March 31st, 2008
Seems like now would be an opportune moment to clarify the terms of Publish2’s private beta.
It would be an understatement to say that it’s tricky to run a private beta for a user base that includes the same people who cover your industry and write about new technologies.
The whole purpose of a private beta is to be able to develop and test a product without the user feedback being aired in public — so that your beta testers don’t go posting screen shots of designs that will be outdated in a few weeks, or hold you publicly to competitive claims that you haven’t made yet because your application is still evolving based on the beta feedback.
So the approach we’ve been taking with tech/media journalists/bloggers who wanted to be part of Publish2’s private beta is very straightforward. We’ve asked them to just be beta testers — and not to write a review or critique of the service until we’re out of private beta.
Not an unreasonable request.
It seems that at least one of those journalists violated their promise of confidentiality — a big no no of journalistic standards, as I recall.
Some other journalist/bloggers have taken their lack of access to Publish2 to mean that we’re not interested in their feedback as beta testers — not at all true. Some of those bloggers who have their knickers in the biggest twist right now are ones whose feedback we would HUGELY value — if they would agree to confidentiality, which some did not.
We’re in private beta, and will remain so until the product is baked.
Some of those same bloggers would have just as quickly ripped us a new one if we had released the product before it was baked (not that there’s such a thing as a flawless first release).
In any case, if you are a journalist/blogger who covers tech/media — i.e. someone who might review Publish2 or write about our industry — you are most welcome to be a beta tester. If you will agree to the private beta embargo.
And of course we welcome the beta feedback — that’s what makes the application better, and how we’re tailoring it to journalists.