Product Hunt isn't necessary to grow a successful business - in fact, it might even hurt you.
As a Startup Founder looking to launch your product to the masses, Product Hunt has long been seen as the holy grail: a central point where millions of your potential customers lay tittering, waiting for the next great product to adopt.
You’ve heard the success stories of companies making it big on the backs of a successful PH launch — Airtable, Hunter.io, etc. Product Hunt “hunters” (i.e people with tons of followers and a wide reach) are barraged with dozens of pitches daily, from eager founders begging them to hunt them. Go through SaaS FB message boards and there’s damn near support groups for Product Hunt “failures”.
We were those founders — eager to make our mark in the SaaS world, we found a great hunter with a ton of followers to hunt us. When the big day came, we did it: we made it to the frontpage, peaking in the top 3.
The results were amazing: we got thousands of paying customers in an hour, launched an ICO, bought a yacht and sailed away to Aruba. Yeah, not really.
Don’t get me wrong: we got a lot of traffic, several thousand hits, and ended the day with +$7,000 in MRR.
Then 3 weeks later, most of those customers were gone.
PH customers are not good customers.
Not all of course, but PH tends to attract the “ooh, shiny” early adopter types. They’ll sign up, play around, and you’ll never see them again (until 3 months later, when they come asking for a refund because they forgot they signed up). Churn rates are extremely high — our average customer churn is around 10%. PH customers churned at a rate of nearly 50%.
Product Hunt can be a great way to generate buzz and early adopters for B2C tools. For B2B products, though, we haven’t found it particularly useful (across several product launches) for another other than validating an idea.
In fact, Product Hunt can actually hurt your business.
PH recently rolled out a “reviews” feature, where anyone can leave a review on your product. The problem? Anyone can review your product, even those who explicitly say they haven’t used it.
What happens after that is when people google your company, it shows the Product Hunt “review” which is absolutely nonsense and not a reflection of your product quality. Take Slik.AI for instance — A YC backed leadgen tool that’s counts Google among its many happy customers.
When you google Slik.AI, this is what you see:
Because over-opinionated Product Hunt commenters, who have never used the product, gave them a poor rating (because they disagreed with lead generation and cold emailing), they now forever rank as “1.9” when you google them.
This is horrible UX, and our several attempts at getting Product Hunt to review this dark pattern have failed. Your entire business’s SEO is at the mercy of their broken review system —the average listing gets 4 or 5 reviews at most, so even 1 or 2 of these bad apples can forever plummet your SEO.
For consumer tech startups, Product Hunt can be a great way to gain an early following or generate buzz. For a B2B company though, the time spent on a successful Product Hunt is simply not worth it.