Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Invites to Spotify, Google+, music beta, and the list goes on...

It seems here lately that we are  being bombarded by beta invites. New services are launching left and right from not only startups but established tech giants as well. Even Pandora is preparing for the launch of their new HTML5 site beginning with a slow rollout to it's users.

The highlight for me was just two short weeks ago when I set up my profile on Google+ just a day after it launched. I felt like I was part of the tech industry elite. There was hardly anyone on there when you compared it to Facebook's 750 million users. When I posted on very well known tech celeb's page I would sometimes get a response, good luck that happening on Twitter or Facebook!

But just like a trendy new club it filled up fast and suddenly I found it harder to virtually rub elbows with the likes of Brian Brushwood and Iyaz Akhtar. What had happened? Now on their profiles there were upwards of fifty to a hundred comments! They'll never here me now! It was Google offering more and more invites and the lack of access had made the service even more in demand.

As the luster of Google+ wore off a new service was coming in to take it's place in the technology headlines. Spotify, the popular UK based music streaming service, was coming to the US. Where my social streams were once filled with good internet samaritans displaying offers of Google invites, now they're filled with ways of signing up for Spotify without signing up for an invite.

I have to wonder with so many services offering invites, it it because they truly need beta testers or is it because slowly offering a service drives up demand? For the larger companies there could be the need to do a slow rollout to make sure their servers can handle the traffic. Google is after all notorious for keeping their services in beta for extremely long periods.

Maybe I'm just looking at this with a cynical point of view. There has been a recent internet boom that has ushered in a new wave of great products, which statistically would increase the amount of services giving out beta invites (Google+ and Spotify are not in beta).

There is a rush that comes with getting in on a service that isn't open to everybody. It's human nature to get such a response from exclusivity regardless of which side you're own. Those on the inside feel great about being part of the "in-crowd" and those left out are still staring in. I'm guilty of this myself but if every company adopts this strategy then it could quickly lose it's effectiveness.

After signing up for four invites (and quickly receiving) in the past month, I 'm starting to lose the rush from getting in. If invites are given out for technical reasons then there's a good reason to do so. But if companies plan on using invites as a strategy to drum up excitement then their customers may start feeling invite fatigue.

In case you still need a Spotify invite head over to Giga Om and fill out the form.

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