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Verizon Media announces sale of Tumblr to Automattic (verizon.com)

“Tumblr is one of the Web’s most iconic brands,” said Automattic CEO Matt Mullenweg. “It is an essential venue to share new ideas, cultures and experiences, helping millions create and build communities around their shared interests. We are excited to add it to our lineup, which already includes WordPress.com, WooCommerce, Jetpack, Simplenote, Longreads, and more.”

This was a surprise for me. I’m not sure what any of this means for Tumblr or WordPress.com customers, but I think it’s an exciting development. I deleted my Tumblr account last year. I created a new Tumblr account upon reading the announcement.

Perhaps we’ll get more Indieweb features such as Webmentions. Maybe Automattic will reprise Tumblr as a WordPress powered microblogging service similar to micro.blog. It’s something a few people have suggested may be easy for Automattic to do. The Jetpack module, combined with the Conversations feature of the Reader service, would be an impressive service.

Tip-o-hat to Dennis.

UPDATE: Matt Mullenweg has a short post about the acquisition.
UPDATE 2: Some thoughts from VC Fred Wilson:

… Tumblr was both a blogging platform and a social media application and while I always loved the versatility of the platform, native mobile applications benefit from simplicity, not complexity.

There was a time around 2010 and 2011 when Tumblr was the most engaging social platform that I was on. I followed and met quite a few interesting people there and it was a lot of fun to be on it.

David Karp, the founder of Tumblr, always focused on making Tumblr a “positive” experience. That is why he refused to have comments, even though I pushed him to do it and hacked Tumblr by putting Disqus on mine. That is why he made the primary (only?) form of engagement a heart.