Hacker News new | past | comments | ask | show | jobs | submit login
Show HN: Find journalists, bloggers and webmasters covering your niche (postbag.co)
92 points by ohsik 16 days ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 47 comments

Some feedback: the signup process is difficult. I signed up, 32-char password, but it doesn't have a special character, so I had to regen. Ok fine, whatever. Then a captcha. At least it's not one of the ones that shows a new picture each time you click so you're endlessly clicking buses or manhole covers for 45 seconds. But I get captcha, whatever.

Ok, so I sign up, and now I have to confirm my email. But...it's not a link I can just click, it's a code. So I switch back to the postbag tab, log in again, and it asks me for the code. I switch to email tab, copy the code, switch back to the postbag tab, put in the code. All a bit obstuse, but ok whatever...I'm done, right?

Nope, now I have to log in again after my account is verified.

That said, this looks really interesting and I'm excited to try it out. Thanks for posting!

Agreed, I didn't use a capitalized letter on the password and the sign up failed. The error window appears outside of my viewport so I kept clicking the button and almost bounced.

I would generally do a page refresh on signup/error, that would avoid this as I'd know something happened rather than clicking submit 10 times. But that style of web development is no longer cool, so...

- I would smooth scroll the user up to where the error box is.

- A red border around the input that failed.

Hi all, I'm one of the makers of Postbag. I just saw this thread. We agree with your comments about a bit convulted signup flow. Users already pointed that out to us and we will fix it next week. Thanks for using Postbag :)

You’ll be glad to know that Password1! passed muster.

In other words, if you didn’t already know it, this site is enforcing terrible security practice, and not trying to filter out known-bad passwords. (zxcvbn would laugh at you for trying that. Basically every site that deals with setting passwords should use it.)

The reason it’s terrible security practice is that literally most people will just capitalise the first letter, or add a one, or add an exclamation mark, so it adds roughly no security while making people use passwords that they can’t remember, so they store them insecurely, &c. Sure, people should use password managers and all that, but they don’t.

I agree, too many steps. I already logged in, why do i have to type my email again?

I did a search on the word dyslexia (my product is heavily used by people with dyslexia), and most of the top results were based on articles that did not use that word at all. They were more likely to be about autism, ADHD, or deafness. In fact, out of the 234 results, the word "dyslexia" only appeared 4 times.

Unless there is something magic going on that I don't understand, this seems like a pretty critical failing. I could do a google news search for "dyslexia" and I would likely get more relevant results (albeit without the authors' email addresses nicely formatted — I'd have to hunt that down on Twitter).

Thanks for testing beta version of Postbag. We'll check that particular query to see what went wrong.

Aren't services like this one of the reasons that publishers gets dozens of spam emails every day?

E.g. "I read your article [link] and thought this [link] would be a great addition!"

I still get around 100 emails every month to a 6 year old address that I used for publishing purposes.

Thanks for checking out Postbag. As we have replied to the other user as well, if you don't want to be included in the Postbag search, you can just email us with a list of sites you want to exclude. Or, alternatively, by disallowing PostbagBot in your site's robots.txt.

How do I block my sites from appearing on your lists? I’m already spamming a lot with product and movie pitches and last thing I want is even more.

We aren’t going to let you do that as that would defeat the benefit.

So you're going to willingly spam me despite someone else over there saying I can block? Well now we definitely are going to have a problem.

This postbag account posting here above is spam. I am the maker and as I said you can just email us with a list of sites you want to exclude. Or, alternatively, by disallowing PostbagBot in your site's robots.txt.

Btw dawnerd, do you know how to flag a an account here? I tried and couldn't find it. Someone obviously registered with postbag handle to troll about Postbag as you've seen in the previous comment. I understand your frustration when you read such a comment. Rest assured that we would never refuse to exclude any site ever.

Ah okay, cause I was gonna say that'd be pretty rude. Robots is fine, I just didn't see what UA you were using anywhere.

You can just email us with a list of sites you want to exclude. Or, alternatively, by disallowing PostbagBot in your site's robots.txt.

But I don't wanna sign up. This is competing with web search no? Because that's the UX I have in mind when I'm looking for new content.

The buttons at the top are not super obvious, but there are no tooltips to tell you what they are. So I clicked on several and got a sense of what most do, but I didn't want to click the last one (which appears to be log out). Please offer tooltips! (And consider icons that are easier to discern.)

Multiple users pointed out the tooltip issue and we completely agree with you. It's something we'll fix next week.

I tried two queries: “audiobook” and “rust programming language”.

“audiobook” produced passable results.

“rust programming language” produced 100% garbage: in its 167 Tier1 matches (I didn’t look further) not one was in any way related to Rust or even to programming; and only a few were related to languages. From the titles, most matches were probably derived from the word “rust”, though not many past the first dozen or so were about rust in any way—it was more commonly “yeah, I can imagine that rust might be mentioned once in that article”. The rest I have no idea where they came from, I can’t see how any of the keywords would have matched.

No pricing for a service that cannot remain free. This never ends well.

We didn't publish pricing as we're in beta mode now. But it's no secret the service will be paid, of course. It will be something in the under a hunded per month range.

If it's no secret pick a price.

https://postbag.co/pricing/ is now up with pricing. Freemium model with first paid tier at $99/month.

It looks like they give you a number of "credits" to do certain activities, but yeah it doesn't show what it would cost to get more.

The discovery part might be interesting to compare to something like SparkToro [0].

[0] https://sparktoro.com/

Man.. From the title I was hoping this would be a way to find people doing long form writing on niche topics.

For the site - Your primary color/white combo used for your CTAs and links doesn't meet WCAG contrast ratios. You are running the risk of hindering users by reducing their ability to read text.

Great idea! Would love to see a pricing model implemented as this is something I can see paying for.

Thanks. As we replied to the other user as well, we didn't publish pricing as we're in beta mode now. But it's no secret the service will be paid, of course. It will be something in the under a hunded per month range.

I like the concept, and signed up to give it a try. I searched for "running route builder", and after about 15 minutes it just showed "Error". I'm keen to actually give it a try though if this can be corrected!

Sorry about that. We've been dealing with a lot of traffic for the last two days and some errors were happening due to high load. We're looking into fixing these issues.

My friend is an Investigative Journalist, I'll share the link with him! Great idea.

Thank you so much.

Great job with Postbag. However, the signup process can be vastly simplified.

Coming to the lists - it's a good start. I got a few decent leads for my space. What would be great is info on their social handles, blogs, LinkedIn etc.

I've got a "Can not load stored data from the server." message when I click to open the generated list.

my user id: 67a13535-58a9-4d4a-b8bf-3dcd91b46e8f

I couldn't find any support channel in the app itself.

Please use contact@postbag.co to get in touch.

It's not clear what the icons in the top does? Tooltips or simply buttons with text when the screen is wide enough to support it would be great.

Thanks for all the support during Postbag beta launch and all of your suggestions! Interest was a lot greater than expected and we got over 800 users in 48 hours which was amazing. We described our experience at https://bit.ly/2BgxFC0

> Your password must contain at least one character out of: ~ ! @ # $ % ^ & [ ] . * |

OK, gave it a try.

1. Sign-up process has too many pointless hurdles.

If you have restrictions on the password format, mention them upfront rather than revealing them one at a time after each failed attempt. Better yet, just don't enforce any password restriction at all, until they decide to become a paying customer or there's something else on a record worthy of protection.

Error reporting on the sign-up form is badly positioned. As others already pointed out, it's just not visible because it ends up being above the page edge.

Once signed up, the page shows the "log in" link. Click on that, enter email, password, enter - it asks for confirmation, BUT again asks for email address. Ok, retyped that, copied the confirmation code, enter - Yay, confirmed - now log in afresh. This is as brain-dead flow as it gets. Instead, when trying to log into an unconfirmed account it should just verify the password and ask for a confirmation code. Enter that - get in.

This is however peanuts compared to...

2. The quality of the results.

Here are first 10 items for a "file backups" query, the News section:

    Kanbox Looks To Become The Internet File System And Storage ...
    Another 74,000 file first-time unemployment claims in Illinois
    Forever 21 officially files for Chapter 11 bankruptcy
    Another 108K Marylanders file for unemployment as virus spreads
    Intelsat files for bankruptcy protection
    Model Out of Work? Here's How to File for Unemployment
    Basketball referees, Section V file grievance over work conditions
  * Western Digital Proposes Zonefs File-System For Linux 5.6 
    How to delete your Dropbox account in 5 simple steps
    Apple Card Now Supports Exporting Transactions in OFX File Format
7 are completely unrelated, 2 are just keyword match and 1 is roughly in the right area, but still not useful.

The Blog/Web section is similarly way off:

    Coppermine: File Move Tutorial
    How to generate EBCIDC file include header and ...
    It looks like we don't support this file format. How to repair your photo?
    How to Make a File Upload Form in WordPress?
    How To Copy a File to the User's Current Profile using Powershell
    File Folder technique cards Video tutorial
    How to Import the SWMM 5 Report File as a Layer in infoSWMM
    How to Merge Mails to PDF File
    Best Free Online File Storage for Sharing Files on Blogs and Websites
    Monitoring Folders Files With SCOM OpsMgr How To Manage Devices
Not to point out the obvious, but this is not very good at all :-(

On the plus side, the JournoRequests part looks interesting, but I can't readily judge if the results are relevant and actionable. That said, I don't think Pitchbox had this back when we (fairly unsuccessfully) used it few years ago.

Thanks for bringing this to our attention. We'll get someone to check what is going on with that particular search query.

What's a 'webmaster' these days?

ohsik, how does PostBag compare to PitchBox, which has been doing literally the exact same thing for a while now?

Based on our testing the difference is in quality of matched contacts, number of matched contacts and number of opportunities per search. Also, continuous outreach with monthly web crawls is a feature we're especially proud of.

How can I sign up as blogger?

How can I delete my account?

You can email Postbag support. The email is on the contact page on the website.

Guidelines | FAQ | Support | API | Security | Lists | Bookmarklet | Legal | Apply to YC | Contact