OK, first thing's first, this isn't quite an Utterz.com Killer--er--I
mean an Utterli.com Killer. However, it does have a lot of similar
features--so many, in fact, that I may just switch permanently away
from Utterli thanks to Posterous.com's ease of use (so far). It is
definitely a nice competitor to Utterli's features however
and a direct threat to miniblogging sites like Tumblr.com and Soup.io,
I would think. Since Posterous.com hosts all the media you send to
them, Drop.io's 100 MB limit seems kind of TheSucky (and here I was
about to start using http://Drop.io for all of my hosting).

So What Is It?

Here's what Posterous.com does: they let you blog via email, complete
with attachments. This means that you can moblog from your smart
phone or just wait until you get home to post via email. Either way,
it's one of the most simple blog tools I've ever used.

What Posterous.com Does Right

Posterous is simple. When you sign up, you don't even sign up. You
just send your first post from your email address to "post"
@posterous.com and then they send you a confirmation email--however,
even before the confirmation email is in your inbox, your post is
online. Pretty cool. From there you click on the link in the email,
set a password and then you can change your third-level domain name to
whatever you want. Mine is thepete.posterous.com (but was originally
"thepete-bwpxa.posterous.com" geh--more on this later).

Posterous cross-posts. With Posterous, you can cross-post everything
to Facebook, Twitter, Flickr, Tumblr, Blogger, your (self-hosted)
WordPress, Typepad, or Xanga blogs (or any blog that supports XMLRPC or RSD).

No mission creep. Unlike Utterli.com which tends to try to do too
much, Posterous wants to post anything you throw at it and post it as
a blog. It doesn't try to be a discussion site, like Utterli does
(poorly, I think).

Basic social networking features are represented. Users can comment
on posts and subscribe to fellow-Posterous users (Posterousers?) blogs
easily. Like LiveJournal (only with a MUCH more clean interface) you
get a friends page, or as Posterous boringly calls it, a "My
Subscriptions" page, to keep up with everyone you're following.

Allows HTML formatting. This may seem minor, but it's something that
always bugged me about Utterli.com and is one of the main reasons I'm
liking Posterous.com. I've tested blockquotes, italics, bold and href
and all work fine.

What Posterous.com Gets Wrong

Nothing. HA! Just kidding. There are a few things Posterous doesn't
do or does poorly.

For starters, they've GOT to give us control of formatting for the
look of our Posterous blogs (Posterblogs?)--I'm not talking
about the absurd level of tweakability that LiveJournal or Blogger
gives, but something simple like Twitter allowing a background change
or Flickr's limited number of arrangements for the blog's layout.
Also a way to make the text smaller and use a different font would be
great.

Not enough cross-posting. I don't know what the average number of
networks people belong to these days, but I belong to a lot. Even
Utterli.com's ample cross-posting offerings don't cover enough bases
in my opinion, so Posterous.com's is going to fall even more short.
Sure, it'll cross-post to ThePete.Com which then uses PingPress.FM
to post everywhere else, so I'm covered. However, other folks may not
have the same setup as me.

Sidebar control is non-existent. It would be real nice if we could
have access to our sidebars so we could add links to blogs written by
people who have yet to start blogging on Posterous (should we call
them "Pre-Posterous"? ;P ). Also a way to add Google Adsense would be
great, too. I'll never switch away from my self-hosted
WordPress install (as much as I'd LOVE to) if there's no way to add
ads. Just seems unfair to provide content with nothing in return but
free hosting. Wouldn't it be great if we made money off of the same
web pages?

I like my media on top. Back when Utterli was still Utterz I remember
they had a major rev to their site and suddenly media started
appearing after the text. This made no sense to me from a design
perspective since usually the picture or video is the focus of the
post. Why bury it by default? After an email from me and other
dedicated users, Utterz put the media on top again and I'm hoping
Posterous will see the same light or at least allow us to choose
whether we want it on top or on the bottom (hey, too each their own,
right?). In the meantime you can edit your post on the Posterous.com
site and move the media where ever you want, but that's a huge PITA if
your liveblogging an event on-location.

Why can't it just start a blog with the username of the email I send
from? I mean, really?! When I sent my first post via email I thought
"How perfect is this? I can start a new blog, maintain it and don't
ever have to use a computer!"

As I mentioned above, I ended up with thepete-bwpxa.posterous.com.
What the hell mess is that? To change it, I had to confirm the email
on my laptop, log in, add a password and only then could I make the
change. I suppose I could have confirmed everything and tweaked
everything via my iPhone, but like all mobile browsing, that would
have been another PITA (though a smaller one).

But think how great it would be if you're on vacation and you want to
start a whole blog dedicated to a particular new thing you've found
while away from home. You don't have your laptop, but you do have
your smart phone. You want to start posting right away, but thanks to
your new blog's domain being a mess, you can't exactly email all your
friends saying "check out my new blog on sailfishing at
steve-sdfhfjih.posterous.com!"

How about a nice simple solution to it? Like adding numbers to the
email's user name, just like AOL? Then it'd be
"steve123.posterous.com" or something like that.

In the End...

In the end, I'm really keen on Posterous.com. If they'd address my
concerns I'd be very likely to switch permanently to them from
WordPress. After four years trying to keep sane with a WP blog I am
ready for a nice, simple change. But I still want more control (and
Google ads). So, while I suspect this will soon be my permanent
replacement for Utterli.com (which I have serious interface issues
with), it won't be my dream-blogging tool until they take care of some
stuff.

Just my ¥2, as always.

Yes, this blog entry was posted through Posterous.com :)

See? Wouldn't the pic below be better up top where it'll catch your eye more?


Posted by email from thepete's posterous