Twitter buys Posterous!

Hot on the news that Posterous has been acquired by Twitter, I have a question for you:

If you were renting a house from someone, would you pay to have a luxury swimming pool built?

The obvious answer is NO. It would be crazy. You’d be paying tens of thousands for something, which you may only get a few months use of. The home owner could kick you out right after the pool has been built and paid for. You’d also be paying to increase the value of the home owners property, not your own.

There’s nothing for you, in a deal like that.

Posterous acquired by Twitter

It was announced today that Posterous has been bought by Twitter, in what analysts see as a talent grab. In other words, the Posterous team are joining the Twitter team, in order to work on Twitter’s development. Twitter is interested in the people, not the Posterous product.

Twitter, Posterous and that swimming pool

Many people, including a lot of small business owners, decided to use Posterous as their blogging platform.

  • They invested time creating content on their Posterous blog.
  • They added the Posterous address to their marketing literature.
  • They encouraged people, including prospective clients, to connect with them on Posterous.
  • They spent money on premium Posterous products.

They will wake up today, to learn that they are likely to need to move to a new platform soon. They now have valid concerns that Posterous may be either canned, or as happened when Facebook bought Friendfeed, left to fade away as the team focus on their new project.

Posterous Users are rightly concerned

This comment from the Posterous post, which announced Twitter’s acquisition is in line with many similar comments and observations:

Your FAQ is littered with “We’ll give you ample notice before any changes or disruptions to the service and we’ll provide specific instructions for exporting your content” But you don’t provide any clear dialogue on the future of the service. Your FAQ makes it sound like you are shutting things down, but very indirectly. Can we get a more clear answer?

The person leaving that comment clearly has concerns that all the value he has created there will be lost. He knows it’s now out of his hands. He wants answers. Maybe he needs answers. However, he built his swimming pool in a house he was renting and as a result, he has no control other than to export his data today and do what I believe EVERY small business owner should do: Build a blog on PROPERTY YOU OWN.

Twitter’s acquisition of Posterous: The lesson?

The lesson here, is that for a commercial blog, you need to have control. Every free platform comes with a cost, an enormous cost for small business owners. The cost of a free blog is lack of control. For example, WordPress.com have suspended and in many cases erased business blogs, which they believed violated their terms of use.

If you are serious about developing a successful, sustainable business blog, which YOU are in control of, you need to pay for a professional solution. I use a self-hosted WordPress blog and I am glad I own it. It generates a 6 figure income for me every year and I’d be very concerned, if I awoke today and found its future in doubt, because of some merger or acquisition.

The cost of owning your own blog is low enough for any small business to cover. You can get yourself a URL (web address) for peanuts, a copy of WordPress for free and some inexpensive hosting for as low as $6 a month. This puts you in control of what could be your most valuable marketing asset. I

It will also ensure you never find yourself in the position of that guy I quoted earlier, and many others, who will wake up this morning wondering what’s going on and expecting the worst.

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