If there’s one thing nerds adore in 2015, it’s podcasts. And if there’s one place tech-obsessed geeks love to congregate online, it’s Product Hunt, a site that offers daily recommendations for new apps, websites, and tech. It’s fitting, then, that Product Hunt’s newest vertical is all about podcasts.
Like the site’s other channels, Product Hunt Podcasts lets people submit and then collectively upvote listings. The feature applies dead-simple, Reddit-style voting functionality to individual episodes of podcasts.
This per-episode submission (as opposed to encouraging people to recommend an entire series) is interesting. Most podcasts require a large time commitment from their listeners. A given series may have an episode (or five) that interests you deeply, but it’s hard to identify the best episodes from the show’s descriptions in a podcast app like Stitcher or Apple Podcasts. Say you’re brand new to the podcasting thing. You might say, Oh, Neil deGrasse Tyson has a podcast? That’s cool. I’ll add that one to my list. But with a little more digging, you may find yourself saying Oh damn, Neil deGrasse Tyson interviewed Edward Snowden on his podcast? I need to hear that right now.
By surfacing individual episodes and letting the community vote on them, Product Hunt is making podcast discovery work more like the web itself. Someone reading this Fast Company article could have reached it from Twitter, or Reddit, or a Google search related to podcasts or Product Hunt. But imagine if reading this article required you to visit Fast Company, subscribe to every article we publish, and then find this one in a stream of articles in a dedicated app—essentially, an RSS-only way of consuming articles online. That would be crazy. But that’s how podcasts work most of the time.
Thankfully, some podcasting apps are getting better at letting people discover individual episodes, but they don’t typically give people a space to congregate and discuss them, as Product Hunt is attempting to do with its new vertical. Of course, the usefulness of this feature will depend on how many people heavily participate. But if the wild popularity of Product Hunt among the tech enthusiast set is any indication, its podcast channel likely has a good shot at being relevant.
Despite its seemingly simplistic, been-done-before concept, Product Hunt has become a major force in the tech industry. The site, which is frequented by VCs, tech journalists, and prominent startup founders, is often a publicity gold mine for startups that find their products on the front page of the site. In many cases, those companies find talent and even investors thanks to the Product Hunt bump.
Plotting its expansion, Product Hunt has chosen to launch specific, niche verticals one at a time. The first two, gaming and books, have not exactly exploded in popularity, but they are still in beta. In August, the site launched a live Q&A feature to compete with Reddit’s popular “Ask Me Anything” forum.