I got burned out on Product Hunt awhile ago. I want to explain why.
At the beginning, there was an amazing community. I saw faces I recognized (from Twitter) & people were talking about cool products. They were gems you couldn’t find anywhere else—most didn’t have tech press coverage (yet) & were early-stage. It was incredibly cool, & that community was a distinct part of my identity (2013-15 era). The belonging I felt there—which extended into meeting people & working on projects together—is really what made tech a core part of how I present myself. I vividly remember listening to the podcast, joining the AMAs, excitedly refreshing the app.
A few products I found on Product Hunt significantly altered the course of my life in amazing ways. First, Assembly, the community where I really learned to code. Then, Hack Club, probably the most foundational experience of high school for me. I am so, so grateful for finding these communities. (Sidenote: the serendipity of it all is crazy! One tap…)
But now the site’s community feels like a ghost town. The products leaderboard feels like a list view of TechCrunch, with predictable products often from big names, mixed with ads & low-quality, easy-upvote crap. I receive DMs on Product Hunt somewhat frequently—but every single one is spam, from people asking me to post or upvote their products. The notifications feel like Facebook—the majority have nothing nothing to do with me, they’re just things for me to click on.
As a creator, it’s demotivating. I don’t launch products there anymore, because my last few launches were so disappointing. A huge number of the upvotes on the top products those days came from bots & spam accounts, clearly not actual humans, & Product Hunt seems uninterested in changing this. If my projects didn’t resonate with the community, that’s fine. But when the upvotes themselves are fake, it’s not worth even posting.
I know a bunch of people who’ve worked at Product Hunt, & they’re all great. I try to avoid being so negative online, & I write this as an honest reflection, not at all to devalue their work. It just feels like, at some point, the company stopped optimizing for the community I used to identify so heavily with. Product Hunt used to shine so brightly when it was a community of creators & people who loved products all geeking out together.
The beta of the team’s new project, YourStack, went public today. It’s a great way to expand for them & I’m truly excited to see where it goes. I just hope it doesn’t become like Product Hunt.