They’re also launching the feature that effectively made Posterous a serious competitor against Tumblr in the early days of micro-blogging — e-mail-to-post.
Posthaven is a basic blogging platform that’s meant to last forever, because it is member-supported at a cost of $5 a month and not venture backed.
The product is a labor of love that Tan and his old co-founder Brett Gibson started furiously working on once their old company was bought by Twitter. Tan had left Posterous for Y Combinator in January of 2011, more than a year before Twitter acquired the company in March of 2012. It was a classic founder’s disagreement over the direction of the company.
Once Posterous was sold, Tan deliberated over how to keep the service alive. When it became clear that he couldn’t buy back the product, he decided to take a different route and launch Posthaven, a place where old Posterous users could migrate all of their work.
Instead of raising venture funding, Tan’s keeping Posthaven as a permanent side project that co-exists with his day-to-day work as a partner advising Y Combinator startups.
“Posthaven is like the anti-rocket ship,” Tan said. “We’d certainly like it to be something that a lot of people use, and if we keep working to make it a great product, that will happen. But we don’t want to trade off stability and the ability to stay online in exchange for faster growth. That’s really what outside capital is — a lot more growth, but with some expectation of return.”
Now the company’s picked up enough paid users to reach profitability, he says. That will fund the server space and development of new features like multiple contributors, email subscriptions and theme customization.
The big feature this week, however, is e-mail to post. That was what jumpstarted Posterous’ traction to begin with about five years ago.
“It resonates with non-technical people because it doesn’t require learning any new behavior,” Tan said. “It was really something ‘normals’ could use.”
Back in 2008 when Posterous was founded, smartphones and apps were also new, so people were more familiar with e-mail as a way to post content off their phones.