Automattic Acquires Tumblr, Plans to Rebuild the Backend Powered by WordPress (Sarah Gooding/WPTavern)

Following Tumblr’s acquisition by Automattic, the company that operates WordPress.com, will move to a WordPress back end and open source client, but the frontend user experience will be consistent with what it is now.

Automattic CEO Matt Mullenweg did a Slack Q&A after his company announced plans to acquire Tumblr from Verizon, for a “nominal sum,” much less than the $1 billion Yahoo paid or Tumblr. (I’ve seen widespread estimates that Automattic paid about $20 million, and at least one credible estimate that it was something like $3 million. Peanuts compared with what Yahoo paid.)

WordPress is an open source web operating system that can power pretty much anything, including Tumblr.com, but it’s also a large property so will take a bit to figure out and migrate,” Mullenweg said.

Automattic doesn’t currently have plans to change the frontend Tumblr experience. Mullenweg said the Tumblr mobile app gets 20x more daily signups than the WordPress app….

Tumblr changed its adult content policy in December 2018, banning pornographic content which reportedly accounted for 22.37 percent of incoming referral traffic from external sites in 2013 when it was acquired by Yahoo. Automattic has a similar content policy in place for WordPress.com and Mullenweg confirmed that the company does not plan to lift the ban on adult content.

“Adult content is not our forte either, and it creates a huge number of potential issues with app stores, payment providers, trust and safety… it’s a problem area best suited for companies fully dedicated to creating a great experience there,” Mullenweg said in response to questions on Hacker News. “I personally have very liberal views on these things, but supporting adult content as a business is very different.”

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