Tumblr is scaling back its ambitions after failing to hit targets for a new audience, with the goal of moving some staff to other divisions of parent company Automattic. TO leaked notethat circulated on Tumblr and was confirmed in a Edge A comment from Automattic CEO Matt Mullenweg says that “the majority” of Tumblr’s moderation, security, and non-support staff will “move to other divisions.” In follow-up posts on Tumblr, Mullenweg declared that Automattic is planning “a more focused approach in 2024,” including an emphasis on the “core functionality” of the site.
“After more than 600 person-years of effort invested in Tumblr since the acquisition in 2019, we have not achieved the expected results of our effort, which was to have revenue and usage above their previous peaks,” the memo reads. He describes implementing a backup plan to “reflect and decide what else we should focus our energy on together” without laying off staff at Automattic, which also operates WordPress.com and WordPress VIP hosting services. “This plan is happening now.” That means transferring most of a team’s 139 people. identified as covering product development, marketing, and other tasks outside of support, moderation, and security.
Mullenweg emphasized in his comment that there would be “no changes” to the Trust and Safety team that handles moderation and “in fact, we may add more people there.” On her Tumblr blog, she outlined a bit of what Tumblr users can expect to change. “One thing I hope with a more focused approach in 2024 is that we can streamline some of the additional things that were released (like Live) that haven’t seen the adoption we hoped, and focus on the core functionality that people use a lot of. “Tumblr,” he said. “We’ll probably ship less new stuff and focus more on improving existing functionality and core streams.”
Live refers to a video streaming feature that Tumblr launched in late 2022, one that gained prominent placement in the Tumblr menu but remains an apparent boondoggle for many existing Tumblr users. “We have a contractual obligation to try to make Live as successful as possible until the end of the year, and we will do our best there.” mullenweg said. “For January, aligned with the new more focused approach of Tumblr teams, we will re-evaluate whether it should continue to be part of the Tumblr app.”
Tumblr has tried a variety of new monetization strategies, including Live, a sponsored post feature called Blazea ad-free subscriptionand a paid content feature called Publication Plus. Its success has apparently been mixed. Mullenweg called Post Plus the subject of a viral “misinformation” campaign that suggested monetize fan content could lead to lawsuits, producing a backlash that included, Mullenweg said, threats against the creators who used it. “We’ve since gotten better at managing attacks and threats, with new tools and a larger Trust and Safety team, but Post Plus never recovered,” she said.
Apparently the other options like Blaze haven’t generated enough money to sustain the site. “Their adoption is so small relative to Tumblr usage that their revenue couldn’t support a fraction of the ~1,000 servers needed to run Tumblr, let alone salaries,” Mullenweg said.
“What is very clear is that our previous approach was not working.”
Tumblr is the latest of numerous social media sites wrestling with questions about monetization and focus; in some cases, such as Reddit, they provoke negative reactions from users in the process. Automattic acquired Tumblr from Verizon, which had alienated a significant portion of its base with a poorly orchestrated ban on adult content. While Automattic didn’t reverse that, it loosened restrictions and wowed many users with strange fundraising techniques, like meaningless, stackable checkmarks. His Tumblr ownership was marked by trends like a wave of survey-based games and a non-existent society built by crowds. Martin Scorsese movie called Goncharov. But it seems that has not been enough to make the site sustainable.
“What is very clear is that our previous approach was not working,” Mullenweg elaborated in another publication. “It didn’t make the business enough money to support the investment in infrastructure and staff needed to run Tumblr, and many users were dissatisfied with some of the changes we tried. There have been some personnel changes within the team, but basically what we’re saying is that starting January 1, 2024, we’ll try a different structure with smaller, more focused teams working on the core parts of Tumblr that people say they want. improve. . “We will cancel or reverse some things we tried that didn’t work.”