Wordpress owners buy Tumblr (Update: for "less than $3m")

But for one thing, the porn will not be back.

I guess it’s hard to revert that kind of policies on a marketing point of view, but I will not be surprised if they get more and more lax with its enforcement.

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Compared to other sources for porn, Tumblr was a good source for porn, while not being limited to just porn.

If I had 4 millions, I would have bought it at that price.
The brand itself, known by at least two billion people, must be worth more than they sold it for.

There’s a market for Smutr©.


Can I finally share animated GIFs of my pussy again on Tumblr?

(If not, I’ll do it here.)


Apparently, you pussy photo (at over 4096KB) was too detailed for Boing Boing. :face_with_hand_over_mouth:


Many years ago a friend and I were debating what the difference was between porn and erotica.

My answer was “About $20 per month”.


Smut, porn, erotica. . . who really cares what it’s called? They’re just words, the only negative connotations are what folks are mentally applying to them. For a number of years I ran a “smut writers” group for folks self-publishing erotica and porn novels and we all loved the term. Personally for me, there’s a wonderful tinge of that old time erotica, with burlesque dancers, pinups, and nudist films on flickering black and white reels, etc. I feel like it harkens back to an age when we were beginning to more openly explore sex and sexuality in all its glorious permutations after a few decades of forced moral temperance. Porn and erotica were the eventual outgrowths of smut, the descendants of a hidden movement that eventually burst open. You can only deny people sexual expression for so long before it forces its way out again.

Smut is a great word. Don’t diss it.

Back to the topic at hand: so they’re getting Tumblr on the cheap, but they are NOT apparently going to rescind the anti-smut policies? Well so much for that. Tumblr will remain deceased in the eyes of most, and the folks who have moved on elsewhere won’t return. Once again, puritanism wins out in America.


It’s not just $3 million. It’s $3 million plus hiring 200 new people, in addition to the present staff.

If the tumblr users had crowdfunded to buy it, who would have run it? Who would pay the staff? Is the site even making money?

Just so - “smut” is almost wholesome in a way. It suggests a fallible humanity.

Here’s a word or two on the subject from 70’s Australian band Skyhooks with “Smut”: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IbOB9PaLutw

When I was a kid my girlfriend’s mother fiercely disaproved of this song, but nevertheless went around the house humming it to herself.

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…and an internal voice adds…
“Who would feed the Oompa-Loompas?”

Or is that just me?

Seeing as it lost 99.73% of its value in only 9 months, in a year and a half you’ll be able to buy it for $22.


“Smut! I love it!
Ah, ‘The Adventures of a Slut’
Oh I’m a market they can’t glut
I don’t know what
Compares with smut.”

[“Smut”, Tom Lehrer]


I feel this is necessary.

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Already regretting letting Susan Sontag guest blog…


Ok, but in the next breath you say you ran a writers group. Wouldn’t you say that words do matter? That context and nuance is important? Some people do get overly hung up on semantic quibbles but I think this is a pretty valid discussion going on.

You do raise a good point framing it how people who actually write that stuff refer to it. I imagine that nostalgia is somewhat rose-colored; a prudish culture has kept the realm of adult entertainment outside of public respectability and had to run rather seedy as a result of it.

Getting back to semantics, I think smut is a fine word but the usage may require the context. In wider usage the connotation is negative. But with a wink and a nudge and acknowledgement of a certain subversiveness it can be re-embraced.

And this is completely backwards.

The essence of smut is “What is effable?”




I think Tumblr had everything, smut, pron and erotica. Mind you, that’s just what I saw when I wasn’t reading random blogs about Warhammer, or comics, or Kerbal Space Program, or strange fan-fic etc.

Whenever someone says “Oh, Tumblr was all porn”, I mentally translate it to “I only looked at porn on Tumblr”. I’m sure there’s some people who never even realised there was anything even slightly risqué on Tumblr because all they ever looked at was recipes.


I’d love to see the smut return and the pornbots banned, but that might be too challenging on a technical level. Ironically, I feel like the porn filter only improved my long abandoned erotic blog. All the obviously porn-y content is removed, leaving only the weird sex-adjacent perversions (and plenty of dicks).

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I get the sense that for Wordpress it’s not so much a business opportunity as it is a chance to put one last bullet in this particular competitor to make sure they stay down.


I’m not surprised Wordpress’ parent company isn’t going to undo the anti-porn policy. Part of the problem was that bots started flooding the site not only with the typical ads that weren’t even dressed up to look like legitimate content but that they also spammed porn and porn sites. I say this as someone who was following quite a few porn/smut artists and performers on Tumblr but I think Tumblr having a content limitation might save it if and only if they apply it with an anti-bot policy on top of it. That way, it can become a good place for artists and similar content creators to share their work.