How a blog profiling Twitter apps transformed into a viral product: Nischal Shetty’s JustUnfollow
Twitter was just beginning to grow back in 2008 when Nischal Shetty, a software developer back then started a blog dedicated to profiling Twitter apps (twi5). Working with 3i Infotech at that time, Nischal maintained the blog part time and found an opportunity to interact with a lot of developers via the blog. While the blog was doing good, Nischal made a professional shift and joined a startup which almost every foodie in India knows now- burrp! The company went on to be acquired by Network18 and this period helped Nischal shape into an entrepreneur.
“Being a developer I had this itch to build something on top of the twitter platform. I started analyzing problems that people were facing while using twitter,” says Nischal. One problem that he himself faced and was being searched for a lot on Google was about finding non followers and finding spammers in twitter feed. Nischal looked around and couldn’t find a tool that worked.
And thus JustUnfollow was born.
Nischal was able to build the beta product within 4 days. In essence, JustUnfollow is a product built on Twitter that allows users to know things like who unfollowed them, who are the spammers following them and more such rather curiosity quenching features.
Launch and the validation from numbers
The first version was launched on 22nd Feb, 2010 and a tip sent to Michael Arrington (TechCrunch) converted and JustUnfollow had a whopping 1000 signups on day 1. “We’ve grown enormously since then. It’s been 30 months and we’ve reached 3.5 million users,” says Nischal.
JustUnfollow has a significant number of paid users as well, numbers regarding which haven’t been revealed at the moment.
Built on Twitter. Matter of concern?
A product built on top of another one always has the dependency factor associated with it. What if something happens to Twitter? And this is exactly what happened a couple of months ago. “We had some concerns when twitter was in the middle of launching the new API but things are clearer now,” says Nichal. JustUnfollow is inching more towards analytics and engagement which is what twitter wants third party apps to do.
JustUnfollow started as a purely consumer app to help users clean their twitter accounts. The excitement to remain bootstrapped led them to introduce B2B features such as ‘Copy Followers’ which is an excellent way for business to acquire customers and this has made JustUnfollow into a B2B2C app. “We believe this to be the best space to be in. You get the joy of scaling to millions of users and making good revenue at the same time,” says Nischal.
In terms of the product roadmap, there are plans for both B2C and B2B.
B2C: More ways to help clean social network accounts. JU will be introducing more filters where users will be able to find fake accounts, people without a bio, without a profile picture, not tweeting in the same language as you, etc.
B2B: JU will be introducing ‘Team Support’ next week so that multiple users can manage the same social media profiles without needing to share the account password.
What’s the road ahead?
Completely bootstrapped till now, “We do plan to raise capital but at this point we’re putting together a team to keep up with the insane growth that we’re seeing. Since revenues have been good we’ve never really been in a hurry to raise,” says Nischal.
Currently a 5 member team, JustUnfollow is hiring smart engineering, design and content people to move in with them in their new office space in Navi Mumbai. “We’ll be making this a sort of hacking den,” says Nischal.
JustUnfollow is undergoing a major redesign and will soon have a new design across web and mobile apps.