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Sandeep Panda's photo

Update: 15 June 2021

This comment is outdated. Hashnode changed its direction in June 2020 to focus solely on developer blogging. We did a few things correct that resonated very well with the developer community.

Here's a detailed comparison between Hashnode vs Dev.to.


This question gets asked once in a while, but I've never commented on this previously. So, here are my thoughts:

I don't use Devto, but I have seen the overall look and feel of it. Some think that we are in competition with them -- that's actually not true. DEV portrays itself as an open community for developers. They are open source and have probably accepted donations from users in the past. I am not sure how they plan on making money in the long term. However, we started Hashnode to build a profitable business and help developers get better in their career. Our initial goal was to create a conversational community. But we did a bit of a course correction over the last 3 months and now our modified goal is Empower developers to tell their stories and help them grow in their career. If you look at the home page, you will see the modified goal:

Screenshot 2019-05-19 at 10.22.21 AM.png

Now, here is what platforms like Devto, Medium and others lack -- it's the inability to tell your story while retaining independence. People publish content on the above websites because they need visibility. Creating and maintaining your own blog is time consuming. Not to mention the lack of audience. As a result people just give away their content to Medium and similar platforms. But what about independence? What happens if the said service goes out of business? What happens to your posts if the company puts them behind a paywall?

Just have a look at Medium's home page -- all the recommended stories are behind a paywall. The largest dev publication Hackernoon is now moving away from them. We realized that there has to be a better way for developers to tell their stories and that's the reason we are taking a different approach. We are shifting our focus to help developers share their stories freely under their own branding while still leveraging Hashnode's audience. The benefits are:

  • Your posts live on your own domain. Republish your content elsewhere for extra visibility. After all it's your content!
  • Not happy with Hashnode? Just export the posts and switch your provider. You still retain the SEO benefits.
  • We promise that we'll never put your posts behind a paywall.

We ran a small twitter campaign around this concept, and the result is amazing! We have unlocked personal blogs for 400 developers so far and the support is pouring in. I strongly believe this is the future of Hashnode and is going help us grow as a community.

TLDR; I believe your technical blog belongs to you! We are not in competition with Devto -- we just think that everyone should publish their content on their own domain first before republishing elsewhere.

Bonus

How do we make money if we give away everything for free? Our intentions are pretty clear -- we don't want to make money by showing ads or adding paywalls. We are an open community and we intend to keep it that way. We will soon start experimenting with "Team Blogs" and add several "Pro Features" for which developers/teams will need to pay a monthly subscription fee. However, the individual free plan (that you are on right now) is going to be free forever. It's just like GitHub's model -- private repos are free for individuals, but paid for the teams. However, this is just one of the ideas we are pursuing -- it may or may not work. But we will find a business model that helps us make money in the long term without relying on ads. We have raised $1M USD so far which gives us enough runway to experiment with various business models. ✌️

Show +1 replies
Yong Wei Lun's photo

we just think that everyone should publish their content on their own domain first before republishing elsewhere.

This is solid

Robert Nsinga's photo

Hi Sandeep, I have been an early enthusiast of your community features. I keep coming back once a year or so. Last year I opened a dev.to account simply because of its popularity. I wanted to feel for myself. I quickly closed my account once I realized the exact fundamental difference you alluded to here. Why then do I login once a year then, you may ask. Well, I feel like it's a bit cliche, but if I could have my personal blog look like the Hashnode user profile page or the homepage itself, Hashnode's differentiation would be complete (in my opinion). Until then, I will keep checking in once a year. I like what you have done with the UI/UX.