How & Why I built the alternative platform to Product Hunt

How I built an alternative to Product Hunt & how is it different.

Picasso had a saying — ‘good artists copy; great artists steal’ — and we have always been shameless about stealing great ideas.” Steve Jobs famously referred this quote as Apples DNA in his 1996 interview. In my case I was not trying to copy or steal, but I used this as inspiration to solve the existing problem.

What was the problem? The root cause analysis:

The idea of solving the problem was not deliberate. The idea originated from my own failure. I had acquired “The Startup Button” from Ryan Heaborn (New Zealand based Serial entrepreneur ). He had previously launched The Startup Button on product hunt successfully. After the take over, I released the next version ” The Startup Button Marketplace” on Product Hunt without knowing the tricks of launching the product. With no fan following, up-votes the launch was a total failure with just 8 up votes. It made me think either the new version was not good enough or the Product Hunt community did not notice it. It did not make sense to me while the 3 previous versions of the same product were successfully launched, the 4th one failed to even attract a decent recognition. Upon further research, I found there are many factors involved to successfully launch on Product Hunt and not just the value of the product (You all know it!). I quickly learned, no matter how good your product is, if you are unable to attract the crowd and standout in the crowded marketplace then there is a high probability that the launch could fail. There were a lot of awesome products that deserved more attention and for known or unknown reasons they get lost in the algorithmic process. This was a problem. Although, the PH launch is not the the evaluator of your product sustainability and success, it could draw some traction initially
among the business community.

The idea:
There were a lot of awesome products that deserved more attention and for known or unknown reasons they get lost in the algorithm. THIS WAS A PROBLEM. I see the same problem even today.
No product is perfect and every product will have its own drawbacks. I started hunting Product Hunt for its drawbacks and it was not difficult to drill down the problems.
On the other hand, according to one study the average click-through rate (CTR) in Google Ad Words across all verticals is decreasing and moreover Ad Words is costly.
Ranking your website on search engines is even more difficult. There was a need for marketing platform for startup companies to filter out unwanted casual clicks and to advertise their products and services for serious customers looking for services online. To address this problem I strive to create a platform that was unbiased and allowed every startup an equal chance of being discovered without up votes, pay per click or impressions.

The problem and corresponding solution:

  1. Algorithm: I found the search ranking influenced by up-votes and comments to be somewhat misleading. Any up-vote on a click of a button does not guarantee good product, service or legitimacy. I never bought the idea of up-votes.
    I removed the concept of up-votes and replaced it with featured submissions. Companies will be able to promote using the featured submissions which will be featured on top of the home page or categories.
  2. Community: Factors like fan following, hunters played an important role on PH platform internal search. Some businesses could use this to their advantage. But, what about those products that are excellent but have no fan following and get lost in internal search!
    The Startup Button SEO enabled dedicated page feature emphasize on relevant searches via search engines from outside the Startup Button platform. This is going to be a number one priority as we keep improving this feature going forward.
  3. Clutter: There are just too many launches each day to fight for the top position. I streamlined 2 products. The Startup Button ( and TechStorey (http://techstorey) to remove the clutter of launches keeping in mind my product could land with the same problem of managing too many postings each day. So I streamlined Startup Button for startup companies and the Tech Storey for tech companies. A News section will be launched soon in BETA. This hopefully will make the platform more interesting for the community and a better PR opportunity option for companies.
  4. Time: Both The Startup Button and the TechStorey platforms will be launch time independent. There is enough time for featured submissions to stay of top of the home page. The minimum package we have is 2 weeks for submissions to get maximum exposure.

Last but not least, there is always scope of improvement. We are always open for suggestions from the community. We encourage our users to address any problems and concerns including the features, algorithm change or pricing.

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