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Why we don’t play dirty to market our product

When we launched Semaphore, the market for continuous integration services was ripe for change. Existing solutions were excessively complicated. Emerging hosted solutions offered, in our opinion, a poor user experience at needlessly high prices.

Hosted developer services used to live in a quite peaceful market, with very few competitors who are likely serving a different audience. For example, Airbrake has been the only credible exception tracking service for years. This is now changing with hosted CI services being a good example, as a couple of services have arrived shortly one after another.

At the same time many founders are deciding not to bootstrap their product but get funding as quickly as possible, which introduces some new problems for the founders and customers.

We’ve noticed that this has created some unusual marketing behaviour:

1. When someone would tweet to @semaphoreapp, a competing cofounder or service account would often jump in the conversation asking the user to leave Semaphore for their service.
2. A post from a user mentioning Semaphore on Hacker News can be downvoted.
3. Spreading misinformation, for example by repeatedly claiming that one’s service is the fastest, while a very simple test shows otherwise if you actually do a comparison.

We feel that this is unethical and so we do not do it, nor ever will. When we speak we will stick to the facts, because we are proud of what we have created.

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