Once a popular social media platform, Tumblr may now be operated by a “skeleton crew” as per the same internal memo.The memo, which has been circulating on various social platforms, states that the company has not achieved the expected results from their efforts.
The parent company, Automattic, plans to focus more on the core functionality of the site in 2024. This decision appears to be a significant shift from a previous leak over the summer, which claimed that Automattic was planning to introduce a TikTok-style algorithmic feed to the ageing site.
“After 600+ person-years of effort put into Tumblr since the acquisition in 2019, we have not gotten the expected results from our effort, which was to have its revenue and usage above its previous peaks,” reads the memo.
The note reveals that majority of the 139 employees will move to other Automattic projects, leaving only a small group of Trust & Safety and support workers to manage Tumblr. However, the note also suggests that the company is trying to handle the transition in a way that avoids job losses.
When asked about the possibility of Tumblr shutting down, Mullenweg stated that Tumblr’s previous approach was unsuccessful in generating enough revenue to support necessary infrastructure and staff. Due to this, some staff changes have occurred, and a new structure will be implemented from January 1, 2024, consisting of smaller, more focused teams that will improve core aspects based on user feedback. Some unsuccessful changes will be rolled back.
“What’s super clear is that our previous approach wasn’t working. It didn’t turn around the business to make enough money to support the investment of infrastructure and staff needed to run Tumblr, and a lot of users were unhappy with some of the changes we tried,” wrote Mullenweg on his Tumblr. “There have been a few staff changes within the team, but basically what we’re saying is 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 improved. We’ll sunset or rollback some things we tried that didn’t work.”
In the aftermath of Elon Musk’s acquisition of Twitter, Tumblr experienced a brief resurgence in popularity as Twitter users sought a new social media platform. However, in July, Tumblr’s CEO, Mullenweg, revealed that the platform was losing approximately $30 million annually.
Founded in 2007, Tumblr was acquired by Yahoo in 2013 for $1 billion. In 2019, Automattic, the parent company of WordPress.com, purchased Tumblr for only $3 million.