Might be time to call it quits

After about 7 months of only one paying user and very few sign-ups it's time to evaluate the next step and possibly move on.

I created https://usetrove.io to scratch my own itch for scraping websites with a solution that can quickly scale to millions of requests. I still believe the product is useful as I've used it extensively and others in the space have shown growth, but I've seen the market become heavily saturated with many offerings.

What I've tried and still hasn't worked:

Things that don't scale also don't work in many cases. Maybe it's my timing, maybe it's the market, maybe it's the product - none of that matters now because I feel like my time and skills could be used shipping other products. People were signing up and leaving. Asking for their input led to empty inboxes and no replies. I did learn how to move fast and ship often, but I still need to learn more when it comes to marketing and early stage growth.

For now, this is going on the back-burner and I'm gonna focus my skills elsewhere with some products that could have different outcomes. The journey isn't over - it's just begun and I'll keep shipping until I hit that growth curve I see so often.

Till next time!

  1. 4

    Probably not what you want to hear but I too was a target for this product and I didn't know it existed.

    I tried googling "web scraper" and various permutations but I kept finding tools that simply grabbed HTML. What I was looking for is something like your tool where I can specify the content I want and it gives me back structured data.

    The closest I found to what I need was Apify.com but I found their solution to be a bit overkill, with too much new terminology (Actors?) to learn.

    Specifically, I was looking for a scraper tool that would be simple to integrate with no-code workflow tools like Zapier and Integromat. I don't think there's anything like that currently on the market. Maybe some food for thought.

  2. 3

    This product has so many use cases but it's been targeted at technical people with features described who know exactly what they're looking for.

    I'd look to make it more attractive to a non-techie. And rather than talk consistently about features I'd come up with some specific use cases as to how it could be used.

    • Hotel price comparison scraper
    • Sneaker drop scraper
  3. 3

    a solution that can quickly scale to millions of requests

    Really? Because that sounds like an actual value prop.

    Web scrapers are a dime a dozen.

    But doing it at scale is not easy.

    Defeating mass-scraping countermeasures is not easy.

    If you can make a compelling case for scale and guaranteed results, that's notable. But I'm not seeing those claims even being stated.

    You are exactly right that the market is saturated.

    Here is your linkedin scraping page:

    And here is your competition:

    I wish I had better advice. I think you are making the right call to focus on different products.

    Cheers and best success!

    1. 1

      I wouldn't throw out claims because there isn't enough user data to validate/prove it.

      I agree that there are a few sides to take this product, one being the no-code approach the other being the mass-scraping but that would be two different customer personas to build for. One is an individual where as the other (mass-scraping) is usually enterprises that need large amounts of data.

      I was targeting the low-code segment, where you should know how to code a bit to make use of the API but without the overhead of running an entire scraping pipeline yourself.

      Maybe I missed the mark here, but really pivoting now would be a huge time sink so probably better to move on as the market is saturated and even harder to standout based on your example.

      Thank you!

  4. 3

    Hi Anton, thank you for sharing this. It's really a shame it didn't work as you expected. I'm probably the target of this kind of product and I didn't know it exists.
    I wish you the best for your new projects.

  5. 1

    Just for the future, I would recommend going higher up the value chain. You clearly have a decent set of infrastructure ready to go, so, why not build more niche applications upon it for your customers to use? Others have mentioned things like price comparison and monitoring. Make that available but keep the service flexible for power users.

  6. 1

    Hey Tony, sorry that trove isn't working out.

    Quick question for you – I don't know much about the web scraping landscape, but do you have competitors that are clearly successful? If so, try to figure out how they made it a success (everything from product, to marketing, to positioning, pricing, target customers, etc.).

    It sounds like you're trying a lot of things that may or may not work, but in my opinion the best way forward is to see what others have done that actually works and copy those strategies/tactic.

    If you can't find any clearly successful competitors, then that's a sign that the market or category is flawed.

    Good luck!

  7. 1

    I could have used this too on past products. This seems real.

  8. 1

    Have you considered offering a productized service? In my case I need some sites scrapped but need some helping doing it, even with an automated tool.

  9. 1

    One thing stuck with me while viewing the Landing page, instead of writing a value proposition to the user you have mentioned the feature of your product. That might be the case, people are not able to understand.

    For example- Instead of writing " Stop worrying about proxies, headless browsers and bot detection", you can write, what is the output you get after doing all this.

    I don't know if I am able to make sense.

    Thanks for building the product. More power to your decision.

    I am more than happy to talk to you and help you to repurpose the landing page. No money, no hidden motive just Good karma.

  10. 1

    Sometimes the people who are signing up first are competitors. That would explain why they don't reply.

  11. 1

    I can relate and after 7 months and 1 paying customer, it may be better to cut your losses and focus on new ventures!

    I'm currently battling a desire to quit, wondering if my efforts will be worth it. But giving your effort for 7 months with nothing to show isn't easy! At least you have a nice portfolio piece for your efforts!

  12. 1

    I'm probably not your target market since I'm not super technical.

    But I noticed the business benefits / value on your landing page is buried to the bottom half.

    I regularly need this kind of service. But I dont have a clear idea how to start using it based on your site. Also, I almost closed the page before the part where you explained the value.

    Sometimes luring the customer in comes down to these simple issues. You might give it a second try at some point - this kind of a product is definitely needed!

    Anyways, best of luck in your ventures, whatever your decision!

    1. 1

      I've experimented with a few things regarding landing page, but nothing has moved the needle so far.

      Traffic is still generally low, making it hard to really see the difference between optimizing landing page. Sometimes it feels like it's going no where and most efforts lead to a dead end.

      For me, having started this for myself has made it harder to show others the value.

      What project comes next should start with who needs this solution and Is it enough of a problem that they would pay for it.

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