How Do You Defy The Final Wishes Of Half A Million British Organ Donors?

No, that’s not the start of a riddle or a joke. In fact, it’s the all-too-serious ramification of a 12-year old software glitch that afflicting Britain’s Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agencies (DVLA) and affecting the final wishes of countless families.

It seems that a software bug that dates back to 1999 has incorrectly recorded the donor preferences of 444,031 people. And while the circumstances surrounding this glitch are serious, it underscores an important point: in modern society, even things that we don’t associate with technology are supported and driven by software, and thus, are susceptible to defects. Organizations, whether private companies or public agencies, have a responsibility to thoroughly test their software and secure their data.

The cost for betraying that responsibility is the lost trust of that organization’s user base. And that trust, once lost, is difficult to win back. A bit more about this story after the jump:

Continue Reading

Lights, Camera, Testing! VisibleGains Tests Video Platform With uTest [video]

We’re so in awe of all the amazing things our terrific customers have been able to accomplish with the uTest community that we think it’s definitely time to give them some serious ink. Check out VisibleGains’ story below (or on our case studies page)!

There was a time when customized video was reserved for the big players with big marketing budgets. Today, that’s not the case. VisibleGains helps companies of all sizes, from all over the globe, produce/track custom videos with a unique online platform.

But before this web app could be released into public beta, it needed testing across all major browsers and OSs. For too long Co-founder/VP of Product Craig Daniel was the lone tester and knew a more scalable solution was in order. “I thought this would be difficult considering it involved a lot of moving parts, but uTest handled it perfectly,” said Craig.

Less than 24 hours after opening the test project, Craig was able to review bugs and feedback from 35+ professional testers, who had submitted nearly 120 unique bugs! Find out more in the 2-minute clip below about Craig’s overall experience; how uTest gave him access to rockstar testers; and a showstopper uTest found!

VisibleGains Customer Testimonial

uTest Has Record 4th Quarter & Wins Spot On Red Herring Global 100 List

A quick update from the shiny, new halls of uTest (yes, I’m referring to our fancy new digs).

Earlier this week, we announced that uTest achieved more than 3X increase in year-over-year revenue. And as you can see, from the pictures to the left, we moved into some new office space in our Boston-area headquarters. And beyond all that growth, we found time to receive some rave reviews from the media and accept an award or two.

For those of you keeping score at home, here’s a recap of the recent goings-on at your favorite software testing company:

Customer, Community & Company Growth

  • Signed 70+ new customer deals with innovative startups like Groupon and AirBnB; as well as with established category leaders like AOL, Virgin Airlines and Aetna
  • Added 3,000+ testers to pad our lead as the world’s largest testing community — that brings us to 33,000+ professional testers from 172 countries
  • Pitted the top specialty e-tailers against one another in another epic Bug Battle. During this competition, more than 600 testers from 28 countries discovered nearly 900 bugs in the web and mobile apps of eBay, and Zappos; check out one of the write-ups at Internet Retailer
  • Added a bunch of new members to the uTest family, increasing our employee base by more than 20%.  And as you can see throughout this post, we also moved into some killer new office space

New Product Stuff

  • Public Tester Profiles & Badges: With our new public profiles, testers can display their memberships and exemplary uTest ratings (bronze, silver or gold badges) for all the world to see. Testers can also now add their uTest badges to their personal site, blog, resume or email signature.
  • Social Sharing: we launched a new social sharing feature that enables uTesters to share their profiles and testing accomplishments on Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn directly from their uTest accounts. For example, a tester can let the Twittersphere know that he just earned a silver badge or that he published his public profile.
  • Accept/Decline a Test Project: Testers can now accept or decline a test project based upon their availability. This gives uTest much better visibility into each project so we can more precisely gauge whether or not more testers should be invited to meet each customer’s schedule and requirements.

Press Praise

It was a big quarter for us, but we’re not getting cocky… we’ve got big plans for 2011.  And as always, we know that we never could’ve done it without our customers (who care more about their users & apps than any rational person should) and our testers (who share that passion for apps that make users smile).

16 Great Quotes For Software Testers

Presented without further comment, in no particular order:

The problem with troubleshooting is that trouble shoots back.” – Author Unknown

A pinch of probability is worth a pound of perhaps.” – James Thurber

Everyone knows that debugging is twice as hard as writing a program in the first place.  So if you are as clever as you can be when you write it, how will you ever debug it?” – Brian Kernighan

If you don’t care about quality, you can meet any other requirement.” – Gerald M. Weinberg

Testing is an infinite process of comparing the invisible to the ambiguous in order to avoid the unthinkable happening to the anonymous.” - James Bach

When your car is about to go off a cliff, it’s a weird time to be thinking about gas mileage and drag coefficients; better to take the right control action—look out the window and steer or use the brake until you’re back on course.” – Michael Bolton

If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again. Then quit. There’s no point in being a damn fool about it.” – W. C. Fields

I never make stupid mistakes. Only very, very clever ones.” – John Peel

Treat your password like your toothbrush. Don’t let anybody else use it, and get a new one every six months.” – Clifford Stoll

Continue Reading

A New Year’s Resolution From @uTest

As 2011 nears, it occurs to us that it’s the season for resolutions. So what should our new year’s resolution be?  Lose 320,000 lbs (across our 32,000 person community, of course)?  Give up caffeine (highly unlikely)?  Strive for work-life balance (huh!?!)?

No, those don’t seem quite right for us.  So how about this — in 2011, we resolve to eradicate crappy apps.  Apps that are buggy.  Apps that crash or hang up for no reason.  Apps that aren’t intuitively usable to netizens around the world.  Apps with privacy or security snafus.

We’ve  come a long way in the past year.  And in 2011, we’re going to be even better.  A better app testing partner to our hundreds of recurring software, retail and media customers.  A better source of revenue to our thousands of testers.  And a better place to work for the ~50 people that eat, breathe and sleep uTest.

What’s your new year’s resolution?  Drop us a comment and inspire your fellow readers of the software testing blog.

uTest Crushes Q3 with 300% Revenue Growth Year-over-Year

[WARNING: Slight self promotion today, but we couldn't help but share the exciting news with you!]

Today, we are thrilled to announce a 300 percent increase in year-over-year revenues in the recently-ended Q3. During this time, uTest closed a $13 million C Round of financing (led by Scale Venture Partners) – one of the largest investments ever made in a crowdsourcing company. We also launched cool new features and functionality, such as social sign-in, dynamic reporting and integrations with more bug tracking systems.

In Q3 2010, uTest also:

  • Signed 120+ new customers, including innovative category leaders The Associated Press, The BBC, The Container Store, Urbanspoon,
  • Acquired 2,500 new software testers, growing the community to 30,000+ professional testers from 168 countries
  • Added Scale Venture Partners Managing Director Sharon Wienbar to the Board Of Directors
  • Conducted the “Clash of the Career Sites” – more than 500 testers from 22 countries discovered nearly 700 bugs in the web and mobile apps of Monster, CareerBuilder, SimplyHired and Indeed; see articles in TheNextWeb and TechTarget for details

And there’s so much more to come! I just want to take a quick moment to thank our fantastic global community of testers who exceed expectations and go above and beyond to meet the testing needs of hundreds of companies each day. Our third quarter results are a testament to the tester community’s commitment to excellence.

Comparing The Various Crowdsourced Testing Companies

As you know by now, we’re shy by nature… not the type to engage in blatant self-promotion. But when others say nice things, well, that’s fair game. Anyway, here’s a recent blog post from a tester comparing all the various communities that are available to testers, including oDesk, Elance, Guru and others.

It’s always gratifying to hear that what we’re doing is so well-received and that we’re accomplishing our mission of creating a business focused on letting companies access professional testers around the world. And here’s what this tester had to say about uTest.

This is my favorite! uTest is only for testers. The projects posted are only for testing. And uTest works in a complete different way than the rest of the sites. There are no biddings, no resumes to be uploaded and no different categories. You have to create a profile with your available machines details (OS, browser and anti-virus) and cell phone model details. The projects are posted on the site and you can see them if the requirement suits your profile. Here profile is your machine details and your ratings. This follows pay per bug model. Pay differs with the type and severity of bug you log. For example, a “High” priority technical bug may be paid $20 and a GUI bug is paid $5. There are also various competitions called Bug Battle which are held quarterly and the winner is selected as highest number of bugs logged or quality bugs logged.

’This is a great site for all those who are looking for testing projects. But, one thing we have to keep in mind here is time and good quality testing. The test cycles get locked as soon as their budget or time expires. So, as soon as the project is active (an auto-generated mail comes to your inbox when a project is active for you), we have to start testing. There are various testing projects that are posted here. For example, web-based applications, security applications, desktop applications and many more. There are also blogs and forums for uTest where you can interact with fellow uTesters and share knowledge.

I will rate uTest 5*s again.

We welcome objective comparisons of the various testing-related communities out there… mostly because we’re so proud of our group of 30,000+ testers.

uTest Closes $13MM Series C Investment

When you’re building a startup, there are good news days and bad news days.  Sometimes the good news comes in the form of a killer ad campaign or winning a new customer or a glowing article in the New York Times.  And if you’re really focused and fortunate, sometimes the good news comes in the form of a $13 million dollar influx of cash from one of the hottest VCs in the Valley, which dramatically increases the valuation of your company.

In the past two years, we’ve had more than our share of good news.  And today, we’re announcing that we’ve closed a $13MM C round.  This round was led by Scale Ventures, and all our earlier investors participated fully — including Longworth Partners, Egan-Managed Capital and Mesco Ltd.

This is one of the largest-ever investments made in a crowdsourcing company, which re-affirms what our customers already know: uTest’s in-the-wild testing helps them launch apps that their users love.  In all, uTest has now raised $20MM across three rounds since late 2007.

Use of Money: So what are we going to do with this pile of money that our wise and wonderful investors have entrusted us with?  Well, we initially considered a number of options, including:

  • Giving free iPads to our top 26,000 testers… forget it guys, it ain’t gonna happen!
  • Purchasing four Superbowl ads @ $3MM per… nah, not our style
  • Running one Bug Battle per week for the next 62 1/2 years… interesting, but doesn’t seem quite right
  • Splurging for fancier office signage than what we have today… it’d make the Boston winter more pleasant for our employees, but meh
  • Two words: uTest blimp… nope, we’re scared of heights.  And, oh, the humanity

Actual Use of Money: In the past 18 months, uTest has seen astounding growth and adoption by customers ranging from startups to enterprises to universities.  We’ve seen massive growth in mobile app testing, as well as in the social, gaming and retail industries.  So while the aforementioned investments sound fun, what we’re really planning to do is dramatically increase our investments in:

  • Expanding our newly launched usability testing & load testing services
  • Moving into new service categories that help companies launch great apps
  • Turning our testing platform & APIs into the industry standard for managing internal & external testing teams
  • Engaging our community of 30,000 professional testers
  • Growing mind share & market share of our in-the-wild testing services

A Word of Thanks: So much has changed since our August 2008 launch. We’ve expanded into mobile app testing (now our fastest growing category); we’ve added load testing and usability testing; we’ve added 20,000+ new testers; we’ve acquired hundreds of customers and run thousands of test cycles.  Well, none of that would have been possible without a few key groups:

  • Our employees who are  fanatical in their belief in our vision and relentless in their execution
  • Our investors who offer sage advice, steady guidance, financial resources and the freedom to learn and grow
  • Our customers who, like us, believe that in-the-wild testing compliments in-the-lab testing to create apps that users love
  • Our testers who are passionate about testing, about uTest, and about helping to improve app quality

A Bonus Gift for Entrepreneurs: This is a tough market for entrepreneurs to raise money and build a business. Obviously, this has been an area of focus for us over the past few months, and we were fortunate to get so much interest from the VC community that we had multiple options to choose from.  So we thought it would be cool and useful to share all that we have learned.

Thus, we’ll be writing an in-depth post on the process of raising VC funding in the current market.  And we’re going to answer any questions that come from entrepreneurs, angels, journalists or others.

So ask away… no holds barred.  What do you want to know about the process of finding, pitching and evaluating VCs?  Fire your questions our way by commenting on this post, emailing us, or dropping us a tweet @uTest.  We’ll gather the questions and hook our top execs up to a lie detector machine and force them to answer!

Happy Debugging Day!

Today Computerworld (CW) has officially declared it national Debugging Day. It’s not usually formally celebrated (although it should be!), but the debugging tradition has been honored for more than 50 years now. From the very first bug to space bugs to horrible PR bugs to end-of-the-world bugs, today is the day to examine the most infamous bugs in history.

“It all began with a log entry from 1947 by Harvard University’s Mark II technical team. The now-classic entry features a moth taped to the page, time-stamped 15:45, with the caption ‘Relay #70 Panel F (moth) in relay’ and the proud boast, ‘First actual case of bug being found’ added by Grace Hopper.”

Since the tale of the moth, bugs have spanned from the benign to wreaking complete havoc. Many of the classic bugs of the past have been detailed in our TWIT (This Week In Testing) posts, but here are the top bugs that truly pay tribute to this day:

While we remember these bugs, today is also a day to celebrate and thank software testers all around the world who discover and prevent these disasters (and the smaller but crucial defects) every day. Thanks!