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Friday, June 09, 2006

Ask David: Google Invitations

Steve writes:

Hi again - You mention invitations to Google. It looks like you can just sign up. What's the deal with the invitations?

Well, it might look that way at first, but you can't really get a Google account without either an invitation or a cell phone.

The first Google accounts (in April 2004) were just for Gmail. Google's method of marketing this new service was completely viral. Folks working at google sent invitations to their friends. As time passed, those first few users were allowed to send out a few invitations of their own. The growth was then exponential, but had an air of exclusivity. It was brilliant marketing. Now, people like me who got a gmail account in about June of 2004 have more invitations than we know what to do with, and there are many more services Google offers that require an account. (Good list of Google Services is here)

There are now TWO ways to get a Google account. You can sign up to have a confirmation code sent to your cell phone, or you can receive an invitation from someone who already has an account.

Many people don't want to give Google their cell number. That's understandable.

Here is Google's official explanation of why these are the only two ways to sign up for an account.

Have a question? Ask David! Email your question to pointingandgiggling_AT_gmail_DOT_com.

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