Half of the team that founded Etsy, along with a former Etsy and Amazon.com product manager, have quietly launched a new startup. Postling is a centralized platform for small businesses to publish to the social Web.
The pitch is that it’s a single place to do all your social media work. If you’re thinking it sounds like a clone of other multi-network social media apps, you’d be only partly correct. By signing up on the site, businesses get a single place to blog, share photos and post to social networks. With no free option, it’s clearly positioning itself as a business tool and not a place for social media addicts, like FriendFeed or Ping.fm.
Social Media Labor-saving Device
Chris Maguire and Haim Schoppik are co-founders of Etsy and now make up the engineering side of Postling. CEO David Lifson was a product manager at both Etsy and Amazon.com previously.
Its value proposition is to save time for small businesses that want to test the social media waters. You publish to a variety of platforms and networks, and all your activity is also aggregated in a central Postling blog hosted on a subdomain. There’s a free 30-day trial for the service, but after that it’ll be $9/month or $90/year.
Once you sign up and connect your accounts, Postling offers a simple interface for four basic activities. In trying out all of them, we quickly saw that although Postling has the right idea, it is definitely still in beta.
Status Updates: You can selectively post updates to Twitter and Facebook. Nothing really special here, since it’s not doing anything that TweetDeck or Seesmic Desktop can’t do for either of those networks.
Blogging: Postling supports posting to your WordPress, Blogger, Typepad, or Squarespace blog. On the one hand, it was extremely fast and easy to write and send off a post. But there were some bugs and missing functionality, such as poor image handling and no ability to add categories in WordPress.
Images Uploads: You upload images to include in posts, and you can also upload them to Flickr. Instead of images alone, it’d be really nice to upload videos and integrate with YouTube, Blip.tv or Vimeo. Online video is a medium growing in importance for many businesses, especially small ones which usually can’t afford big production costs.
Share a Link: This task was the most confusing. Most social media participants use social networks like Twitter and Facebook for link sharing, or they use social bookmarking. But it appeared that “sharing a link” as a separate function meant composing a blog post.
Turn the Bullhorn Around
It’s easy to forgive bugs in a service less than a week old. But there’s one thing that is glaringly absent from Postling right now: the ability to receive updates and then publish them.
Though it looks like the team at Postling is working on listening capabilities right now, until they show up, the service will be of limited utility. In the near future, be sure to look for new features that will flesh out Postling as a social media tool for business.
Tip of the hat to Bre Pettis.