Invite Please! Top 10 Software You Can’t Get

Beta Invite-only has become an increasingly popular technique for promoting and marketing software and applications.  I’ve compiled a list of some of the most sought-after applications and software that are available primarily based on who you know instead of how much money you make as they required and invitation or nomination from an existing user or the company itself.

DISCLAIMER: This list is by no means to be considered ‘Definitive’ or even particularly relevant to the worlds troubles or successes. It does not take into account many site-specific forums, mailing-lists, or email and I certainly have little access to their respective proprietary inbound marketing circles.  It is primarily based on users requesting access via Twitter, Status.net (Identi.ca / Army.twit.tv et al) and related micro-status datum.  Also, the lower ranked items are not specifically ranked in concrete order as the difference between #8 and #9 for example are relatively insignificant and could vary hour by hour.

invitation_only

1 Google Wave http://googlewave.com

Category: Real-time Collaboration / Communication Platform

“Google Wave is a real-time communication platform. It combines aspects of email, instant messaging, wikis, web chat, social networking, and project management to build one elegant, in-browser communication client. You can bring a group of friends or business partners together to discuss how your day has been or share files.” – source MashableGoogle Wave: A Complete Guide

Google is king for the day with an overwhelming number of people clamoring over each other to get an invite for this ludicrously hyped application.  There have been a plethora of pleas using every technique possible.  Variations of the hashtag #GoogeWave are intermittently hitting the top 10 trends list on Twitter.  Several YouTube videos of varying degrees of originality are also vying for the coveted invite using every technique from Movie Mashups (Google Wave playing out famous scenes from Pulp Fiction and Good Will Hunting), to simple animations to singing what they’d do for an invite.

2 Spotify http://www.spotify.com

Category: Media – Music – Streaming

Description (from site)

“Spotify is a new way to enjoy music. Simply download and install, before you know it you’ll be singing along to the genre, artist or song of your choice. With Spotify you are never far away from the song you want.”

Spotify is an ‘invite only’ application that lets you stream your music on demand. Essentially it is “iTunes meets Rhapsody”.  Unlike iTunes however, you are free to listen to virtually any music in Spotify’s library (without actually purchasing the song).  The free ‘Basic’ membership plays an ad approximately three times an hour, but you can purchase a ‘Premium’ membership which will allow you to listen ad free.  Contrast this to Rhapsody, which originally had a free plan that let you listen to a subset of their library (presumably due to licensing with particular artists) and in addition limited the number of songs you can enjoy to a set amount per month (10 – 25 a month I believe, feel free to correct me if that number is inaccurate) but currently has no free offerings.  See pricing plans for up to date Rhapsody information.  Common to all the aforementioned players / services, Spotify allows you to purchase any of the songs if you wish to burn them to CD, MP3 players like Zune or iPod or otherwise physically save them for off-line play.

betaSpotify was not actually in the Twitter Trending lists, however it has carried a consistently high demand for months.   The reason this holds the number two position is because you not only need to get invited, but only limited countries are even eligible.  At the time of this writing, only “UK, Finland, Sweden, Norway, Spain and France. In most other European countries you can sign up for Spotify Premium”.  Source – GetSatisfaction

The demand for Spotify has also been made more prominent by the controversy around the licensing issues between the Recording Industry and the music services which prevents its Global Release.

3. Clicker http://www.clicker.com

Category: Media – TV / Movie / Video

Description (from site)

“Clicker aims to provide the most comprehensive, unbiased and user-friendly way to navigate what’s available (and just as importantly, what’s not) to watch online, where and when you can find it, and finally, what’s worth watching amongst your infinite choices.  We have made it our mission to make it dead simple for you to find the RIGHT SHOW, RIGHT NOW.”

Clicker is a manner of social on-line TV Guide that lets you see not just what’s on / hot / not but what other people are watching, recommendations and other related social actions.  Naturally, you can also watch many of the programs and previous episodes online.

4. Lockerz http://www.lockerz.com

Category: Free Stuff / Getting Stuff Cheaper

Description (from site)

“Lockerz is the place to go to buy the coolest stuff at the lowest prices, watch exclusive video, discover new music, play the hottest games, hang out with your friends – and get rewarded for just about EVERYTHING you do on the site.”

Lockerz weighs in at number 4 of my completely unscientific counting system.  Lockerz is a new site that is attempting to cash in on social media with an angle.  Most things are based on a point system (called Pointz) which you accrue by logging in, responding to daily questions (called Dailies), the obvious inviting / recruiting other members and other methods.  The reward is: Free or discounted ‘stuff’.  Wanna know what kinda stuff?  Grab yourself an invite!

5. Google Voice http://google.com/voice

Category: VOIP / Voice Mail / Telephony

Google Voice (formerly GrandCentral) is a free Google-owned Internet service that uses voice over internet protocol (VoIP) to link customers …
en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Google_Voice

Technically, Google Voice is not new, it is more accurately ‘new to the Google Brand’.  However, the newly tweaked and branded Google Voice has several nice features (among them is the price: free) that have people buzzing.  Recently they have added the ability to use your existing phone number. Previously you had to choose from one of theirs.  However, features like free SMS, ring multicasting (can ring multiple phone lines) and even voicemail transcription.

6. Brizzly http://brizzly.com/

Category: Microblogging – Clients – Twitter

Description (from site)

“Brizzly is a reader that works with Twitter and Facebook. It simplifies your browsing and updating experience, while adding a few nifty extras. We’ll take some of the work out of keeping up to date with the people, trends and news you want to know about.”

Brizzly is just one of the guh-zillion Twitter clients trying to claw its ways up to the top.  Brizzly (0.44 %)is the 24th most popular twitter client as of the time of this writing, with TweetDeck (12.29 %), Tweetie (9.11 %) and TwitterFeed (9.11 %) holding the top three spots behind twitter.com (22.83 %) itself.
Source twitstat.com (Nov 1st, 2009)

Brizzly is completely web based at the moment and hopes that its intuitive interface and support for multiple accounts will help to push its status.  The competition in this space is fierce due to several reasons.

  1. The API is simple such that practically any developer can make a twitter client.
  2. The client can be a smartphone (Google Android / iPhone etc), Mac only or PC optimized
  3. Most people use more than 1 client as none of the existing clients do ‘everything’ they need. (Blackberry client on the go, Mac at home or perhaps one also updates Identi.ca or supports ping.fm (a highly underrated service IMHO).

7. EpixHD http://www.epixhd.com/

Category: Media – HD Movies – Streamed to TV and PC alike

Description (from site)

“EpixHD.com is the new movie streaming service from EPIX, a leading provider of premium movies on television and now the internet. EpixHD.com carries all the great movies that you’ll see on-air.”

EpixHD already has a channel on many premium Cable / Satellite providers.  With EpixHD.com they seek to capture the online crowd as well as TV to give you a near universal HD experience.  Will limiting the event to invite-only spark the demand or turn other users to defer to the closest competition?  Hulu is discontinuing its free content and sites like Vimeo ‘upping their game’ with Facebook support and a myriad of other user provided video sites it will be interesting to see how they compete.

8. Tweetboard http://tweetboard.com

Category: Microblogging – Site Integration

Description (from site)

“Tweetboard is a fun and engaging micro-forum type application for your website. It pulls your Twitter stream in near real-time (max 1 min delay), reformatting tweets into threaded conversations with unlimited nesting. Conversations that spun off the original conversation are also threaded in-line, giving your site visitors full perspective of what’s being discussed.”

Tweetboard is designed to enhance your site’s content by adding live (or relative near real-time) conversation.  There are many plugins which attempt to do the same thing in some fashion.  However, Tweetboard is looking at doing it with semantics and threading and should prove to be a real contender in this new space.  I would not be surprised if some sort of integration with tweetmeme or other similar service makes this one a real powerhouse.

9. Microsoft Vine http://www.vine.net/

Category: Communication with emphasis on Families / Emergencies.

Description (from site)

“The Microsoft Vine Beta connects you to the people and places you care about most, when it matters. Stay in touch with family and friends, be informed when someone needs help. Get involved to create great communities. Use alerts, reports and your personal dashboard to stay in touch, informed and involved.”

Microsoft Vine is a relatively quiet beta for such a large corporation.  Vine stays near the bottom of the list because it lacks the uber-sensational promotion that the other applications have demonstrated.  However, it may become the sleeper hit as progress seems to be moving nicely and as Mashable calls it “Twitter for Emergencies” it has quite some potential, even if it psuedo competes with the heavyweights (Facebook) and the favored (Twitter).

10.  The Rest

I don’t actually have 10 for this list.  I have 9.  That is not to say there are only 9 beta / invite only awesome apps out in the cloud, its just that there are many more out there that I didn’t find substantial demand (please review my disclaimer before flaming :) Some I just considered too niche or I thought they would be ‘cool’ but apparently no one else in the twitterverse did.

If you have some that didn’t make the list (and you think they should have), then let me know.

Voddler.com an On-demand streaming movie service has some interest in the Swedish market.

Jolicloud – A new Netbook OS is trying the beta-invite technique as well.

Well, that’s my list.  As you can see, every one from the big players (Google, Microsoft) to the before-to-unknown (Tweetboard) are using the invite system to.  It will be interesting to revisit this blog six months or a year from now and see if this technique paid off in each space.

 


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