Links and Notes - Tue, Aug 13, 2019


Allegedly, Automattic bought Tumblr for under $3 million. Earlier this decade, Yahoo bought Tumblr for around $1 billion. ?!?!?

This seems like a good move for Automattic and for preserving a community of bloggers and creatives, despite Tumblr's decline in recent years. owner Automattic says it will buy Tumblr from Verizon, take on ~200 staffers, and keep the porn ban; source says Automattic paid less than $10M - < $3 million quote by Primack of Axios.

Mediagazer discussion:

Dan Primack / @danprimack: 3/ Story updated: Price less than $3 million.
Tumblr: Automattic + Tumblr — Those of you who've followed my Tumblr …
Julia Alexander / The Verge: Verizon is selling Tumblr to WordPress' owner
Dan Primack / @danprimack: Automattic paid peanuts for Tumblr. Source familiar puts it well south of $20 million. Reminder: Yahoo paid $1.1 billion for it.
Brian Heater / TechCrunch: Verizon is selling Tumblr to WordPress parent, Automattic
Alexandra Jardine / Ad Age: Walmart removes pro-gun T-shirts and Verizon sells Tumblr: Tuesday Wake-Up Call
Sarah Krouse / Wall Street Journal: owner Automattic will buy Tumblr from Verizon for an undisclosed amount, taking on about 200 staffers
Devin Coldewey / TechCrunch: Automattic's bargain-bin Tumblr deal plugs right into the WordPress business model
Marco Arment / @marcoarment: This is pretty cool. Can't think of a better owner today than Automattic for Tumblr's huge creative publishing community.
Matthew Hughes / The Next Web: Tumblr was bought for the same price as a modest family home in San Francisco
Mark Wyciślik-Wilson / BetaNews: Verizon sells Tumblr to WordPress owner, Automattic
Eva Short / Silicon Republic: Verizon to sell Tumblr to WordPress parent company Automattic
Jack Nicas / @jacknicas: Yahoo bought Tumblr in 2013 for $1.1 billion. Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer said: “We promise not to screw it up.” Analysts were surprised. The year prior, Tumblr had just $13 million in sales. According to @danprimack, Tumblr was just sold for $3 million.
Dzanemorris / Fortune: Tumblr, Once Yahoo's $1.1 Billion Baby, to Sell for Under $20 Million to WordPress Owner Automattic, Reports Say
Dan Primack / @danprimack: Verizon sells Tumblr to WordPress parent @automattic. Pretty sure that means the future of online porn will be decided by @photomatt
Anthony DeRosa / @anthony: In case you were wondering, Tumblr's new owner doesn't intend to lift the porn ban
Todd Spangler / Variety: Verizon Sells Tumblr to Company That Owns WordPress
Mathew Ingram / @mathewi: Add that to the pile of other billions vaporized by Yahoo
Dan Primack / @danprimack: Story updated: Price was below $10 million.
Shira Ovide / @shiraovide: TUMBLR LIVES! (MAYBE!)
Bletchley Punk / @alicegoldfuss: this is what happens when you don't understand the target market of your business yahoo banned smut and tumblr tanked I expect this to be cited in articles for years to come
Cory Doctorow / Boing Boing: WordPress is buying Tumblr
@ericajoy: y'all we could have pooled our money and bought tumblr back. 😭😭😭
Steve Kovach / @stevekovach: Wonder what this means for Verizon Media's plans for HuffPost, TechCrunch, and Engadget
Chance Miller / 9to5Mac: WordPress owner Automattic to acquire Tumblr for ‘nominal amount’
Beige Shiba / @beigeshiba: Tumblr was infamous for 2 things: Pornography and Social Justice Activism. Since Tumblr was acquired for $1.1B and banned pornography under their management, we now know the relative financial value of both of these things.
Steve Kovach / @stevekovach: Verizon Media selling Tumblr for “immaterial” amount to WordPress. Yahoo bought Tumblr for $1 billion
Gavia Baker-Whitelaw / @hello_tailor: tumblr is now cheap enough that a random celebrity could've just bought the whole platform on a whim. (yahoo paid $1.1 billion six years ago.)
Karl Bode / @karlbode: One almost gets the sense that telecom companies have no damn idea what they're doing when they wander outside of their core competencies (running networks, lobbying to hamstring broadband competition).
Mark Armstrong / @markarms: Welcome @Tumblr!
@blackamazon: The minute they blocked adult material they nuked that site . It's essentially where folks post captures of Insta stories
Brooke Binkowski / @brooklynmarie: Imagine how many newsrooms $1.1billion (less $3 million) could have funded
Diego Zambrano / @workforfood: Tumblr with porn: $1.1 billion. Tumblr without porn: $3 million.
Julia Alexander / @loudmouthjulia: You: “tumblr is a blogging platform and so is wordpress, so yes.” Me, an intellectual: “let the porn fly free, my dudes.”
@hunterwalk: so, like @Caviar was worth 20 Tumblrs
Nilay Patel / @reckless: This is a good outcome but the timeline where Vox Media bought Tumblr and put @kait_tiffany in charge would have been so much more fun
Megan Hernbroth / Business Insider: Verizon is selling Tumblr to the owner of WordPress, and it sounds like the sale price is about 2% …
Prof. Kate ‘Rent Control’ Wagner / @mcmansionhell: Tumblr being purchased by WordPress is prob the best outcome
Steph Ivy Whiteside / @stephgwhiteside: 1. Is anyone left on Tumblr, really? 2. What's WordPress's position on female-presenting nipples?
Southpaw / @nycsouthpaw: I think about all the creativity that people poured into that site. What a shame.
Mathew Ingram / @mathewi: AOL/Time Warner blew about 100 times more than this in about the same amount of time
Jeff Nadeau / @jnadeau: all I'm hearing is that rolling out a half-baked ML porn detector cost Yahoo a billion dollars
Julia Ferraioli / @juliaferraioli: I am flabbergasted that Automattic is keeping the ban and policies on explicit content that led to Tumblr's current state.
Rat King / @mikeisaac: unicorn valuations are a transfer of wealth from dumb institutionalfunds and/or public company investors to smaller venture firms and founding team members
@chillmage: you love to see it (content companies not being owned by a telecom)
Jon Fingas / Engadget: Verizon will sell Tumblr to the owner of WordPress
Stefan Constantine / @whatthebit: Turn the porn back on?
Gabe Rivera / @gaberivera: Tumblin' through the years (click Techmeme permalink 👇)
Yashar Ali / @yashar: Holy cow. Tumblr was sold for LESS THAN $3 million Wild
Kelsey Sutton / Adweek: Verizon to Sell Tumblr to WordPress Parent Company
Mike Masnick / @mmasnick: Yahoo bought Tumbr for $1.1 billion in 2013, directly promising not to “screw it up.” Verizon buys Yahoo, bans anything that even sniffs of “adult” content... and then sells Tumblr off to Automattic for less than $3 million. Damn.
@dansinker: Think of how badly you have to have fucked something up for this to have happened.
Adrienne Porter Felt / @apf: I am extremely upset that no one told us Tumblr was for sale for an amount we could have Kickstarted
Aram Zucker-Scharff / @chronotope: The negative differential between what Yahoo buys companies for and what it sells them for could fund entire new startups.
Matt Mullenweg / @photomatt: Thank you, Marco! Will do our best to make you proud about this next chapter for @tumblr.
Andra Lpez / @bluechoochoo: “Mr. Mullenweg said his company intends to maintain the existing policy that bans adult content. He said he has long been a Tumblr user and sees the site as complementary to
Josh Jordan / @numbersmuncher: Verizon/Yahoo would've been better off just shutting down Tumblr quietly than having to live with the embarrassment of paying $1.1 billion to sell it for almost nothing just a few years later.
Petrana Radulovic / Polygon: Tumblr sold off yet again, adult content bans to remain in place
Bryan Menegus / Gizmodo: Verizon Sells Tumblr, Still No Porn Though
Sean Burch / The Wrap: Verizon Sells Tumblr to WordPress' Parent Company
Karissa Bell / Mashable: Verizon will sell off a porn-free Tumblr for ‘nominal amount’
Jon Brodkin / Ars Technica: Verizon selling Tumblr to owner, but porn ban won't go away
Cyrena Touros / The Week: Verizon reportedly sells Tumblr for a mind-boggling loss
Sean Captain / Fast Company: Verizon sells Tumblr for a pittance of what it was once worth
Carrie Mihalcik / CNET: Verizon to sell Tumblr to WordPress parent Automattic
Tumblr Staff: Hello Tumblr 👋Today, Tumblr's owner, Verizon Media, announced that Automattic plans to acquire...
Michael Roffman / Consequence of Sound: Sadly, Pornhub isn't buying Tumblr

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Top HN comment:

Former astronomer here! A lot of the comments here are about how this event occurred 26,000 years ago. I thought it would be useful to describe how we think about these things in astronomy.

Firstly, yes it is true that this happened 26,000 years ago! More specifically, the event happened 26,000 years ago in our reference frame. There are other reference frames in which this event occurred two minutes ago or 5 million years ago. But generally these are not useful reference frames since the Earth's reference frame is not too different from the reference frame with respect to the center of mass of the Galaxy (we are not moving all that fast compared to the speed of light).

That said, as astronomers we are not particularly interested in dating precisely when the event happened. 26,000 years is a very long time in human history, but it's not very long on astronomical timescales. Not very much has changed in the Galaxy over the past 26,000 years, so we don't gain much by dating it at the time the event occurred (with respect to the Earth's reference frame, of course). Furthermore, we wouldn't even know exactly when it happened even if we wanted to! Our clocks are very precise here on Earth, but our distance measurements to most celestial objects are very fuzzy, particularly the further away you get. Because of this, these sorts of events are always referred to with respect to the year they were observed on Earth. (Thus, the most recent nearby supernova is known as 1987A because it was the first supernova observed in 1987.)

This all changes when you are studying more distant objects though! For very distant galaxies, we are now seeing things when the universe was considerably younger and things were much different. Then it becomes important to keep the event's age in mind. For these objects we will actually refer to their redshift. The redshift can be measured relatively well, and is related to the distance and age of the event via the Hubble constant and the acceleration parameter. Measuring these parameters is tricky and is a whole subfield of their own, so we usually stick with redshift as it is more related to things we can easily measure.

A final note on the paper itself. These observations were taken at Keck on Mauna Kea. There has been a lot of controversy around the construction of the Thirty Meter Telescope, so the authors actually acknowledge indigenous Hawaiians specifically in their paper:

The authors wish to recognize that the summit of Maunakea has always held a very significant cultural role for the indigenous Hawaiian community. We are most fortunate to have the opportunity to observe from this mountain.

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