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Making Startups Go Viral

Published 04/19/2012 and rated Ratingstars3 3 out of 5 stars
by Dorothy Distefano
What can you use the app for?

Launchrock is an app used for creating a viral launch for a startup business. Rather than a “coming soon” press release or newsletter, or the old “invite code” beta launch model, Launchrock provides users with an app to build a landing page with a fill-in-the-blank, menu driven interface. By importing or entering an email list, prospective users for the startup are directed to the landing page and encouraged to sign up for more information. It integrates social media outlets such as Facebook and Twitter. It also provides a unique URL for sharing and access to analytics for your site. Users are offered the choice of being visible through LaunchRock’s additional distribution channels, though these are not defined.

LaunchRock screenshot
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What is the history and popularity of the app?

Founded on 01/2011 by Thomas Knoll, Zachary Melamed, David Drager, and Jameson Detweiler. This is a small company, consisting of a small group of focused individuals. The app received $800K in funding support in November 2011 from a variety of sources.

The number of unique visitors to the website is declining gradually from a high of over forty thousand in March 2011.

What are the differences to other apps?

Launch Effect is a free one-page Wordpress theme for viral signup campaigns. It is very similar to LaunchRock, but uses the familiar Wordpress tools for setup. Kickoff Labs offers landing pages that are free, and then premium plans with newsletters, domains, and more. Prefinery only offers premium plans for varying costs. There are several apps now following this type of model for viral launching.

LaunchRock is simple to use, but those already familiar with Wordpress may prefer the ease of use of Launch Effect.

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How does the web app look and feel to use?

LaunchRock recommends that sites keep things very simple looking and eye-catching. The user chooses the large image for the landing page. The Site Builder is a clean interface divided into 6 parts. The Landing Page allows the user to create the landing page by choosing a name for the project, a theme, and a background. Users are encouraged to use original photos for this page. Several themes are available that basically vary the way the information is provided on the page: how transparent the information box is; whether print is black or white. There are also optional announcement bars, taglines, instructions, and descriptions. Users may also upload logos. For those users who are computer savvy, there is an option to edit the CSS file. The Sharing Page is a place to link blog, Twitter, and Facebook URLs. These links are placed in the footer of the page. From this page, a user may also share their Launch Page by importing an address book or manually entering email addresses. Step 3 is the Confirmation Email. This is the automatically generated email that people will receive when they sign up for the site. Users are provided with prompts for easy creation of a standard reply to those who sign up. The Site Settings includes the business address, Google Analytics ID, site category and secondary category, and tags. Users may also decide if they wish to be discoverable through Launchrock’s distribution lists. Step 5 is the Domain Settings Page. This is where you can point your URL at LaunchRock or obtain a widget for a website you are already hosting. The issue with adding a widget to a defined sidebar on, for example, a WordPress website is that the widget is much too wide. As for the Facebook widget, one must know how to access the page html to place the widget. Once all of the information is provided, users are invited to preview and/or launch the app. Prior to launch, if any items were not completed, they will be pointed out at this time and collected on one page. Once everything is updated, the site may be launched. Most of the steps are easy and intuitive to follow, with the exception of adding widgets. Every page is very fast to load.

How does the registration process work?

The user must enter a valid email address to begin. Once entered, the user is immediately taken to dashboard to begin creating the launch page. A confirmation email is simultaneously sent so that users may access all of the features available on LaunchRock. Once the confirmation link is provided, the user is presented with a login screen that requests the email address and a password, but no password was created in this process. It was necessary during review to request a password reset email. This was immediate, and once clicked, allowed the entry of a password and redirected to the log in screen.

What does it cost to use the application?

Free for now, LaunchRock will be offering premium services such as analytic data and optimization. The team plans to identify the best users as well as those who stop visiting the site, so that the site owner can reach out to find why they are not signing in. They currently include branding on every page, but it is not overly distracting.

Who would you recommend the application to?

This app is targeted to startup companies who wants to build a launch page to be used to announce your startup company on Techcrunch or other sites. Its intent is for the launch to go viral. The app is set up to handle a lot of server traffic so that users do not have difficulty with issues signing up or with their pages being unavailable to those trying to access them. Assistance is offered through the blog and getsatisfaction page. There is also an area for feedback, a helpdesk with contact form, and a knowledge base.

  • For those that plan to use stock photos, they are developing automatic attribution for images that are purchased.
  • They have integrated with Posterous, so when a Launchrock page is set up, a Posterous blog is also started and linked.
  • They have plans to allow users to easily add videos in the future.
  • Launchrock is not currently available in mobile format.
  • The company keeps its numbers quiet, claiming only a “5 figure” range of startups using the application.

LaunchRock video

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LaunchRock pricing

FREE - Permanently free version




LaunchRock on Twitter

Link to app information

Getsatisfaction Company blog