Techcrunch buys InviteShare

I suppose that I’ve got to admit that TDavid was right about InviteShare being a pump and dump proposal.  In truth, I really didn’t expect them to sell it yet.  Didn’t seem like a very bright idea.  Since I wrote about it, they’ve managed over 14k members.  TechCrunch announced that they had bought it today.

Of course, one has to wonder if the site would have sold at all if TechCrunch hadn’t bought it.   And even Mike admits that the price would have been lower if he hadn’t written about it.  What was the price?  Well the auction at sitepoint says it sold for $25,000.  Nice little sum for a site that is only a week old.   Not that TechCrunch doesn’t have that in the coffers.

I don’t think that Mike will let the site down.  He’s already admitted that he was working on something similar before InviteShare came about but abandoned it when InviteShare was launched.  I’m sure that played into the purchase as well.  I think that any privacy concerns are also out the window as Mike would have a lot to lose if he were to violate any of the users privacy.

Overall, I think the site is in pretty good hands.  I don’t care much for Mike, but he’s a shrewd business man and has plenty of resources to keep the site steaming ahead.

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Exclusivity is dead. Long live Exclusivity.

It was bound to happen. The music and movie industris have torrents. A convienent way around the normal way of doing things. In much the same way, there is a normal way that we are all used to getting into and testing beta websites and software. It’s usually all about who you know or who was first in line.

InviteShare Everyone is invitedNo longer. The exclusivity of the beta invite is dead. A new website, Invite Share, is looking to revolutionize the beta invite world. The concept is simple. It’s a social website where people who want into a beta add themselves to a list for that site. People who have invites to give start sending invites to the people at the top of the list until their supply runs out. You don’t have to know the second cousin of the husband of the first cousin of the uncle of the girlfriend of the trash man at the websites datacenter anymore. You just have to sign up…

Of course, you can’t have an exclusivity killer without the potential for more exclusivity. If you use the service and have invites to give, you get points when you give them. The more points you have, the better your position in line. It’s a built in budge system. Remember that athletic looking fellow that bypassed the line into the club last night while you were stuck in line just because you had on your killer black rimmed glasses, hadn’t shaved in a week, and were wearing your favorite retro Star Wars shirt? Well, now you can be him in the line for beta testing. Welcome to Club Beta!

Seriously, the service is a good one. It’s a great idea and it’s already very popular. In what would seem to be only a matter of under a week, they’ve managed to get over 5,500 members signed up and have 31 beta sites on their list. Some invites are more rare than others. You’ll be jumping in line behind about 300 folks at the Mint.com line while you can pretty much get a invite for Joost right now.

The UI on the site is horrendous. All black background with black form boxes. If you’re lucky you can find the place to sign in. And only then because you clicked below the word “Login.” Another issue with the service whose impact has yet to be seen is whether there will be any backlash from the websites. If the site’s beta invites are of unlimited number with the expectation that the invites will trickle out, the use of a site like Invite Share could cause an avalanche of invites and effectively make the beta “open” instead of “invite only.” I think in the long run, websites who are considering a beta invite system will be putting caps on how many can be sent and how many can sign up. Which will create scarcity and mean more people will be trying to sell their invites instead of just giving them away.

By the way… If you’d like to buy the site, it’s currently going for about $1200 on sitepoint. I would expect it to go much higher than that, but it’s a pretty good price for having been only about 3 days of existence. Talk about an ROI!

UPDATE: I got a slight scolding from TDavid shortly after writing this post.  He seems to have been offended(slightly) by Invite Share because they are still a very new site and they are already trying to sell the site.  He asks Mike Arrington and myself to clarify how we feel about that.  So, here goes.  I have to admit that it really doesn’t bother me all that much.  I am admittedly less zealous about my privacy than TDavid and perhaps thats why.  One of his concerns is that the buyers of the site could use the emails from the users to spam them.  Possible, but even he says it’s not likely.  What I do think about the whole thing is that the owners of the site would be slightly stupid to sell now anyhow.  The potential for growth (given the growth over the last three days) is pretty good, so why not wait and see if you can’t multiply the sale price?

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Why the iPhone will succeed

Anyone who reads this blog on a regular basis will know that I’m no Apple fan. And in truth, I am not. I’m amazed by the cult-like following that the iPod has and can’t see why anyone would pay over $120 for a share of Apple. Further, I really can’t see myself ever wanting an iPhone. It just doesn’t appeal to me.

Fortunately for all you Apple fans out there, I probably won’t make or break the iPhone. In fact, I don’t think the iPhone can be broken. It is the veritable Superman of cell phones. Twenty years from now you’ll all be clamoring to pick up one of the damn things as a collectible (yet usable) cell phone for your collection. They’ll still get 500+ hours of standby and a couple of hours of talk time. They’ll still be as shiny as the day they were born.

All sarcasm aside, the iPhone has the makings of the major technology hit of the year and possibly the decade. Steve Jobs and CO have managed to bring innovation to the cell phone market much like they did to the personal music player. It’s got innovation oozing out of it’s headphone port it’s got so much innovation. Well, that and it has the power of darn near every one of the current iPod owners wanting one.

It’s got an innovative keyless GUI that should work. Some will miss the keypad, but most who buy it will adapt rather easily. Of course, it wouldn’t be a innovative GUI without having some pretty good resolution and color. And if you’re represented by a “cool dude” that makes a mock turtle-neck look good, you can’t help but get some extra karma points.

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Breaking: Digg is too Bigg

Back in the day, when someone overstepped their bounds, someone would say that they had become “too big for their britches.” I bring that up because I believe that Digg has gotten “too big for it’s britches.” And as a continuation, Digg founder Kevin Rose has gotten “too big for his britches.”

I can’t argue that there are some things that Digg should expand into. Video being one of them. Restaurant reviews is not one of them. Digg’s core user base are technology based. That’s because Digg started off as a tech news social site. They’ve since added numerous categories and subjects. And none of them are worth a darn. At least not in the way that the tech news section is. So why add more? If you are only truly successful in the tech area, why keep trying the others and adding to them? Why not turn back to tech and emphasize it? Why not add more categories for tech. Like video, podcasts, blogs… Embrace the tech users and don’t get greedy.

Even more importantly, tech users are the most technological advanced of the bunch. It’s obvious I would think. That’s why the tech area is so popular. Part of it anyways. The other part is the jump start that the area has had on the rest. But the others will never catch up because the user base for them is small in comparison to tech.

Add it’s over abundance of topics to it’s somewhat hazey dealings with it’s users and you might just end up with another dot com bust. You can’t betray your users by removing their posts and banning them for using your service and expect them to embrace everything you do. The fiasco surrounding the HD-DVD key caused quite the stir not too long ago. They backtracked pretty quick when the users rioted, but the fact still remains that they backed down to the lawsuit threat. If they hadn’t backtracked, however, they just might have lost the majority of their user base. The threat of that was a little more pocket book affecting than the lawsuit I guess.

The bigger Digg gets, the more people there will be to game the system. They’ll try and stop them and end up ostracizing the very people who got them started. Maybe then they’ll shrink back into their britches.

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