When Facebook opened its doors to the non-.edu audience, the site grew exponentially. They refined and refined to make a great social media space, then opened its doors to the rest of the world. Essentially, it went out of beta.
Google does this all the time. It puts limits on accessibility (think invitation, developer preview only) to refine the product — makes it more stable, enhance its features, etc — then launches it to the world. From there, it grows exponentially. Both Facebook and Google exemplify how limiting access during the fine tuning stages can make for a better product when it is unveiled to the broader audience.
It’s interesting then, why Pandora recently created a 40-hour listening limit per month. Now that they’ve had years to refine and grow their product and audience, the online music streaming service is turning back the clock. If anything, they are penalizing their strongest advocates.
You’d imagine Pandora would try to make their product more accessible — similar to the Google / Facebook strategy. Though the move will not completely stunt the online music streaming service’s growth, it does discourage advocates from using the player.