Something for the Weekend #8: the easiest blogging platform in the world: Posterous

Assuming you want them to, how do you get people to blog? It’s a challenge facing most community editors, particularly as they seek to encourage a conversation with readers for whom WordPress or Blogger are still too fiddly.

Enter Posterous, a fantastically intuitive, quick and easy blogging platform. Scrapping the need for registration, or even the need to go onto the web, this has the potential to be a mass blogging tool – as well as a great tool for blogging on the move.

To start a blog all a user has to do is send an email to post@posterous.com.

That’s it.

A blog is created for them with their email as the first post (the subject line is the title).

It gets better: if you email photos, video or audio it is automatically embedded in a Flash player. Link to a YouTube, Google Video, Justin.TV, Vimeo or Omnisio video and it’s automatically embedded as well. Send more than one image and a gallery is created. PDFs, PowerPoint and Word documents are also embedded using previous SFTW Scribd.

As for the conversation? You can have comments emailed to you, and can reply by simply responding back to the email. And the site has social networking functions, with user profiles and the ability to follow other users if you register.

TechCrunch also reports that “new features will be launched over the summer, says co-founder Sachin Agarwal, including customized CSS and the ability to cross post to other blogging platforms.” This last piece may well persuade me to move off WordPress. It’s that good.

As for its business model: ReadWriteWeb says the site was founded with “about $15,000 in seed capital. Posterous is currently free and plans to start selling premium features in the future.”

The one downside is a potential vulnerability to fake posting by people using masked email addresses, although they would have to know what the address was first (I’m using a bespoke email address for mine).

Here are just some implications that spring to mind:

  • if you meet someone you think would be a great blogger, just ask them to send an email to that address, and forward the reply (which tells you what your blog address is).
  • If they have a document you’d like to put online, do the same (in other words, easy webpage creation rather than blog creation)
  • There is massive potential for blogging on the move – particularly the ability to email replies to comments.
  • This also makes group blogging much easier, as you simply have to register all contributors’ email addresses.
  • For example: record a phonecall interview on your N95, then email it to the blog.
  • You could set up an email feed from another blog using Feedburner or xFruits to cross-post into Posterous
  • Or simply forward emails, e.g. press releases, email interviews, that you want your readers to see verbatim.

And I’m sure there are plenty of other possibilities – let me know your ideas.

Read more ‘Something for the weekend’ posts

UPDATE: Jon Hickman has been putting it through its paces and has a list of pros and cons:

1. It doesn’t create a hyperlink in my bio where I have placed a URL

2. It doesn’t pull in feeds or sets from flickr intelligently, and create a gallery

3. Creating a gallery via email is difficult because it will be limited by how many pictures you can fit through your mail server in one go
4. Why doesn’t it even pull in individual flickr images when I post it a URL (it does this with YouTube after all).  The only way to do it is to get a link that resolves .jpg, ie click onto the image page and extract the link from the options at the bottom
5. once I have made a gallery I can’t change the pictures
6. where’s the themes????
good things;
1. easy
2. multiple email addresses support
3. rss feed – so might be useful to aggregate content that is emailable and pull into other things (like the project I’m doing with Jezz…)

11 thoughts on “Something for the Weekend #8: the easiest blogging platform in the world: Posterous

  1. Jon Hickman

    We did some extensive testing in the tree house the other day (well we played during first coffee of the day) and it works really well.

    Will be interesting to see the “premium” features and whether or not they address any of the limitations:

    see my posterous demo

    Does the business model not worry though? If the main application is for people who don’t really want to blog, or want it simple, then will they buy the features? Two levels to the problem here: (1) will the target market value the upgrades (2) if they’re less tech savvy will they be able to roll with setting up an account and upgrading?

    Reply
  2. paulb

    Jon, if you look at Flickr or LibraryThing or SurveyMonkey or any of the other ‘freemium’ based websites, 99% of users only use the basic features – it just takes 1% to pay for upgrades to make it work. You’re also assuming a static target market who will not change – instead there’s a good chance that some part of that audience will become hooked or successful and want to do more. I imagine one obvious route will be to allow people to buy domains (just as WordPress does) and take a commission.

    Also, given Posterous’ mobile potential I can see them attracting a more savvy user base that likes that angle. A one-off fee to be able to post via SMS, for example, would be something I might pay for (assuming my operator didn’t charge…)

    Reply
  3. Jon Hickman

    Yeah you’ll need to look out for those SMS charges🙂

    I think the viability is just idle conjecture on my part: until we know what the upgrades are of course.

    The thing is that the more technically skilled you are it opens up more choice for you. I can tweet via my phone, and pull that into any number of places with relative ease. I can send blog posts with pictures via flickr using my phone. I can set up wordpress to work via email, and therefore via my phone. So to get my dollars they’ll need to find a killer app that makes my life easier, or that I can’t do any other way.

    So I’m probably not the target market unless the upgrades are really really neat. The question therefore is will the people who don’t feel comfortable with other more hands on ways of doing things actually value the upgrade?

    I do overall though really like the idea and the way it works, so much so that I really want to find a way to use it!

    Reply
  4. Garry Tan

    Hi friends,

    Thanks for the great writeup.

    About the bugs:
    1) The hyperlink in the profile is fixed.

    2) Pulling in photos from Flickr individual photo links will be supported later today, and galleries are coming.

    3) Email these days is surprisingly supportive of large media types. Gmail just upped their upload limit to 20 megabytes, for instance. You can fit up to 50 or 100 photos depending on your resize level in that. We’re working on supporting drag and drop upload through the standard web-based way as well.

    4) Coming today.

    5) Coming very soon. We focused on email first but obviously you need a way to manage them once they’re up.

    6) Also coming soon, probably a bit after 5.

    So the other thing I wanted to mention is that even as we’re getting better on the blogging front, we also want to become THE way you post to all the rest of your social media.

    I am sick of having to click the Browse > Upload button 5 times for each of the sites I visit just to get a photo online, e.g. once each for Flickr, Facebook, MySpace, my WordPress blog, and Twitter a la twitpic. Posterous will let you post to all those with one email with a photo attachment. That’s a lot easier, and I think others will think so too. Think of it as a reverse Friendfeed.

    We just launched last week with the minimum feature set so that we could get better with as much feedback from great users and potential users like yourselves. Give us a few weeks and things will look even better.

    Best wishes,
    -Garry
    cofounder, posterous.com

    Reply
  5. Jon Hickman

    Wow Garry thanks for the update I’ll be keeping an eye out for the updates. if you’re on twitter come and find me twitter.com/jonhickman or please drop me a line on email via my web link so you can keep me updated.

    Just been back and updated my profile to make the link work🙂

    Reply
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  11. Yermosi

    I’ve read several of the articles on your blog currently. And I really like your style of blogging. I added your site to my favorites blog site list and definitely will be coming back shortly. Take a look at my blog also and tell me how you feel.

    Reply

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