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So we built what we thought was a very useful tool for making sure important emails get answered. It lets you dispatch custom follow-up messages that bump the original email to the top of the inbox if you don't get a response. Works great with clients, proposals, deadlines, you name it. It actually makes email a reliable form of important communication again by preventing important emails from falling through the cracks.

Two Techcrunch writers (did it really take two?) declared us a nightmarish tool for spammers with the headline: "Meet Rebump - the New Worst Thing About Email." The thing is, their entire presentation of the product's uses is totally off. They didn't bother getting in touch with us and didn't even sign up to view the actual functionality of the product. They printed contradictory information about the most basic way the app works right in the article and ignored safeguards that we put in place to make Rebump a terrible choice for anyone looking to send spam. So two guys that hate email essentially used us as a straw-man prop for a (somewhat entertaining) rant about how email is the worst and we make it even more unbearable. Cue the pitchforks and Tweets advising us to euthanize ourselves and no amount of rational argument can extricate us from being the new face of the Spammers' arms race. You get the picture.

On a brighter note, the traffic boost was nice and conversion has been over 7% (!) and rising (particularly cool because it's a multi-step process involving plugin installation and two Google authentications). We've been reading here a while and thought you'd have some creative advice for us on next steps.

Link: http://Rebump.cc

  • BH

    ben hoffman

    about 5 years ago #

    I would do exactly what you are doing now - be your products best evangelist and let this blow over. Many times people think TC will put their product on the map. It rarely does. Same here, this will not break your product's success. Give it a few weeks and no one will remember.

    With that said, TC articles have excellent ranking. Anyone searching for research of Rebump will surely find this article.

    I would do my best to make some improvements based on the feedback in the article. When people approach you about the article, it's another line of defense - like any good entrepreneur, you took the feedback and made the product even better.

    • SP

      Sofia Pessanha

      about 5 years ago #

      Adding to Ben's comments, you can use your own blog (which I could not find on your website) to be the evangelists of your product, and to get your message out there. A well written response article about how you save people time and on how following up is the key to successful sales will help increase that conversion rate.

      Besides, who was it who said "it does not matter what they say as long as they speak of me"? :).

  • SE

    Sean Ellis

    about 5 years ago #

    I wouldn't worry about it. Everyone will forget the article soon enough. Find passionate users and highlight their use cases.

    • EH

      Ezra HaLevi

      about 5 years ago #

      Thanks, Sean!

      • SE

        Sean Ellis

        about 5 years ago #

        You're welcome. I really like the advice from Anand and Ben too. Ben wrote a lot of the things I would have written if I had taken more time to think about it. Anand said better things than I would have written :)

  • AS

    Anand Srinivasan

    about 5 years ago #

    You can either forget it, or try to create a social storm out of it. One way to do it is try an elaborate counter to the arguments made in the article on Medium or your own blog. Then try publishing it on Hacker News and see if the counter gets traction. Most likely it should.

    I would suggest Medium since if the HN strategy does not work out you may be stuck with a flop article on blog that will stay stuck with you forever on the blog.

  • RP

    Ritika Puri

    about 5 years ago #

    Oh wow. Rebump is exactly what I need. Techcrunch sold me on the value prop, despite the article's entitled, whiny tone.

  • ET

    Everette Taylor

    about 5 years ago #

    Welcome to the GH community Ezra.

    Sorry to hear about the article but I believe it can be turned into a positive, one thing I will say is that if you didn't matter at all - TechCrunch would have never mentioned you guys. Good luck with everything.

  • TO

    Trevor Owens

    about 5 years ago #

    If I read that post on TC, I would immediately download your extension like I did just now.

  • PG

    Pushkar Gaikwad

    about 5 years ago #

    Do not take TechCrunch too seriously.

    Most likely, TechCrunch traffic is not your target audience anyway. I know many founders personally (India and in US) who got covered by techcrunch and after 48 hour spike, and when things settled down, there were some curiosity clicks and signups but that's it.

    You are anyway getting good visibility now so carry on in the work/product in which you believe in.

    DId posted this at hackernews btw ?

  • CC

    Chris Conrey

    about 5 years ago #

    Haters gonna hate.

    Just let them go away and keep on being the bright light of evangelism that you are being. Not worth trying to fight them, but maybe a blog post doing a line by line breakdown of what they got wrong can't hurt.....

  • SC

    Shana Carp

    about 5 years ago #

    Well, do more like this.

    I just signed up :)

  • JG

    Jim Gray

    about 5 years ago #

    Take it as feedback on your pitch. They didn't understand it? Use their misunderstanding to help you improve the clarity of your marketing copy.

    For example, you could maybe tone down the "Hey! Hey! Hey! Hey! Why aren't you replying yet?!" message by doing things like not showing it sending FOUR automated follow-ups, which is kind of high for almost everything.

    Since you're getting some good installs already, you could run analysis of how people are actually using it & use that to help target your message. If you're seeing average 1.2 / mode 1, you probably shouldn't use four as an illustrative example.

    Toss a few alternatives on your queue of pending A/B tests, see what comes of it.

    • EH

      Ezra HaLevi

      about 5 years ago #

      This is great, and actionable. Adding an FAQ page last night has brought increased clarity and we have some features in the pipeline that will really make the fears of abuse moot.

      Looking at the data so far, I don't think anyone has reached 4 bumps (then again we haven't been around long enough to reach that with the default settings) but we've had a few requests to offer more bumps (specifically from marketers that say they get responses after 7-8 follow-ups routinely).

  • KS

    Karan Sarin

    about 5 years ago #

    It's a great product, I've signed up too. Don't worry about TC, any press is good press.

  • JW

    Joe Ward

    about 5 years ago #

    Now you can add a non-linked "As featured on TechCrunch" graphic to your landing page. :)

    Don't worry about it. Email is polarizing, and TC likes their blog posts to have some bias that will provoke response. They're great at it.

    Enjoy your traffic bump and conversions! Of course, the feedback others have posted here - to view it objectively and look for opportunities to understand the first impressions you may be invoking and how to better communicate what you're all about - is right on the money.

    BTW, anyone tweeting to you to say "Kill yourself" isn't really credible feedback. You can ignore them and let them go back to their regularly scheduled Redditing. Fire those prospects. ;)

    There is going to be a segment of sales-oriented users that love it. Likewise, there are probably many some small internal teams that will also like Rebumping for efficiency. After all, with all the talk of how overloaded with email we are, or how hard it is to reach inbox zero, something should be fairly clear:

    We're not just avoiding responses to emails because we don't want to... sometimes we're just busy... and a rebump can be a good way to send a welcomed reminder.

    The use case I've adopted is with Boomerang app. I typically flag important emails with Boomerang with the rule: Return to inbox in x days if nobody responds.

    That gives me the flexibility of deciding what to do when Boomerang reminds me that my contact didn't get back to me yet in the timeline I set. Then it's in my hands to essentially "rebump", i.e. follow up with a custom message.

  • JP

    Jacob Pastrovich

    about 5 years ago #

    If you think the negative effects will go on long-term (from showing up in search results) why not reach out to the writers and point out that they didn't even sign up to try it out? That's pretty lazy "reporting" on their part and shouldn't go unchecked.

  • OS

    Omar Sayyed

    about 5 years ago #

    Who reads Techcrunch and views their articles as the sole provider of authoritative work anyways. I always read their articles with a grain of salt - good or bad. Like Sean said, sooner or later people will forget about this. Find people who love your product and get them to be your evangelizers.

  • SD

    Scott Dunlap

    about 5 years ago #

    You've got some great advice here, Ezra. Just an additional tactical note if you're interested.

    Your site (which is gorgeous) is going to pose the spam vs. bump question in a readers head right at "life of an email". I would suggest A/B testing a version that has "bump vs spam - the crucial difference" right there in your flow. A few sentences that shows how a follow up email is contextual (around a deadline, for example) can help put the rest of your site in the right light.

    It's also good branding practice to juxtapose your new verb directly against the opposite action for clarity...might as well set it up against "spam".

    And yeah, don't worry about an unresearched TechCrunch article. I've had a couple of those in the past, and you're doing the right thing. Just make sure anyone who comes from that article can clarify the argument on the first two pages, and it will continue to be a solid lead resource.

    Best of luck - it does look quite useful!

  • KA

    Kosio Angelov

    about 5 years ago #

    I actually consider it a good thing. Honestly, I didn't know about your service (which is pretty cool btw) before TC. As far as I am concerned, TC is responsible for me becoming a customer, despite their misrepresentation of what you actually do.

  • JS

    Justin Scott

    about 5 years ago #

    Ignore it, chances are that TechCruch readers are not your target market in the first place.

    • KP

      Kyle Pretsch

      about 5 years ago #

      TechCrunch press is still TechCrunch attention. Plus, if you win, it's going to invite more TechCrunch attention. What a growth hack, "catching TechCrunch in a lie".

  • EV

    Evan Varsamis

    about 5 years ago #

    dont take it so seriously and seize the chance of exposure

  • ZS

    Zach Solomon-Beloin

    about 5 years ago #

    I would take it extremely seriously - in a positive manner. I would compare this article to a passive visitor on your site. If they're giving your site 20% of their attention, your average visitor may assume that it's helping to promote spam. Make it clear that it's not.

    I would recommend revisiting all of those pain points and try to clarify on your front page what it is. It might be worth creating a page dedicated to your thoughts on follow up email spam.

    People thought unmarked cars were sketch during Uber's early days. It's all about educating your audience and positioning your story and message in a way that makes sense for them.

  • DB

    David Binkowski

    about 5 years ago #

    First off, I blame whoever counseled you on your positioning because had it been clearly articulated it wouldn't have been construed as what TC said. We've seen other startups who've said they can mimic other companies and either DIY or hire on the cheap -- but that's why you pay professionals.

    I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but if you're looking to growth hack, the "stay the course" route isn't what you need. You need endorsements from publications that early adopters read. Yes, TechCrunch is one said publication, but having a reputable PR firm handle that outreach means they're working their contacts and communicating the positioning appropriately. My firm does not handle the outreach, but we have supported very successful campaigns that had terrific PR support.

    At any rate, at this point you should reconsider your positioning and product offering; if you're not seeing growth then "stay the course" is not the right recommendation here. And if you have other sites/blogs/pubs that endorsed you then you can ignore what TC said because their collective opinion will override whatever their bias says.

    • EH

      Ezra HaLevi

      about 5 years ago #

      Thanks, David. So, since TC we've had a write-up in Business Insider, that was the same basic premise, but with a bit of a product tour; brief mentions in Newsweek and the Washington Post; and a number of medium-sized blogs. But here's the thing: none of that traffic came even close to the volume and quality of that first one.

      Has anyone ever aimed for more bad press because it converts better?

      • DB

        David Binkowski

        about 5 years ago #

        As much as people say "Well, TC doesn't make or break" your startup, the initial push can be overwhelming is positive.

        I ever never heard of bad press converting better.

        Do you have a TC contact? If so it would be worth taking them out to lunch or at the very least a phone call showing use cases of it, explaining said benefits and safeguards.

        Finally, and I think someone else mentioned it, if you can get positive, accurate write ups for the product it would drown TC out -- but I believe you're better off educating them on their innaccuracies.

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