Is Online Fourms and direct sales a new way to introduce products to early adopters?

So the people behind Xtreamer have just generated €148.500 in revenue and sold over 4000 players in less than a month selling direct to the first batch of early adopters.

This preorder business of a non branded consumer product is truly amazing and even without the help of a large online E-tailer like Amazon or large marketing campaign like Apples. Only trough the "Word of Forum" method and a webpage have they stirred up demand and revenue.

This is actually a new way of selling and launching products that we have not seen so explicit beforehand.

Is this the new way of introducing new products to early adopters of Consumer electronics?

1. Early adaptors get the satisfaction of interacting directly with the producers and product mangers, They get instant satisfaction by getting the product delivered directly to them and not having to read about the product first and then waiting and waiting for the distributors and their resellers to get convinced and stock up on the products. And then having to go to a sales person that does not know jack about the new product.

2. The producers and the product mangers get valuable consumer insights from the day before the products has launched and do not need to rely on the grapevine from the resellers and distributors but get to interact and get feedback direct from the all important early adopters.

3. The forum community with its rankings of numbers of posts give an creditability to the other forum readers that the person knows what the are talking about, and in a way the often read poster that endorse the new product in a way become ambassadors and give their validity to the products new attributes and validity in the market place.

4. The early feedback can help the product manager as we have seen with the WD TV beta release of the new firmware, to correct errors in the final product and launch new firmware faster and avoid public and technologies pr problem before the product really takes off in traditional retail.

5. The openness to the forums and the early adopters help the product manager to understand what is needed in future product introductions and can generate a very good market understanding of what are must have features among early adopters.

6. The buzz of the new product on the forum also lead to that some journalists following the forums increases the chance that they write an article about them when the receive the corresponding press releases and products for testing.

7. Early adopters get the attention from the forum or Blogs like, Their interest is stirred up by the information of the webpage and in the forum discussions, So is the desire by looking at the new specs and compatibles of the products, Lastly be being able to order directly and with prelaunch specials like free add on or intro discount the adopters get to perform their Action instantly.