Fog Creek Software
Discussion Board




GMail Marketing Blunder?

Using an "invitation only" process to allow people access to the beta of GMail, Google has managed to create a certain amount of buzz and hype.  The "invitation only" is a marketing gimmick that gives people the illusion of getting "exclusive" access to something new and special.

But I wonder if it may backfire.  It seems that the hype and buzz are already fading fast.  For example, people trying to sell GMail invites on EBay are only getting a small fraction of the price that they used to get -- now you can buy one for 1 or 2 dollars, instead of the much higher price they were getting a few weeks ago.

By the time GMail is open to the general public, will anyone care?

Made Up Name
Wednesday, June 23, 2004

The price is going down because the supply is going up, expoenentially.  All new members receive invitesto send to their friends on a regular basis.  This is pretty basic economics.

Aside from the marketting scheme (the whole exclusivity angle) which is temporary, gmail actually has some killer features that make it leaps and bounds above any other webmail client I've seen.  Whether the majority of people see value in these features remains to be seen, but I think they've done some pretty interesting (if not incredibly innovative) things that other folks haven't tried.

muppet is now from madebymonkeys.net
Wednesday, June 23, 2004

ack.  "Exponentially"

muppet is now from madebymonkeys.net
Wednesday, June 23, 2004

Only 1 gig of space?  Pppfffttt - I've got 180 gigs free on my C: drive.

So what's the point?  And don't tell me it's browser-based and can be accessed from any computer.  BFD...

GMailISDumb
Wednesday, June 23, 2004

>>So what's the point?  And don't tell me it's browser-based and can be accessed from any computer.  BFD...

http://www.mail2web.com

BFD! Very true.

KayJay
Wednesday, June 23, 2004

And another thing...

What's with the wacko in the California Legislature who's up in arms about the privacy issue?  Gmail is VOLUNTARY you moron - you don't want your email read, don't use it!!!

GMailISDumb
Wednesday, June 23, 2004

More to the point is that email you send to someone at a gmail account gets read, even if you aren't a gmail user. I'm not too concerned about this personally, but I can see how it would be potentially worrying to some.

Andrew Cherry
Wednesday, June 23, 2004


Email is just as secure as the postcards that you send to your friends/family while you're on vacation.


Everyone and anyone in between can read your email.  There are absolutely no technical issues preventing this unless it's encrypted.

KC
Wednesday, June 23, 2004

You think they would have learned this from the Orkut experience.  Real hot for a while, but it's been months since I heard anything about it.  Exponentially decaying hype.  Usually you want the hockey stick the other way.
I still don't have a gmail account, but with 100 megs in my yahoo account, I care less every day.

Brian
Wednesday, June 23, 2004

Well, I for one think that people here are just jealous they don't have one.  I have one, and *I* feel exclusive and beloved by all.  People adore me.  People worship me.  People want to have what I have. :)

JustJealous
Wednesday, June 23, 2004

GMail purposely increased the rate at which the invitations are made available in order to kill the GMail invite sale thing and stop people from paying $50 a pop for it. They were successful at this. Since when is it a marketing blunder to get more people to try your product and talk about it? The more people receive emails from people at the gmail.com domain, the more free advertising they get.

Not a blunder at all
Wednesday, June 23, 2004

> The more people receive emails from people at the gmail.com domain, the more free advertising they get.

Maybe, but it's free advertising for a service that's not available yet!  I guess they're banking on the fact that you don't need much advertising to sell something that's free.  If they don't open it up to the public soon, they'll really have missed a great opportunity.

And I don't want to change the subject, but has anyone heard anything about Orkut in the last 2 months?  Does it still exist?  Should I care at all when I am finally allowed to join?

Brian
Wednesday, June 23, 2004

"You think they would have learned this from the Orkut experience.  Real hot for a while, but it's been months since I heard anything about it.  Exponentially decaying hype."

Exactly.  I would bet the original "in" crowd feels dirty like an Amway salesman now.

one day at a time
Wednesday, June 23, 2004

Think of it as Google paying you $3.00 for each new user you bring them. Only it doesn't actually cost Google anything and eBay handles the transactions.

Nate Silva
Wednesday, June 23, 2004

>> >>So what's the point?  And don't tell me it's browser-based and can be accessed from any computer.  BFD...

>>http://www.mail2web.com

Actually I've been using mail2web for several years. It was a nice way to access my mail while I was at work or on vacation. However, I download everything to my client mail app when I get home. Once downloaded, I did not have access to those emails. Since I only have 3mb of mail server space, not downloading was not an option. I can't tell you how many times I have needed access to a previous email but had no way to it (take that back, I can Remote into my server at home and then Remote into my laptop, but it was a pain). Now, everything is at my fingertips and I don't have to worry about server space for a long time.

Matt
Wednesday, June 23, 2004

Remember folks,  Google is currently in the IPO quiet period, so they're not allowed to discuss their future business plans.

This includes when gmail will be publically available.

Oh, and as someone who *has* a gmail account I can confirm that it's about more than the space, the UI and the search are both miles ahead of yahoo/hotmail.

Koz
Wednesday, June 23, 2004

> gmail actually has some killer features that make it leaps and bounds above any other webmail client I've seen

I would like to know what those features are.  I got an account yesterday and looked for something interesting but I found nothing?  What did I miss?

Gregg Tavares
Thursday, June 24, 2004

2GB email:
http://www.aventuremail.com/

of course right now you cannot register :)


Thursday, June 24, 2004

Both my Saudi and my Sri Lankan email account allow me to access them from the web if I want. As far as I can tell it is true of nearly every ISP everywhere.

But thank you Google for my extra 94MB from Yahoo.

Stephen Jones
Thursday, June 24, 2004

Gmail is not a marketing blunder.

Best case, they steal clients from all the other portals out there.

Worst case, they have everyone else busy trying to catch up on their webmail offerings, and so distract them from their search improvement efforts.

Either way, they win.

Only yesterday I saw an ad from Lycos for 1 Gig email for about £5 (I think) per month. Obvious question is why pay when I can get it for free, with a UI that is miles ahead of everyone else?

I really don't think that the other portals have the infrastructure (read Web OS) that Google has. That is their strongest point, and I am sure that the 1 Gig email is not the last time they will shock/force their competition into gear.

Tapiwa
Thursday, June 24, 2004

>Now, everything is at my fingertips and I don't have to worry >about server space for a long time.

Just keep in mind that the government will have
access to everything in your email. Just like the
transantlantic telegraph was intercepted by
the US government.

son of parnas
Thursday, June 24, 2004

1 GB: Try out www.rediffmail.com

Cheers ! Bose.

S Bose
Thursday, June 24, 2004

Just be careful if you change your password.  I changed mine about a week ago and haven't been able to get back in.  I even went through the "Forgot your password?" service and was told that I successfully changed my password (5 times now) and still can't get in.  I've written their accounts-support address but each time but haven't heard back from them  Extremely frustrating!

D. Jackson
Thursday, June 24, 2004

"GMail purposely increased the rate at which the invitations are made available in order to kill the GMail invite sale thing and stop people from paying $50 a pop for it. They were successful at this."

Yes, perusing eBay, apparently the new idea is to set up accounts with distinctive names and then charge for that name (e.g., $1000 for moviedirector@gmail.com).  Domain squatters, eat your hearts out.

Kyralessa
Thursday, June 24, 2004

And apparently some people are afraid eBay will shut down Gmail-only auctions...or perhaps they just need a self-esteem boost:

http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&item=3684095966

Kyralessa
Thursday, June 24, 2004

*  Recent Topics

*  Fog Creek Home