Verizon is selling blogging and meme platform Tumblr to the parent company of blogger platform Wordpress, reportedly for a fraction of the US$1.1 billion ($1.7b) it was purchased for six years ago.

Tumblr is well known for having a devoted, youthful fan base and has been home to widely publicised posts from celebrities like Taylor Swift.

The blogging platform angered its massive user base in December last year when it banned "adult content", a move that removed masses of soft and hardcore pornography from the site.

The move was a desperate attempt to make the space more attractive to advertisers after Apple blocked the app from the App Store a month earlier over the presence of child pornography on the site.


The removal of "adult content" from Tumblr outraged many users, who said the content ban would kill established communities on the site. And making the site more family friendly did have a negative impact on traffic.

New users to the site declined by 33 per cent year-over-year last quarter, according to Tech Crunch. Last month the site had 381 million total visits, down from 521 the previous year, according to Similarweb.

But Tumblr has reportedly faced a difficult five years competing against other social media platforms, including Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. Reddit has also continued to surge in popularity.

Reports indicate that Verizon had been shopping for a buyer for Tumblr, which hosts some 475 million blogs, since May.

Verizon acquired Tumblr through its 2017 purchase of Yahoo.

Yahoo had bought Tumblr for US$1.1b in 2013 but ended up writing off much of its value.

Reports indicate the latest purchase may have been for as little as US$3 million ($4.6m). Official terms of Verizon's sale to WordPress owner Automattic weren't disclosed.

"Today's announcement is the culmination of a thoughtful, thorough and strategic process," Verizon Media CEO Guru Gowrappan said in a statement.


"Tumblr is a marquee brand that has started movements, allowed for true identities to blossom and become home to many creative communities and fandoms."

Verizon had hoped to create an ad business to compete with Google and Facebook, but its media business ran into trouble.

It has cut jobs and sold some Yahoo properties, including the photo-sharing site Flickr and Polyvore, a fashion-focused "mood board" site that was then shut down.

Automattic has no plans to reintroduce adult content to the Tumblr site.