July 10, 2018

You have one unread message 👀

It’s often said that every social network eventually adds messaging. Well, now you can include Product Hunt on that list. Check it out here. 😅

Once upon a time, Twitter didn’t have DMs.

It was a simple tool to broadcast your breakfast choices to the world, but there was no way to discuss your avocado toast choices in private. Naturally, as the community grew and people started to form real relationships, there was strong demand to chat in private.

Twitter DM’s mirrors every other large social network. Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, reddit and most community platforms make messaging a core part of the product. They do so for strategic reasons: communication is one of the strongest drivers of engagement and retention.

Graph created by analytics company, Flurry

Private messaging isn’t an unwanted engagement “growth hack”. People want to communicate with friends and their community. Product Hunt community members often exchange emails in the public comments in an attempt to move their conversation to somewhere more private:

I’ve personally received dozens of emails from investors and reporters asking for an introduction to makers that recently launched:

Matt from betaworks reached out to connect with the makers of an app that launched that day.

Building for existing behavior

Some of the most engaging features we’ve introduced were designed to make existing behaviors easier. So, today we’re introducing Chat to make it easy for the Product Hunt community to connect outside public comments.

We’ve been beta testing Chat for the last month to gather feedback (thanks, beta friends!), uncover edge cases, and ensure we’re equipped to address potential abuse. While simple, Chat is quite robust. You can start a:

  1. Private 1-on-1 chat. Message a friend, move a public conversation to private, or talk with the maker of a product directly.
  2. Private group chat. Bring together your best side-project buddies and problem-solve together.
  3. Public group chat. Makers, use this to start a conversation with your users or beta testers. We designed this to be lightweight and easier to jump into than Slack and other heavier messaging apps.

There are several ways to start a conversation. You can visit your Chat inbox and search for one or more people to invite them to chat, or click on the “Message” link underneath any comment on the site, which automatically includes a quote to offer more context about why you triggered the Chat.

Here’s an illustration of quoting: Alex sent me a private message in response to offer to help connect him with a designer to hire.

Zero tolerance for jerks

Without the right measures in place, private communication can become unwanted and abused. We have zero tolerance for jerks and while the Product Hunt community is generally very respectful, it only takes a few bad actors to ruin the experience for others. That’s why we invested in tooling to protect against abuse and give users control, including the ability to:

  • Report chats. If someone is sending unwanted messages, reporting will notify our team and close the chat.
  • Adjust Chat settings. In your settings, choose whether you’re open to messages from everyone, only people your follow, or nobody.
  • Manage inboxes. You’ll find an “other” inbox, similar to what Facebook Messenger and other communication apps provide, to filter potentially unwanted chats.

We also have many throttles and checks behind-the-scenes to automatically detect and prevent potential abuse.

Give it a try

Product Hunt Chat is now open to everyone. While you may not have a reason to message someone right now, we know Chat will be useful as people continue to discover products, share opinions in the comments, and get to know others in the community.

We welcome your feedback and suggestions in the launch discussion or chat with me privately. 😊

More Writing by Ryan