Tumblr CEO Karp Exits Company He Founded

About a decade after launching Tumblr, David Karp is walking away from the blogging platform.

In a note to employees, CEO Karp expressed confidence in Tumblr’s current leadership team and the future of the site. Yet, Tumblr’s best days are likely long gone, analysts suggest.

“Tumblr has been very below the radar for a while, so it’s unclear to me what they have been doing the last couple of years, let alone what they may have been planning on doing -- if anything -- as part of Verizon,” said Pivotal Research analyst Brian Wieser.

Tumblr was absorbed by Verizon as part of the telecom giant’s acquisition of Yahoo, which closed earlier this year.

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Before that, Yahoo bought Tumblr back in for 2013 for $1.1 billion. The deal, orchestrated by then Yahoo head Marissa Mayer, was supposed to return the aging web portal to relevance. That never happened.

What sank Tumblr’s fortunes? Along with top-down mismanagement, analysts have speculated that the platform failed to reshape itself for a mobile universe.

“A big factor is that Facebook, Instagram and Twitter are more successful at catering to mobile audiences,” eMarketer analyst Oscar Orozco suggested in a 2016 report.

By eMarketer’s estimate, Tumblr’s domestic audience amounted to about 23 million users last year. By contrast, Instagram -- which cost Facebook about $1 billion to buy boasted about 90 million U.S. users last year.

More concerning still, Tumblr has lost traction among the young users who once considered the platform to be pretty cool.   

Late last year, research conducted by the National Cyber Security Alliance and Microsoft found that only about one-quarter of U.S. teens still used Tumblr.

As for Karp, his is not discussing his plans for the future.

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