August 8, 2019

My experience with BetaList

As requested in response to my post about being featured on BetaList, I will share my experience and some numbers. If you don't care about the background story and want to see the numbers, just skip to the next section.

Rejection, Resubmission and Lessons Learned

I submitted travelbro (https://travelbro.io/) on July 16th. I originally had no intentions of submitting the project to BetaList but after being contacted by the BetaPage community manager, I decided to give it a shot, under the premise that I would only spend very little time on the whole process (certainly no longer true after this post...!)

Submission is pretty straightforward. I successfully completed everything in under five minutes (already took screenshots for BetaPage so that is not included). Around ten days later, I logged into BetaList to find out that my submission was rejected. Working on other things, I marked the email as read and ignored it. In the next small break, curiosity took over. I reopened the email and clicked the link to the page with the Submission Criteria (for the first time!)

Looking at the criteria, things became pretty obvious.

  • The product should be new. Your product should be only recently launched or still be unreleased. Even though I finished a first prototype only one day before posting to BetaList, the website looked like a finished product at first glance. I also noticed that I accidentally selected "pre-launch" instead of "just launched".
  • Needs to be a technology startup. Our audience visits BetaList to discover new technology startups. It’s not the right place to promote your blog, newsletter, online store, etc. By reading only the product description, you might get the impression that travelbro is just a collection of travel tips, even though it is not!
  • A distinct, decent-looking landing page. We realise not every startup has the budget to hire a world-class designer, but you should have a decent looking landing page. I honestly did not spend a lot of time making the landing page look decent. I primarily built this tool for myself and wanted to see whether other users are interested before spending too much time on design.
  • Visitors should be able to sign up or subscribe to a mailing list. There’s no point in getting featured on BetaList if our audience can’t sign up. The newsletter sign-up form was on a separate page, and the link to that page was hidden in the navigation bar.

I basically screwed up on everything. So, here's what I did:

  • Added a "beta" badge to the logo, hoping that it might at least subconsciously convince people that it's still an early prototype. Changed from "pre-launch" to "just released" in the submission form. Total time spent: 2min
  • Added a comment to the BetaList team, highlighting that the website provides customized travel information that takes the visitor's home country and citizenship into consideration. Time spent: 2min
  • Picked a nice travel illustration from the ManyPixels free illustrations gallery and added that to the website just to make it look slightly less boring. Time spent: 2min
  • Added a unobtrusive sign-up bar below the navigation bar to (almost) every page. Time spent: around 10 minutes

After making these changes, I immediately resubmitted and got accepted only 3-4 days afterwards. In hindsight, it should have been obvious that I did not do enough research. 20 minutes of real effort are a much better investment than 5 wasted minutes.

Try to be efficient when trying new things but at least read the basic guidelines.

Analytics

The numbers: 76 referrals on the first day (Sunday), 78 referrals on the second day and 44 referrals on the third day. Additionally, about 81 referrals from other websites that were most likely posted by people who discovered the product on BetaList. In total, that's around 300 visits in the first three days which matches what others have reported here.

While this might not sound like a lot, we got great feedback, many feature suggestions (that are partially implemented already by now), and 17 new subscribers to the newsletter so far.

I'd say it's totally worth it but I would not consider paying for a listing unless you really need to launch as quickly as possible.

  1. 2

    This is great, Lukas! Thanks for sharing. I'm considering submitting my new platform to BetaList and will be referring back to this :)

    1. 1

      Sounds great! Make sure you read https://betalist.com/criteria and spend a couple of minutes thinking about whether your platform satisfies each of the criteria and whether somebody who visits it for the first time will get the impression that it does! Most of these things are not only important for acceptance but also essential if you want to get good feedback!

  2. 1

    Thanks for sharing your experience.

    I found betalist very confusing. I submitted several projects, ALL of them rejected. I still don't know, why - I checked all criteria and didn't find any failures.

    What is more confusing is the verdict: "Your startup was not selected to be featured"

    Is it the same as just to be listed? I didn't ask to be featured so I'm puzzled.

    1. 1

      Yeah, I think that "featured" is equivalent to "listed" on BetaList. Did you ever try to make small adjustments and resubmit any of your projects?

      1. 1

        No, I didn't try because I didn't know what to change. Everything met their requirements.

  3. 1

    Bounce rates were 22% on the first day, 33% on the second day, and 37% on the third day.

  4. 1

    Thanks for sharing