Posterous co-founder and CEO Sachin Agarwal announced today on the official Posterous blog that the company has been acquired by Twitter. The terms of the deal were not disclosed. Both Twitter and Agarwal said in blog posts that Posterous will remain operational for the foreseeable future, but also point out that users will be provided with options for migrating their data elsewhere in the near future.
Posterous, which was founded in 2008, went head-to-head with Tumblr, another bare bones blogging platform, and by all accounts, Tumblr was leading in terms of uptake and use after getting off to an early head start. Co-founder Garry Tan left the company in early 2011 to join Y Combinator, and the startup pivoted in September 2011 by introducing Posterous Spaces, which mimics Google+’s Circles privacy controls and also provides users with greater control over customization.
At the time, Agarwal told the San Francisco Chronicle that the Posterous team “found that what really resonates with people is the ability to control what they’re sharing and who they’re sharing with.” Facebook also has introduced similar privacy controls that allow for limited or selective sharing, so it’s conceivable that those controls could be part of what attracted Twitter to Posterous as an acquisition target.
In email correspondence, however, Twitter representative Rachael Horwitz said that “most of the” Posterous team will be joining Twitter, “working on several key initiatives across the company,” so the acquisition could just be about growing Twitter’s talent pool rather than expanding their content offerings.
An interesting third possibility is that Twitter is looking to develop a new aspect of its product with a bit more permanence. Facebook has its Timeline, and Pinterest’s popularity as a social collection tool also has a significant archival aspect. Twitter’s more transient nature arguably leaves a lot on the table in terms of appealing to that archivist desire in users. With their recent acquisition of Summify, Twitter could be looking to give users a place to discover and curate news and other content, and Posterous could be the vehicle to do just that.