Hunting the Hunters – Tips for Releasing on Product Hunt

Last week, our company Merchbar (the online retailer for music merch) released our first product, the Merchbar iPhone app. We had a great experience with Product Hunt and wanted to share a few observations and things we learned from our experience.


Its not exhaustive and based on a sample of one so jump in on the comments if you’ve released, participated or having something to share!


1. Reach out to the PH team. Tweet them, email them, post to them on PH or hit them up through the website. They are hustlers that want you succeed. After talking with Erik we were able to record a Product Hunt podcast, a win for both of us.


2. Plan to spend time on Product Hunt. If your product is well received, there will be good questions from informed product people that you won’t just want to up vote or only say “thanks”. You’ll need to think about and write good answers and that takes time. Kevin Rose’s introduction of Tiiny is a good example of great participation.


3. Product Hunt is small enough that you don’t have to astroturf to hit the front page. Hacker News is a great resource for startups but it’s a pretty poorly kept secret that it takes some astroturfing to hit the front page. That isn’t the case on Product Hunt. First their limited focus allows for them to keep the total volume of posts low enough that so don’t have to break the top 2% of posts to be seen. This allows you to focus on things other than gaming the system.


4. It’s pretty fair. While there is an invite system, all posts look the same to all members. There’s no special flagging of power users or different views for people to support others in the club.


5. Be engaged and be engaging. Voting and commenting both make a difference in ranking. Check back frequently.


But beyond that, the PH community is informed and interested so its a great chance to learn about your product. For exmaple based on Bora’s idea we are releasing some test collections based on genres today.


Here’s the conversation that got us there.


Merchbar - Official music merch on Product Hunt


6. Be sure you set the link to where you want people to go. One mistake we made was that the primary link on our post went to our homepage when we would have preferred it link directly to the App Store.


7. Get in when the gates open. Product Hunt goes live at 7am PST. Be on time. Our embargo had been set to 8 so we didn’t release on PH until then. Even an hour late makes a big difference. Don’t be late so you don’t have to catch up.


8. Fight to make the top five. Top five make the email above the fold. The top 10 make the daily top 10 (that are basically the leaderboard forever afterwards).


9. Support Helps. Tell your friends, advisors, investors, team that you are going to be on that day and ask them to be involved. We send a link via email a few days ahead and asked them to set a calendar reminder to engage with us. Then we sent a note that morning as well.


10. Check back for a couple days since your product can still see more traffic and questions. There can be more questions and voting you may want to see.


11. Definitely include as part of your launch strategy. It isn’t just the number of people but the audience. Those are some gangster avatars that voted up Merchbar.


Merchbar people that voted up merchbar official music merch

11. Use a link shortener so you can accurately track your traffic. We were just slammed and forgot (but since the post was directed to our website we saw all the traffic through referrals – if we had done it right, we would have lost it all in the void of the appstore).



Product Hunt is a great place to release your product, but its also a great place to engage with smart people, learn more about what you are doing and get ideas for new features and new perspectives.



Have you launched or participated on ProductHunt? Hit us up in the comments!

Need a new hoodie? Check out the Def Jam 30th Anniversary Store on Merchbar.

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