What's new at Hunter — March/April 2022

The last two months have been pretty busy on Hunter’s end, and we’re glad to share with you our main achievements on the Engineering side. We released a mix of frontend, backend, and infrastructure changes that should have an immediate impact on how people use Hunter. Ready?

A brand new Email Finder

Our algorithm to find the best email address from a person’s name and a domain name had not been updated for a while. In the last months, we had encountered an increase in odd behaviors, in particular on domains holding a lot of email addresses. It was also becoming too complex, which is something we really aim to avoid as it directly affects maintainability. The need of rebuilding it from scratch had unanimous support.

The guiding principles we had in mind for this refactoring were:

  • making sure that a matching profile sourced from the public web would always be returned, upfront
  • removing any sort of “randomness” when guessing the best profile
  • returning only verified email addresses, or not returning anything at all.

We released the new Email Finder in March, with a slow transition from the existing one (1% of the traffic, then 5—10—20%). So far, the results have been really good, with a bounce rate of about 1% on email addresses found with the new Email Finder.

Public pages available in French 🇫🇷

Since the beginning of Hunter, we’ve always supported one single language: English. This is now a thing of the past as we are proud to announce that hunter.io is available in French!

This work required us to extract all the strings from the views, models, controllers, and JS files into yaml files, which was quite tedious. But we managed to do it in a reasonable amount of time.

The default Rails configuration offers a great out-of-the-box support for i18n. We only needed to add i18n-js to our Gemfile to support translations in Javascript.

Next steps: translate the dashboard, the emails, and the Help Center to provide French-speaking users a great experience in their preferred language. Should come pretty soon!

A new Leads Manager

The Leads Manager is that small while powerful widget located at the bottom-left on the main pages of hunter.io. It allows users to manage their leads with ease, directly inside the Domain Search, the Email Finder, or the Email Verifier.

We rebuilt it from scratch and took this as an opportunity to strengthen it. Our users can now create a new list, see the verification status or verify a lead directly from the widget. This will definitely improve the experience around Leads management in Hunter.

New Verification icons

When a user triggers an email verification from Hunter, we assign a status to the email address depending on the result of the verification. Until now, we only showed an icon when the email address was “Valid” or “Accept-All”.

Now each status has its own icon with an associated color. The goal is to improve the understanding of the statuses. We keep the confidence score when there is no status available or if the domain accepts all email addresses.

Improved Hunter Templates

Hunter Templates is a free directory of great-performing cold email templates we gathered from our past cold-emailing campaigns or submitted by guests. We felt like it needed a refresh and also an improvement of the navigation inside categories.

Visitors now have access to about 300 templates that can easily be filtered by categories and sub-categories:

Performance Day wrap-up

Every two months, we dedicate a day to work on the performances of any part of Hunter. This time, our efforts were put in particular on the main Hunter blog. We came up with the following improvements:

  • Use a system font (Georgia in priority) for body content. It prevents visitors from loading a new font.
  • Load web fonts from our own servers, instead of using a CDN, with preloading and font swapping
  • Lazy load images, using the standard attribute
  • Get rid of @import in CSS
  • Configure responsive images (using srcset and sizes)

With those changes, we improved our performance score on Lighthouse to reach 100 on Desktop and 94 on Mobile.

And that’s it for the March and April 2022 roundup! We are hopeful those improvements will be appreciated by our users ;) And that you’ve enjoyed your reading as well. See you in two months for the next roundup, which should be full of surprises! Until then, take care!