Meta September 3, 2020

Indie Hackers stop sending cold emails.

David Delahunty @daviddel

Anyone else receiving emails from other IH members just because you liked their post?

I'm getting a couple of emails a week now and they're all along the lines of 'Hey, I see you liked my post on IH so I thought I'd....'

This tactic never works.

So please stop.

Sincerely everyone on IH.

  1. 19

    I'm also not a fan of knowing that I am one of thousands that people reach out to. Direct, relatable messages? Sure. Automated messages because I liked a thing? Not a fan.

    1. 11

      "Hey ${name}, I see you liked my post on IH so I thought I'd..."

  2. 18

    I find it weird that the majority of the products on here are targeting other indie hackers as their target demographic.

    One reason why I'm on here less nowadays is because I feel like it's become a marketing platform where everyone is competing for attention instead of genuinely trying to provide value to each other and help each other grow.

    1. 2

      I have noticed it seems mostly people here have created a product targeted at other indie hackers/startups. And so naturally, this is a place to try and market their product.

      Not sure if the majority actually come here first off with other ideas in mind but end up pivoting to these types of products that target start ups. Or if they had the idea initially away from the forum and found it on their search for marketing possibilities.

      Either way, it is something of a mini eco-system of makers/hackers (whatever you wanna call it) all trying to sell their services to each other.

      1. 1

        It's partly because many people here are attempting to have an honest and open discourse about the problems they're facing when building their products. Then other people on the sidelines, who are looking for problems to solve, see those and tackle them. I guess it's inevitable that it becomes some kind of ecosystem in that sense and it probably wouldn't happen in a community that wasn't full of makers!

        On the main point from the original poster, I also dislike the cold outreach from IHers where they just want something from me and it's not mutually beneficial - very antithetical to the idea of what a community is supposed to me 😢

        1. 2

          Yep, it absolutely makes sense. I guess my gripe is that most makers here are essentially opportunists, as in nature, the hunters go where the prey gather. It makes sense though and is understandable. But it also swamps those people, posts, views and interactions from those who are creating things outside of the "aimed at other makers/start ups products".

          I personally don't have a product out there that I am aiming to make my main source of income, but whatever that might end up being I don't think or intend to be aimed at the startup/indie hacker market. So my aim on here is to learn from and share with others also not in the startup space.

          The fact is that majority of the makers here are aimed at this specific start up space. Those sharing their stories, posting updates, are mostly in the start up space. It makes, sense the more they post here the more their target market will see them.

          Of course there are makers who are building things targeted away from start ups, but they can get a bit lost in the chaos of those posting updates. milestones and sales pitches trying to sell their services to others like them in the start up space.

          It makes sense also that those outside of the space, making products, will be spending less time here posting, instead going where their target audience is.

          And in all honesty, those on both sides, if they get to a point where their product is becoming a success, they don't need to be posting stuff on here about their successes, they probably don't have time.

          I hope this doesn't come across as a rant. It's more observation. Indie Hackers is part of my daily reading/procrastination time as it keeps me inspired to try and make something for myself.

          1. 2

            haha no, it doesn't seem like a rant - it sounds like we're in agreement 🙂 I'm working on a community at the moment, and we're trying pretty hard to make it more about helping each other than selling to each other, so I'm finding it helpful to read all the comments on this post!

    2. 1

      Of course it is.

      This is one platform where "makers" come to sell to other "makers"

  3. 8

    I don't get those emails 😢

    1. 2

      Should I send you guys a bunch of those? obviously from fake email addresses 😂

    2. 2

      You and me, brother :(

    3. 1

      Is your spam folder full now?? 😂

      1. 1

        And hey, your email is not public plus you have turned off Twitter DMs, there's just no way you're getting spammed lol

        1. 1

          Ah, I knew I haven't set up everything correctly 🤔😂

  4. 8

    I actually sent an email to a user on here who produced articles/news and content.

    They replied with "unsubscribe" - These growth hacking tools and methods are polluting the pool for people who genuinely are manually trying to link up.

    1. 1

      Lol I’m curious to see your email now!

  5. 7

    Yeah I get DMs like this instead. Don’t get me wrong, I love helping out fellow indie hackers but sometimes it feels very one way. No, I’m not going to “jump on a quick call” for a product validation interview 😂 now if you want me to look at something for you, maybe I won’t mind ❤️

    1. 4

      “jump on a quick call” gives me shivers.

      1. 1

        So does getting repeated likes on my posts asking for feedback from someone who is probably just trying to drive traffic to their homepage.

      2. 0

        3 hours of them ranting about their shitty product later...

        1. 6

          Be gentle mate. After all this is a community of people trying to help others like them, building shitty products :)

          1. 1

            I don't think the world needs more shtity products...

            1. 1

              So what are you working on :P ?

              1. 1

                Currently I work solely on

    2. 1

      I honestly don't understand why people prefer calls. Why can't you first at least mention a few benefits or features of your product before trying to initiate a call?

      I keep receiving messages like this, and they want to start with a call, without me even knowing what the call will be about.

      1. 3

        Because calls are a thousand times more effective than chat/email in order to understand your customer. It's hard to "mention a few benefits or features" without really knowing yet what to build and who your target audience is. You don't want to prematurely focus on the wrong things and scare people away when they could potentially tell you very interesting things in order to focus on something specific.

        1. 4

          But why would I be interested in even starting the call if I have no idea how it could help me? I don't want to be sold to.

            1. 1

              Stupid question: Why not?
              On the one hand, you might actually find a product that improves your flow. On the other hand, you'll see how some people handle sales, and inform your decisions for your project.

              I guess if people suck so much at both it'd be a waste of time....

        2. 1

          Also require about a thousand times more effort from the victim.

  6. 2

    Honestly, I disagree. Anyone can message me and I'll respond if I'm interested.

  7. 2

    Oh, I don't have this problem on IH. I guess i'm not relevant :(

  8. 2

    "This tactic never works."

    It does. That's why people do it.

  9. 2

    Damn I feel left out. Need to like more posts :p

  10. 1

    Yeah, been getting plenty of those, too. They are usually irrelevant and bring no value

    IH is not a marketplace and IHers are not your target market. I've failed miserably at that one, too, while trying to hustle here

    You need clients with money, first and foremost. Even if your proposition brings value to the IH community, majority of bootstrappers are, well, cash strapped, too

  11. 1

    Just Name them and their posts so they can be banned 🤓

  12. 1

    Agreed. That sometimes happens to me for my posts and would much prefer if they jsut say that in the comments.

  13. 1

    The recent cold email I received was cc with another 10+ emails (all IH members). Then one person (in the cc list) reply to all, told the sender to use an email service, and he is developing one.

    Not sure if it was his plan all along, but kinda sneaky genius.

    Still pretty annoying!

  14. 1

    Yeah this is never cool.

  15. 1

    Another thing worth noting is that it's probably illegal to do this style of cold emailing if the receiver is in countries that are protected by GDPR.

    1. 1

      I can't see how it's illegal if the individual is listing their email address publicly in their profile.

    2. 1

      It's not illegal under GDPR.

      "You need to have a strong reason to claim that the company the person works for can benefit from what your company offers in the email. Moreover, your business activity should be logically connected with the business activity of your prospect. That will be a legal basis to send someone an email without their previous consent to process their data." you can send cold,send them to just anyone.&text=That will be a legal,consent to process their data.

      1. 1

        Interesting and thanks for the head's up. Assuming they have targeted very carefully which doesn't sound like the case.

        1. 2

          Actual enforcement for a cold email when there is a hint of "Legitimate business interest" is not gonna happen. Their focus is on far greater abuses of personal data.

          1. 1

            All it takes is someone to sue - it doesn't have to be a regulator. GDPR regs are not well tested in court yet and tort law would apply. But I agree - it's unlikely someone is going to bother although it has happened with spam emailing before though: businessman has won what,mails in his personal account.

            1. 1

              I mean that article is 15 years old. They were likely using an automated queue system without unsubscribe/consent/opt in and so on.


              You would have to prove distress or material damage in court. It would take Denny Crane to convince a Judge that you suffered mental distress from 2-3 cold emails in safe corporate-speak :)

              1. 1

                Fair point - I agree it's not a show stopper and if sending cold emails is how you like to do business then it's probably a risk worth taking.

  16. 1

    Quick question. Is this for the generic - I saw you like my post on IH... or even the ones that were researched etc. to get feedback? Curious. People have reached out to me, and I have not received anything generic and I like those.

  17. 1

    I just mark them as spam.

    Not only some people send completely irrelevant emails, but they keep sending messages if you don't reply: "I saw you haven't responded do my previous email, would you still be interested to...".

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