There are many platforms that promise fast results for startups. Be it Betalist, Hacker News or Product Hunt, they all follow the same principle: New products or startups are posted on the site and they get curated by users with an upvote. As expected, popular products end up higher in the list, boosting their visibility and thus being clicked even more.
At first glance, the number of companies and success stories that tracked attention through these platforms is large. Periscope gained huge attention from being featured on Product Hunt, also everyone’s favorite startup „Ship Your Enemies Glitter“ became famous after appearing on Product Hunt, and Dropbox held the top spot of Hacker News for a few days.
All these startup stories sound great and easy, letting founders/employees of other startups hope that they can get similar attention and success without great effort. Also inspired by these stories, we made the approach for being featured on all these sites – and we were really surprised by the outcome. Generating the most success stories by far, Product Hunt has been on top of our list.
How were we featured on Product Hunt?
Anyone can register on Product Hunt through a Twitter account and simultaneously post a tip on the platform. We first thought about placing Stackfield on Product Hunt approximately two years ago. A form was available at that time, through which anyone could have submitted a proposal. Subsequently, these proposals would have been reviewed by the website’s administrators. We considered this reasonable, so we filled in the form and waited for our proposal to get reviewed. After a few weeks of waiting, our product was still not listed – and so the first disappointment began. Still driven by the hope that we can make it big on the platform, we re-filled the form and waited. Another few weeks have passed until I chatted with a founder from Sweden about his new product, which I previously found on Product Hunt. He kindly explained to me that the listing of products could be initiated only by users that have previously been invited to Product Hunt and that were classified as contributors. Being a really nice guy, he offered to add Stackfield to Product Hunt and directly added me as contributor – all the weeks of waiting have been in vain, but we were finally up and running on Product Hunt. And it all took less than 5 minutes …
What did it actually deliver?
We got registered on Product Hunt on 15.01.2015, and in that first day we had 3142 visitors on our website coming from Product Hunt. For a startup this was quite a good value add, since these results would have costed a lot of money through classic marketing. However, we were once again amazed, but in a negative way: the average visit duration of the visitors from Product Hunt was only 49 seconds, and only 0.92% of the visitors had also registered – and this was at a time when Stackfield still offered free accounts respectively the Freemium-Model was still in place. But up to the present day, Product Hunt continues to bring us more visitors. One year has passed since we first appeared on the platform and we have gathered a total of 5628 visitors to our website coming from Product Hunt. However, the conversion rate remained virtually unchanged at 1.15%.
What have we learned from this experience?
Based on our numbers and other reports, we are no different than any other startup – we apparently fall within the same range of statistics. The numbers are indeed sobering and we have definitely hoped for more. However, some users have provided us with valuable feedback. Although not many have actually registered (the tracking from Google is not ideally designed in this regard and somewhat distorted the numbers), we have received valuable feedback that significantly influenced the redesign of Stackfield. When using such portals, one must always be aware of the target audience it addresses. In this case, Product Hunts’s users represent the early adopters that can provide outstanding feedback, but they don’t activate the masses.
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