Tumblr to run on skeleton crew while parent company Automattic absorbs staff

According to a leaked memo, Tumblr’s longterm financial difficulties have reached a breaking point. Aside from a skeleton crew of key workers in departments like trust and safety, most of Tumblr’s 139 workers will be reassigned to other products at parent company Automattic, which has about 1,900 people. CEO Matt Mullenweg acknowledged the memo on his own Tumblr blog, where he answered questions from site users.

In response to a question about whether or not Tumblr will be shut down, Mullenweg wrote:

“What’s very clear is our previous approach didn’t work. It didn’t change the business enough to get enough money to support the investment in infrastructure and staff needed to run Tumblr, and many users weren’t happy with some changes we’re trying. There’s some personnel changes within the team, but basically what we’re saying is that starting January 1, 2024, we’re going to try a different structure with smaller, more focused teams working on the core areas of Tumblr that people say they want to improve. . We’re going to step back or rollback some of the things we’ve tried that didn’t work.”

Tumblr’s woes are not a surprise. The blogging platform saw a brief surge in popularity as disgruntled Twitter users looked for a new home following Elon Musk’s acquisition. But Mullenweg revealed in July that Tumblr was losing about $30 million a year.

Tumblr faces the same challenges as any social platform, but it has the unique tension of catering to a base of fiercely protective fans who resist most attempts at monetization. Tumblr users pay to ship crabs to their friends, or to buy joke blue checks to have fun on Twitter, but when the site tried to launch a subscription feature, it went about as badly as a product launch could. .

Tumblr was founded in 2007, then acquired by Yahoo (the parent company of TechCrunch) for $1 billion in 2013. In 2019, WordPress.com parent Automattic bought Tumblr for just $3 million. Although it has a loyal base of power users and is loved in fandom areas, Tumblr also struggling to increase daily active users, especially after the ban on pornography.

This story develops…

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