For a website that involves video uploading what is the best way to find people to participate in a closed beta trial?
Thanks so much for any guidance.
If you have clear competition, try to engage with their power-users. You'll get plenty of blunt feedback, and while it might be scary, this is the best feedback you can get. The second population is easily defined as your target customers. Get the product into the hands of those you intend to attract in the future. They will be a huge source of information and one you can't overlook. Never assume you know what your users need.
Don't rely on friends and family, especially those without a lot of experience in your space. Everyone will of course love your new venture, but you can end up operating in a warm and fuzzy bubble which is not reality.
This of course assumes that your interpretation of "beta" is to polish the product. Some companies use the beta stage for different purposes (testing scalability, etc.)
Overall, it's quality not quantity of beta testers. The ones who will give feedback are key. Search Twitter for the names of your competitors, find their fans, and engage with them. Also, seek out early adopters like @scobelizer, etc. These people see tons of software, and will have valuable insight as well.
Just my two cents. Best of luck!
If you just want many people with different types of computers and different graphics cards to try your service to verify it works, then I'd try Amazon's Mechanical Turk.
You need to provide a clear set of tasks and a way of tracking their success on your system (ideally by creating accounts for each of the testers). It's a very inexpensive way to get a large number of people trying your service.
Pay them :)
Honestly, an offer of money or freebies will encourage people to do anything. It will also encourage them to repost/tweet your offer to friends.
Also, try UserTesting.com.
The two things I've learned from beta testing: