So I was over at SlickDeals looking for some sweet deals and I was surprised to see something unique that I missed out on last week. Someone posted an email that they received from Yahoo offering $150 to test out Meebo for a two-week period. The email is pretty interesting:
“HELP US UNDERSTAND HOW PEOPLE USE WEB-BASED PRODUCTS AND PUT MONEY IN YOUR POCKET! As much as we at Yahoo! love watching laboratory mice use the Internet, we’ve found it’s just no substitute for human behavior. That’s why Yahoo! is inviting you to participate in a 2-week research study to help us learn ways to make our products even better. In return, we’ll mail you a check for $150. Not a bad payoff, since all you have to do is fill out a quick survey twice a day. Plus you get to help us shape the future of Yahoo! Interested? Here’s the small print — in a normal-sized type, so there won’t be any surprises down the road. Requirements for participation: 1. You must be at least 18 years of age. 2. You must be willing to use Meebo (http://www.meebo.com) as your primary instant messaging application for 2-weeks. 3. After using Meebo, you’ll need to complete a brief survey telling us what you like and dislike about the product. (We’ll email you a URL for the survey). 4. Upon completion of the 2-week study, you’ll be asked for a mailing address so Yahoo! can drop you a check for $150. Naturally, you can back out of the study at any time. But you won’t get the $150 unless all of the above requirements are met. Sound fun? To get started, you will need to send an instant message to Todd Hausman and let me know that you are interested.
I know that there are quite a few Meebo users out there that read this site and I am sure you’re disappointed that you missed this offer :D . The real question is why would Yahoo be willing to offer money to test out a product that they don’t even own? I would speculate that this is because they are thinking about acquiring Meebo but they want to test out the waters first. Why not drop a couple thousand dollars and make sure it is good before they drop a few million and acquire them. Also, another reason that this seems like such a strong possibility is that in the email the person sending it said “Plus you get to help us shape the future of Yahoo!” Something is definitely going on here but I don’t think there are any definitive answers at this point. You can go to the SlickDeals forum and see what everyone is saying about this.