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There are no free lunches

... But here’s a free blog platform committed to harnessing the true social power of the Internet

tech reviews Updated: Oct 19, 2009 20:23 IST
Dhamini Ratnam

Blogging platforms are not new. In fact, some such as Blogger and Wordpress — the big daddies of the Indian blogging scene — have been around for a long time, offering free publishing services to millions around the globe. So the question is, when Washington Post does a piece on ‘Freemium’ services (that is, an online venture that offers free and paid services), why mention a blog platform that we anyway take for granted as a free ‘premium’ service?

Here’s why. Sachin Agarwal, CEO and co-founder of Posterous, the platform mentioned in the article, does intend to turn it into a pay-and-use model in the near future. But, it’ll only be a paid service for those who want to use it like that. “In the future we’ll start charging for features that our ‘pro’ users (businesses, technically advanced users) really want,” he said, in an e-mail exchange. A few years ago, Agarwal found himself increasingly “frustrated with the products and services that he was using” online. The Internet, he realised, wasn’t as enabling as it seemed. “I had a blog on Blogger for years, but fell into the standard trap of not updating it frequently enough. Then I wanted to post more photos, but I had to use Flickr. It was a mess,” he says.

Riding the wave
With more and more people turning towards microblogging sites like Twitter and social networking sites like Facebook, Agarwal realised that apart from creating a blogging platform that made posting of text/ photos/ videos/ music simpler, the need of the hour was also to try and bring the blog closer to most networking sites.

In July 2008, Agarwal and Gary Tan started Posterous, which let people email their posts in (Just mail post@posterous.com, from any email id, and they’ll reply with a link where your mail has been posted.) It also allows those posts to automatically get ‘auto-posted’ to other Websites, like Facebook and Twitter among a host of others, by selecting the autopost option. There is also a Posterous bookmarklet which, once you add to favourites, allows you to copy and paste text, or share other aspects of a website you’ve visited, and liked, directly to your Posterous blog.

“You can attach images, video, audio, documents, anything at all. We convert everything to the most Web friendly format and publish it online, for free. You don't even need an account to use Posterous,” adds Agarwal.

“We're not a tumbleblog, we're not just a family blog. We can be your business blog, your corporate Website, anything you want. We'll give you all the tools you need to run a rich Website,” he says.

Convergence issues
However, there seems to be a problem with the site’s autoposting link to Facebook, which a mail from the company clarified yesterday, was a network connection issue with Twitter that ended up affecting all their autoposting. The issue, the mail added, is resolved.

Furthermore, you can’t post from the website. However, you can add tags through mail by putting a double bracket. But the promise the site holds out — which is where its appeal lies — is it’s ability to reduce all postings to one or two clicks of the mouse. And like the best services on the Internet (even though the execution offered a bit of a problem), this blog site, too, is free.