How Does Product Hunt Make Money? The Product Hunt Business Model In A Nutshell - FourWeekMBA (2024)

Founded by Ryan Hoover in 2013 as a side project, Product Hunt turned into one of the most successful platforms to find out about new products, startups, and innovative applications. Acquired for $20 million in 2016, by AngelList, in 2018 Product Hunt added some premium features like Ship’s two subscription options. Ship is the name given to a set of tools enabling makers to ship their products. Other revenue streams comprise advertising, job search, and the Founder Club memberships.

How Does Product Hunt Make Money? The Product Hunt Business Model In A Nutshell - FourWeekMBA (1)

Table of Contents

History of Product Hunt

Product Hunt is a North American product discovery and sharing platform. According to the website, Product Hunt “surfaces the best new products, every day. It’s a place for product-loving enthusiasts to share and geek out about the latest mobile apps, websites, hardware projects, and tech creations.

The company was founded by Ryan Hoover in 2013 as a side project he had no intention of turning into a business.

The service began as a simple email list, giving Hoover and his friends a place to share and discuss cool products. The list gained traction after being shared on Twitter and Quibb – a former network where entrepreneurs discussed articles.

After receiving positive feedback, Hoover reached out to friend Nathan Bashaw to turn his list into a community like Reddit. The pair then collaborated over five days to produce a very basic version of the Product Hunt website.

Three weeks after the site was launched, it had already garnered 2,000 active users. Discussion on the site was encouraged through LIVE Chats, with Hoover scheduling special guests and industry experts to hold live discussions.

In 2016, Product Hunt was acquired by AngelList for $20 million. The site continues to operate as a standalone platform with over two million monthly active users.

Value Proposition:

  • Product Discovery: Product Hunt surfaces the latest and most exciting products, mobile apps, websites, hardware projects, and tech creations. It provides a curated space for product enthusiasts to discover cutting-edge innovations in one place.
  • Community and Engagement: Product Hunt fosters an engaged community of product lovers who can discuss, share feedback, and geek out about new products. It’s a platform that encourages interaction, learning, and networking among users and makers.

Customer Segments:

  • Product Enthusiasts: These are individuals passionate about discovering and discussing new products and innovations. They use Product Hunt as a valuable resource to stay updated on the latest tech and products.
  • Product Makers and Startups: Product creators and startups leverage Product Hunt to launch and promote their products, gain visibility, gather user feedback, and build a community around their offerings.

Distribution Strategy:

  • Website: The Product Hunt website is the central hub for product discovery and discussions. Users can browse and engage with products and discussions directly on the website.
  • Mobile App: Product Hunt offers a mobile app for users who prefer to access the platform on their smartphones. The app provides a convenient way to discover and engage with new products on the go.
  • Community Engagement: Product Hunt encourages active participation and discussions among its community members. Features like LIVE Chats and industry expert discussions promote engagement within the platform.

Marketing Strategy:

  • Premium Features (Ship): Product Hunt introduced Ship, a set of tools for product makers, as a premium feature. The marketing strategy involves promoting Ship’s benefits to product creators, emphasizing how it can streamline product launches.
  • Advertising Services: The platform generates revenue through Promoted Product advertising. Product Hunt markets this service to companies seeking to showcase their products to a targeted and engaged audience.
  • Job Listings: Product Hunt offers a job board for recruiting product developers. The marketing strategy includes attracting businesses looking to hire skilled professionals to post job listings on the platform.
  • Founder Club: Product Hunt markets its Founder Club, a subscription service offering discounted tools for startups and businesses. The club’s value is highlighted, emphasizing the savings and benefits it provides to members.
  • Community Building: Product Hunt continues to prioritize community engagement and building a loyal user base. The platform’s value relies on a vibrant and active community of product enthusiasts and makers.
  • Newsletter and Social Media: Product Hunt uses its newsletter and social media channels to share featured products, discussions, and updates, keeping users engaged and informed.

Product Hunt revenue generation

For the first four years in operation, Hoover focused on growing the Product Hunt community. Product Hunt to these days is one of the most powerful platforms to launch your product.

After 2018 however, some premium features were added to the platform to drive revenue.

Let’s take a look at these below.

Ship

Ship is the name given to a set of tools enabling makers to ship their products. Some of these tools include landing page creation, embeddable widgets, and email forms, surveys, direct messaging, analytics, webhooks, and A/B testing.

Aside from the free Basic plan, there are two paid options:

  1. Pro ($59/month).
  2. Super Pro ($199/month).

Advertising

Advertising is also offered through the Promoted Product service which resurfaces popular products on the website homepage and newsletter.

Since only one product is promoted each day, advertising fees are based on market demand for a given date. Typical prices are around $4,000.

Jobs on Product Hunt

Product Hunt also operates a dedicated job board allowing businesses to recruit skilled product developers.

For a single job listing, the company charges $299 for an ad to be visible in the job directory for 30 days. Certain companies can also pay extra to have their job listings posted in high visibility areas.

Founder Club

For $60 per month, the Founder Club provides discounted tools to help new businesses gain traction. These include (but are not limited to):

  • AWS Activate – $5,000 in AWS Credits.
  • Stripe – wa ived fees on up to $50,000 in Stripe card processing.
  • Airtable – $1000 credit to discover niche market opportunities.
  • Pilot – 20% off Pilot bookkeeping, tax, and CFO services.
  • Doppler – 30% for three months. This service helps businesses keep their team and servers in sync and manage environmental variables with built-in access controls.

Key takeaways

  • Product Hunt is an American product discovery, discussion, and sharing platform. It was founded by Ryan Hoover in 2013 as a place to discuss cool new products with his friends.
  • Product Hunt generates revenue through its subscription service Ship, allowing product makers to distribute their products using a specific set of tools. The company also offers advertising spots on its website with somewhat unique stipulations.
  • Product Hunt charges businesses looking to hire talent a fee for posting job ads. Through its Founder Club, businesses can pay the company a monthly fee to access exclusive service discounts.
ElementDescription
Value PropositionProduct Hunt offers a compelling value proposition for its users, including: – Discover Innovative Products: Providing a platform for users to discover and explore the latest and most innovative products and startups. – Community Engagement: Facilitating engagement within a community of tech enthusiasts, makers, and early adopters. – Product Insights: Offering insights into the trends and technologies shaping the tech industry. – Feedback and Validation: Allowing product creators to gather feedback, validate ideas, and gain early users. – Networking and Collaboration: Creating opportunities for networking, collaboration, and partnerships among tech professionals. – Startup Visibility: Increasing visibility for startups and emerging tech companies. – Curated Content: Delivering curated content and recommendations based on user interests. – Product Launchpad: Serving as a launchpad for new products to gain attention and traction. – Product Showcase: Providing a showcase for product creators to present their offerings to a relevant audience. – Tech Ecosystem: Contributing to the growth and development of the broader tech ecosystem.
Core Products/ServicesProduct Hunt’s core products and services encompass: – Website and Mobile App: Offering a user-friendly website and mobile app for users to browse, discover, and discuss products. – Product Listings: Allowing product creators to list and showcase their products with descriptions, images, and videos. – Community Discussions: Enabling users to engage in discussions, leave comments, and offer feedback on listed products. – Upvoting and Ranking: Implementing an upvoting system where users can upvote their favorite products, influencing their visibility. – Featured Collections: Curating collections of products based on themes, categories, or trends. – Newsletter: Sending out a daily newsletter with featured products to subscribers’ email inboxes. – Maker Pro: Offering premium features and benefits for product creators, including analytics and promotion opportunities. – API Access: Providing API access for developers to integrate Product Hunt data into their applications. – Product Hunt for Teams: Offering team collaboration features for companies to discover and discuss products collectively. – Product Hunt LIVE: Hosting live events and AMAs (Ask Me Anything) sessions with prominent tech figures and product creators.
Customer SegmentsProduct Hunt serves a range of customer segments, including: – Product Creators: Offering a platform for startups and product creators to showcase and launch their products. – Tech Enthusiasts: Attracting tech enthusiasts, early adopters, and individuals interested in discovering the latest tech innovations. – Investors: Providing a source of potential investment opportunities and insights into emerging tech trends. – Marketers: Offering exposure and promotional opportunities for marketing professionals. – Startup Ecosystem: Serving as a hub for the broader startup and tech ecosystem, including accelerators and incubators. – Companies and Enterprises: Allowing companies to explore and discover tools and solutions that can enhance their operations. – Tech Journalists and Bloggers: Providing content and insights for tech journalists and bloggers covering industry trends. – Community Managers: Offering tools and resources for community managers looking to engage with their audiences. – Developers: Attracting developers interested in exploring and integrating new technologies into their projects. – Product Managers: Providing insights into user preferences and emerging product trends for product managers.
Revenue StreamsProduct Hunt generates revenue through various revenue streams: – Featured Product Listings: Charging product creators to feature their products at the top of relevant category pages for increased visibility. – Maker Pro Subscriptions: Offering premium subscriptions with advanced analytics, custom branding, and promotional features for product creators. – Sponsored Content: Generating revenue through sponsored content and promotions from companies looking to reach the Product Hunt audience. – API Access Fees: Charging fees for API access to developers and businesses looking to integrate Product Hunt data. – Product Hunt LIVE Sponsorships: Partnering with companies for sponsorships of live events and AMAs. – Product Hunt for Teams: Providing subscription-based access to collaboration and team features for companies. – Advertising: Displaying targeted advertising to users based on their interests and interactions. – Affiliate Partnerships: Earning commissions through affiliate partnerships with products featured on the platform. – Merchandise Sales: Selling branded merchandise, such as t-shirts and stickers, to enthusiasts and fans. – Data Insights: Offering data insights and analytics services to businesses seeking user behavior and market trends.
Distribution StrategyProduct Hunt employs a strategic distribution strategy to reach users and product creators: – User Community: Building and nurturing an engaged community of users who discover and discuss products. – Newsletter: Leveraging a daily newsletter to deliver featured products directly to subscribers’ inboxes. – Website and Mobile App: Offering a user-friendly platform accessible through both web and mobile devices. – Social Media: Utilizing social media platforms to share featured products and engage with the audience. – Partnerships: Collaborating with tech-related events, conferences, and media outlets for increased exposure. – Product Hunt LIVE: Hosting live events and AMAs to attract prominent tech figures and their followers. – Maker Outreach: Actively reaching out to product creators, startups, and makers to encourage listings. – Curated Content: Employing a team of curators to select and feature the most promising products. – Word of Mouth: Relying on word-of-mouth recommendations and referrals within the tech community. – Mobile App Stores: Featuring the Product Hunt mobile app on app stores for easy access.

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