Google+ and Spotify Private Beta Releases – Marketing Ploys?

Google successfully launched its Google+ service via an invitation only “private” beta .  Google was able to generate some great buzz around the new product and left those without an invitation champing at the bit to get one.  Including me!

Today, Spotify, the online music jukebox just launched its private beta in the U.S.  U.K. users have been using the service for awhile, but U.S. users can sign up only with an invitation.

The strategy both companies used makes me wonder if this is really a private beta, or just a clever way to create demand for the service.   Beta testing generally refers to a product or service going through its last round of testing before making it available to the public.  Generally most if not all the bugs have been worked out and the product is released to a limited number of users willing to test the product and provide feedback.

It appears both companies are successfully using the beta release as a way to create demand for their products and services.  Great strategy, but it won’t work for every company and every industry.

What do you think, true beta release or marketing ploy?

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