SkypeMe, Ain’t It Cool News, and the End of Product Trials

Historically, certain countries, regions, and cities have been repeatedly used as test markets for new products. It may have been language, geography, remoteness, or something else, but the upshot was you could safely try out a product without queering its eventual broader launch.

Maybe that era is over. I got to thinking about this while reading Om’s piece this morning wherein he catches that eBay is quietly trialling Skype auction-integration in Switzerland. Is it possible to quietly trial anything any more?

Hollywood began having this trouble years ago, particularly with Ain’t It Cool News. Movie nuts attend trial early-edit screenings, and then send the site their reviews of the rough cut.

Is getting “safe” early customer feedback a thing of the past? In the face of rapidly disseminated info about product trials, it’s hard not to wonder.