Product Hunt Gets Social With Twitter-Like User Profiles, Following Features And Notifications

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Product Hunt, the Andreessen Horowitz-backed aggregation site currently focused on surfacing new tech products and startups, is now turning itself into something of a social network this morning with the launch of redesigned user profiles, following features and notifications. The new profiles offer a variety of information about the poster, including a bio, Twitter handle, and tabs for products they’ve upvoted, submitted, made themselves and more.

You can also now keep track of the who’s who on the buzzy tech site, as Product Hunt’s profiles include Twitter-like counts of how many people are following a given user, and how many others that person is following in return. (Side note: more people are into Kevin Rose than Snoop Dogg on here, indicating the site’s tech bias.)

When you follow your fellow Product Hunt users, you’re able to receive a notification when they post a new product to the site, the company explains.

The change will likely encourage more active participation from community members who may have otherwise lurked on the site, as now their activity is being quantified in a more straightforward way, and their influence is being made known by way of their follower count.

According to Product Hunt founder Ryan Hoover, just over 90,000 have signed up for the service but many more lurk.

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He says the company is keeping the site relatively simple in that it’s a homepage with a list of products the community finds most interesting, every day. “But we’re adding layers of social functionality – starting with notifying users when people they follow post a product – and will add more later,” he says. Some of these changes may be subtle. For example, now the people you follow are displayed first in the list of upvoters on the product page, Hoover points out.

The new profiles and features were announced in an email sent to subscribers this morning as well as by Hoover on Twitter. In a ‘tweetstorm’ of sorts, he also noted that additional social notifications were in the works. Follower data is also being integrated into the API, he says in response to a question posted on Twitter, and hover card support is planned. This latter item would allow users to hover their cursor over a username anywhere on the site and then click a button to follow them on the card that pops up, instead of having to browse over to a user profile to follow that person, as you do now.

The company recently raised a $6.1 million Series A from a16z, Alexis Ohanian, and others largely off of the community Product Hunt has been able to build around those who are sharing their enthusiasm for new tech products. Further down the road, the company may expand beyond the tech space to curate other types of products that would interest a broader audience than the Silicon Valley set and those from the startup scene who quickly fill the ranks as the early adopters to new services like this.

That transition may prove to be more challenging, of course, but Product Hunt is already on its way to establishing a means of attracting new users to its service by having notable names or organizations curate their favorite products through the site’s “featured hunts.” The site had rapper Nas kick off its featured hunts and now regularly runs hunts that let users vote on new products of a specific type – like TechCrunch Disrupt startups or an accelerator’s Demo Day event, for example.