Joost throws open the doors, and a nice use of the private beta

A private beta is when a company starts with a small number of users, and expands by allowing those users to invite others. As Grant Storry describes nicely here, companies often use this technique to add buzz, and to grow at their own pace to ensure they can serve everyone well. 

Joost is a startup offering free TV over the internet, and until recently invites were doled out a few at a time. I’m guessing they needed enough users to prove their concept, but couldn’t push for wide adoption because they weren’t profitable without big-name advertisers.

Last week they threw open the doors, after this announcement:

 

Last week, Joost announced that it had signed more than 30 blue-chip brands, including The Coca-Cola Company, HP, Intel and Nike, as advertising launch partners. Beginning today, advertisements from some of the ad launch partners will begin to play on the platform. Advertisements from all ad launch partners will be on Joost later this month.

 
“Ok, we’ve got the money lined up, open the gates!”

Interestingly, while it’s pretty clear they want as many users as possible, the beta is still technically closed. You can’t download the app at Joost.com because they want you to hear about it from someone else.

Viral marketing at it’s best. A recommendation from a friend is more powerful than anything they can do.

It’s going to work, too. Joost is fun to play with and worth checking out. (It’s from the same folks who brought us Skype.)  Your geeky friends will know about it in 3-6 months and your mom might be watching in a couple years.

Congrats guys, nicely done. 

If anyone would like to give it a spin leave a comment below and I’ll send you an invite.

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20 Comments on “Joost throws open the doors, and a nice use of the private beta

  1. Yes, please.

    Interestingly, the first place I heard of Joost was in a business report talking about how, after suing YouTube, Viacom signed a distro deal with Joost (which I thought was spelled “Juiced” until I read about it the next day).

    Fun to play with, good content… sounds like it could go far. OTOH, it’s basically being set up as the anti-YouTube. While Apple made iTunes work, all the other competing services don’t add up to a pooper scooper to follow behind Apple’s elephant.

    Because of its “blue chip” advertisers and corporate content, Joost could get the stink of old establishment attached to it. While that may not kill it, it could limit it to “also ran” status while other “upstart” services speed around the track and lap it now and then.

  2. Sent.

    I don’t think Joost will be competing with YouTube, though of course everyone uses these things differently.

    I go to YouTube to watch videos people mention, or link to, or that a friend puts up. They’re event-driven, as in someone did something interesting and so we might go check it out.

    Joost competes more directly with the TV in your living room, Netflix, Tivo or Apple TV. Personally, I’ve already cut down on Netflix because of it.

    It’s got some great features like the ability to pause it, or watch a variety of shows on a channel without waiting for them to “air”, but tellingly you can’t fast-forward or rewind. Otherwise you wouldn’t watch the ads.

    It’s TV that doesn’t suck, but it’s still TV. :)

  3. I am very interested in Joost… if you still have invites… I’d be so happy to receive one!

    Be well,
    ~K

  4. Refering to viral marketing: Google used this method also when they lunched Gmail. They offered 1000 beta test accounts as I can remember. After many tests other users were allowed to register by invitation only, until they eliminated this limitation.
    In my oppinion this is a very powerfull promotion method.

    I recently read the Google story, it’s a great book, I recomend it to everyone.

  5. Hey Webice,

    I agree, it’s a great way to get the word out. Which book did you read?

    BTW If you haven’t read it, I highly recommend Founders at Work by Jessica Livingston (one of the Y-Combinator founders).

    • HelloI have seen the UI it is indeed very slick.I would say apple-ish exepct Apple is not the only company doing nice UI these days Do you have an invite possibly? (pretty please?)

  6. Sounds cool. Tried another service in the past (forget the name) but they weren’t legit legally and many shows were pulled.

    JL

  7. If this offer is still open, I would appreciate an invite also.

    Thanks in advance. I want my kids to be able to enjoy the older shows that I am told are on Joost.

  8. Hey, its me, having lunch and wondering what you’re up to!!

    I’d like to have a look too, but – of course – I’ll not likely do that ’till next month…

    Ciao for now – D

  9. Well hey there dad!

    I’m afraid Joost isn’t booting up correctly anyways at the moment. Doh!

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