We ended the year with our highest quarterly revenue in company history while building some important product integrations (with Google Analytics, Algolia, Unsplash & GUN), and dark mode. Our Alexa ranking is at 3.5k worldwide, up from a 5.2k ranking before removing Medium, proving the overall success of the move into our own infrastructure. We also had a company wide year end review where 100% of the team answered “yes” to the question “are you happy?”
In 2019, Hacker Noon had 38M total site visitors, an increase of 35% from 2018 year over year. From Nov 2016 through early Dec 2019, Hacker Noon totaled ≈77M visitors.
We closed the year as a top 3.5k site in the world, which is up from worldwide Alexa ranking of 5.2k at the time of removing the Medium infrastructure from our site. From mid July (launch of our software) through December 2019, we published 4,523 stories, which is an average of 27 stories per day, and our library created 48+ years of time reading.
Internally, we have promoted Natasha Nel from Technology Editor to Managing Editor, and expanded the editorial team with the part-time hiring of top community commenter Arthur Tkachenko as Software Editor. Natasha’s voice and data driven approach will be important to scaling our brand voice and rate of publishing.
Our 2019 revenue (over
) increased by 73% a year from 2018 year over year. The Top Navigation Billboard sponsorship accounted for the majority of our revenue at 55%, even though we could only start serving sponsors mid July after Hacker Noon 2.0 launched. The rest of our yearly revenue was made up of podcast sponsorships at 14% (which ends up breaking-even after expenses), brand as author program at 12%, newsletter sponsorships at 6%, The Noonies at 5%, and events/shirts/interest/other accounting for 8%.
In the less than five months of running the brand as author program and newsletter sponsorships, we totaled over 100 paying customers. For 2019 Q4 (pictured below), the ordered revenue by program breakdown was top navigation (64%), brand as author (18%), newsletters (14%), followed by interest and schwag sales for the rest (4%).
Our largest two customers for the year are Seen by Indeed and Heroku by Salesforce. We have a number of six digit sponsorship deals in our pipeline, and will be investing in scaling our sales programs in 2020. In 2019, some of our more notable customers also include Google Cloud, Codacy, Passbase, Stream, Kloudless, Nodle, Polyient Labs, Vettery, PubNub, Mabl, Radix, LogDNA, ByBit, SurrveySparrow, Snyk, Digital Ocean, and Kin.
We’ve done a lot of optimization work with our top navigation ad and expect to increase the revenue per day from this. Additionally, we plan to explore sponsorship packages by tags (i.e. placement by content relevancy) in 2020.
Q4 2019, we integrated with Unsplash, Algolia, Google Analytics, and the GUN blockchain. We also launched dark mode. The GUN integration is our first use of blockchain technology in the Hacker Noon publishing platform. Starting in Q1 2020, this open source decentralized database will power our annotations and inline commenting. For the first time, we will be putting some content on the blockchain. With this integration, users browsers can contribute storage and anyone can also run their own “miner” on their computer or a cloud, distributing some of our hosting costs to our readership.
For the full view of our year in product development, please read our CPO Dane Lyons’ Product Update 2019-2020. In summary, we now have the initial experience live for our core users: writers, readers, editors, sponsors and admins; and integrated with many great technologies like: Google Cloud, SlateJS, Algolia, Filestack, Unsplash, Google Analytics, Discourse, GUN, Twitter, and more.
Building a digital product is always a trade-off between inventing the wheel, re-inventing the wheel and figuring out a way to plug in an existing solution — all while making the thing feel like just one quality thing. We're getting there. Very excited to build more this year.
We will continue investing heavily in improving and iterating on the core product experience, reading and writing, while also launching more curation tools, such as annotations and collections, to drive account creation and micro contributions.