Tumblr competitor Posterous has announced support for reposting to blogs including Blogger, WordPress and any blog that supports the MetaWebLog API and Really Simple Discovery API. This feature comes in addition to existing support for posting to Flickr and Twitter.
The forwarding support also allows users to select which services they want their entries posted to, according to MG Seigler at Venturebeat. For example, if you wanted a picture posted to Flickr you would email email@example.com, Tumblr: firstname.lastname@example.org etc.
I am a Posterous fan, and I use my Posterous blog to post interesting emails (link) that I want to share without writing a post. The addition of forwarding is a handy value add, but it doesn’t make immediate business sense. Posterous is, at its core, a hosted blogging service with a focus on ease of use via email. As a hosted blogging service its number one business goal is to build page views by encouraging people to use Posterous as a primary, or significant secondary blogging destination. By facilitating forwarding to other services, Posterous becomes an appealing intermediary to other services, but it does little to focus attention on the Posterous site. By allowing users to post to other blogs, it allows users to benefit from the easy to use Posterous posting service without ever having to visit their Posterous blog, and subsequently to share links to posted items with others. Where exactly is there a business model in that?
Of course I could be unkind and suggest that this is a content ploy with a focus on search engines. Every Posterous post forwarded to another blog is still added as an entry on Posterous, even if the blogger themselves never links to nor visits their Posterous blog. Offering this service should encourage more people to use Posterous (at least that’s what Posterous will be betting), and that can only increase the volume of content hosted, and it’s well known that the more content you have, the more traffic you usually get from Google.
Perhaps Posterous is hoping that people will switch to using their Posterous blogs after they try it as a forwarding service? Not impossible, but a risky bet.
Is Posterous grasping at straws, trying to find some way, any way of increasing their user base more rapidly? The traffic is headed in the right direction, which is why this makes even less sense from a business perspective; they would appear to be on a good thing and going well now.