Thursday, December 1, 2011

Posterous 'Spaces' Exceeding Expectations

Can I get a round of applause for Posterous? Please.

Posterous is micro-blogging site that provides a bit more information than Twitter. It allows users to post to their blog via email, adding just about any file attachment they want: photos, videos, mp3, documents; whatever you want to add, Posterous makes it easy.

I must admit, I have a Posterous, but haven't done much with it. I can see how it would be very useful to folks who do most of the posting on-the-go and need a simple interface to reduce the time it takes to keep updating.

But, what has prompted this blog post is the way Posterous has responded to user needs by creating anew social media network called "Spaces" and just how successful that new site has become.

Posterous Spaces is all about protecting the privacy of the user accounts. It was created as a direct response to users who asked for more privacy; more control over who can read their posts and a more secure environment is what they asked for and that's what Posterous hoped to give them with Spaces.

Before they introduced Spaces Posterous was doing pretty well, after they introduced Spaces their user count began to climb. And it's still climbing. In fact, they tripled their user rate.

I would like to think the success Posterous has had catering to their users needs would be a signal to other social media platform to stop working against their users, but that seems unlikely. Sites like Facebook and Google+ already has a built-in system that works for them, which is to say it is making money. Changing now just to be good to their users might end up costing them money, which makes it seem very unlikely they will.

However, this does bode well for the future of social media. New social media sites are popping up like mushrooms after a spring rain. Perhaps they will emulate the success of Posterous and cater to their users needs instead of forcing them to accept whatever they get.

In September, San Francisco startup Posterous introduced Spaces, an updated take on blogging that emphasizes privacy and controlled sharing. The company had noticed that private blogs were growing much faster on its network than public ones, and decided to emphasize privacy features as the core of the service.

Two months later, Posterous executives say they like what they see. The service, which has 3.9 million members, says it is adding users at a rate of 15,000 every day - up from 5,000 a day before they switched to Spaces. They also say that users are engaging with their site more, with private spaces four times more active than public ones, according to founder Sachin Agarwal.

"We've really seen both our existing users and new users latch on to the idea of controlled sharing," Agarwal said from the company's Mission Street offices.

Posterous also commissioned a study on "the state of online private sharing." Its findings support the idea that people want more options for sharing online. Among the results of the company's online Harris Interactive poll, which interviewed 2,014 social-network users in the United States:

Click here to read the results of their poll.

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