The downward spiral of the social media pioneer Tumblr continues. After the platform banned XXX content from its offering last December, user numbers collapsed. Now rumors are spreading that the parent company Verizon wants to get rid of the company. Mindgeek’s subsidiary Pornhub promptly stepped into the picture and announced that it is interested in taking over the company.
According to reports in the Wall Street Journal, Verizon currently has little enjoyment with its Internet brands, which include the former giants AOL and Yahoo. They have merged a collection of basically failed brands into a holding company called Oath.
Verizon’s CEO, Hans Vestberg, had to restructure the group several times and now puts Tumblr at disposal. Although the parent company still stands by the multi-brand strategy around Yahoo and AOL, Tumblr is not a necessary building block in the strategy of the brand portfolio. Several media speculated that there might not be a real potential buyer for Tumblr, as the competition today is enormous, Facebook pretty much dominated the market and the target group of Tumblr had long since been put off and moved on.
Tumblr’s original success was closely linked to pornographic content
Besides Twitter, Tumblr was one of the few social media brands that had been open to erotic and pornographic content for a long time and was used by the community and especially by numerous users as an outlet for adult content. The ban on explicit content was therefore a nuisance to millions of people.
The situation was exacerbated by the fact that the new rule was applied relatively arbitrarily and that the algorithm falsely classified content as a violation of the guidelines. The chaos led to a mass exodus by users of the platform, which had already been marginalized by Facebook’s eclipsing success.
Curtains up for Pornhub – White knight or predator looking for free PR?
Pornhub’s Vice President Corey Price announced in an interview with Buzzfeed that his company had a keen interest in taking over Tumblr. As was to be expected, Price stressed that explicit content would be permitted again after such an acquisition. After all, the biggest porn offering in the world and its parent company live from its growing dominance in the porn business.
If the Canadian porn group would actually buy up a once-hip Silicon Valley company, that would be a sensation that would also make the mainstream media aware of how influential and affluent the group has long been. But there is reason to fear that Pornhub’s offer is no more serious than numerous other high-profile PR stunts for which many Mindgeek companies are famous and notorious.