Posterous Down! The Startup Graveyard Continues to Fill Up


Once again a beloved, free social startup has denied it is for sale, only to be immediately swallowed up by a company known for breaking its toys.

Posterous, 20 Days Ago:

We have absolutely no plans to sell, shut down or go anywhere anytime soon. We have a strong business model, private investors, and have plans to launch an optional paid subscription service in the future…


Posterous, Today:

Big news: Posterous has been acquired by Twitter!

The opportunities in front of Twitter are exciting, and we couldn’t be happier about bringing our team’s expertise to a product that reaches hundreds of millions of users around the globe.


The Social Startup Finger: Reading Between the Lines

It’s clear that this is a death knell for Posterous lovers, if you just read their post with a critical eye:

… we couldn’t be happier about bringing our team’s expertise to a product that reaches hundreds of millions of users around the globe.

We (“our team”) be working on Twitter, not on Posterous.

Plus, the people at Twitter are genuinely nice folks who share our vision for making sharing simpler.

If we were truly excited about this acquisition, we’d have something nicer to say than “nice.” Isn’t that nice.

We’ll give users ample notice if we make any changes to the service.

We will. We’re just not announcing it yet.

For users who would like to back up their content or move to another service, we’ll share clear instructions for doing so in the coming weeks.

We’ve brought up backing up and migrating to get you used to the idea. Posterous is going in the bye bye box. And Mommy is playing on the roof.

You can find more information answers to other questions you may have here.

Information and answers, you understand, in a metaphorical sense. As long as you don’t actually ask for more information or answers, we’ll promise to give them to you, y’see?

Finally, we’d like to offer thanks to all of our users, especially those who have been with Posterous since day one…

Bye bye!

The last four years have been an amazing journey.

And whaddaya know, it is the destination.

Your encouragement, praise and criticism have made us better. Thanks for that.

Kinda sorry about screwing you, but…

We look forward to building great things for you over at Twitter.

I’ll call you.

I do kinda feel bad for them.

Who sets out to spend years building something, only to discover it’s only useful monetarily as dog food — to be gobbled up, squeezed for nutrients, and shat out by a larger company? Nobody.

It must suck.

That’s why I encourage my students & readers to build a sustainable, profitable business firstthen grow, if that’s what they want.

Posterous was losing to Tumblr in just about every way. That was the game they chose to play.

Posterous was loved; they probably could have become a business with a paid product. Their user base would have shrunk further, though, and that doubtless wouldn’t result in an outcome their investors wanted. Investors don’t actually want you to be profitable.

But if you play the social startup game, you’re playing winner-takes-all. And as it turns out, just everybody else — founders and users alike — loses.

Get my next bootstrappy gettin-shit-done essay delivered straight to your inbox. (And be first in line for tickets & discounts.) Drop your name in the box!


  1. Noah Gibbs

    And Mommy is playing on the roof.

    Somebody other than me has heard that joke! And I wasn’t even the one to tell it to them. Woo-hoo!

    • Amy

      Yes! :) Seems like most people know it from that John Maxwell book, but I read it in a Big Book of Clean Jokes-type thing when I was a wee lass. It was so horrible, it stuck with me.

  2. allan branch

    I’ll never understand why companies try to go paid first before basically shutting down. Maybe it’s a less sexy path than “selling” to facebook or twitter.

  3. Ralph Haygood

    What, no torrents of hatred in the comments here? Maybe this hasn’t been posted to Hacker News yet.

    Yes, it’s sad. I have both a Posterous (for a business blog) and a Tumblr (for a personal blog), and I do like Posterous a bit better. For me, though, the difference isn’t great enough that I would have been willing to pay for Posterous. I suspect I’m more the rule than the exception, in which case going paid would have shrunk their user base substantially.

    And now Sachin Agarwal and company will be Twitter employees. I hope they like it. I don’t think I would.

  4. YouJay

    Nice to read….and who the hell wrote that bye-bye box coz that was grotesquely insensitive and if he likes I would gladly arrange for his holiday in the bye bye box.


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