Initial Thoughts on Posthaven

So the Posterous people who are now at Twitter are creating a new blogging platform. Okay. There a million out there already. I appreciate that they’re trying to satisfy existing customers. The effort is notable, but I remain skeptical of who will pay for it. The challenge I see is that you already had plenty of people who were comfortable using a free service. People that tend to put their content at the mercy of companies that have no business model strike me as people who will just move to adjacent competing, not to mention free, blogging platforms. The Tumblrs, Bloggers — et al.

For the sake of argument, even if their goal is to go after a whole new set of customers, it strikes me as a hard sell when they really haven’t launched a product yet. You can read their pledge, which goes on to say many good things. Such things like setting up a sustainable business model and ongoing support and development of the platform. Garry Tan, one of the co-founders of Posterous has been commenting on a Hacker News thread about the launch of Posthaven. He’s already communicated that he wants the service to have many of the features that made Posterous such a compelling product. This is indeed promising, but I do have some issues with how the ad copy was written. For example, there are a few conflicting statements made which I’m quoting verbatim below.

Welcome to the easiest, most durable blog platform ever created.
This one is made to last forever.

I don’t think I’m nitpicking here when I say this, but saying “forever” is not a smart idea to put in your ad copy. You might be honest and have the best intentions at first, but sometimes priorities change in your life. For the sake of argument, let’s say they truly do not plan on going after any VC money for this new venture. Who’s to say they will ever want to or be able to run it “forever.” Gary is a smart guy, but I really think the ad copy should have been more responsibly written — lest face the wrath of more angry customers when something happens years down the line when you decide to shut down or sell your company.

Will it be $5 a month forever?

As long as we can! We’ll do our best to keep it as reasonable as possible. If costs go up, we’ll have to raise prices. If they go down, we’ll lower them.

We believe fair’s fair — and we’ll always be fair.

I have no issues with this statement. But wait a minute, look what they wrote at the bottom of the page.

Simple, easy blogs for $5 a month, forever.

Hold on a second. Just a minute ago you told me if costs go up, you may have to raise prices. Now you’re telling me your service will be $5 a month, forever. So which is it? In all the years and experience I’ve had dealing with how customers perceive your product and image, it’s best to always err on the side of caution. Unequivocally, you should be truthful and deliver what you promise without any fluff. There’s just never a need to make promises that have the slimmest of chance that you may not be able to keep. Oh, and in case you’re wondering, yes I did signup for Posthaven. I did this this to support their work, but mainly out of curiosity to see how the product shapes up.