Product Hunt has launched a service called Ask Product Hunt that lets users inquire whether an app exists to solve their particular problem. Bearing similarities to Jelly and Facebook’s Recommendations, the service aims to solve product discovery at the ground level.
More than 90,000 products and a dedicated group of developers, designers, product managers, and founders can be found on Product Hunt. The service has traditionally been centered around letting creators showcase their work, and it has also provided tools to help market those products, such as its Reddit-like Ask Me Anything service. Before now, you could get answers to the question “Have you seen this new app?” but that was about as far as it went.
With this new service, you simply ask a question like “Is there an app for XYZ?” and Product Hunt will distribute your query to users to solicit recommendations. When someone has an answer, you’ll receive an update with not only the product, but an opinion about why it’s being recommended.
Products don’t need to be previously listed on Product Hunt to qualify, as apps and services listed on Amazon, Etsy, the App Store, and the rest of the web can also be recommended.
And questions don’t have a shelf life, meaning that anyone can reference them in the future. Soon, these answers will be included in search results, and Product Hunt will also highlight the more popular questions on its homepage to further improve discoverability.
This is a new phase for the company, coming four months after it was acquired by AngelList. While Product Hunt has launched other features dedicated to curating ideas and products, it appears the next step is to improve discovery in a way that’ll also boost its library of products. Even though users may link to existing items from the Product Hunt catalog in recommendations, there’s a good chance outside products will be shared and that, in turn, would be a boon to the company.
If you looked on Product Hunt before now, you’d find apps, books, and podcasts that span a variety of industries and markets, but it could be information overload. True, somebody might create a collection of products around a specific theme, but it won’t necessarily cover your exact needs. When you want an answer to “What’s the best system for livestreaming on the web, iOS, and Android?” leveraging the knowledge of the crowd makes sense.
As mentioned earlier, there are some striking similarities between Ask Product Hunt and Jelly, the Q&A service started by Twitter cofounder Biz Stone that was recently acquired by Pinterest. Ryan Hoover, Product Hunt’s chief executive, told VentureBeat that Jelly also deliver answers from your friends or a community of people, but he said that’s where comparisons end, as Product Hunt’s specialized approach centers around products.
Ask Product Hunt is available on the web and mobile web but is not yet available on the iOS app. “We will spend the next quarter taking feedback from the community and improving the web experience before we consider bringing it to the native app,” Hoover said.