, including some the numbers post-when they changed the adult content policy. I was like, “Wow, this has still got a ton going on.”
Yeah ok, whatever.
I don't doubt that it's still a viable business, I don't care.
I feel a deep pain every time I think about it. Something beautiful was destroyed with no remorse. The world is worse off because of it. It feels like tearing down statues of the buddha. The one place on the internet where one could explore explicit sexuality without feeling gross and exploited. I will never forgive this destruction of a beautiful culture. The whole thing makes my blood boil.
Also keep in mind a decent chunk of the adult content was literally automated bot spam.
Meanwhile, Statista's graph appears to be made of random numbers with no basis in reality whatsoever. They claim that even post-adult-content-ban, Tumblr has more MAUs than Twitter and Snapchat combined. Factor in Tumblr's 70% drop vs historic peak usage, and you'd end up with a number claiming Tumblr was once the most popular tech product on earth. This is quite obviously a complete fabrication.
If you want to be sad or angry about something, the loss of old peak Tumblr -- when it combined the best aspects of Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, and Reddit -- is a better target in my mind. Its decline was long and slow over many years.
(Disclosure: I was one of Tumblr's first engineers, and later director of platform engineering. I had no involvement whatsoever in the adult content ban, but nonetheless find it frustrating when people significantly overstate the amount of adult content on Tumblr. At its peak it contained an extremely diverse set of communities, and I fear this is being completely lost in revisionist rhetoric.)
It's about having a safe community for self expression through sexual art. It's about a set of deeply regressive (American) cultural norms that stifle sexual expression and further marginalize non-normative individuals. It's about the death of a vibrant community that made people feel included and valued. It's about sex-positivity. It's about destigmatizing overt sexual expression.
The steady drop over time is concerning, but these numbers show tumbler has still got a ton going on.
It's important to remember that Tumblr never turned a profit; as far as I've been able to determine it never hit the break-even point. And the bottom line is that a giant service that's losing money is worse to own than a tiny service that's losing money. Verizon's attempt to kick out the NSFW parts wasn't simple-mindedness or prudishness, it was a calculated risk that a smaller but SFW Tumblr might be able to at least make enough money to pay for itself.
Having said that, it's also important to note that Tumblr still gets a lot of traffic; by most measures it's still in the top 100 most visited sites on the Internet, and gets more traffic than Wordpress.com -- Automattic's closest "competing" product -- does.
Verizon had ATH - AOL, TechCrunch, Huffington Post, then bought and added yahoO to the group, hence the name.
Yes, that is exactly how uninspired these corporate names are.
While it's obviously well known within these circles, engadget is approximately equivalently sized (see Alexa https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Engadget vs https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/TechCrunch ), and even when the company was described internally by its components they were AOL, Yahoo and sometimes also VDMS (which had been transferred to AOL from Verizon pre-Yahoo acquisition).
The name is dumb, we all agreed. As clearly did Verizon, since the company has been renamed since. But it was dumb in the sense of the CEO had a dumb idea that didn't translate well to other markets and not "The CEO had an even dumber idea and marketed it as being a slightly less dumb idea"
I just remember seeing a bunch of press releases of how Yahoo would be folded into the group led by the former AOL CEO, and that that group also contained TechCrunch and HuffPo. It felt weird that just those two were often mentioned together with AOL, and the initials lining up...?
From what I recall, Tim Armstrong claimed the name reflected Verizon's promise to do right by AOL and Yahoo, or some other such complete nonsense. Internally, everyone I knew thought it was on par with Tronc for worst rebrand ever.
I was at Yahoo until just before the sale to Verizon, which happened because the first attempt at spinning off the Alibaba shares tax-free failed. In the first attempt, Yahoo created a new company called Aabaco, which super conveniently could reasonably apply for the stock ticker AABA. (Alibaba had BABA)
When the first attempt failed, they needed an ALTernative solution, so they sold the core business to Verizon, and promptly renamed the company from Yahoo to Altaba and changed their stock ticker from YHOO to AABA.
Meanwhile, the press were super confused about the name change and there were a bunch of articles with people speculating on the name change, wondering what the name meant, etc, etc, because noone apparently could imagine that the name change was exactly as lazy and uninspired and dumb as it was.
I am pretty sure the OATH name was thought up by the same fine minds, and that it was equally uninspired and dumb. If you and your colleagues inside Verizon smelled corporate bullshit, I think that just strengthens my case.
It does indeed make HN much easier to read.
Step 1: Generate 2.5 billion hits
Step 2: ???
Step 3: Profit!
I run two niche blogs on tumblr since 2011 with full control of themes and content, https, social sharing, without compulsory ads and using my own domain. SEO was a negative point but nowadays is good enough. All of this for free. Wordpress offer, AFAIK, is not nearly as good.
Thank you Tumblr.
I had hope that Automattic would change the content policies that brought the site down, but it seems that won't be the case.
But the fun isn't over just yet. I've launched Libr (https://librapp.com) to replace Tumblr. It's an installable Progressive Web App, getting around app store rules (recall when the Apple app store banned Tumblr).
There's a few hundred users on there that have given me good feedback on improving Libr and it's starting to slowly take off, although I'm not in any hurry and I'm taking my time to make it awesome before turning on the floodgates.
I get that it's a PWA, but can't the welcome page just be a regular page?
You make it sound like it's easy.
[required ingredients: 1 searchable user-content platform, 1 keyboard, 1 daughter (optional)]
0. Go to thing
1. Open search bar
2. Open your hand
3. Hit keyboard with an open flat hand
5. Browse results - count how many you feel comfortable with your daughter being portrayed in
6. 50% is your thresh.
Tumblr was a successful porn platform. Take that off the equation and you're left with nothing.
My daughter can do whatever she wants. Why are you shaming sex workers?
Tumblr made me a better designer. By catching up with the latest in print and graphic design and porting thse trends to web I had a work featured very early in Brutalist Websites.
I use no other social network. It’s simply too much. And yes a heart is good enough.
WordPress != Automattic.
More context here: https://poststatus.com/resources/wordpress-versus-automattic...
This. It's understated how much Tumblr's clunky composing hurt it as a platform. I know people connected to Tumblr, and from what I hear there was a lot of ideas but little direction.
There was a time when Tumblr was bigger than Instagram— Tumblr could've focused more on making it an amazing photo-sharing service. Snapchat was/is loved by its anonymity and ephemerality, but Tumblr was already an anonymous social network well before it. They could've added features for ephemerality and explored that market.
I used tumblr for consuming a lot of content, and it was great for that, but I always thought it had potential to be better for sharing too.
To me, it felt like the progress with further developing tumblr slowed after Marco Arment moved onto other projects.
From a historic perspective, this may an interesting article to some people.
Rumors are that he made $5-$7 million. But he definitely made enough to have f%%#-you money.
That would be an interesting mobile app. There's nothing that does one to many ephemeral text messaging. I imagine they still have enough of a certain subgroup of adolescents to make a go of a new idea based on ephemerality. I don't know any young people that would use FB anymore than they would watch cable news. I imagine they'll screw up insta at some point too.
Indeed. I called it Fumblr for a reason -- I was always fumbling with its UI.
Given that Yahoo never figured out how to turn search into a business, that speaks volumes of their ability to connect dots.
There's only Twitter now. And Twitter kind of sucks.
I've tried to, but Twitter seems to keep showing me all of this whenever someone I follow likes or retweets their posts.
I can see why people say twitter sucks, but really it only sucks if you're following a whole bunch of different "genres" in the same feed. the prolific tweeters like to talk about twitter in sections - "politics twitter", "black twitter", "meme twitter" etc and if that's how you use it, it's pretty good.
Twitter sucks for lots of reasons, but a big one for me is that it's really tough to follow a 'genre' or topic because so few people stick to tweeting about one genre or related genres.
I only really ever used twitter to follow small(ish) tweeters and a few corporate brand accounts that weren't interactive anyway. The brand accounts never responded to anything anyone wrote to them, so twitter is, in effect, just a newsletter delivery service for them so they got filtered off into their own list. I tried following a few prolific tweeters, but I got tired of checking my feed and the prolific tweeters completely drowning out everyone else I followed. The small tweeters were more interactive (they would actually respond to things I would @ them once in a while) but they usually posted in topics all over the place. I might have followed them because someone else I follow retweeted something that I was interested in on a particular topic, video games, say, but after following them for a while, it turned out that they veer off into politics or the economy or mental health issues or racism or some other realm. Not to say that those aren't important things, but they're not the thing I was following them for, and it cluttered up the feed with things that I wasn't interested in looking at that day.
Twitter would have been a lot more useful to me if I could somehow follow topics instead of people. Yes, I know about Tweetdeck and lists and hashtags, but that presumes that I want to bother continually setting up those things as the conversations flow and evolve, or that I'm following the correct hashtag or term (e.g. I was following #widget3a and most of the interesting conversations happen with #3awidget so I missed the whole thing), or that people manage to tag their tweets appropriately, et cetera.
Every time something happens political I find myself having to mute all sorts of things, peoples names, places, etc.
I used to only really use RSS but then when Google effectively killed it everyone (who were already twitter addicts) just told us "Just move to Twitter, whats the big deal?", now to get the same content I used to enjoy I have to sit through endless political hot takes and arguing.
Then Tumblr took a turn for the worse and everyone cried the same thing, "Just move to Twitter, whats the big deal?"
Having a successful social space does not necessitate, and I'd argue precludes, having a universal audience of everyone.
Also, you are currently on what would qualify as a social network, and between HN, Mastodon, and choice tech subreddits like I find myself well inundated with social forums to talk about stuff on. Thats even precluding how Github and Gitlab have turned into faux social networks around projects, how IRC and Matrix exist as real time chat options, etc.
There's still an ongoing webcomic (A Tale of Two Rulers) that's a world where Zelda and Gannon choose to marry instead of war on tumblr. It's incredibly awesome and part of what I'm on tumblr for.
Except it lost, so by definition it can’t be right.
Update: there are clearly many definitions of right. Here I’m using right in the sense that it gets mass adoption (right in that people prefer it), and right in the sense that it also simultaneously does net positive for the world. Achieving both is difficult.
Call me starry eyed if you want, but I think while we do absolutely need a Facebook, that it shouldn't be a private business. It should be a public good, funded by the public, for the public and its interests.
Uh, what? Just off the top of my head I can think of people who've been bullied on Tumblr into attempted suicide.
You know in which ways.
The CEO of Tumblr David Karp made unilateral decisions which stifled its growth and utility. Any additional decision making input would have helped here, but qualified women, minorities and people accompanying David, Fred (the author of this article) and Marco (1st engineer) would have greatly helped so the winds here. Be more in tune with the audience that grew.
After the second sale to Verizon, after David left, different leadership could have understood how the erotic content community was flourishing on Tumblr in ways that the erotic industry has failed to attract. Many women liked tumblr for porn sharing, browsing, and curating because other porn-specific sites have unclean interfaces and distracting ads. There were people that could have told them that in the decision making process, and helped navigate the issues encountered since that is what was driving engagement.
Automattic also seems to fail to understand this, with CEO Matt Mullenweg's explanation seeming to complete miss the point, and looks more like a pet project than any interest in engagement.