Who needs journalists? Product Hunt, the tech-oriented aggregation site which recently raised $6m at a valuation of $22m in a round led by Andreesen Horowitz and is also backed by Ashton Kutcher, Y Combinator and Google Ventures amongst others, has found a way to bypass the press and reach out directly to users, who can post questions to the site which founders can answer; providing they know their product has been listed!
The site, founded by Ryan Hoover, allows users to log in and submit products for review which are listed in a linear format until other users vote and submit comments which helps a particular product rise to the top of the leaderboard and to the top of the day’s list.
Ok, so user review sites are nothing new but Product Hunt, which organises submissions into 3 categories, tech products, games, and books, has tapped into the zeitgeist more effectively than most, encouraging users to “geek out” and discuss items in minute detail, like they might do on Reddit or Hacker News.
Entrepreneurs are increasingly using the site to “soft launch” their new applications although there is always a risk, as with “Reply All”, an app that allows users to publish their email chats with friends, that their product has already been “hunted” and commented upon, possibly whilst still in beta and beset by bugs (although not in Reply All’s case).
Still, as you might expect from a tech-loving platform such as this, there is plenty of goodwill towards founders and much discussion. Yesterday’s top ranking app, Flinto for Mac bagged 405 votes as well as comments from 12 site users, which were, in the main, positive. On the other hand, take up seems to be a slight issue; on Sunday only 10 products seem to have been uploaded, which does not seem overly impressive given that the Apple App store is home to several million apps.
With $6m in the bank, however, Product Hunt will surely go on to scale significantly, and one major advantage it has is that investors are fans, meaning that an app such as City Falcon, which sources financial markets news using social media and crowd curation and was top of Sunday’s list with 165 upvotes, must be delighted with the free, impartial publicity and constructive criticism.
There is not a great deal of context to be had on Product Hunt currently, which means that you are either on the site because you know what you are looking for or because you fancy a bit of idle browsing, so for those founders looking to get a message across and see large scale uptake of their product, the expert opinion of an Tech Crunch journo for example, is probably still the way to go, as this article suggests. But for how long is anybody’s guess. Product Hunt isn’t going anywhere. On that note, if you want a platform that recommends products but also takes responsibility for their curation, try Maqtoob