SimpleLogin, an open-source service that protects users’ privacy using email aliases. He left his job and started bootstrapping the SaaS, which now makes $3,000 each month. He realized that privacy is vital and its impacts are more substantial than previously thought after watching the Edward Snowden movie last year. SimpleLogin is built on subscriptions, which can be purchased for either $30 year or $3 monthly, and there is a free tier that should be adequate for most people. The son has not received any money; the project is fully self-funded.
After watching the Edward Snowden movie, son started to worry more about his privacy. He thought that he needed distinct identities on each website where he registered in order to avoid being tracked. He used this as the inspiration for SimpleLogin, an open-source service that protects users’ privacy using email aliases. He left his job and started bootstrapping the SaaS, which makes $3,000 each month at the moment.
What are you currently working on and who are you?
Hey! Son here; I’m 34 years old. I am the creator of SimpleLogin, an open-source program that protects our privacy by using email aliases. Our revenue is now $3000 MRR SaaS and is steadily growing.
France is where we have our office. I have started researching the marketing/communications side but am now largely focused on the infrastructure.
Our company is built on subscriptions, which can be purchased for either $30 year or $3 monthly. Additionally, there is a free tier that ought to be adequate for most people. We have not received any money; the project is fully self-funded.
What is your background, and how did you come up with this idea?
I never thought much about privacy since, like most people, I had nothing to hide. I came to the realization that privacy is vital and that its impacts are more substantial than I had previously thought after viewing the Edward Snowden movie last year (which I heartily recommend). Large companies and politicians will influence us if we do not take privacy seriously. You cannot rely on the government to protect your privacy, even if you live in Europe.
I’ve come to understand that my inbox has evolved into my online persona as a frequent Gmail user. I need as many IDs as I can get, and since each website should have its own identity, why not? Then, SimpleLogin is created as a simple identity creation solution.
I have started many things in the past, but I have never felt driven or adequately motivated to give it my whole attention. But for the first time, the following prerequisites for SimpleLogin were satisfied: If there isn’t a technical obstacle, I get tired because I’m a developer.
I choose to resign from my position in order to concentrate on SimpleLogin. At the time, I was managing a software team, earning a good living, and getting along well with my coworkers.
At the time, I was motivated to create SimpleLogin by organizations with strong ethical standards and a commitment to openness, such as Basecamp, Sentry, and Baremetrics.
How did you turn a concept into a finished product?
The idea of developing a single sign-on icon that produced a unique email address each time it was used, akin to “Log in with Facebook,” but preserving user privacy, first captivated me. I worked many hours to create an identity provider that adhered to the industry standard for single sign-on services, OAuth2/OpenID Connect.
In June 2019, Apple launched “Sign in with Apple” during WWDC 2019, which was effectively the same thing. I wasn’t sure what to do when I saw the announcement. It is challenging to compete with Apple because of its power to force every software to include its registration symbol. A login symbol that protects our email addresses is urgently needed, which is why Apple is competing against Facebook, Google, and Twitter at the same time.
As time goes on, it becomes clear that being an identity provider is an issue of the chicken-and-egg kind: without many apps integrating our button, consumers would not be aware of SimpleLogin, and without many users, no app would want to integrate our button. I made the decision to change course and concentrate on the email part while deferring the single sign-on.
SimpleLogin has always been an open-source project. Because anybody may “steal” your code, it initially seems terrifying, but it ended out being one of the best choices I ever made. If I hadn’t been open, I wouldn’t have gotten useful input from early adopters, people who value the product and are willing to put in a lot of time assisting.
Three more people later joined the project on a part-time basis. We created a landing website, Chrome and Firefox extensions, iOS and Android applications, etc. The server component has also undergone major improvement, enabling self-hosting and the inclusion of cutting-edge capabilities like PGP, WebAuthn, etc. Additionally, because the code is open-source, certain features have been developed by our users.
I tried launching through many websites (HackerNews, BetaPage, etc.), but none of them worked out well. I guess the time was off or the goods wasn’t represented well enough. Up until this point, word of mouth has been the main driver of our organic growth. We provide students a premium plan for free, so it’s possible that they’ve helped spread the word. However, I’ve never have proof of this theory:).
The price structure is kept quite simple: the free plan should be adequate for basic usage, whereas the premium plan is for more sophisticated usage. Anyone may safeguard their email address for free with either plan as there are no bandwidth or email forwarding restrictions.
What marketing techniques did you use to grow your company?
As a beginner in marketing and communication, I have concentrated on content writing and have made an effort to write as much as I can about the conclusions I’ve made when tackling SimpleLogin or other technical issues. These articles are geared for tech-savvy people and are quite technical. Initially, I used the developer-focused blogging site dev.to before moving to our own blog.
We should get in touch with “influencers” in the area of internet privacy, according to some people. From Techlore (100K YouTube followers), Michael Bazzell (author of security/privacy books), and others, SimpleLogin has garnered overwhelmingly excellent ratings. The peak traffic to the publication suggested that these podcasts, videos, or blog entries attracted interest.
Currently, we are testing out a referral program. The result seems encouraging.
I have no clue why, as comparable products have in the past attracted a lot of interest from this group, yet we have no influence when publishing a Hacker News show post. If you do not obtain an upvote within the next fifteen to thirty minutes, I suggest that you delete your article right away. You can therefore choose a different launch time.
We plan to debut soon on Product Hunt. I’m hoping it will be better than the HN version.
What are you doing right now? What are your long-term goals?
Growth in the modern era is steady but not rapid. Our average monthly recurring income is $3000, and we are very close to the 1000 subscriber milestone. We don’t have any intentions to grow significantly (or leave), as I wish to regulate expansion.
I’m now looking for a partner who can handle marketing and communication so I can concentrate exclusively on the technology and product. If you know of any marketing experts who could be interested in the privacy business, please let me know.
We also started looking at ways to make a product similar to credit cards and phone numbers. We will probably focus on a certain country or area for the initial release because they are challenging because they are country-specific.
What have you learned the most since establishing SimpleLogin?
I’ve learnt to prioritize the product and not rush it since I founded SimpleLogin. Although early release is beneficial, there is a difference between a viable (MVP) and unsuccessful product.
Even though you’ve already heard it a million times, I’ll say it again: talk to your consumers. The only way to learn how customers use the product and improve it is in this way. Users can contact you by simply replying when transactional emails are sent from a real address rather than a no-reply address.
I also learned to ignore my critics. There will always be some who hate you and what you sell. Ignore them, don’t retaliate, and keep going.
I’ve been really lucky to be surrounded by individuals who are ready to help me despite their lack of interest in or understanding of SimpleLogin. Having assistance is essential since there were instances when it appeared as though the product might fail.
What were the toughest obstacles you overcame? What were your biggest mistakes?
Up until now, SimpleLogin has struggled with being compared to a very similar service that launched right before us. Both goods have a lot of characteristics. Being repeatedly contrasted with other services is annoying, especially given that SimpleLogin is still in beta. Comparisons are less frequent now that it is clear SimpleLogin is not a copycat and provides a unique set of functionality.
The biggest mistake I made was spending too much time designing the single sign-on service without consulting the owners of the applications that would include our button. This is a common mistake where the idea seemed so amazing that it was hard to challenge it.
Our biggest challenge right now is defining the need for our product. The majority of people are reluctant to use privacy-focused goods because they think they would be challenging to use. Password managers back then had the same issue, and it’s likely that email aliases will be used more frequently in the future.
What equipment and sources would you recommend?
I advise utilizing Paddle for payment processing if you want to reach a worldwide audience. The right implementation of TVA compliance is challenging and time-consuming. Although Paddle charges a greater fee than Stripe (10% of first income), the difference is not very big. Although their documentation is not as good as Stripe’s, integration is still quite simple. If you need assistance integrating Paddle, get in touch with me.
Spend enough time in the relevant subreddit community if your product caters to nids. You will gain a lot of knowledge about your potential consumers, their jargon, issues, etc. You may also ask for input on a prototype of your idea, but you must be serious and refrain from attempting to sell others on your invention at this early stage. They will pay for your stuff if they like it. Reddit has a more positive vibe than Twitter, which is why I initially like it.
For further information:
I’d suggest starting with our Firefox extension if you’re new to email aliases and want to test out SimpleLogin. They’re easy to use and practical when you sign up for a lot of newsletters or check out new software.
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