This article was published on May 3, 2019

Verizon to unload Tumblr: Could Pornhub provide a happy ending?

Verizon to unload Tumblr: Could Pornhub provide a happy ending?

Verizon could be looking to sell Tumblr, according to a report by the Wall Street Journal. But will a new owner bring back porn? Depends on the owner.

Tumblr — the free blogging platform picked up in Verizon’s 2015 acquisition of Yahoo — is perhaps best known for its community of pornography curators. That’s prior to the purge, anyway, which saw the platform drop all adult content in December of 2018, much to the chagrin of its users.

Since then, Tumblr’s popularity has waned. The site lost nearly 100 million monthly pageviews in the month that followed the ban — a third of its audience.

Yahoo purchased Tumblr in 2013 for $1.1 billion, promptly writing down its value by $230 million just three years later. If we were to speculate, it seems likely that Verizon would shop the company at a dollar figure between those two numbers. Any potential suitor, however, would no doubt be seeking a discount for the porn purge that caused visitors to flee to greener pastures.

The Wall Street Journal report didn’t mention any potential suitors, but word on the street is that Pornhub is throwing its hat into the ring.

According to Pornhub VP Corey Price, in a comment to Forbes:

Tumblr was a safe haven for those who wanted to explore and express their sexuality, adult entertainment aficionados included. We’ve long been dismayed that such measures were taken to eradicate erotic communities on the platform, leaving many individuals without an asylum through which they could comfortably peruse adult content. There are obvious synergies between the two brands and value Pornhub could derive from Tumblr. We’re extremely interested in acquiring the platform and are very much looking forward to one day restoring it to its former glory with NSFW content.

We’ve reached out to Pornhub for additional commentary.

Price has a point. After the ban, I wondered what part Tumblr played in turning away women and other marginalized communities, those seeking a safe space to consume and share their favorite adult material. The ban forced those who had spent years curating impressive collections of niche erotica — sometimes producing the content themselves — to seek a more sex-positive outlet for sharing their creations.

To date, Tumblr refugees don’t appear to have found a one-stop-shop that could replace the communities they’ve lost at Tumblr. Instead, many have turned to a more splintered approach, gathering and sharing adult content at a number of places — and often in private groups.

Though Price has stated interest, it’s unclear how far Pornhub is willing to go. But at a glance, it seems a good fit.

Today (May 3, 2019), we have an AMA with Tumblr’s Head of Culture and Art, Valentine Uhovski. Ask him anything here! 

TNW Conference 2019 is coming! Check out our glorious new location, inspiring line-up of speakers and activities, and how to be a part of this annual tech extravaganza by clicking here.

Get the TNW newsletter

Get the most important tech news in your inbox each week.

Also tagged with