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Invitation Only Launch?

Has anyone in the FD community had any experience with launching a new website by invitation-only?

I would love to hear your experience, good and bad, especially how you designed and implemented the invite. I've read a lot about the benefits and drawbacks, but I'd like to hear from someone who actually did it (and wasn't google+, pinterest, fb, etc.). What challenges did you see? What advice do you have for someone who might want to try it for beta? Thanks! L.

3 Replies

Dirk de Kok
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Dirk de Kok Advisor
Founder and CTO Mobtest
I did so for Mobtest. Invite request form on homepage, and only companies I sent an invite were allowed into the system. Mobtest is b2b, important to know

It worked great. I got to work hands on with these companies, and learned a lot that way. Not scalable, but that doesn't matter in the initial phase. Make sure you have a solid feedback mechanism.

For b2c the mechanics might be different. Beta launches are tricky, in that you might get 50 % that will open your invite email, and another 50 % that will open your app and actually try it. Then the number of ppl that will give feedback wil be even smaller. Have some incentive for them to give you feedback, or keep really well track of who installed your app, and send them a reminder email in 1 or 2 days.
Ian Maddox
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Ian Maddox Entrepreneur
Machine Learning Architect at MetricStory
Don't reinvent the wheel when it comes to managing the invites. There are a couple of good services out there already which will allow you to focus on your product. Check outkickofflabs.com orprefinery.com.

If demand for your site exceeds invites, expect people to form workarounds. A decade ago, I wrote software that helped 1.2 million people get around Gmail's invite-only Beta. Similar services have popped up for other popular betas. If this happens, make sure you get out in front of the mess before other people can taint your launch with bad PR and unscrupulous invite sharing sites.
Josh Hines
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Josh Hines Entrepreneur • Advisor
Web Designer & Online Marketing
For most of my clients that aren't large organizations I always throw a launch party to reveal their website and brand. We usually invite family, friends, co-workers and star clients to the event. We use the event to showcase the vision for the business as well as getting feedback on the website from outside opinions so that we can make altercations before we launch to the public.

We treat the event like a happy hour with champagne, crackers, meat balls and other good food to entertain. Play music in the background and then once everyone is there we allow the owner to showcase their vision and new website.

I personally just make a Facebook event and then add the customer as a the host and allow them to invite their connections. If they want to connect with someone who isn't on Facebook, I just tell them to invite them in person.
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