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Growth Hacking Notes (tedna.sh)
43 points by nodemaker on July 26, 2013 | hide | past | web | favorite | 27 comments

Okkaaayyy, I can see why this might seem like a good idea to you. But I don't see how it's in anyone's interests, including your own, for you to talk about it. If this becomes widely practised, you've killed the source of trust you were exploiting - and if this becomes widely practised it makes it more difficult for users to find out about things that are worthwhile.

Now you might say something to the effect of: "Oh what's the harm? I'm just getting the word out." However, take the reviews strategy for instance: Your reviews probably aren't going to be honest in-depth analyses of the faults and benefits of a particular piece of software. There's such a strong incentive there for you to lie that I know, even ahead of you saying yes or no, that your word won't count as strong enough evidence for me to believe you don't. (My perception of the average person's truthfulness just isn't high enough to withstand that sort of incentive.) If you give someone a bad review, what are the chances they're going to give you a good one? What's your percentage in the truth?

So, you win in the short-term, as long as this is kept small. But my trust for the network you're using is going to approach 0 fairly quickly if this becomes practised on any significant scale. Tragedy of the commons, basically. The easiest solution to that is just to quarantine my brain from the lot of you and treat all similar coms from similar sources as noise.

Usually the saying goes "Build a great product and users will come". Reading this reminds me more of "Build whatever product and drag users to come". But in the end, for a real business, it's all about being able to pay the bills, stay alive and make some profit. And for that last one, I think some of the points in the article can gain you some advantage against another average product you compete with..

this piece about hacking should give you a good example of aggressive networking.

'aggressive networking' is right, don't some of these tactics get you blocked or reported?

Hey JD,

Thanks so much for reading.

I've never been reported or blocked. With FB, a lot of what I did was in-conjunction with a contact at FB. Twitter is the only slightly more dodgy one but even then, I've never had any issues.

The fact that you haven't been noticed yet doesn't make this an acceptable method. Basically the article is all about gaming the social networks and getting away with it in favor of publicity for your product or service. I don't think anyone can go very far with such dodgy methods

Everyone is entitled to their own opinions.

This has worked for me and it's down to the individual to decide how aggressive you want to be.

I'll let you know how far I go...or when I fall.

A lot of the techniques pointed out seem like plain spamming. Why/how does that count for growth hacking?

Excellent post Ted. Being the owner/moderator of the closed Facebook group (https://www.facebook.com/groups/appentrepreneurs/) which you have mentioned and used as part of your growth hacks, I just wanted to tell people who have been complaining in this thread , theat the amount of value you have added to the group and its participants has been extraordinary. I remember you joining the group about 3 months ago and already you are the de-facto expert on App marketing for the group. Thanks for that

In SEO, the user makes an overt action (search) and the ranking of search then can affects what the user sees. We've grown to accept that.

In social-graph-optimisation the overt act is much higher granularity - its to follow / friend another person. So the game is to join as many graphs as possible, or to find the graph of the person you want, and join that.

I think this granularity problem will severely limit the acceptance of SEO-for-social-graphs. Seo right now works because it is possible to finesse at the right granularity level as a function of a users action. Geo-location work will also massively help - but social is effectively painting ads onto my friends T-Shirts in the hope I will read them.

I struggle to see the next fine grained action

(*) We need a better term than social media, because this is all just variations on an individual has their own webspace, and updates that space regularly, plus a central scraping service to let others know. The important bit is that Ts&Cs play less of a "real" part in this than might seem true - essentially the Ts&Cs cover FB/Twitter business model, and less the privacy of the user.

Your techniques, as effective as they maybe, aren't really 'Growth Hacking'. I think there is fine line between the good 'ol 'Internet Marketing'(read spamming) and growth hacking. I'm not sure your's fall into the later.

Don't get me wrong, I'm not saying that the things you mentioned will not help you to get more users and eventually make more money. Then again, if money is the only thing you're after, you could as well be making crapware or promote 'Work From Home' guides. Trust me, they can make you a lot of money, I've been there. There's a reason you're making iPhone apps instead of crapware. That reason should be honored.

Anyways, I hope I delivered my message correctly. There's is nothing wrong with what you're doing. Zynga did the same things you're doing with twists on a large scale and made millions. But we don't want to be Zynga, do we?

it is basically crazy to "out" your methods like this, this is grey hat at best and you're just asking to get banned. If you find an unethical tactic that works for you, milk it, don't shout to the whole world about it, you just expose how unethical you are.

Thanks for this note. It's valid. Not sure I agree in being unethical. For me the opportunity that arise from disclosing vs keeping secrets makes it worthwhile.

Astroturfing from 25 fake twitter accounts is ethical, is it?

Who do you work for? What companies have employed you? If you think everything you do is above board, I'm sure you won't mind naming some companies that have benefitted from your ethical marketing services.

Sure, I've had one employer who took me on at 19 and I left when I was 21, (six months ago). I disclose my employer in other posts on my site.

Yes, this approach will probably earn you a quick buck and attract some fleeting customers. Nobody with even a shred of integrity will want to be associated with the brand you're creating; so yeah, you'll have a few thousand cattle customers.

What is the point of all this, again?

Appreciate this note and your views.

However, that's not been my experience in previous businesses. You can create the worlds best product but if no one knows it exists, why build it.

I view the methods I use as a delivery medium to put information which adds value to the individuals who read it.

If I do that, then I can start to develop a personal relationship with them.

Everyone is entitled to their own opinions, this post has certainly created some interesting polarising views. I appreciate your comment.

I don't even think this is sustainable. The customers that are acquired this way are likely to abandon very soon.

High fives don't pay the bills.

I had no idea you could scrape Facebook ids from groups and serve ads to them. That's horrible, but brilliant.

Awesome notes, I've found http://targetpattern.com to be the most effective for gaining targeted followers on twitter, I haven't seen tweetadder before.

Thanks for the share, I'll add this.

Growth hacking. Also known as digital marketing.

"Create and automate retweets and tweets from 25 fake accounts"?

This is definitely a hacky approach, not true digital marketing.

People do a much, much worse in social media marketing (a well-defined discipline within digital marketing).


Really enjoyed the article, thanks!

Glad you enjoyed it!

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