Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Metaplace invites

Today, Hamlet offered 50 NWN invite codes for Raph Koster's Metaplace platform. I've been a Metaplace member for a while now, and the first and last time I blogged about it, Raph admonished me that Metaplace is still under beta NDA! I have since reviewed this agreement and he's obviously right, so I'm not really sure what I am allowed to write or show at this point. After all, the beta agreement states that ..
"Recipient may not use, copy, reproduce, modify, publicly perform or display, create derivative works of, sell, auction, loan, lease, rent, distribute, transfer or disclose all or any part of the Service (including, without limitation, any screenshots, videos, documentation or manuals relating to the Service) except as provided in this Agreement."

I can understand why one would want to keep control over what's being blogged about your new product when it's still in beta. During this phase, it's very easy to damage a products' reputation by unjustly trashing it, before it is even finished. Especially if a tester doesn't really get the 'beta' part, this is a real risk. A few weeks ago, I noticed a similar effect with regards to OpenSim too.

Perhaps Google is to blame here. They keep many of their products in perpetual beta; millions of users have gotten used to using full fledged, essentially finished services which still carry the 'beta' designation and I guess most of them don't pay attention to that label anymore.

Yet, I'm not sure that being restrictive about what publicity you allow during beta, is the best way to create a buzz about a new product. Metaplace might, after all, be able to get some free publicity out of the blogging community, and as far as I'm concerned they are missing out on part of that now.

Back to Metaplace. I think it's pretty safe to tell you that I was able to use it with Minefield, the daily Firefox 3.1 development build. I created my own place, and some new tiles which I used to dress it up a bit:

Anyway, if you want to try Metaplace, I can invite another five persons if the NWN invite codes are all used!


Raph said...

No worries. :)

We're not trying to build buzz right now so much as testing -- that's why we let people in in waves, so we can compare whether changes we have made have improved things for everyone.

The NDA will certainly lift sometime in the next few months...

Sered said...

Hey Raph,
That makes sense. I guess we'll be informed when the NDA changes?
Thanks again,

falloutbunny said...

Hey, wicked post. I know what you mean about keeping the user base tight to begin with. I started using Google's Orkut service when it was early beta, and i enjoyed it much more then than I do now. Millions of users flooding in diluted the intimacy that used to be there, and It's barely usable with all the spam.
I heard that google's Lively was interesting, since it never got off the ground, it had a core user base of 500 people, hanging out, knowing each other by their first names!
If you had any invites for Metaplace left, I'd love to give it a try. My email is falloutbunny{at}gmail{dot}com

Sered said...

Falloutbunny, you got your invite! If you're into the Lively kind of stuff and don't like large crowds, you might want to check out Just Leap In as well. It's very similar to Lively, if less cartoonesque. And according to previous commenters, it's not very busy there even though it looks very good. To be honest, I hope they attract a bigger userbase, I wish JLI a better fate than Lively..

Raph said...

Sered -- definitely. We aren't worried about bad buzz, really -- honestly, the response has been very good. But we do want to be careful, of course, but making sure that people, when they do write, talk about Metaplace as it is intended to be, not what it was when only partly done. :)

vint said...

Errrr... Haz one left? :d You have my email ! (from todays reply on my blog :d)

Sered said...

Done, Vint!