Six years after being acquired for an astonishing $1.1 billion (£844 million), blogging platform Tumblr and its 550 million monthly users are reportedly on the auction block with no indication of who might be in market to buy it.
Yahoo—which was folded into Oath, and now the US telecommunications company Verizon Media Group—purchased the scrappy start-up for a billion and change back in 2006, though it was never clear how the popular service could find profitability. Despite its important place in internet culture, and fandom in particular, Tumblr has still struggled to climb its way out of the red.
The Wall Street Journal reports that Verizon is seeking to divest the business, but gives no indication of potential buyers, or what fraction of the original sale price the company is hoping to recuperate. According to one employee of the blogging platform, the first many employees learned of the sale came from the Journal’s report and leadership has yet to address Tumblr’s staff.
Tumblr recently roiled its own highly-engaged userbase by rolling out policies that forbid the posting of pornography—policies that were often enforced erratically at best. It’s believed the policies were a direct response to Tumblr being briefly booted from Apple’s App Store after a cache of child pornography was found to be hosted on the site by an unknown number of users. Despite the obvious best intentions of the policy change, moving against the contingent of erotica artists who had found a home on the site was a wildly unpopular move.
The site’s founder, David Karp, stepped down from Tumblr a little over a year ago.
A Verizon spokesperson told Gizmodo “We don’t comment on rumours.”
Featured image: Screenshot: Tumblr.com