From "top 3% of coders" to "your product will get 1st spot if you scratch our back with a small slice of the pie or counter-promote our product with yours" to "we will only invest in you if you get referred through an acquittance of ours", the game surely does feel more rigged each day.
The upper echelons of tech sure does share more similarities with high-finance then they would like to admit...
Product Hunt is not the upper echolons of tech. It's a spam site who's founders have in the past have engaged in plenty of questionable behavior, including spamming founders of yc companies with "someone's left a comment on your product, you should respond!" emails when it was a Product Hunt employee leaving those comments in the first place.
Product Hunt is just an online catalog. I've never found it to be useful. It's basically where hackers and founders go to circle jerk each other and hope to get noticed, self declared early adopters can feel important about themselves, and more established goons get prominent placement.
It's rare, but there are some pretty shady types that get through YC. They usually focus more on "growth hacking" than actually building a useful product. Product Hunt fits right in there.
I agree, but I wouldn't say Ryan Hoover is one of them.
Having paid extremely close attention to him and his company over the last couple years, I'm in complete agreement with this comment. Whatever Product Hunt has become, it didn't get there out of malice. I suggest reading an excellent explanation of how that's possible.
Being a near complete tech scene outsider myself, my honest read is that Ryan is a decent person. If he were the evil mastermind everyone is claiming, he'd have already raised a triple-digit series B on a unicorn trajectory.
Here are the key differences between them and ProductHunt - https://www.openhunt.co/differences
From my experiences, Product Hunt is largely a byproduct of a greater scene in which this is very often the case. It is one of the things I dislike most about Silicon Valley, and is something I have tried hard to make sure I can avoid in some way or another. I have been better or worse at it at different times.
There appears to be a strong component of success-by-networking in the tech industry that I have tried to opt out of, largely because I am afraid that if I get too deep into the networking games, I will begin to lose an objective sense of what I can accomplish technically, and no longer be able to personally calibrate for myself whether or not my work can stand successfully on its own. I bought into a lot of the rhetoric of the endless meritocracy early on, and found the wizard behind the curtain is still often based upon the ol' boys club. Deciding to take this approach has probably hurt my career as a developer in many ways.
This type of stuff is why I have been afraid for years to contribute to sites like Hacker News, even though I have been lurking on this site for five or six years. It's a weird situation for an introvert, to want to be able to contribute to a community I have extracted so much value from, in hopes of adding some back to it in whatever way I can, but also being somewhat terrified of getting absorbed into the echo chamber.
Then they have this - very few people can vote or comment, others can just visit their sites even though they are willing to login via Twitter and in fact do login via Twitter. It is like a walled garden, or a house where you can take a peek but can't choose the window, or the perspective. It felt like they feed information to the visitors (their audience I mean - me, us) and the visitors are supposed to take everything at a face value.
It will be worse (kind of it already is) when PH becomes a very mainstream player of product launches.
I was a very heavy Product Hunt user at one time, but eventually I found it addicting. There's just too much cool novelty.
A new digital nomad ebook to save thousands of dollars.
A new service that will save me from writing generic web scraper code every again.
It became too much of a time sink. I really would like a 10-minute per day audio digest version.
I don't know that it has become more corrupt than it was ca. 1998-99, but I would say that the sleaze is shocking to people I tell stories to in other industries. Sleazy people are everywhere, but fast money and the apparent lack of a functioning institutional memory makes for easy marks.
I don't know if it is as bad as finance, as I've never worked in finance. I would guess not quite, for two reasons: (1) not as much money, even though the amounts have certainly grown, and (2) the environment changes more in startupland, which upsets some classes of comfy arrangements. But that's intuition-driven guesswork, with some residual loathing for ibankers for seasoning.
-Recruiting-wise, tech is clearly in the ascendancy, from the kids who genuinely want to code to the MBA types who eschew Wall Street for SOMA.
-Media-wise, tech captures a huge share of mind. Consider the hagiography of Steve Jobs.
-Policy-wise, privacy and the Overton Window. Allegations like PRISM. Censorship. Social media's role in political upheavals from the Arab Spring to ISIS recruitment.
For all these reasons it's not only shocking when people find out about tech's corruption. That corruption also matters immensely to the direction in which the world moves.
Folks like Fred Wilson and PG are doing their part to give the impression that everything is open and kinda-sorta known, which wasn't true 15 years ago.
The fact that it's still about equally sleazy then comes as kind of a shock.
Young folks in their 20s and 30s have unfortunately fallen for this narrative hook, line, and sink.
It's very sad when you think of all the wasted man hours, much of it during one's prime, spent pursuing this startup game—inspired in large part by writings from VCs like PG and FW.
PG and Sama present this picture of YC and SV being a place of meritocracy, that aspires to be free of racial or gender bias, where everyone is working on ethical world/life-changing projects.
Old-timers know this is a lie. New-comers are starting to uncover the truth themselves. Those of you who live in SV... just ask yourself how important it is these days where you went to school, what places you worked at, who you know, etc. I was at a hip SF bar the other day. Reminded me totally of DC. Everyone you meet, the same questions:
So what do you do? Where do you goto school? Where do you work?
I think the bias here goes way beyond race and gender, it's more about your connections and living in SV, so basically people who have worked at big companies in SV and been in contact with VCs or people able to introduce them to VCs. For the rest of us, we're just left out of the game. SV is just the place to be if you want to get a better chance at the startup game, something I'm personally not willing to do. Moving to SV isn't needed though to be successful as a startup but it definitely helps, case in point here being producthunt. I totally agree though that producthunt (and others) should be more transparent, this really makes them look bad and frustrates the community.
Speaking from first hand experience: after a while you kind of realize that even if you succeed, you'd have ended up far more wealthy in any true sense of the word had you instead lived those years to their fullest rather than having followed the startup path.
Think Steve Jobs, Zuck, etc.
Heh. Are you kidding? Paul Graham could post a fart on Hacker News and it'd get 1200 upvotes in 10 minutes.
PG's reputation, including on HN, is because of his essays and what he did with YC.
Where do you think they all came from?
That said, the vast majority of the new incoming class of VCs (think associates, VPs, etc.) are mostly freshly minted MBAs with 2-3 years of post college experience, typically spent at a management consultancy, investment bank (or related prestigious front-office work at PEs, HFs, etc.), or in corporate strategy for a F500.
These people are definitely smart, with great pedigrees from the best schools. I'm just not sure they know a damn thing about the nitty gritty work of building a company. These are people who sat in boardrooms hunched over excel models and used to scheduling a million meetings to discuss strategy. Not rolling up their sleeves and executing.
I say all of this as someone with this background and with many peers who fit this mold.
This is an odd racket, to say the least.
Re/code wrote a relevant article a few months back (http://recode.net/2015/06/18/product-hunt-the-startup-kingma...) about Product Hunt elitism, which I was interviewed for and the response from the PH team to the article was essentially "haters gonna hate." It's disappointing that nothing has changed since then, and arguably, things have gotten worse.
And yeah, the elitism is a thing too, but now it's pretty much open to everyone... pretty trivial to get an invite.
If they had taken a different attitude and truly tried to make it THE launch platform, they could have done amazing things. They could have democratized a big chunk of it, and still had promoted positions that could generate revenue for them.
Get used to shit like this as increasingly more MBAs flock to the valley...
For those older in the community, the archetype of the honorable hacker - does it still exist?
Hard to find the Wozs of the world in the sea of douchetastic MBAs and former consultant/bankers. My personal favorite is the wave of MBA VC Associates every summer and fall.
Recently had dinner with a founder who kept on going about his "personal brand" and leveraging that to waste other peoples' money until he struck it big!
Product Hunt is a new, closed, exclusive startup community run by a for-profit company that will eventually have to start selling you something.
Not sure why people complain about PH so much... just don't use it. There already is a perfectly good community of startup people out there that has much more incentive to stay "pure" than a for-profit one. Sure, HN isn't perfect, but fundamentally it is always going to be better than any for-profit communities.
(And also this obligatory comment: If you want to build a successful company, stop wasting your time browsing startup communities and spend your time talking with users and building your product)
None of those articles have been successful on Hacker News, despite the fact that they are materially important to many of our businesses. (When and why are businesses metrics and Stripe support emails leaked to the press? Was that against company policy? Has the issue that caused it been addressed?)
Those are the sort of questions that should be addressed in public, not in a side discussion on an unrelated comment thread.
But the actual point of my comment was that HN may have a bit of the PH filtering effect going on.
You've released this scumbag back into the pool to continue his shenanigans elsewhere.
You've covered your ass, and now he's someone else's problem, right?
I have heard several stories from small business owners who fire an employee who was stealing or committing some other crime, but they don't actively tell anyone who calls for a reference because they don't want to open themselves up to legal issues.
Even if Stripe can prove that the person did this, potential lawsuits could be incredibly distracting and expensive.
It was also penalized by the flamewar detector (because there was a super active discussion relative to the upvotes). Had we seen that we would have taken the penalty off, but it wouldn't have made much difference because that wasn't why it fell off the front page to begin with.
Until you finally launch, submit a Show HN to have your perceived turn in the sun and it completely bombs. I can see why people look to alternatives for a chance to get feedback or traction for their product, whether it's dominated by insiders or not.
I don't visit Product Hunt but have had a product top their daily list on launch and it was helpful. The equivalent Show HN didn't really go anywhere.
We sometimes invite people to repost those or (if not too much time has gone by) we give them a second shot at the front page. There's one on the front page now: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=10730695.
Helping the best content to surface is hard. Anyone who knows of a good post that deserves a second chance should email us (email@example.com). Eventually we may build support for this into the software.
The 2nd time I think it was a flagging, maybe people didn't agree it should have been a Show HN.
And it's tougher again without asking friends to give you a boost and if you're outside the main active timezones.
If there was a top bracket or sidebar that helped bring Show/Ask topics to the attention of all users, that would help IMO. There's also no incentive to upvote topics, no explicit messaging "Should this make HN front page for a bit?" or "Was this good?", so I bet many don't hit the arrow.
My experience was very different from yours. Stayed on the front page 16 hours, spot #5 for 5 hours (iirc). Similar to you, I had to work myself up to even submit it. I procrastinated 2 hours before posting. Only told 1 friend I had posted. However, I'd consider mine very successful. I did not expect it to be, because if I had, I would have increased the Digital Ocean droplet and my server would not have crashed. Of the ~5 hours I was at spot #5, my server was down almost 3 hours between 3 different crashes.
I say this on reddit often, between Show HN and PH, people give PH way too much credit. Show HN is a great launching platform, just remember who the audience is.
For example, if I tried to post my new product on Product Hunt it wouldn't do very well because I'm not allowed to post there. This blog post is arguing even if I could post there it wouldn't do well if an insider didn't promote it heavily.
On HN, anybody can post a "Show HN" and have it appear under the "Show HN" section. It is unlikely to gain any significant traffic or traction on the main site, but that is because there is a crap load of content being submitted all the time and readers have very limited attention.
I think there are a lot of smart ideas HN could do to make the front page better, and it isn't perfect. But HN wants your "Show HN" to go well, and then have you go form a company and apply to YC. A for profit community wants your post to do badly so you have to pay to get it to do well.
 Show HN: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=9992735
 PH: https://www.producthunt.com/tech/kiwi-conversations
Admittedly, it was a bit humbling to see a cat "meow" soundboard quickly surpass my project on PH -- but like I said, no regrets.
But if HN is a home to many of us, it'd be nice if it was also a viable testing ground for our new projects, feedback, etc.
This may no longer be the case; it was the case a few years ago to my knowledge.
I don't think the colored usernames affect voting ring activity much. YC alumni and startups certainly are not exempt from the penalties we put on such activity, and frequently get hit by them. The first thing we always tell YC founders is not to solicit upvotes for posts because that backfires.
Whether this privileged position leads to different treatment for YC companies is a different question -- as Dan says, they try not to be biased and potentially even overcompensate. Still, the privileged position is certainly there.
2. Again, users flag. Rarely moderators remove posts other than that.
3. Those are job ads, which have a set decay time and always start at #6.
On point 2: I've often found posts which are gaining traction on the homepage which do not subscribe to the 'scale fast'-centric belief system of YC are pulled. Most recently this one by DHH:
3. They're not all job ads. Stripe updates their API and it goes straight to #1? Come on...
3. Stripe is a rather large company that happens to be a YC company. Keep in mind that Product Hunt is YC too and you're commenting on a negative article about it currently ranked at #4 on the front page.
3. There are plenty of rather large companies that don't get as much attention here as Stripe does (I don't have anything against Stripe btw, just using them as an example in this case).
If HN pulled this article it would be pretty damning on the part of YC. The placement of this article in question does not disprove my previous points.
FWIW, I've enjoyed relatively decent success from my own product launches on HN.
EDIT: re: medium - I mistook you the first time. Apologies. My point still stands re: posts being pulled.
Oh come on now, you've been here long enough to know that HN attempts to avoid duplicates within days of each other. Of course that one was pulled when the other post of the same content had a huge upvote count and lively discussion.
Edit: ok, here you go. Long, but hard to make shorter.
Here are all the things that can make a post fall in rank: user flags, software penalties (for voting rings, flamewars, etc.), and moderator downweights. All try to optimize HN for the core value of the site—intellectual curiosity—and all are mechanisms to countervail the upvoting system in some way. Why? Because pure upvoting optimizes for other things than intellectual curiosity, such as outrage, gossip, and gaming the system.
Think of HN like a flower garden. The flowers are stories that gratify intellectual curiosity, and to have these we must protect the garden against weeds, rabbits, motor vehicles, and other things that otherwise would soon take over.
User flags and software take care of much, but not all, so moderation is needed. (We'd love to make it not be needed, but that's a hard problem.) Our criteria for downweighting come from a general sense of what attracts upvotes for reasons other than intellectual interest. It's not about what we personally believe, or have a vested interest in, or even what we happen to be interested in ourselves, with the possible exception of APL.
When we downweight, we try to use a light touch. When you see a story plummet off the front page, it probably wasn't moderators who did that (or there was a clear-cut reason, such as a duplicate). In judgment call cases, we're more likely to make a story go from #1 to #4. It's all about balance.
You may reply that "a general sense" is hopelessly subjective, and I'd have to agree, yet it's not as subjective as you might think. For example, we wouldn't downweight a substantive article about startups just because it disagreed with YC's philosophy. We might do so if it included a lot of tricks to stir up controversy. Do you see the difference? The latter is procedural; not much different than editing linkbait out of titles. If you do this job across tens of thousands of stories, and you're conscious of the obvious biases, you can mostly guard against them, especially since the same patterns come up over and over.
Not sure if I've succeeded here in getting across the gist of what we do, but I hope it helps a bit.
As for #3, that's an easy one. We don't give YC startups extra favor when it comes to boosting stories. If a Stripe API went to #1, that was because the community heavily upvoted it. We also are less likely, not more, to downweight stories when they are critical about a YC startup, such as the thread we're currently commenting in.
For those who don't know, they're a group on Twitter who organize brigades against what they perceive to be tech bro culture on HN.
A surprising thing about HN is that the flagging system works remarkably well compared to the voting system. You'd think (well, I'd have thought) that they wouldn't be so different, but they are.
HN is mostly fair, but don't trick yourself into believing it is completely fair.
A lot of comments here seem to be assigning moderation as bias.
That isn't valid when the linkbait nature of titles entices uses to upvote content they otherwise would not have.
Sure, HN isn't perfect
I'm pretty sure they already are. See any ads on Product Hunt? Turns out the entire site is an ad. I wouldn't at all be surprised if companies like Microsoft paid PH to get on the front page.
I'm almost never harsh to a fellow founder but I thank God Ryan Hoover doesn't weild much influence. Wrong hands to expect equity or fairness.
I'm following up with you about your post on PH.
There is insane bias towards outsiders of the club. Here is my case in point.
I submitted my startup https://callbase.co up to FIVE times and it was never approved. However aircall.io a competitor has made the front page TWICE in that period.
Of course having a handle @OoTheNigerian does not help :D
As at the time my second submission was being rejected, Mattermark's Newsletter was making the front-page as a product (1 of 5 http://www.producthunt.com/tech/mattermark-4#!/s/posts/matte...). Yup, ridiculous. (i have absolutely nothing against the great work Danielle is doing).
This is one of several.
I sent Ryan (copied) a stongly worded email after several ignored ones and he "offered" to allow mine through on a weekend. Lol.
This is just a case in point how hard outsiders (I live in Lagos, Nigeria) find it in the quest for success. Silicon Valley is a meritocracy but you have to be seen first to be considered. No?
Of course, it is his platform and can do whatever he wants with it. However, it should be clear to him what he is doing. Perpetuating the cycle of the powerful being more powerful.
It would be nice to see the demographic representation of his all powerful voting clique.
After reading this Ryan may (or not after seeing this) now go posting about us when we may be asleep or not ready.
Great write up BTW!
And I think you've just made Product Hunt insiders a lot more popular...
Go back a few years and everyone used to talk about their struggles getting featured on TechCrunch; I didn't believe it was make-or-break back then either.
Yes, it is like TechCrunch :).
We ended up being featured on PH's front page after one of these "insiders" found us on twitter, and posted us. Had no affiliation to us. Got hundreds of upvotes, and thousands of users to try our product out. Over time we lost all our PH users, but the feedback from them was awesome, and is likely what has kept us around 6 months later.
So not the sole reason, but definitely a significant one.
In place of a valuable app/product, what the consumers would get is a lemon.
Do people take PH seriously?
Just as a consumer, in my mind PH is just a place with some links to newly launched "stuff".
People seem to want to hit the top of PH and HN but at the end of the day both are probably as valuable as a medium-popularity subreddit if you're just looking for advertising. One difference being that HN comments have always seemed more (for lack of a better word) worthwhile.
Ryan Hoover has not only outsourced VC product discovery, he has outsourced its class system too. It's incredibly disheartening to be outside the loop, trying to get your product noticed, and submitting it to what you think is a free system only to have other products by well-connected insiders block it out.
When I saw Hoover and Jason Calacanis congratulating each other on Twitter I knew immediately what was going on. Despite multiple emails, Hoover wouldn't even give me access so I could comment on competing products. I'm glad this is coming back to bite him and his investors too -- they went along with it.
I don't expect anything to change because sites are a reflection of the personality of the people who run them and Hoover has already shown he is completely corrupt. Meet the new boss, same as the old boss.
Even if I gave you a magical power where anytime you wanted your site would simultaneously be posted on Techcrunch, #1 on HN and #1 on Product Hunt, it probably would make no difference in your success or failure. The bosses and gatekeepers are the people that try your product once, and decide if it is better than the 500 things they are already doing in their lives.
You can spend your whole life getting caught up in the perceived unfairness of it all, but that isn't going to help your company become any more successful. The tech press (and quite a few startup communities) are sirens that call you in and try to sabotage you in every way possible. Just ignore them, or at least minimize how much they are affecting your mental state.
(1) Your ability to raise early-stage funding
(2) Your ability to hire engineering & product talent
Getting these two things won't guarantee success, nor will not getting these things preclude it. But there is a pretty strong correlation when you try to scale.
I'm sorry but that view is cynical and overdramatic. Have you ever tweeted @rrhoover? He's actually a pretty cool guy and very in touch with the community.
AFAIK no one got comment access by asking... (at least in the early days) you got it for being a creator or being granted comment access by another commenter. Doesn't everyone have comment access now?
An independent contender in the war for eyeballs/voice in the hacking/tech/entrepreneurship community -- how exciting! I would imagine while their motivations might be similar to what YC wants with HN (distribution, influence), they could possibly open up and serve new members in the ecosystem that aren't, can't, or don't want to be a part of the HN/YC pipeline.
Building a working group of heterogenous independent sources to serve new and exciting topics is important to breaking out of the echo chamber we so often create for ourselves within tech. I was hoping Product Hunt could bootstrap the entire venture, stay clean, and true to the spirit of a meritocracy.
Then they went through YC, and now I see the same "influencers" there as I do here, with the same system in place to promote their own vested interests. It just makes me slightly sad that the pressures of succeeding create collusion among players in this market, thereby perhaps obscuring the potential for new/interesting/different emergent technologies/startups to thrive.
Among my peers, over time PH has become less of a community set out to serve the good of the people, and instead has become more of a pipeline for quick sales or testing new ideas, leaving a feeling of what can only be described previously as the "Tech Crunch of Initiation".
Product Hunt has essentially supplanted Tech Crunch in the YC/TC relationship of yesteryear, albeit to an even more perilous extent. Products are no longer vetted by working professional journalists, whose obligation should be to the consumer and not the producer, but rather by the very product's investors, advisors, and "insiders".
We therefore must ask what is the value-add here? Is it truly a wonder that it proves marginal, and perhaps even detrimental, to the long term success of the startup community as a whole?
He seems like a super well-intentioned person, so I'm surprised to read all of the commentary here on HN. Am I being duped by some Product Hunt scam that I'm completely oblivious to?
The people Product Hunt tapped with editorial control were given that power because PH thought they would best serve the needs of their audience that way.
And like most such networks it starts off as a relatively egalitarian deal, but rapidly accrues winners and barriers to later entrants.
The lesson here is that if the existing networks are closed to you, then you should go ahead and build your own.
And then someday you too can be accused of being an evil mastermind ;-)
Someone submitted my site to PH a couple months ago, it got up-voted 20+ times in that "upcoming" area but never was moved to the front page. I believe it ended that first day with more up-votes than some of the products that were featured.
I reached out to the PH guys on twitter and they told me to get more people to vote for it or something to that effect. I noticed a few of products jumping straight to the front page without the upcoming purgatory.
I have read a number of comments writing these issues off to the fact that PH is a "for profit" company. I think that is a bit too jaded an opinion to have no expectations for this to ever be different. My understanding is that Reddit does not suffer these same issues. I think a for-profit venture could actually benefit greatly by being transparent. I think it would take founders that are looking further down the road than the PH guys appear to be and not getting caught up in the immediate gratification of glad-handing and being part of an 'inner elite.'
Full disclosure, I still look at PH pretty regularly. :-p
Product Hunt, as noticed in the article, requires shennanigans to be successful. The real problem here is that PH presents itself as a meritocracy when it really isn't, and it has mislead naive entrepreneurs into thinking a given product is "good" when it truly isn't.
minimaxir is talking about the small repost-bump that some posts get.
Reddit is reasonably resistant to that sort of thing by its userbase as well. Reddit is not resistant to marketers with budgets who can produce quality content masquerading as users. And tbh, such content creation/curation by such people is beneficial to the community precisely because it contains a certain level of quality.
The only place I've found that not to be true is in smaller subreddits where a single digit number of votes is enough to push content up.
Hacker News does function similar to PH tho but [unlike PH] its both open and obvious. [i.e. Everyone knows who the list of YC companies are]
Exactly. YC doesn't even attempt to hide their favoritism of their own companies on HN (an obvious example is only letting YC companies post job ads). My comment was more about understanding that favoritism and rigged systems are real, not that they are right or wrong.
Some other things people sometimes think we do, like promote or penalize stories because they're YC-related, we consciously err on the side of not doing. That's the #1 rule of HN moderation and was literally the first thing pg taught me about it.
ProductHunt is not.
Transparency in the favoritism allows one to operate with full knowledge of which parties benefit.
In terms of submissions getting to the front page and disappearing, that's a different issue entirely than insider privilege (namely, highly selective rule enforcement). The subreddit /r/undelete captures these incidents.
Mostly what they're selecting for is "is this of interest to our audience" - of which said audience is currently mostly free tech / designery / social type things (even as they start to add more categories).
While it's nice to be featured, it's quite unlikely to bring you a large amount of traffic and/or signups. A submission to a decent sized sub-reddit will likely drive 2x the traffic that ProductHunt will, a submission to BetaList more signups and a front page HN post 10x.
If there's a reason to get featured it's to try and get some feedback from the community (if they're your audience) as they tend to be quite helpful.
It appears in this instance my general cynicism of all-things-Marketed is confirmed.
But what would an alternative world look like? Is the industry trapped in some product placement local minimum?
What if we could trust online reviews by default? Would the same industry make more money or less, or would it just go to different people?
Often, defenders of invasive advertising say "it informs people of products which are relevant to their interests". Shouldn't then advertisers promote integrity in their other Marketing venues as well?
It's like a boy's club where they pass around the neighborhood bike for everyone to ride, only to find another one after they're all done riding it.
Even more so, I've seen more "here's a landing page, we haven't even a git repo yet, just trying to validate the idea, so give us your email" shit on PH than I would on Reddit.
Product Hunt, in fairness, has the same do-not-ask-for-upvotes clause in their FAQ, but given the amount of people blatantly asking for upvotes on Twitter (https://twitter.com/search?q=product%20hunt%20upvote&s=typd) I am doubtful that policy is actually enforced. It's free publicity, after all.
I'm pretty sure this is not true (certainly the method you mention doesn't work), but if you think you know counterexamples, please send them to firstname.lastname@example.org. We have put a ton of work into counteracting promotional voting a.k.a. voting rings, and genuine counterexamples (i.e. voting rings that defeated our software) are super valuable to us.
Again, eager for counterexamples if anyone knows of any.
By the way, when pg added that feature years ago, he actually added two features: the colored usernames, plus a page for stories submitted by YC founders. The latter really did have a voting ring effect, and when we figured that out we got rid of it.
Has anyone seen any value come from PH?
Real value? Sales increased a few thousand percent for one day.
I've had some submissions tank and not make it out of upcoming and had others make it to the top. The goal with PH seems to be to make sure quality stuff is making it to the top and they seem to do a decent job of that (not all the top submissions are some VC backed product with advisors pimping them, mine is bootstrapped and I posted them myself).
You're never going to make everyone happy but I'm sure they will continue to do more to give people a voice without destroying the community.
Really what should tip people off even more is the inability to comment. If the viewers of the site can’t actually interact, since commenting is only allowed for “approved" users, they should realize that the whole thing is just a scam.
See any ads on Product Hunt? See any monetization strategies? Oh wait, the whole website is an ad, and only those in the know or those who pay will get featured.
0 - https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=7980403
1 - https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=8047647
Finance and the stock market is rigged the same way. A select few (the rich) get inside info, reporters and analyst write and give positive/negative spin on companies and profit, traders screw their customers, it is everywhere. Different market, same behavior.
Looking through old threads I found this cracker of a post in reply to Ryan about their "anti voter ring policy" - which his tweet seems to counteract. https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=9932641
Or maybe this is a case where now that I know the name I'll see it everywhere. Funny how that works sometimes...
I don't get why people think PH owes them in any way. Yes, it's all about curation. But yes, anyone could post there, provided they have a good product and they socialize a bit.
And this is what this is about. To me, PH is a social network for founders. They show off their project, discuss it and get feedback.
To all the people blaming how it's not egalitarian: would you create a twitter account, avoid engaging with anyone, then complain nobody is following you?
The same applies than in any social network: if you want people to get interested in what you're doing, start with being interested in what they're doing, and chat, a lot.
That's not to say that the sharks don't do a huge dog and pony show of promotion around their products, though.
I guess it's possible that these people were paid to lie about the show, but it seems like Shark Tank is one of the most realistic reality shows.
This can't be entirely true. I see featured posts on PH that are nothing more than "Version 2" of some previously featured "products". But the links go to the same place.
Oops having read the article - wow - Payola Hunt! https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Payola
PS: Apparently you have to email email@example.com
The benefit of Reddit/HN is that there's a much higher probability of content that would otherwise not be noticed become viral.
Are some of these folks so powerful that if you tweeted at them that they're backing a corrupt bro-club you'd lose any chance of funding?
0 - https://www.producthunt.com/about
This can be useful for future projects (such as finding funding), to increase their standing in the SV community, and to establish themselves as marquee valley power brokers.
In this sense, it doesn't make much sense to add more transparency and voting control to ordinary users.
This is pure speculation and assumes the worst. So take this with a grain of salt.
Fair critique is fair game. The OP, for example, made an effort to be fair. But comments like this one, that assume the worst about someone and try to paint them in an ugly light, say more about the commenter.
We've detached it from https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=10740521 and marked it off-topic.
I think my critique is fair, though the delivery could use improvement (hence my edits).
PH is a for-profit company that helps users discover new products, yet controls and hides the process for how voting, submission, etc., work. It's a fair critique to question if the point of PH is to derive value for themselves from establishing themselves as gatekeepers rather than generating value in a more "normal" sense.
Meritocracy, transparency, and fairness are values that are particularly held in high esteem in the valley and here on HN. So I think those who run contrary to this, should be exposed to the harshest of scrutiny.
We need to keep each other honest. RH might construe this as "hating" but I think it's fair game.
I've met Ryan, and my impression was that he's a true enthusiast—he just loves this stuff. And there's strong objective evidence for it too: someone who was primarily interested in building a rigged system for insider gain would never have been able to get a community going in the first place. Real online communities are rare. It takes a believer to start one.
As for PH now, I don't know any details, but from other experience I can guarantee you that the challenges in getting it right are (a) harder and (b) different than one would imagine. Reading a thread like this about one's baby (which it's possible Ryan may) is a hard experience, but at least if the criticisms are substantive, you can feed them into your efforts to improve. When someone just seems to be saying mean or generically cynical things, though, that sucks.
I don't know Ryan, but I've been observing PH for some time now. My opinions and thoughts are from these observations and those of others in the community.
I'm sure Ryan is a good person, with good intentions. Those good intentions stands in stark contrast to how PH works today. There have been other PH critics and from what I've seen RH has not been super open to those criticisms, and in fact, even going so far as to dismiss any critics as "haters" (which I think is a bit of a mislabel since many of his critics are in fact fans that are just opposed to the lack of transparency).
So I think given, its fair to address these failings. Perhaps I can use nicer language, but I trust that Ryan is a mature adult and can take it.
I do see your point about people saying mean things and how that can hurt, but c'mon, life is not fair or kind or nice. And we're not delicate butterflies.
Putting ourselves out there (to be celebrated and vilified) is part of the very nature of entrepreneurship / creation. I see the problems of suicides and mental health in our community (and I've definitely experienced and am still experiencing it first hand), but being overly cautious in our words to not-offend is not a solution to this problem. Somewhat off-topic but related, South Park this season did a great job of making fun of this.