A couple years ago, I enjoyed browsing through Product Hunt every single day. It quickly became one of the most important sources for Creativerly to discover new and upcoming digital products and apps to feature and write about within the newsletter. The comment sections underneath the hunted apps were vibrant places to engage with the founders and creators of those apps, but also discuss any kind of features and functionalities with fellow app enthusiasts. This was the Product Hunt I enjoyed using, the Product Hunt I visited every single day, and what became part of my content consumption.

However, this version of Product Hunt no longer exists. What used to be a source of quality apps, sites, and resources, became a place to post lousy, low-grade, mediocre, and shabby AI-powered tools. The comment sections are flooded with bot-like discussions, there are launches which are gearing up hundreds of upvotes, but then you check those upvotes and suddenly loads of them are completely new Product Hunt accounts, and overall it is far from what it has been a couple years ago. Besides that, Product Hunt hosts questionable and controversial launches of products like Ask Top G which is a ChatGPT bot to ask questions and get daily advice from Andrew Tate, who is an American-British social media personality, who shares sexist, narcissistic, misogynic, and racist "advise" online, and has been charged with rape, human trafficking, and forming an organised crime group to sexually exploit women. As a site, which praises itself to be the best place to discover the best new products in tech, hosting such a ChatGPT bot feels just awfully wrong, however, at the same time it perfectly describes what Product Hunt became.

Screenshot of "Ask Top G" Product Hunt page
The ChatGPT-powered Telegram bot giving advice from a disgusting human being

Thankfully, this useless chat bot only received 16 upvotes (which are still 16 upvotes too much), but using sentences like "This innovative and interactive chatbot is designed to provide you with personalized advice, motivation, and inspiration at your fingertips" in conjunction with a product that praises Andrew Tate has nothing to with what Product Hunt stands for. While the Product Hunt page for Ask Top G is still live and can be found via the search, the link to its Gumroad page is gone and returns a 404 (could it be that Gumroad moderation took it down?).

While its global community of tech enthusiasts might still be there, it does not feel as engaging as it used to be. Product Hunt is full of lousy and low-quality products. As an example, on Saturday March 16th, I browsed through all the products that have launched on that day, 28 in total, and 14 of them where related or put AI first. Among them a tool called Build Lead Gen which lets you use AI to create ebooks which you can then use in lead generation to capture emails and contact details. They offer a free plan to create one ebook completely for free. For $39 per month, you can create unlimited ebooks. You know what I call it if someone creates unlimited ebooks with the help of AI to collect and capture emails and contact details? A scam. In the comments section of the Product Hunt page, Richard Green, the founder and creator of Build Lead Gen, received heartwarming and motivational comments like "Wow..nice", "Cheers for the launch", or "great product team Build Lead Gen". Ah yes, this has to be the thriving community of tech enthusiasts Product Hunt has been talking about.

Screenshot of "Build Lead Gen" website
Let us flood the internet with unlimited ebooks to capture personal contact information

Besides that, you will also find a password manager called SafeKey, which is available for macOS, iOS, iPadOS, and visionOS. It has received 25 upvotes as of writing this, in the comment section you find the exact same folks, writing the exact same comments as for Build Lead Gen. People are embracing the app as "great product" and congratulate the maker with words like "well done". However, if you head to the website of SafeKey, you will get literally zero information about who is actually building this product. The funniest thing: SafeKey's privacy statement on the website consists of a single line of text saying "We don't collect any information about you". Oh how glad I am, that means I will definitely trust you and your company with all my passwords and accounts information. Two real persons on the Product Hunt page of SafeKey pointed out those privacy issues, but as of writing this, no reaction at all from the maker to address those concerns. Again, Product Hunt is the home for the best new tech products, right?

Screenshot of "SafeKey" privacy statement on their website
The shortest privacy statement you have ever seen

To be fair, not all products posted on Product Hunt nowadays are lousy, scammy, or low-quality. Among the majority of mediocre AI-powered apps, you also find recent launches by Superlist, Layers, Heyday, or AFFiNE, which are all raking up upvotes and comments, quality comments. One reason for that is pretty obvious: those apps and sites are high quality and often times already established. Besides that, I can see another reason why those launches do better and turn Product Hunt into the place it used to be, and that is the fact that those apps, sites, and resources, bring their own communities to Product Hunt as part of their launches. They send out emails to huge email lists, post to all kinds of social networks, and inform their followers that they are live on Product Hunt. The comment section then is full of people who are genuinely excited about and interested in the app or resource.

Nowadays, it feels like those are the exemptions though. Most of the products that are launching on Product Hunt are not even worth a single click. Funnily enough, according to similarweb or Semrush, Product Hunt still generates around 4m visits every single month. Therefore, we can assume that Product Hunt generates quite the traffic if you launch your product there. Which makes it even more questionable that as of recently it gets flooded with mediocre and even scammy products on a daily basis.

It is sad to see what happened to Product Hunt. Once a thriving community of creative folks and tech enthusiast, it became yet another dark place on the internet.

Till next time! 👋‌‌‌‌

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