Being a one-hit-wonder can be just as detrimental to an entrepreneur or company as it is to a music artist. Ryan Hoover, founder and CEO of tech product site Product Hunt, is hoping that won’t be his fate.
After successfully building and growing Product Hunt during the past year and a half, Hoover and his team launched the site’s first offshoot community on Thursday, Product Hunt Games. As its name suggests, it’s open to games of any kind, from smartphone apps to games for consoles, to board games.
His hope is that the new community will do for gaming enthusiasts what Product Hunt did for tech enthusiasts. First launched as an email newsletter, Product Hunt evolved into a website where community members could browse, submit, and discuss the latest or best tech products. It’s now a go-to source for entrepreneurs, enthusiasts, investors, and journalists.
“We tried to take some of the learnings from Product Hunt and apply them to this community,” Hoover tells Fortune.
The central element of Product Hunt’s success arguably was Hoover himself, whose presence catalyzed the site’s community. For the Games site, that person is Russ Frushtick, a co-founder of Polygon, the gaming site published by Vox Media, and a former writer for MTV News. As its leader, Frushtick will be in charge of sending out email newsletters, working to involve the makers of featured games into the discussion threads, keeping an eye on the content’s quality, and finding new and better ways to keep and grow the new site’s particular community.
The bigger question is whether Hoover can monetize his new investment. He maintains that revenue isn’t yet a priority for Games, but with $7.1 million in venture capital funding from investors like Andreessen Horowitz (partner Steven Sinofsky sits on Product Hunt’s board of directors) and Google Ventures, turning his company into a growing pile of cash is undoubtedly a goal. One option for a business model? Taking a cut of paid downloads or subscriptions to games that Product Hunt drives. Another? Advertising. Product Hunt has demonstrated itself capable of driving traffic and generating leads; in the last 30 days, Product Hunt’s site led to 3.5 million clicks on featured product’s websites, Hoover says.
But even so, turning a community into a successful business is no small feat, and many that have come before Product Hunt have seen their fair share of troubles. Digg, co-founded by entrepreneur Kevin Rose in 2004, eventually deteriorated after drastic product and business model shifts drove away many of its core users. (It has since revived its fortunes.) Reddit, co-founded by Product Hunt advisor Alexis Ohanian, saw its previous CEO resign last year and is most recently navigating how to police online harassment while remaining a forum where users can freely speak.
Product Hunt has much ground to cover before it faces these challenges at that scale—but for Hoover, they’re lessons worth consideration.