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24 Comments

The number of new products posted on Indie Hackers is declining rapidly

After reading a recent discussion on the shift that's happening here at Indie Hackers, I decided to look at the data.

Three possible explanations:

  • Fewer people are indie hacking.
  • Fewer people are building in public.
  • Fewer people are using Indie Hackers to build in public.

Imho the third explanation seems most likely, given the recent changes:

  • An Invite code is requried to join
  • Product updates and launches are no longer featured on the front page. Hence there is little incentive to build in public on Indie Hackers.

Update:

  1. 7

    Hmmm. I think this is a bit misleading. Product posts are going to be heavily correlated with the rise and fall of the “Milestone” section.

    • Milestones were introduced ~2.5 years ago
    • Milestones got popular ~2 years ago
    • Milestones were taken off prime location ~15 months ago
    • Milestones were completely removed ~4 months ago

    So Yes — product posts went up then down. But that's because the feature which incentivised product posts went up then down.

    Now you could argue that Milestones are missed. Maybe you're right.

    As for your 2nd graph. Obviously new users were going to plummet. That was literally the point of it. Cut the spam accounts. Higher quality posts.

    PS — You've pointed out both these things . But it's easy for people to scan a tweet and get the wrong idea. I just want to stand up for the site a bit. All love and respect.

    1. 2

      Honest question - do you think it worked? Are the posts higher quality?

      1. 1

        It seems to have worked a bit. But not sure if it was worth. I'm a long-time lurker and the current model seems to endorse that. Like if I didn't have an account, I wouldn't be able to login but still read the content. That naturally reduces how much engaged people are because you're eliminating a great source of new signups. I new person sees a post and feels like they should respond. You force them to sign up and once they are in they have a much higher chance of becoming a part of the community.

        Before invite codes were introduced, there were spam posts on IH but they either got removed or received 0 engagement. The community, I believe is quite vigilant in that regard.

        There are still low-efort, spam posts appearing every now and then. For e.g. there as one about link building last week and it got quite a bit of engagement.

        Invite codes are great for preventing that but they also prevent freshblood from joining. Not everyone has contacts you know. Maybe locking accounts before they can post would be a better way. It's still not a %100 solution to spamming but it requires effort to get that account going and effort is what spammers hate.

        But I don't think the forum is dead/dying. We'll need to see how things go for a while longer I'd say. I'd say it's better to have invite codes and a lower engagement rather than have IH transform into something like DesignerNews which is just a backlink site, lol.

        I'm also afraid that people are going to start selling invites.

      2. 1

        I don't know. But it can't have hurt

        1. 3

          I am not so sure. I tried to join shortly after this was required and while I did get codes it was a pain and wasn’t even sure if the forum / site would be valuable. A month one way or the other and I wouldn’t have been able to make the time to jump through this hoop.

          Spam is a problem in every forum. The trick is having active, trained community managers who can spot it and have the power to purge it.

          It can be a lot of work.

  2. 5

    As others have pointed out, we deprioritized milestones (temporarily) and also drastically reduced the number of new people joining the site (by requiring invite codes) which is the explanation.

    1. 2

      Thanks for the reply! What's the idea behind deprioritizing milestones?

  3. 3

    It used to be that building and launching the product was the focus of this site. It had a sense of "guidance from real experts". It was indies with helpful nudging by pros. Now the focus has shifted - building the audience is the end goal, product be damned. As for the horrific site redesign, I no longer visit daily, monthly at best.

  4. 2

    I think " An Invite code is required to join" is the reason of decreasing the number of indie hackers.

  5. 2

    This is fascinating Jakob.

    How did you get this data? is there an open API?

  6. 2

    I would venture a bet, the last guess is the most likely - less promotion = less interest in launching here.

  7. 1

    I didn't even know there was an invite only rule now. I have been on here for awhile now. I have been "building" for some time. I like this place still. It's a grind to exist. It can get demoralizing and I never really thought this was a place for growth. I never thought of this place as a location for attention. I come here to be a part of a group of people trying. It's like therapy. I had a hiatus for life events, but I'm back because it feels like the right place to be.

  8. 1

    Real talk...

    Posting a profitable product on Indie Hackers is like throwing a piece of bread in a duck pond.

    Lurkers are ready to pounce on ideas they think are 'quick wins'.

    Why create your own competition when you can just put your ego aside and build a real business for yourself.

  9. 1

    i think there may be some IH burnout

    of all the people that joined during the covid boom, a few were very successful, but most didn't have much success, got discouraged and became less active

    1. 2

      I think this is possible because the hype train gets people pumped but it is the grind train that gets people to release.

      Probably not an easy balance because clickbait vibes work for now.

      I’ve been building a long time so I don’t like the “I built a skyscraper in 10 days and sold it to God AMA” stuff.

      I do like the details of pivots and newer founders that don’t have this long standing public persona and influence. These folks are harder to find but have more interesting stories imo.

      1. 1

        totally agree. would much rather see a struggle-pivot-success story than a instant win story

  10. 1

    Product updates and launches are no longer featured on the front page. Hence there is little incentive to build in public on Indie Hackers.

    I agree with this one. I actually made a post yesterday that linked to my product update as it's almost impossible for people to see product updates. And I can say for myself that it makes me unwilling to post these updates.

  11. 1

    I have recently started to use this platform to build in public but the feedback received so far is not encouraging. I'm not sure if its what I post or the platform overall is not engaging? I like the format though. Thanks for bringing this up. Will watch this thread for updates.

    1. 1

      I face that question as well. I'm building like crazy but not too much incentive to share. Definitely no negativity, which is nice compared to a place like reddit, but not much interest as well.

  12. 1

    Hi Jakob, the lack of response to this post is even worrying

    1. 3

      give em a chance. it was posted a few hours ago

      1. 1

        I apologize for sounding harsh. It's just that several discussions go unnoticed on IH lately.

        1. 2

          all good. fair comment :)

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