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My company's first SaaS app. Thoughts? (peterpings.com)
38 points by fookyong on Jan 1, 2013 | hide | past | web | favorite | 42 comments

Could this also work for an already-established but un-marketed company? So it's not strictly a "launch email" but just a press release?

My site[0] first launched almost 18 months ago and had a fair bit of buzz, but I never did the marketing-to-tech-blogs side of things. There are a few new things I want to push out first (company blog, etc.) but do you think your service would be suitable for it?

[0] https://openexchangerates.org

Btw - great work on the site, looks lovely.

yes absolutely! I should make that clearer - it's suitable for any "newsworthy" event, like a launch or an update or if you previously have not liased with the tech blog community.

That said, as I've elaborated in another post, it's quite closely tied to the iTunes API right now so if you're not an iPhone/iPad app it won't work for you. We can work on that though!

Great stuff, thanks for the answer. I'd pay for this service in a heartbeat if it was demonstrably suitable for any tech product or web service.

Ideally I'd love to see a "successful campaign" case study, which would show the emails somebody sent out for their product, and some of the resulting press they got from it (I understand it would vary based on the quality of what they're selling, but it'd be nice to see their email virtually reprinted on LifeHacker or TechCrunch etc.)

Best of luck and I'll check back in a month or so to see if I can make use of it!

Thank you so much!

From this HN post it's pretty clear that there's some demand for an "any app" approach. We will get to work :)

Totally agree about the case studies and when there are some noteworthy ones you can bet we will show it off on the homepage. Typical chicken/egg issues preventing that right now though!

Totally agree. I've been building a rails web app and have been trying to work out how to do the PR. I'd be super keen to see your site cater for the web and not just iPhone.

Also, love the design. Clean, crisp and very simply and elegantly tells your story. Well done.

Well I'll be the guinea pig. Just gave it a shot with one of my apps that I was planning on doing a New Years resolution press release for (it's a debt tracker). I'll be sure to give an update of how it works out.

awesome! I'd love to hear your thoughts. Email me anytime at yongfook @ peterpings.com

How are the submissions sent. Is it all automated or you send it manually

On the Publisher list page you say:

"We send your notification via online forms, emails, twitter and exclusive partnerships."

This sounds like you are doing it manually.

Good service though :)

Ah thanks! We should make that clearer.

For each publisher it breaks down to one of these methods:

1) submission via their online form. we do this automatically via POST.

2) if their form has a captcha, we queue it for manual submission by a human being (most don't have a captcha though - it's just the big guys)

3)email. the majority of sites encourage submissions via an email address.

4) twitter - worst case scenario is we tweet their account for you

5) publishing partner. similar to (3) email, except the publisher can set their preferred time to receive.

All of the above except (2) is automated. I'd guesstimate that for about 95% of the publishers we support, the submissions are all handled by the software. We want to build it as scalable as possible.

For us (a two-man shop) 2013 represents a move away from B2C stargazing and client work (iphone app development etc) - and a move towards scalable software services.

This is the first step!

Congrats on shipping, I really think this is a good market.

Any chance that you can personalize a few of the emails sent? I might want to add or remove a few things only for some blogs.

definitely more tools are on the way for that purpose. we want to strike a good balance between hands-off awesomeness and ability to tweak.

Youngfook, congrats with launching another online venture. I'm your "follower" since the days of OpenSourceFood.

The most important question I raise with submission services (like your PeterPings and AppLaunch) is that followed traffic would not be targeted.

"Why A Link from TechCrunch Will Not Make You Rich" - this excellent article by Rob Walling better describes this issue: http://j.mp/VXJoDp

Thanks for the support!

I'd answer by saying that we are not a "make you rich" service. For that, we'd be charging a lot more!

Distributing your information to various sites just increases the chances of you being discovered. The more you put yourself out there, the more you're likely to be reviewed or mentioned or shared. This is PR 101. It's not going to turn you into a millionaire overnight, but it's just one of those things you should be doing.

That article leaves out an important dimension: time. Sure, one blog post isn't going to net you hundreds of sales. But over a long enough timeline, could it net you dozens of sales? What if you multiplied that by 150+ different sites? This is long tail / long term.

Peterpings takes the time/effort out of this thing that you should be doing, so you have more time to dedicate to product development, or a more creative marketing campaign!

Makes sense... As a customer I'd use PeterPings for boosting traffic in hope that it converts few sales time over time, but I wouldn't be relied on it.

Excellent comment, sir!

Congrats on the app launch (To give a different take on someone else's comment; I've been a fan of yours since you introduced my girlfriend to puchi puchis years ago!)

I'm curious about how you time all of this. Do the 170 invitations get sent out simultaneously (Bar the manual captcha ones), or is it more staggered?

e.g. Could the big fish like Techcrunch and such expect to be notified first normally, or is it a blast to everyone?

I'm also curious what your plans are to keep your service's reputation with the bloggers on the receiving end intact (The fact it is paid for, and not too cheap, really helps this I imagine), but anything else you have in mind? e.g. Do yous do any kind of filtering of the submissions?

haha puchi puchi... blast from the past.

the way Peterpings works is you set a time that you want your notification to be delivered and it delivers in the publisher's local time.

So if you say "I want publishers to see this at 9am on Monday" - the UK blogs will see it at their Monday 9am, and the US blogs will see it at their Monday 9am. And so on.

Delivery time is super important, as me and my co-founder have experienced many times first-hand.

As for reputation, you're right in that there is a natural filter, that being cost. Beyond that we have thought about narrower targeting / filtering but in the end it has to be up to the blogger. The more blogs we introduce, the more tools we will create for those bloggers - for example to only receive a certain genre of app notification (e.g. games). And we will always be transparent about the number of blogs that your notification goes to. Nobody wants to know that they are sending something to a blogger who doesn't want to receive it.

Ah I didn't realise that about the timings, that's a great solution. I definitely like the sound of localising that to each blogger.

The filtering tools sound great too, it's great to see yous already have plans for that area. Looking forward to seeing how it progresses, best of luck!

Congrats on shipping!

Only nitpick - it looks like you charge transactionally (pay as you go.) Wouldn't that make this NOT a SaaS app?

Best of luck! Might give it a shot with my product.

doh! what's the correct terminology?

It's still a software service even if it's structured transactionally.

great idea. if you're finding that sales go up dramatically too quickly you might want to consider raising prices to weed out shitty startups. your service is only as good as how your partner publishers value the stories you submit. one way to mitigate that is by having a high price floor that only "serious startups" will pay for.

Looks cool! How specific to iPhone/iPad apps are the email templates? I could see it being useful for web apps too…

Right now it's pretty specific to iPhone / iPad.

Reason being, in order to pre-populate the templates for a customer, we search the iTunes API and grab data about their app (screenshots, name, price etc).

I guess to support "any" app including web apps, there could just be a manual override for this step. I'll put it on the ideas list!

Please do that. I just opened up my app today (http://www.poe3.com), and when I saw this I was like WOW! But then it asked me for the iTunes app name. :)

It sounds like I'm not the only one here who wants to use this for marketing a web app - do you have some sort of a mailing list I can subscribe to for updates? I'm sending you an email directly but if you do I'd like to subscribe. If not you may be missing a charm!

sorry to reply late but if you sign up I'll add you to the user mailing list - we'll be notifying all users when we add Android and Web app support!

I like this concept. I tried to signup to give it a try with my iPad app iJuror but it looks like the App Search only looks for iPhone or Universal apps. Is there another way to go about adding an iPad only app?

just added ipad support!

Great, thank you. Best of luck with this venture.

I'll be using this for my app launch in February. Just so I'm clear, your app has to already be approved on the app store? So you could time your app launch date and Ping at the same time, or nearly the same time?

Well, during the last few weeks i tried to imagine an easy-to-implement but also effective online PR service: i think you definetively realize a great solution! It is simple but really functional. Congratulations!

Signed up, I don't have an iPhone app so this won't work for me. Would like to delete my account but pretty sure there's no way to do that on the 'my account' page.

what kind of app do you have? we're just getting started :)

Can this work for web / SaaS apps?

Why is it iPhone App marketing? A lot of the publications write stories about android and web apps as well. Trying to focus on a niche?

nope, trying to launch! :)

At launch we support iPhone / iPad apps.

but Android is definitely in the works - after all some of our publishers are Android-only.

How does a publisher get on your list?

it's hand-curated right now but we will definitely open it up a bit more publicly at some point!

if you have a suggestion of who to include, let me know at yongfook @ peterpings.com

Pretty cool. How are your sales going?

just launched like a few hours ago so it's a little early to disclose :) we've had a few early adopters who signed up for the beta last month open their wallets, but it looks like HN hasn't driven any sales yet! ;)

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