Yesterday was marketing day.

I wanted to promote HypeWatching.com, my second project.

I first put it on Show HN. I chose the title “HypeWatching – crowdsourced, geolocated trends around the world”. It sounds tech-y and sparks curiosity.

After 15 minutes, it was already at the bottom of the “new” page and it had only 2 upvotes. Not good.

Then suddenly it got a third upvote and to my surprise it was at the top of the Show HN category. I thought I needed at least 5-6 upvotes for that to happen.

Then I turned my attention to Reddit. A promising subreddit would be /r/InternetIsBeautiful. With 12 million subscribers, this could make or break my marketing plan.

I didn’t include “crowdsourced” and “geolocated” this time, because I thought this subreddit’s audience would be less tech-savvy.

The post immediately got shut down and flagged as “Too Common – Repost“. Maybe if I had included these above keywords it would have helped, but we’ll never know.

I then posted to /r/entrepreneur to update them about my “$0 to $2k MRR by New Year’s eve” challenge. The post got 4 or 5 upvotes in total and stayed in the middle of the page throughout the day. Not a big success but also not too bad.

So back to HackerNews. The post is now at 4 upvotes and at the top of the “show” category. I check Google Analytics, not a lot of visitors at all.

I’m thinking “well, that was a waste of time”.

Then I refresh and suddenly there’s 7 upvotes. I check Google Analytics again and there’s 60 people on the site in real-time. Holy crap. My post hit the front page.

Second spot!

And Google Analytics is going crazy as well:

I start answering questions on the HackerNews post.

Some guy says “Deez Nuts is going viral”. I check the database. 500 entries about “Deez Nuts”. I remember I disabled ReCaptcha. People are already spamming the form. I enable ReCaptcha. I break the site because of a mistyped character. Some guy on HackerNews says “aaaaand it’s down”. I fix the bug and we’re back up. I’m nervous as hell.

Lots of people input spam. There’s a lot of good stuff as well.

The day progresses and we get about 200 new entries in the database (after removing all the spam). About 70 upvotes on HackerNews and 4k unique visitors:

This is nothing compared to my blog post about Reverse Engineering a Successful Lifestyle Business, which got 611 upvotes.

But I’d still call it a success.

The main feedback I got was: “why don’t you automatically input hypes through other data sources like Twitter”. And they’re right, the biggest issue with HypeWatching is that no-one wants to actually input data. It’s anonymous so they don’t even get recognition. What’s in it for them?

Possible solutions going forward:

  • Scraping the web or using APIs (but this is hard and most public APIs are very limited in volume)
  • Creating a login system and incentivising people through gamification: people guess which hypes are going to become big and get recognition for their accurate predictions
  • Keep it as is but appoint “ambassadors” per city/country to help seed content, hoping people would start adding more data when the site becomes more popular

I would need to make drastic changes to get another spike like this, and if I decide to do it, I’d need to make sure I retain these users. I’m pretty sure I won’t get many return visitors from this HackerNews spike.

So this leaves me with a 4th option as well: take everything I’ve learned and start a new project.

Not sure yet what’s the best way forward here…