Beta users are typically your best brand envagelists. First in to your site or to use your product or service, they provide amazing feedback that you will never get until you launch and turn your baby loose on the site. The upside is huge, there is little downside unless you’ve launched too early, are defensive about feedback, or worse, simply ignore feedback.
Fanbase, a new sports site in closed beta, is a startup from the folks who launched Epinions and have big experience at other Internet brands. After logging in to what looks to become a solid social network for sports fans, I was separately greeted by the CEO and the Community Manager. Both were monitoring the site on a Saturday evening. Both posted notes to my profile.
Here’s the best part and why I think Fanbase can get big by doing the intangibles well: I’m a “Founding Member”. No, I don’t know what that means either, but the designation makes the site already feel different. I’m not a beta tester. I’m a founding member.
Epinions did an amazing job with egoboo – the ego boost that comes online from providing recognition and similar tools. Now in the eBay umbrella under Shopping.com, Epinions was a social network and a review site pioneer on the web. The team missed sometimes — what team doesn’t? — but they often worked egoboo magic on members.
Those who drank the Kool-Aid stayed for years and contributed dozens, sometimes hundreds or even thousands of reviews. There was some minor revenue sharing, but users often seemed more interested in their rankings or recognition on the site. On Fanbase, the team that brought egoboo to the web review world is already making their beta users feel special. What is your business doing today to make customers feel special?