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Got Glass? Google gets beta testers to pay handsomely for the experience


I am so bummed. I really, really wanted one of these sky blue Google Glass units but they’re sold out!

Google GlassPlus, I didn’t have $1,500 to spend on one but Google’s making it seem like I’m alone in that. Yesterday, Google Glass units (Or is it a pair of Google Glass-es?) went on sale to public for the first time. By noon, they had sold out of the Cotton (aka white) units. By 9:30 pm, they were sold out in every color. . . I think. Because Google’s not being really clear about the numbers.

First of all, they referred to the whole process as the path to joining the “Explorer Program.” Any other company would call it what it is – beta testing.

Here’s how Google described the program on Google+ just days before the release:

Over the past several months, we’ve been trying out different ways to expand the Explorer program. Some of you signed up at Google I/O, some told us what you would do #ifihadglass , some were referred by a friend, some joined through their school or university. Our Explorers are moms, bakers, surgeons, rockers, and each new Explorer has brought a new perspective that is making Glass better. But every day we get requests from those of you who haven’t found a way into the program yet, and we want your feedback too. So in typical Explorer Program fashion, we’re trying something new.

Next Tuesday, April 15th at 6am PDT, we’re opening up some spots in the Glass Explorer Program. Any adult in the US* can become an Explorer by visiting our site and purchasing Glass for $1500 + tax – and it now comes with your favorite shade or frame, thanks to feedback from our current Explorers. The number of spots available is limited, so mark your calendar if you want to get in

$1500 PLUS TAX but at least you get to pick your favorite color frame.

This entire concept is marketing genius. It’s not enough that you’re getting an incredible, new device that few people own but we’re going to make the experience even more special by making you a member of a very private club. Now, Google certainly didn’t need a marketing hook to sell these units – die hard techies want them and are willing to pay the price and more to get them. (I wonder if you had to agree not to resell yours on eBay for 4 times the price?)

Because of that, this whole Explorer Program thing sounds like Google’s way of protecting themselves from buyers if the unit doesn’t work well or a better, cheaper version comes out by Christmas.

And why only in the US? If they had opened this up internationally they would have sold out every color by the afternoon.

I’m also curious about the “out of stock” label on every color in the Google Glass store. Was this a one-day only sale or was it one day only because they actually sold out. And how many are we talking about? Sold Out is impressive unless they only had 10 of each color to sell.

A lot of people are grumbling about the ridiculous price point but I have a husband who paid that kind of money for a Beta Max machine back in the day. If Google’s not ready for mass production than this strategy makes a lot of sense. Early-adopters will be more forgiving even at that price point than the average Joe who picks up a mass produced tech item at Walmart for $250.

Funny, isn’t it?