In the development of our application, we've relied heavily on a handful of beta testers. Their input has been very, very valuable and has no doubt made our application much, much better than it would have been. In particular, one of our testers has also been a great evangelist, playing a large role in getting us some of our customers.
When we originally approached potential beta testers, we just told them that, "We'd take care of them." It made sense to say that since we had no idea how significant a role they'd play nor did we know what we'd eventually charge for the product.
After some internal discussions we eventually decided to offer that very helpful and evangelizing beta tester a 75% discount off the product (subscription) "forever". Our thinking was that everyone should pay something, mainly so we treat them like a real customer and they treat us like a real company. The tester has pushed back on that, politely, but it was surprising to us. It does seem quite clear that this in not an issue of money. We're getting the impression that our product is under-priced to begin with, and a 75% discount makes the cost really pretty negligible.
My gut feeling is that this beta tester just doesn't feel adequately appreciated. If many, many, "Thank yous," and a 75% lifetime discount aren't the right things to do, then what should we do?
Is there any sense to our thinking that everyone should pay something, even a very valuable beta tester, or is it OK to just give your product away?
If anyone's had a similar experience with a valued beta tester, how did you get them happy other than by just letting them have it for free?