I have an API that I would like to launch as an MVP, to gauge market interest. It extracts keywords from text.
- Acquire users on my mailing list, so I can market other products and services from my consultancy.
- Gauge potential interest in charging for the API on a per-subscription basis.
- Gauge potential interest in people having the service customized for their particular data. (The API is for general web text, but people might want it for high-value technical domains, on which the demo will not work well.)
Here is a competing API. They allow you to test the technology from the web (not from an API). If you register, there is a free plan with a low usage limit, and paid plans for more usage.
What is the correct way to launch my demo? Each launch strategy has potential benefits and disadvantages for each goal:
- Just put the API up, explain that it's a temporary demo and ask people on the honor system not to make more than 1K requests per day. Benefits: Low barrier for testing. Disadvantages: Doesn't acquire users for my mailing list, might get abused.
- As before, but also ask that users sign up for my mailing list.
- As before, but don't allow users to try the API until they sign up for my mailing list.
- Force users to create an account on my system. Advantages: Since users are signed up, it is easier to get them to start paying. Can directly prevent abuse. Looks more professional. Disadvantages: The highest barrier to trying my API means fewer people test it. (I can encourage them by posting sample output though.) Extra coding time. Less forgiveness from users for kinks I still need to work out (e.g. isn't scalable to multiple concurrent requests).
- Copy the competitor's approach, i.e. demo through a web interface and force users to sign up for a free or paid plan for API access. Benefits: Easy to demo. More clear to the user that abuse is not allowed. Disadvantages: I have to code up something that allows me to sign up users, should they want to sign up. Alternately, I could collect their email addresses.
What are your thoughts on the difference approaches?