Give me my Google+ invites or I won’t use it

It seems pretty simple right? If you want users to use your service, let them. In fact saying “Give me my Google+ invites or I won’t use it” seems like a self-fulfilling prophecy. But it goes much deeper than this.

Google has had so many cracks at social and so far most have been failures. Orkut. Buzz. Wave. Here’s why Google keeps failing: they don’t understand how humans network. Humans want to be allowed to network, but they don’t want to be forced. If you look at Google Wave, you had to get invites. And it was hard to get them! People spent weeks trying to get these silly invites, meanwhile the early adopters got bored and walked away from it. On the flip side, Buzz forced people to network much more than they wanted. This caused people to try as hard as they could to turn off all those features as quickly as possible.

Now Google+ is released and they are at their silly invite games again. Social networking is cool because it allows you to find the people you are interested in and communicate with them. If you can’t find people you are interested in (because they don’t have an invite yet), you walk away. It’s that simple. Google will lose users as quickly as they will gain them using this system. What do you think? Is Google killing Google+ already?


  1. Spencer · June 30, 2011

    It’s invite-only at the moment because it’s still in testing. They don’t want to open it up to everyone until they know it’s reasonably reliable.
    Gmail, if you recall, was invite only when it started, and it did rather well.
    Actually, if I recall correctly, Facebook was initially invite only as well.

    • James Jansson · June 30, 2011

      There are 2 important differences in the examples you gave. Firstly, gmail was invite only. But that’s okay, because if you want to use gmail, your friends don’t have to have gmail. They can use any email client.

      Secondly Facebook wasn’t invite only. It was exclusive membership. If you wanted to join, you had to have a Harvard email address. But EVERYONE at Harvard could use it. So all your friends at uni were there. The important difference is that a network opened to 1 out of 100 colleges works when everyone at that college is allowed to join. If only 1% of people across all colleges are allowed to join, it will fail because only 1% of your friends will have it.

      • Spencer · June 30, 2011

        Google+ gives you 500 invites when you’re invited in. Being able to invite 500 friends and associates to join me on the service seems far less restrictive than restricting me to adding people currently attending university. In fact, the invite system, as opposed to restricting users to .edu email addresses, should allow people to build more inclusive social networks than Facebook initially allowed.

        Currently the invite function seems to be disabled, probably because of the massive influx of new users, but I don’t doubt it’ll be up again soon.

      • James Jansson · June 30, 2011

        You can’t invite 500 friends, that’s the point! They’ve cut off new memberships! What do you honestly think is going to be more successful in terms of networking dynamics: 10 000 people at 1 uni or 10 000 people randomly selected from around the world? Of course 1 uni!

        They have a stated aim of keeping the number of users low for the moment. I don’t believe for a second that google is incapable of providing the resources to host this. For them, the server time is a drop in the ocean.

      • thokoza · July 1, 2011

        You need to relax. G+ has literally been open just about two days. They are still in the field testing stage because it’s not completely ready for wide usage yet. I have a strong feeling that unlike Wave, in a week or so they will be ready for a free-for-all mass influx. But until then I think it is fair for them to limit access to those with invites so they can work out the kinks and bugs. Revealing an unpolished product straight away would be unproductive to Google in the long run. They are going about this in this most controlled, logical and sensible manner that they possibly can.

      • Namarrgon · July 1, 2011

        They re-opened invites for a while today. I think they’re balancing it quite nicely – letting enough people in each day to keep the remainder’s interest high, while holding back just enough to make it seem exclusive.

        I really like how, unlike Wave, it’s happy to share to anyone with an email address, so you don’t have to have all your friends joined up with + right away. I also like how public pages are open to anyone, Google account or not. Nice to see it’s more open that way than many others.

  2. Thiago · June 30, 2011

    Please, send me a invite to Google+

  3. Jordan · June 30, 2011

    Last time I checked, google acquired Orkut rather than developing it inhouse, and its pretty successful, just not in western markets.

    Buzz was rolled out without thinking to people who didn’t ask for it; the opposite problem of being invite only.

    Wave had some nice ideas but the interface was underdone. If it had come out of the box with the ability to interact with non-wave users via say email – which, it seems, is a feature that’s been built into Google+ – then the network effect you refer to would have been addressed, and it would have been easier for the early adopters to tolerate its flaws.

    • James Jansson · June 30, 2011

      I agree about Orkut. But it only adds weight to my point. Google has a fundamental misunderstanding about how human social networks work. Just because you are friends with 0.00001% of the world doesn’t mean the 0.00001% of the world that is on Google+ is your friend.

      Facebook is buggy and crap. User preferences are hard to set and notifications for a very long time didn’t work properly. Did that stop people using it? No. And it shouldn’t have for wave. Yes wave was experimental, but did you have anyone to do anything with? No.

      Here’s a direct quote from someone on Techcrunch
      “My experience with Google Wave was like this:
      I first learned about the product after viewing the google IO video dream.
      I got super excited about the product.
      I was frantically trying to get an invite
      I finally got the invite.
      I had no one to wave with.
      By the time my friends were on it, I lost interest.”

  4. emre · June 30, 2011
  5. Voislav · June 30, 2011

    Completely agree with you James. Yesterday I wrote about this on my blog. But as you can see from your post comments, people want an invitation at any cost. Who knows maybe we’re wrong and maybe the end of Facebook era has just started.
    Sorry for my double post, can you please delete previous comment? It looks like I’ve messed something in html tags. 🙂

  6. Risket · June 30, 2011

    They made it available to a limited number of people so the service can be tested before being open to the public. Then they decided to allow more people in and they gave users the ability to invite their friends. Demand was so high that users started joining much quicker than they anticipated. To me that’s an obvious sign the service will do well. I never heard of Wave getting overloaded with new users when it was going through this exact same process.

    No one was really interested in Wave. I received an early invite and sent out all my invites to other people. They joined, found no use for it, and left. Google+ is a different situation that you’re not understanding. People are joining, loving it, sending out all their invites and others are joining faster than Google can handle with the service still being under construction. This means that they are getting more and more suggestions, questions, bug reports than they can address at once. So they need to limit the amount of people that are using it until it gets worked out enough that most of the bugs are fixed.

    I agree that you can’t use it much if your friends are not on there. I think Google should have given each user less invites. I don’t know how giving each beta user 500 invites was a good idea. I’d say give them 50 (maybe even less). That way everyone gets their close friends so they can start sharing and making their circles, and there would be less of an overload. If you give people less invites they will use those for people they really want to join. Give them 500 and you have them selling invites on Ebay and giving them out to any random people on blogs commenting for an invite. Which means those invites aren’t being put to use for people that will be connected. If I invite some stranger on a blog I’ll more than likely never connect with that person on G+, so it was a wasted invite.

    Give it some time. I think you’re upset that you don’t have an invite yet. I am too but I know it’s for a good reason and I have to be patient. It was driving me crazy to wait two whole weeks to get my invite for Google Music. It’s worth the wait in the end.

  7. Mustafa · June 30, 2011

    Send me +1 too

  8. Alexandre Leclerc · June 30, 2011

    Even though I totally agree on your point, I am in this “please invite me” list…
    I really think this Google+ could eventually mean the death of Facebook that spoiled a fantastic social tool with Farmville and all those other “spammy” apps.

    By the way, if you get access to invites, my email is 😉


  9. norris chapellé · June 30, 2011

    I need an invite to develop an android app. Pls send me too 🙂
    mail: pittheus[at][gmail][.com]

  10. Michael · June 30, 2011

    Any left I’d love one as well. Dev here we go!

  11. hieu · July 1, 2011

    Could I get a google+ invite too please hieuvu[@]

  12. hieu · July 1, 2011

    Could I get a google+ invite too please hieuvu[@]

  13. Raj · July 1, 2011

    If you don’t mind sending another one, then please do send me on: rdavit (at) gmail (dot) com

    Thanks! 🙂

  14. Dan · July 1, 2011

    Hi. Good article! I would appreciate if someone can send me an invite: boybat [at] gmail [dot] com!

    Thanks in advance!

  15. Jaswanth Kumar · July 1, 2011

    Please send me a Google Plus invite.
    My email id:

  16. mimi · July 1, 2011

    please send me google+ invitation

  17. Marco · July 1, 2011

    help me too thank you…

  18. nonokung · July 1, 2011

    please send me invitation Thank you…

  19. F Hasanshah · July 2, 2011

    please send me google+ invitation


  20. yong · July 3, 2011

    Please, send me a invite to Google+

  21. Jigs · July 5, 2011

    Please send Google+ invite

  22. Vera Vicente · July 9, 2011

    Please send me a Google + invite.


  23. remy · July 14, 2011

    hello can i have an invitation for google+ if you have one for me thanks

  24. stefan · July 19, 2011

    ADDDDDDDDD MEEEEEEEEEEE PLiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiizz

  25. stefan · July 19, 2011

    pliiiiiiiiiiiiiz send me google+ invitation tank you

  26. Vizor · July 21, 2011

    hello can i have an invitation for google+ if you have one for me thanks

  27. Leyoda · August 20, 2011


    Could you send me a Google+ invite
    Thanx !!!

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