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Introduction of Software Products and Services Through "Public" Beta Launches

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Abstract

Public “Beta” launches have become a preferred route of entry into the markets for new software products and web site based services. While beta testing of novel products is nothing new, typically such tests were done by experts within firm boundaries. What makes public beta testing so attractive to firms? By introducing semi-completed products in the market, the firm can target the early adopter population, who can then build the potential market through the word of mouth effect by the time the actual version of the product is launched. In addition, the information gathered through the usage of the public beta gives significant insights into customer preferences and consequently helps in building a better product. We build these marketing and product development implications in an analytical model to compare the different product introduction strategies like “skimming” or “penetration pricing” with beta launches. This analysis is done for products of branded and unbranded Web 2.0 companies like Google and Flickr etc. We also examine the impact of different monetization models like direct pricing and advertising on the beta launch strategy.

Suggested Citation

  • Amit Mehra & Gireesh Shrimali, 2008. "Introduction of Software Products and Services Through "Public" Beta Launches," Working Papers 08-11, NET Institute.
  • Handle: RePEc:net:wpaper:0811
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    3. Vijay Mahajan & Eitan Muller & Roger A. Kerin, 1984. "Introduction Strategy for New Products with Positive and Negative Word-of-Mouth," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 30(12), pages 1389-1404, December.
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    5. Shlomo Kalish, 1985. "A New Product Adoption Model with Price, Advertising, and Uncertainty," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 31(12), pages 1569-1585, December.
    6. Sachin Gupta & Dipak C. Jain & Mohanbir S. Sawhney, 1999. "Modeling the Evolution of Markets with Indirect Network Externalities: An Application to Digital Television," Marketing Science, INFORMS, vol. 18(3), pages 396-416.
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    beta; word of mouth effects; new product launch; exclusivity; externalities; Web 2.0; pricing; new product development; revenue models;

    JEL classification:

    • D42 - Microeconomics - - Market Structure, Pricing, and Design - - - Monopoly
    • L10 - Industrial Organization - - Market Structure, Firm Strategy, and Market Performance - - - General
    • L11 - Industrial Organization - - Market Structure, Firm Strategy, and Market Performance - - - Production, Pricing, and Market Structure; Size Distribution of Firms
    • L20 - Industrial Organization - - Firm Objectives, Organization, and Behavior - - - General
    • M13 - Business Administration and Business Economics; Marketing; Accounting; Personnel Economics - - Business Administration - - - New Firms; Startups
    • M21 - Business Administration and Business Economics; Marketing; Accounting; Personnel Economics - - Business Economics - - - Business Economics
    • M31 - Business Administration and Business Economics; Marketing; Accounting; Personnel Economics - - Marketing and Advertising - - - Marketing
    • M37 - Business Administration and Business Economics; Marketing; Accounting; Personnel Economics - - Marketing and Advertising - - - Advertising

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