What NOT to do when you launch on Product Hunt (and still get #5 spot)

Paul Boudet
6 min readSep 30, 2021


In June 2021, Meetric launched successfully on Product Hunt aka PH.

As this was my first PH launch, it was an absolute rollercoaster of excitement and stress. Mistakes were made and, if you keep reading, you can hopefully avoid them when it’s your turn to launch!

Our goal was to be in the Top 5 Best Products of the Day, to get the Product Hunt badge and be featured in the PH newsletter the next day.

Launch day went like this:

  • 5 pm (Sydney time — midnight PST time): PH homepage gets refreshed with the new products of the day, including Meetric.
  • 5.50 pm: Meetric gets a few upvotes and we’re already #2 Best Product of the Day— so easy, we’re awesome, success already!
  • 6 pm: We move down to position #3.
  • 6.05 pm: Position #4.
  • 6.10 pm: Lost one again, #5.
  • 6.15 pm: We’re #6, not part of the top 5 anymore, :(.
  • 4.15 pm the next day: After 22 hours, hundreds of page refresh, a dozen Red Bull, we’re still stuck at #6. Game over. Life sucks.
  • 4.20pm: HOLY SHIT, the PH algorithm kicks in (more on that later) and removes upvotes from the product in position #4, moving it to #6, which means we move to position #5!
  • 5pm: End of the day, we’re #5 with 450 upvotes, mission accomplished!

We got the Product Hunt badge and were featured in their newsletter the next day. A.W.E.S.O.M.E🔥.

The results

Before we dive into what NOT to do for a Product Hunt launch, let’s look at what we got out of it:

We got: signups

About 550 visitors came from Product Hunt that week and ~150 tried the product.

Great conversion rate BUT a low number of visitors for a product that was near the top of Product Hunt’s homepage and also in their newsletter the next day.

This is how I can explain it:

Upvotes ≠ visitors: you get a lot of upvotes from people who don’t visit your website or even your PH page — they just like the look & feel of your product on PH homepage and upvote you there..

Top 3 or nothing: on the PH homepage, only the top 3 products are above the fold. Behaviour-wise, I think a lot of people look at #1 product of the day, sometimes #2 and #3 and ignore everything after.

The big lesson here is that if you want tons of people to try your product, aim to be in the top 3!

We got: feedback

We got feedback from existing users but also new ones on the product — this was good, but nothing groundbreaking.

We got: intros

Many people reached out to me directly — investors, advisors — and I had great conversations with some of them leading to more intros. This was probably the best that came out of the launch.

What not to do

Now let’s dive into what you should NOT do if you want your product to be in the top 5.

Launch too soon

Don’t get me wrong, Product Hunt is great to test early product prototypes and see if there is market demand.

However, the best product of the day on PH racks up 500 to 1500 upvotes.

If you want to be one of the most popular products, you’ll probably need help from the existing users of your product. The more users you have, the more upvotes you can get if you ask them (FYI you should not ask for upvotes directly but instead ask them to check out the page and help spread the word).

When we launched on Product Hunt, we only had a few hundred active users, maybe we would have become #1 if we had launched six months later with thousands of active users.

Buy upvotes

On launch day, someone messaged me on LinkedIn to buy upvotes:

The LinkedIn message

We didn’t take the offer and neither should you. If you’re not convinced, here’s why: the Product Hunt algorithm is smart enough to detect too many upvotes in a short period of time or from too many new Product Hunt accounts and will penalize your listing.

That’s what likely happened to the product ahead of us as suddenly it had 200 fewer upvotes: PH likely detected these upvotes were spammy and removed them, resulting in the product losing a few positions (#4 > #6).

Never. buy. upvotes.

Not leveraging your community

We’re involved in a few startup communities (on Slack, Discord, Facebook groups, email groups) and we messaged them about Meetric on launch day.

If you’re active in these communities, there is a huge opportunity to get the entire community to help spread the word about your launch, especially if you offer to give something back. This requires planning and extra work though.

We didn’t do that and instead shouted about our launch in even too many communities, some that didn’t even know Meetric, and as expected, very few people responded or offered to help.

Go for quality over quantity.

Not leveraging influencers in your space

There are influential people with large audiences in every space.

For Meetric, our space being productivity, there are tons of YouTube and Twitter influencers relevant to us.

Unfortunately, we left things to the last minute on that front and didn’t take the time to get properly connected to them.

If we did, they would have tried Meetric, loved it, used it for a few weeks and on launch day, maybe tweet about it to their tens of thousands of followers.

Not offer something

It’s common practice to offer an ‘early-access’ deal to Product Hunt visitors to thank them for trying out your product and sharing feedback.

Because Meetric was 100% free at the time, we didn’t have anything to offer. In retrospect, it would have been a great opportunity to test a pricing plan throughout the launch.

So even if your product is free, this is the opportunity to experiment with pricing as people always love a good deal!

Not create a popular discussion

On PH homepage, there is something even more visible than the top 3 products: the most popular discussion.

That’s a great way to get exposure to your launched product by creating a discussion relevant to it eg. the problem you’re solving and how people solve it today.

We started ours too late (on the same day) and even though we were in the top discussions, we didn’t have enough upvotes and comments to get #1.

Should I launch on Product Hunt?

Yes definitely — you’ll get new users, product feedback and you’ll meet interesting people.

If you do though, aim for#1 or #2 Best Product of the Day, that’s where the fun is!

Until then, say hi on Twitter!