Does Your Startup Need Beta Testers? BetaBait Will Hook You Up (Now On Email & The Web)

You could just launch your app without testing it first, but the reality is that more times than not this could have disastrous consequences. So, being the savvy people they are, when entrepreneurs want to test something that they’re about to bring to market, they go out and find beta testers to give their ideas thorough vetting. Obviously, this is essential to the process of building a successful business, but finding these worthy beta testers? Not as easy as it may sound.

This is where BetaBait comes into the picture. BetaBait, which launched last month, wants to provide startups with an alternative solution to hiring a PR rep, spamming email databases, or bugging friends to test their fledgling app ideas. In short, the startup wants to play matchmaker, as it has built a service that connects startups who have new web, mobile and social apps with eager consumer and professional early adopters — in one place. Once connected, startups have access to the beta users they need to be their guinea pigs, while consumers or professionals get early access to the latest apps on the market.

As it goes in the tech world, beta testers and early adopters can play an essential role in helping startups work out bugs, create new features, and if they like what they see, be converted into first customers and potentially even evangelists. It’s obviously critical for startups to understand the audience they’re trying to reach and do everything they can to make the experience palatable (no, enjoyable) for their users. Early adopters tend to be very familiar with the landscape, and often know what works for other companies in the space.

So, while tech bloggers (ahem) can help spread the word and bring early adopters and testers, not every app is ready for its media debut. Beta users can help guide startups in that direction. Thus, BetaBait created a simple service in which startups sign up and submit their apps to the BetaBait team for approval. Once approved, BetaBait spotlights the app in its daily email to its community of 1,300+ early adopters (and growing). Since community members have opted-in to receive the email, startups can be assured that they are getting in front of users who want to be a part of the testing process.

Today, BetaBait is launching Phase Two, or, better said, an online version of its daily email newsletter. Because of the enormous amount of startups out there vying for attention, BetaBait has created an online portal for its users to be able to more easily browse, engage, and share within its startup database, which at this point includes over 200 startups. Check it out here.

The company will continue sending out its daily email, but will only spotlight “newcomers”, or apps that have been submitted and approved within the last 24 hours. The email will also continue to include sponsors (which at this point have mainly been startups) as well as a “Founder’s Pick”, in which Co-founders Cody Barbierri and Rory Thompson choose one app to showcase.

This brings us to one of the best parts about BetaBait: Its service is completely free for both startups and users. Barbierri says that, at this early stage, the team isn’t focused on cash and are covering operating costs via email sponsors, which have the ability to write up a description of their product and service and have it appear atop the startup’s daily email.

While there are services out there that help startups manage the beta tester process, ensuring beta testers are providing feedback, rather than do this themselves, BetaBait sees these as complementary services. (Like LaunchRock, for example, which gives startups a way to easily make a launch page for beta invite requests.) Barbierri says that BetaBait’s goal is to help early-stage startups, who have just launched or are about to launch, get the beta testers they need to get off the ground. That being said, providing a resource for startups to learn about other complementary services in the beta testing process would be a welcome addition to the site and really help make it a go-to resource for beta testing.

The other advantage here is that BetaBait can be a great source of early traffic to startups’ apps and websites, which is key to gaining the signups and beta requests startups crave. The Co-founder says that BetaBait has already sent thousands of clicks to its startups, and that traffic is continuing to grow.

It’s early in the beta process for BetaBait itself, and the portal still needs a bit of touching up, but it’s an awesome resource for startups, so check it out and let us know what you think.