Tumblr Downsizes After Failing to Meet Goals, Transfers Staff to Other Divisions

Tumblr is downsizing its ambitions and transferring staff to other divisions of parent company Automattic after failing to reach goals for a new audience. The majority of Tumblr’s non-support, safety, and moderation staff will switch to other divisions, according to a leaked memo that circulated on Tumblr and was confirmed by Automattic CEO Matt Mullenweg. The memo states that “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”.

Tumblr’s downsizing is part of a backup plan to “reflect and decide where else we should concentrate our energy together” without laying off staff from Automattic, which also operates the WordPress.com and WordPress VIP hosting services. The downsizing involves transferring the majority of 139 people on a team identified as covering product development, marketing, and other tasks outside support, moderation, and security. Mullenweg emphasized that there would be “no changes” in the Trust and Safety team handling moderation, and “in fact we may add more people there”.

Tumblr’s downsizing follows its failure to reach goals for a new audience, and the company plans to focus on the site’s “core functionality” in 2024. Automattic is planning “a more focused approach in 2024,” including an emphasis on the “core functionality” of the site. Mullenweg outlined a little of what Tumblr users can expect to change, stating that “we will be focusing on the core functionality of the site, which includes the ability to post and share content, as well as the ability to follow and interact with other users”.

Tumblr’s downsizing and transfer of staff to other divisions of Automattic is a significant move that reflects the company’s failure to meet goals for a new audience. The downsizing is part of a backup plan to reflect and decide where else to concentrate energy without laying off staff from Automattic.