Launched last year, BugMuncher provides a way for users to provide feedback and bug reports after noticing errors on your websites. 

It was launched by Matt Bearman, a 27 year old website developer from England, who has been building websites and apps professionally for more than five years. 

I’ve been asking Matt about the reasons for launching BugMuncher, and his future plans for the service. 

In one sentence, what is BugMuncher?

Don’t just tell a website when something isn’t right, show them by sending a highlighted screenshot with BugMuncher.

What problem/s does BugMuncher solve?

The main problem BugMuncher solves is one that most website administrators have experienced – receiving an email from user simply saying “It doesn’t work”. I’ve been on the receiving end of these emails before, and what normally follows is an enormous email chain where you try to find out from the user what doesn’t work, and what they were doing at the time.

With BugMuncher customer feedback is accompanied by a screenshot of the webpage, on which the customer can highlight the problem areas.

In addition to a screenshot, BugMuncher feedback reports also include important user information such as what Web Browser and Operating System they’re using. This can literally save hours of email back and forth, or trial and error trying to recreate the problem.

When and why did you launch it?

I launched BugMuncher in August 2011, it was my first time launching a project as an ‘MVP’ (Minimum Viable Product) and that’s exactly what it was, there was no back end control panel, and no automation. When someone signed up I’d get an email from PayPal, and then I’d manually create their account and email them the details.

Doing this allowed me to build BugMuncher in two weeks’ worth of evenings and weekends while I was still in full time employment, and find out if it was something people wanted. I pretty quickly found there was a place in the market for BugMuncher, so since then I’ve quit my job, and taken BugMuncher from MVP to a complete product.

Who is your target audience?

Originally my target audience was live websites, allowing users a better method for reporting bugs and giving feedback. However I’ve found a few of my customers actually use BugMuncher for internal testing while development is still happening, as it provides a great communication channel for feedback between project managers and designers/developers.

I’m currently working on promoting that angle more, as well as launching a new pricing tier aimed at dev teams and agencies.

What are your immediate goals?

BugMuncher is entirely self funded, I’ve never been interested in VC or Angel Investor money, so right now my top goal with BugMuncher is for it to pay all my bills. 

I consider myself lucky that BugMuncher has been profitable from day one, but currently I still do freelance work on the side. I’m aiming to be able to give up freelancing completely with in the next six months.

What were the biggest challenges involved in building BugMuncher?

The biggest challenge was allowing BugMuncher to communicate around web browsers’ same origin policy. The problem is that the BugMuncher widget can live on any number of host sites, but needs to communicate with the BugMuncher server.

There are many existing methods for cross domain communication, but all have their drawbacks. BugMuncher needed to be reliable, and work on older browsers right down to Internet Explorer version 7, so with that in mind I used a combination of JSONP, iFrames and URL hashes, which allows BugMuncher to work in all browsers, while still being reliable and fast.

How will the company make money?

I decided from the very beginning that I wasn’t going to use the ‘Freemium’ business model with BugMuncher. Instead I give customers a 30 day free trial, during which no credit card information is required, and if after 30 days they want’s to carry on using BugMuncher, it’s $19 per month.

Who is in your team?

Currently just me. Once BugMuncher is paying all my bills I think I’ll start looking to expand the team, first hire will need to be a bit of a jack of all trades, but with a strong background in business and/or design, as those areas are probably my weakest.

Where would you like to be in one, three and five year’s time?

In a one year I’d definitely like to be living on BugMuncher full-time. As for three and five, just to keep growing organically and continue providing a tool people love and get value from. I’m not looking to be bought out and make the ‘billion dollar exit’.

I’ve got some other projects I’d like to launch, but for the foreseeable future all my time and energy is going into BugMuncher, so maybe in 3 – 5 years time I’ll have a great team helping me maintain and improve BugMuncher, freeing up some of my time to start the next project.

Other than BugMuncher, what are your favourite websites / apps / tools?

I could go on for pages here, so I’ll just list some that have helped me with BugMuncher:

  • Hacker News A fantastic community who were invaluable when I launched BugMuncher, it was this site that introduced me to the MVP principle.
  • URL2PNG The service that provides BugMuncher’s screenshots. Not only is the app itself amazing, but Dan, one of the founders, has been amazingly helpful, and is an all round nice guy.
  • Mailgun All of BugMuncher’s emails go out through Mailgun, and the service has been top notch, not to mention their great support. Also they have an awesome name.