Twitter buys Posterous for more sharing expertise

Steven Loeb · March 12, 2012 · Short URL:

Four-year-old start-up becomes the sixth acquisition by Twitter in a year

Twitter has a long history of gobbling up start-ups, and today it swallowed yet another one. This time it's blogging and sharing platform Posterous. Both companies announced the acquisition Monday. Financial terms were not disclosed.

"Today we are welcoming a very talented group from Posterous to Twitter," said the Twitter team on the company blog. "This team has built an innovative product that makes sharing across the web and mobile devices simple—a goal we share."

Currently, there are no plans for changes to the Posterous website, and Posterous promises to notify its users if any changes were to be made.

"Posterous Spaces will remain up and running without disruption. We’ll give users ample notice if we make any changes to the service. For users who would like to back up their content or move to another service, we’ll share clear instructions for doing so in the coming weeks," the statement on Posterous' website reads. 

San Francisco based Posterous raised $10.14 million in three rounds of fundraising since launching in 2008.  In 2009 it received $750,000 from angels, such as Satish Dharmaraj, founder of Zimbra and Eric Hahn, CTO of Netscape.  It then went on to raise $4.4 million in 2010 from investors, including Y Combinator, SV Angel, Lowercase Capital, and Brian Pokorny. Last September, it went to attract another $5 million from Redpoint Ventures, newcomer Jafco Ventures and existing investors.  

While Posterous started out as a place to share mainly on the Web, it soon became a mobile platform for sharing as well. In August 2009, Posterous launched PicPosterous, an iPhone app that allowed users to share pictures and videos from their phones onto their Posterous page. In January 2011, the app was released onto Android phones.

A little Twitter history

Twitter has been gobbling up companies in the past few years, including seven from 2008 to 2010: Summize, Values of n, Mixer Labs, Atebits, Cloudhopper, Smallthought Systems, and Fluther.

In just the last year alone, Twitter has bought six more companies, including Posterous.

In January Twitter acquired Summify, a company that e-mails its users with relevant news stories. That same month it bought Dasient, an anti-malware company.

On top of that, in November of last year it picked up Whisper Systems, which provides privacy software for Android. And in August they bought Bagcheck, a service that allowed its users to create and share lists, or "bags" of their favorite things, such as their favorite albums or movies.

In what has so far has been its largest move, it purchased TweetDeck for $40 million in May 2011. TweetDeck is a program that allows users to follow their friends, search Tweets by keyword and send out their own Tweets. Almost 20% of Tweets come from TweetDeck, second only to

It is so far unclear what Twitter's ultimate game plan is with buying all of these companies, considering that at least two of the companies it purchased, Whisper Systems and Dasient, ceased to operate after being taken over, with Dasient merging itself into Twitter. Whether this ultimately means that Posterous will be able to operate as it always has, or whether it will ultimately be merged into Twitter remains to be seen. 

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Posterous is the easiest way to post rich media online. Simply compose an email to, including any text and attachments. You can attach images, video, audio, documents, and links. We'll convert everything to most web friendly format and publish it online instantly.



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What is Twitter?

Twitter is an online information network that allows anyone with an account to post 140 character messages, called tweets. It is free to sign up. Users then follow other accounts which they are interested in, and view the tweets of everyone they follow in their "timeline." Most Twitter accounts are public, where one does not need to approve a request to follow, or need to follow back. This makes Twitter a powerful "one to many" broadcast platform where individuals, companies or organizations can reach millions of followers with a single message. Twitter is accessible from, our mobile website, SMS, our mobile apps for iPhone, Android, Blackberry, our iPad application, or 3rd party clients built by outside developers using our API. Twitter accounts can also be private, where the owner must approve follower requests. 

Where did the idea for Twitter come from?

Twitter started as an internal project within the podcasting company Odeo. Jack Dorsey, and engineer, had long been interested in status updates. Jack developed the idea, along with Biz Stone, and the first prototype was built in two weeks in March 2006 and launched publicly in August of 2006. The service grew popular very quickly and it soon made sense for Twitter to move outside of Odea. In May 2007, Twitter Inc was founded.

How is Twitter built?

Our engineering team works with a web application framework called Ruby on Rails. We all work on Apple computers except for testing purposes. 

We built Twitter using Ruby on Rails because it allows us to work quickly and easily--our team likes to deploy features and changes multiple times per day. Rails provides skeleton code frameworks so we don't have to re-invent the wheel every time we want to add something simple like a sign in form or a picture upload feature.

How do you make money from Twitter?

There are a few ways that Twitter makes money. We have licensing deals in place with Google, Yahoo!, and Microsoft's Bing to give them access to the "firehose" - a stream of tweets so that they can more easily incorporate those tweets into their search results.

In Summer 2010, we launched our Promoted Tweets product. Promoted Tweets are a special kind of tweet which appear at the top of search results within, if a company has bid on that keyword. Unlike search results in search engines, Promoted Tweets are normal tweets from a business, so they are as interactive as any other tweet - you can @reply, favorite or retweet a Promoted Tweet. 

At the same time, we launched Promoted Trends, where companies can place a trend (clearly marked Promoted) within Twitter's Trending Topics. These are especially effective for upcoming launches, like a movie or album release.

Lastly, we started a Twitter account called @earlybird where we partner with other companies to provide users with a special, short-term deal. For example, we partnered with Virgin America for a special day of fares on that were only accessible through the link in the @earlybird tweet.


What's next for Twitter?

We continue to focus on building a product that provides value for users. 

We're building Twitter, Inc into a successful, revenue-generating company that attracts world-class talent with an inspiring culture and attitude towards doing business.


Sachin Agarwal

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