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Ashton Kutcher launches A+: discover the best products through friends (aplus.com)
29 points by _pius on Dec 13, 2013 | hide | past | favorite | 43 comments

Sorry to say this but if Ashton Kutcher's name wasn't on this it would have not even made it to the front page of HN much less been worthy of people commenting on it.

I think he's made some great investments and I'd love to chat with him about the startup I'm working on, but I think its fair to say I won't soon be a user of this product

> Sorry to say this but if Ashton Kutcher's name wasn't on this it would have not even made it to the front page of HN much less been worthy of people commenting on it

That's possible, but you could argue something similar about repeat entrepreneurs. Ashton is an incredible marketer, which is a HUGE part of a consumer product like this.

Totally agree, some level of hype is necessary no matter how much bullshit hype really is.

But nearly all lasting companies have one thing in common, a great product.

Right now this site is a long way from that ... but then again they always say you should eventually be embarrassed of the first version of your product.

I think it's fair to say he will be.

> they always say you should eventually be embarrassed of the first version of your product.

Definitely! If you're not embarrassed of your first version, then you waited too long to launch.

You should try listing a product. The flow is actually pretty good, especially given the product indexing, tagging, and categorization that has to happen behind the scene.

Don't dismiss Ashton. He may be goofy, but he is into technology and has an army of followers. When he tweets, his 15 million twitter followers retweet like crazy.

What is this? Social meets ecommerce meets meteor? This whole site is like you took a buzzword pipe bomb and set it off in a geocities data center. A+? What is he trying to do, get listed first in the internet phone book? I guarantee you his pitch involves a lot of lofty talk about consumer and social big data. There's a whole lot of synergy going on here!

That being said I obviously wish him the best of luck.

His twitter handle is "aplusk", as in [A]shton [plus] [K]utcher". "A+" would imply the best, and also suggests who's behind it. I think it's a clever name.

As another commenter pointed out, if a celebrity wasn't behind this it wouldn't be getting much attention.

What a sad direction things are going. Celebrities want in on this piece of pie now... suddenly michaelochurch's forebodings about 'VC-istan' all seem very relevant.

Ashton Kutcher's been an angle investor in startups for as long as Hacker News has existed. Both began in 2007.


I am not sure that I see the connection to VC-istan. This is a website that was posted on HackerNews, not a funding announcement declaring that all of the coolest VCs pumped tens of millions of dollars into the startup of a follow celebrity. If anything, the comments seem pretty negative and dismissive, despite the celebrity behind this.

I've always loved reading what michaelochurch has to say. I generally make a conscious effort to stay optimistic, but I see a lot of truth in what he writes.

Looks like a more specific shot at Pinterest.

Halfway down the first page I see the "EVGA SUPERNOVA NEX1500 CLASSIFIED POWER SUPPLY". I find it hard to believe this is that relevant to the target audience of this site, and it's too much of a coincidence that I just bought a bunch of computer parts from newegg and Amazon.

I see it, too, and I haven't bought computer parts like that in years, so I doubt it's retargeting. If you are concerned about that kind of retargeting, then it's probably newegg and Amazon you should stop using.

I'm not concerned, actually I find that sort of retargeting preferable to less relevant ads. I was just intrigued because a 1500W power supply is a pretty niche gadget that I was surprised to see here.

For what it's worth I saw the same thing and haven't bought anything computer related recently.

Won't be using this site, but I'm not the target demographic anyway.

Hard to not highlight items as I scroll down the page on my laptop. Almost nowhere to park my cursor to avoid this. Seems like not the most thought-through UX, at least off-mobile.

On my Safari window, it shows ~3.5 products per row, requiring me to scroll to the right to see the rightmost one.

Having to scroll left and right is usually a design smell for me.

In chrome I get 4 items at 100% zoom. It's an ugly site, but it works fine. If I change the zoom level if seems to handle it just fine without left-right scrolling.

Looks like an opportunity for parking.js! /s

This is about a year late to the "pinterest clone for shopping" party.

Referly pivoted into something similar before shutting down, and I think Fancy is the major player in the space.

Could be successful, but not terribly innovative.

Ashton is also an investor in Fancy and understands the space well.

I would compare A+ more to Wanelo, which has massive growth. There's a lot of space for other players in the area.

Luckily (I guess) you don't necessarily have to innovate to be successful.

For those interested in signing up, a Facebook account is required. (Which makes sense since it's based on recommendations from friends.)

Oh weird..

The first time a friend force-signed me up on facebook I only got ads for High-Frequency Trading and High-End Dedicated Servers.

On A+ I'm getting ads for a Ferrari's, BMW's, a Martin JetPack, Ducati's a $2.5m Pagani Zonda Revolucion and similar stuff, like 24k Gold iPhone Cases …

Hah, either something is really wrong with my browsing habits, or these sites suck at targeting my habits. For those who wonder, the last time I searched for Cars must be 6 or 7 years ago and I don't search for jewelery or jetpacks. I also never search for sports, pop, music or anything popular, really. Dear Ashton, I wish I was rich enough to buy that car, but I feel a little pressed when a site expects me to be rich.

The system probably mistakes me for an investor or a vc like Kutcher himself.

Ok, off to work, let's get rich or die trying.

Discover the best (Nikon) products from your friends (and people I advertise with)

Thought the exact same thing. But kudos to Nikon and Ashton that I automatically associate both of them.

Very good point. That campaign has apparently done well for them.

Everyone thinks their tattoo artist is the best.

Consumers don't care what their _friends_ recommend, they want to know what _most people_ recommend. Amazon reviews have a ton of value in aggregate. The more reviews, the more value. My friend's subjective recommendation of a Canon DSLR because he's already invested $2K in lenses? Not so much.

Also, how is this not exactly http://svpply.com, a much better execution of an item discovery site that sold to eBay over a year ago.

It looks an awful lot like Svpply and The Fancy. And he's an investor in The Fancy. I guess this time the curation is through friends instead of the site itself.

You should check out adding a product. The flow is actually different from both Svpply and Fancy.

But, seriously, what else is different? If I'm looking at it as if it's a Fancy or Svpply clone, I'm not going to go as far as signing up to add anything.

One way I see these kinds of sites is as wishlists and thus, it makes sense to have just one site I use--unless there's something compellingly different.

Say you want you want about Kutcher, but he went from a camera salesman to the highest paid actor on TV in two years. That's nothing short of miraculous.

I. Don't. Get. It.

You only get one good chance to make an impression. And although I see a lot of products blowing up my webpage, I have zero context about how anything works or why I should care.

Guys, if you are building something you want the world to admire -- take the approach of idiot-proof video games: walk me through the process of getting "my context" up-to-speed with "your context". It'll make all the difference.

"Your browser is out of date" -no, actually it isn't... it's Firefox 17 on Linux. but, just for the fun of it, click on the Firefox icon. -"Hooray, your browser is up to date!" (with no updating because... the browser was already up to date). click back and refresh -"Your browser is out of date..." ok then...

I'm not impressed, being greeted by a 90's style "your browser is out of date" (= "we're too stupid to detect browser features") message because I'm using Waterfox.

But hey, it's endorsed and funded by a celebrity, so it will work.

If you're looking for this, chances are what you're actually looking for is thewirecutter.com. They actually give you a recommendation about which is the best, then tell you why in detail.

It's a really nice domain.

All the yellow is making my eyes bleed and the fonts look weird and aliased in my browser though.

I'm sure it'll still make Ashton Kutcher another million dollars though.

Who made it?

Ashton coded it himself from the set of 2.5 Men.

yeah right. No legal info, not even a hint who is responsible for this. But wait, there's even more, you need a facebook account to attend the party. Oh boy, this thing is gonna storm everyone's heart for sure. Like Bitcoin will be the next all purpose currency. </sarcasm>

Why would I care about my friends' opinions only? I want hundreds of reviews, not a couple (or zero most of the time).

I'm skeptical that I share a significant interest in specific products with even my closest friends.

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