BetaBait, the startup that helps new apps and services find beta testers, is introducing new features today that should give those testers more control of the experience — and give BetaBait more opportunity to make money.
BetaBait doesn’t quite serve the same function as a service like LaunchRock — it’s less about managing the beta testing process and more about finding the users you need for those tests. So it’s to cultivating an audience of early adopters, who either receive an email with a list of new startups looking for testers or search the site for products that interest them. The company offers startups a chance to receive a more prominent placement on the email by sponsoring it.
Co-founder Cody Barbierri (who is an occasional writer for VentureBeat, and who I used to edit during my time there) tells me that BetaBait just released a number of new features that take help it become more than a “simple email service.” Now, there are some opportunities for those testers to signal their feelings about the apps they’ve tested. That includes a voting mechanism for members to vote the apps the liked to the top of the list, and a new feedback system for testers to provide their thoughts based on their initial experience.
Other new features include an RSS feed of new apps (another alternative to the email), more control over when you receive the email (daily, weekly, or monthly), and a new unit for sponsorship on the right-hand side of the website itself. Barbierri adds BetaBait has been used by 1,000 startups and 5,000 early adopters, collectively driving 25,000 new users to its startups’ apps.
BetaBait is also trying to draw more attention to that early adopter community (and to build its connection with that community) by proposing something called Early Adopters Day — people can go to the website and tweet their support for making Sept. 20 nationwide Early Adopters Day. I was a little skeptical about the idea, but this is how Barbierri defended it:
Without [early adopters], Foursquare would have never reached the masses, same with most startups that are big right now. So, because they are such an important part of the Startup ecosystem, we felt a nationally recognized day would be a nice “thank you.” Plus, entrepreneurs have their own day (Nov. 20), so we thought it was only fair.