Getting invitations to private betas can be a frustrating experience for early adopters. If you don’t know someone who’s already in the beta it could end up being a very long wait. Over the last few years invitations for some betas were so hard to get that they ended up for sale on eBay – Gmail is the most famous example but recently Pownce invites were also put up for sale.
About a month ago we had the idea of creating a fairly simple website that could match users who have invites to those that want them. We started building it but before we were ready to launch an identical service, InviteShare, came on the scene (created by Jeff Broderick at EkinDesigns). I liked it, and I wrote about it last week. The site now has about 14,000 registered users and 15,000 invites have been sent out.
After talking things over with Heather (our CEO), we decided it would be bad form to launch a product that served the same purpose as InviteShare without at least trying to acquire or partner with them. We reached out to Jeff to buy the service, but before we began talking to him he put it up for sale. We bid against a few others and acquired the company.
Did we pay more for the service because we had written about? Almost certainly, given how much weight Jeff gave to the TechCrunch post (and all of the press that followed) when describing the service on the sale page.
And I’m ok with that. Jeff created a simple but very useful service that our readers will want to use. He deserves to be rewarded for that creativity and effort.
We’ll be making some stability and minor feature changes to the service over the coming weeks and possibly moving it to a “crunchier” domain name, but for the most part it will remain the same. Try it out if you want a beta invite to one of those hard to get to new services. We have not completed server migration yet, so there may continue to be slow page loads or outages. Everything should be all set by end of day today.