How Product Hunt Will Help Tech Fans and Investors Be a Little Lazier
Among the tech industry’s deeply held priorities is the constant pursuit of shortcuts and ways to save time—just look at the slew of so-called “on-demand” startups it has birthed in the name of time efficiency.
So it shouldn’t be a surprise that Product Hunt, an online bulletin for discovering new tech products and a Silicon Valley darling, has built an automated software bot for Slack, a workplace chat app and fellow tech industry darling. The purpose of the new tool: to automatically feed its users all the new submissions in the categories of their choice, like drones or email apps, right into Slack’s interface.
That’s right, dear product enthusiasts and investors—that’s one less website you have to constantly monitor in order to stay up to date. Everything you’d want to know will just come to you, right inside that workplace app that consumes your days.
Since its birth in late 2013, Product Hunt has become a popular website among tech industry enthusiasts, entrepreneurs, journalists, and even investors. They frequently drop by the website to check on the latest product submissions, discover a useful new app, and interact with those products’ makers and other users (or at least skim the discussions). In the past year, Product Hunt has expanded from its flagship leaderboard of tech products to include games, books, and podcasts.
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The startup’s crafting of a tool for Slack is only the latest small addition to its online bulletin board in an effort to continue to keep its audience hooked.
“A ton of people in the Product Hunt community use Slack every day (it’s one of the reasons why Slack is one of the most followed topics). We also surveyed our community and asked ‘Why do you use Product Hunt?'” founder and CEO Ryan Hoover told Fortune via email, adding that many users said it helps them stay current on new products as they work on their own startups and projects. “So we decided to focus on the business use case, giving people the opportunity to get notified when new things launch in topics they care about.”
Slack has long let outside developers connect their services to it tool, helping users check various work tools right from its interface.
Back in March, Product Hunt finally added “topics” in which any items on its site can be categories, sort of a tagging system (users can also create “collections” whose themes are more free-form). These categories are now the basis for the Slack tool, serving as the topics users can sign up to receive notifications about.
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Last week, Product Hunt also debuted a “buy” button for some products in partnership with General Electric, its long-anticipated first foray into significant revenue. The company has been collecting affiliate fees through iTunes and Amazon for while, according to Hoover, but its new button could mean heftier commissions from sales it helps drive. Hoover declined to share how much revenue the new button has generated so far.
Questions about revenue have long swarmed around the startup, which continues to say that it’s currently focused on growing its user base and improving its product instead of monetization. Still, the questions are valid as Product Hunt is a venture-backed startup ($7.1 million in total funding), bound to eventually be expected to provide a return for its investors. Online communities have also found it significantly challenging to make money, as Digg and Reddit can attest.