Innovation That Matters

Outsourcing beta invitations for web and desktop apps

Publishing & Media

For companies with a web or desktop application in the works, private beta testing can be a headache to organize and manage. What better pain relief, then, than a service that will handle it for them? That’s precisely the premise behind Prefinery, a Texas-based company that lets companies outsource the whole process. Clients of Prefinery can launch a web beta invite process in seconds, the company says, by customizing an HTML signup form and easily installing it on their site. Key questions can be included on that form, too, as a basis for selecting just the right testers. Next, clients can promote their product by distributing invitation codes on blogs, Twitter or Facebook. From there, they can collect email addresses and other survey information from potential testers — contact information is easily exported to a spreadsheet or XML file, or to various CRM and e-mail marketing services. While clients review tester applications, Prefinery’s analytics can reveal insights such as how many times an invitation form is viewed, allowing the client to measure conversions. Finally, once the client approves applicants for its beta, Prefinery e-mails each accepted tester a unique invitation code from the client’s e-mail address. Prefinery is free for up to 50 testers; its most popular plan, according to the site, allows 500 testers for USD 49 per month. A version of Prefinery for installable desktop applications is also available. Where there’s pain, there’s opportunity, as in virtually every aspect of life. One to emulate on a localized or niche basis — or to try out for your own next big thing? (Related: Site gives authors quick reader feedback, based on page 99 — A personalized landing page for every customerTeam meeting space meets product testing groundFor planned websites, a ‘coming soon’ page in 1 minute.) Spotted by: Margarita Barry


Download PDF