Posterous Lets You Import Data from Dying Network Posterous

Posterous has been a great service in the past.  Real simple publishing.  Neato.  Amazing founders and a great group of investors.  I use it to post my mobile photos from twitter.

In a post last week Posterous, who I shall call Preposterous from now on, wrote a post “Posterous launches new tools to switch from dying platforms: A new importer per day for the next 15 days”

Dying platforms, you know, like tumblr.

Wait.  What?  Graph please (note the bigger one the smaller one is calling dying):

(update, added after publishing) or a larger graph and link since that cuts off the y axis.

Posterous vs. tumblr

That other site that is similars to yours and has a giant community of active and passionate users?  Oh yeah, that one.  Lets make fun of them with pointless dribble in hopes that this isn’t a leading indicator that we were picked last for the dodgeball team.  Ok, where were we.

But I have some beef here Preposterous staff, you call all your competitors, who are all building products to serve similar communities, dying?  I don’t care if they are (frankly, some are not advancing) but all you do here is make yourselves look like smucks.  You are now the guy at the party that everyone thinks ‘who invited him?’

Not a single user thinks “Well, over at death, I had community but no drop shadow tools.”

And community. Oh yes, the curve ball you don’t get, community. Sites are not images and posts.  They make people care.  They build relationships, far beyond commenting.

I understand that your site is email posting, and that is super simple, but don’t see how email posting is an advantage in the community space over, say, well, sending email.

The grand logic of ‘switch to us’ is great, but doing it with a pure focus on features of publishing and almost nothing about tools for community leads to a trap.  It makes you think that sites are just interfaces, features and reflections with helvetica.  The are not people.  They are not groups.  They don’t evolve.  They learn to think how cool this company is.  Wow, they are cool, they flip up their nose to everyone with weapons grade smug.

You know who they are right?  They created a dying platform called Preposterous.

Threats of lawsuits are reported, and to me this isn’t about the tools or privacy, it is about a company being a dick and the legal response to just that.  Yes, LiveJournal is slow, full of ads and isn’t the best solution, but it has helped masses express themselves, develop friendships, find meaning in life and laugh.  Saying switching to your service is fine, but by discrediting them, both the community behind them and the staff, you are also attacking the full history of the site, which, a lot of people care about.  A lot.

Keep it classy Preposterous.

While snark is fun, and this post is certainty filled with three times the legally allowed amount, there are far more constructive ways to release features.  I’m going to move all my photos away from their dying platform, for thinking a site isn’t about the people behind the tools is really the most destructive thing a startup can adapt as a mantra. Get out of the valley, there are some real people out here.

  • interesting post Hyde, thanks for pointing this out.

  • I'll be more interested in seeing what that graph looks like in a month from now.

  • Very valid point.

    I love Posterous but I have been very disappointed in the way they have chosen to handle this.

  • Hey man, they're mixing things up and going on the offensive. Sure, that kind of unvarnished ambition is gonna wrangle some folks (like you), but c'est la vie, they're doing shit and making a name for themselves. I mean, you're writing about them, so it can't be that bad a strategy!

  • Good point Andrew — As they say, “If you can't say something nice…”

  • A graph without scale does not show anything. Bummer.

  • So, what you're saying is that there's no room for machiavellianism in community? I'd agree. On another note, allow me to jump in here and ask, from where does the data come to support the pretty picture/graph here in this post without appropriate alternative text to drive home your point to a wider audience?

  • Preposterous, haaaa, i love it. i like their technology but really really hate the brand they are building for themselves and the choices they are making…

  • Lee

    This is classic 37Signals “Getting Real”:

    http://gettingreal.37signals.com/ch02_Have_an_E

  • andrewhyde

    added with link.

  • andrewhyde

    Updated the chart with a link.

  • andrewhyde

    I was already an avid user, one that thinks less of them now.

  • sphibbs

    Drastic times (revenue free startup's traffic flat lines) call for drastic measures.

  • I've been a fan and user of Posterous for quite some time. They've been really aggressive with this campaign and I'm being barraged by it. I don't need it. I already use them. I feel like they're preaching to the wrong choir.

    They should have harnessed their own community to spread the word more. If they made tools for me to tell my friends about Posterous, that would have been more valuable a way to find switchers. I know people on Tumbler, WordPress, etc. that I think could value from Posterous. Why not tap into that?

  • So Andrew, how do you really feel? #Ouch :)

    I honestly didn't think much about it. Maybe I've been working with large corporate clients too long so I just found their irreverence kind of refreshing. But I totally see your point. It's one thing to be competitive and even take jabs at the corporate guys (no one has sympathy for Goliath), but startups *should* have better things to do than pick fights with other startups.

    Sadly this is tech and we take everything way too seriously. (myself included)

  • I tend to agree with Nick Saint's opposing view on this one (see link). The startup world is a competition and unfortunately not everyone can win. Successful competitors compete to win and it seems this is what Posterous is attempting to do. Whether their “punch the competition in the face” marketing strategy works is yet to be determined.

    http://www.businessinsider.com/posterous-thinks

  • Awesome… See you on Tumblr!

  • I voted with my lesser vanity domain a while back… I dunno but posterous just didn't have the same flavor as tumblr if that means anything. *shrug*

    Everybody loves a horse race.

  • On its front page, Tumblr quotes (and by extension, endorses) The Telegraph's view of Tumblr:

    “Weblogs? Been there, done that. Facebook? It's full of kids. Twitter? That's so 2006, darling. No, the smart thing to be doing online these days is tumblelogging, which is to weblogs what text messages are to email – short, to the point, and direct.”

    Hmmn, Pot calls kettle black – pot not so clean either.

    I wonder how many Tumblr blogs have their content made up of autoposts from Posterous?

    I find Posterous is more squeezy and friendly.

  • Great post, one that I have been meaning to write myself.

    There is a fine line between being an aggressive entrepreneurial company and a bunch of dicks, for me posterous has crossed that line. I looked at their “us vs. them” comparison with Tumblr and it was just not correct.

  • agree.
    i found their whole campaign bad spirited

  • well made argument, that explains why there's any beef between the two in the first place.

    i hope Tumblr doesn't retaliate and lets the community/metrics speak for themselves.

  • Seems like they are building are very self-serving set of “import” tools on the premise of data portability… it would have been much cooler to see an inter-platform exchange tool that lets you move data around any of these services…

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