1,000 Twitter Followers & 500 Facebook Likes Later…

Today I read a story about a woman who, while following Google Maps’ directions, was run over and is now suing Google for damages. So, my question to you is: Who are you following — and why?

At uTest, we’re just scratching the surface of  what’s possible in our “social media” efforts, but we’re excited that this past weekend we passed 1,000 Twitter Followers and 500 Facebook Likes!

So this post is simply to ask YOU — our terrific community, friends and readers — a few questions about what makes a company worth following or more interesting to you in the realm of social media:

  1. What type of content do you like most? Is it breaking news; thoughts from industry gurus; inside info from the company; jokes and funny stories; special promotions; or other?
  2. What makes you want to follow or “like” a company — particularly a B2B brand?
  3. Are there other B2B or SaaS companies who are doing cool stuff and making all the right moves?  Give ‘em some love and tell the world about them in the comments!

We would love to hear your thoughts, ideas and insights around this topic. And if you have a moment, please follow us (we promise we won’t run you over!).

To Crowdsourcing Friends, Foes & Fanatics: Just How Loyal Is Your Community?

Depending upon who you ask, crowdsourcing is either evil, revolutionary, or a next gen of internships.

But one thing that ALL crowdsourcing companies like to preach is how loyal and trustworthy and professional their community is. I know because I’ve read it in 100 different sites. Hell, I’ve written it a 100 different times here at uTest. So why do crowdsourcing companies insist upon telling the world how loyal and earnest their community is?  Maybe it’s to assuage the fears of prospective customers about entrusting their logo design, app development, content production or marketing to a community of strangers. Maybe it’s because if marketers say it enough times, we hope it’ll come true.

The more pessimistic view is that people — cloaked in the anonymity of the web — often act in greedy, selfish, mean-spirited ways (this perspective didn’t make it into the crowdsourcing brochure, by the way). Such dark behavior is well-documented and takes the form of flame wars on message boards, bullying via social media and online fraud.

So which is it — are people good-natured and honest?  Or are they money-hungry malcontents who will do anything to get ahead, as long as they don’t get caught?  Obviously it depends on the people, but I learned the truth about our community this week — and it was a lesson we learned the hard way.

A little background:  At uTest, we pay our testers twice per month via PayPal or Payoneer. And at this point in our growth, each pay cycle involves a non-trivial amount of cash — pretty deep into the five-figure range.  Now, it’s not easy or flattering to admit this, but in our most recent pay cycle, we experienced a glitch that caused us to pay our testers twice. That’s right folks, it was double payday here at uTest!

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I Love The Smell Of Bug Battles In The Morning…

No bugs were harmed in the planning of this Bug Battle… but they will be — starting Friday at noon ET.  That’s right uTesters — it’s time for our 2nd quarter Bug Battle competition!

And this time, we’ll be checking out the top location-based check-in services: Foursquare vs. Gowalla vs. Brightkite.  We’ll be letting our community put these innovators to the test (their public-facing websites, their check-in services, their mobile apps and their integrations with Facebook and Twitter).

And after the testing phase is complete on Monday, May 24th, we’ll be sending a survey to all participating testers to compare the usability and feature set of these three leaders.

What’s in it for testers?  Well, bragging rights, sure.  But we’ll also be doling out nearly $4,000 in prize money to the testers who report the most severe/interesting bugs and provide the most insightful survey feedback.

So it’s time to do what you do best, uTesters!  Log into your uTest account and scour these apps for quality defects and report them in a clear, concise way.  And if you do it better than your peers, you could be named the Q2 Bug Battle winner and earn some big prize money for your time.

uTest Up For 3 Stevie Awards, Including “Most Innovative Company”

Last year, we were psyched to take home the “Best New Company of the Year” for 2009 at the American Business Awards (a.k.a. The Stevies). This year, we’re even more fired up to let you know that the members of the Stevie Awards’ Board have named uTest a finalist in three top categories:

1. Most Innovative Company Of The Year
2. Best Blog in the Computer Services category (for this blog) and
3. B2B Communications Campaign Of The Year
(for the Bug Battle!)

Although we’ve made the shortlist, we definitely have our work cut out for us to bring in these big wins. Take the Comm Campaign category for example — we’re up against huge software leaders, including EMC and Novell. See the complete list of finalists here!

The American Business Awards are the U.S.’s premier business awards program. More than 2,700 entries in virtually every industry were submitted for consideration this year. The winners will be announced on Monday, June 21 at the Marriott Marquis Hotel in Times Square/NYC. More than 600 execs from around the globe are expected to attend.

Let us know if you’ll be in NYC that week. We’d love to meet up and fill you in on the latest!

Q2 Bug Battle: Foursquare vs. Gowalla vs. Brightkite

Where are you going, where have you been? Yes it’s the title of a creepy short story, but it also happens to characterize the  fastest-growing segment of consumer applications.

Location-based apps like Foursquare, Gowalla and Brightkite – apps that let you check in, find hot spots and get rewarded with prizes & accolades – are attracting thousands of new users every day. Just how popular have they become? They’re sooo popular, even uTest CEO and co-founder Doron Reuveni has attained ‘Mayor’ status (see if you can guess where).

Why am I telling you all this? Because these  geo-based apps are the subject of our latest uTest Bug Battle. We figured that since Foursquare, Gowalla and Brightkite are all global in scope, that they would provide our global tester community with a challenge unlike any of our previous bug-hunting competitions.

The Bug Battle gets started this Friday, May 14 at Noon (ET). Testers will be given ten days to search these applications (both web and mobile) for the most compelling bugs, and to report them through our online platform. We’ll be dishing out nearly $4,000 in prize money for Top Tester, Best Bug, Best Survey Feedback, Best Mobile Bug and a bunch of other categories.

More details on this Bug Battle – as well the rules, prizes and deadlines –can be found in this uTest Forums thread. Of course, we’ll be providing frequent updates via our blog, forums and newsletters.

Special note: This competition is available ONLY to members of the uTest community. Not a member yet? Find out more about the benefits of joining uTest.

Top 20 Software Testing Tweeps

According to Twitter co-founder Biz Stone, Twitter now has 105,779,710 registered users—and is adding 300,000 new users a day. Attempting to weed through all of the fluff can be daunting! So, if you’re interested in jumping into the Twittersphere or are just looking to follow the leading journalists and thinkers in software testing today, check out our “Top 20 Software Testing Tweeps” list below (in no particular order)!

  1. James Bach – @jamesmarcusbach
  2. Michael Bolton – @michaelbolton
  3. Testing At The Edge Of Chaos (Matt Heusser) — @mheusser
  4. Tester Tested! (Pradeep Soundararajan) – @testertested
  5. StickyMinds.com (Better Software Mag) — @StickyMinds
  6. SearchSoftwareQuality.com (Yvette Francino) — @yvettef or @SoftwareTestTT
  7. Google Testing Blog (Copeland/Whittaker) – @copelandpatrick or @googletesting
  8. Testy Redhead (Lanette  Creamer) – @lanettecream
  9. Test Obsessed (Elizabeth Hendrickson) — @testobsessed
  10. SD Times — @sdtimes
  11. Jon Bach – @jbtestpilot
  12. Software Test & Performance Mag –- @STPCollab
  13. Software Testing Club (Rosie Sherry) — @rosiesherry or @testingclub
  14. Lisa Crispin — @lisacrispin
  15. Fred Beringer — @fredberinger
  16. uTest (shameless plug! ;-)) — @uTest
  17. Weekend Testing (Santhosh/Parimala/Ajay) – @weekendtesting or
  18. Santhosh Tuppad — @santhoshst
  19. Ajay Balamurugadas — @ajay184f
  20. Parimala Shankariah — @curioustester

Update! Thanks for everyone’s recommendations. Here are a few we missed: @sbarber, @QualityFrog, @dailytestingtip, @sdelesie, @Rob_Lambert, @chris_mcmahon, @hexawise, @marlenac, @shrinik, @sbharath1012, @sellib, @TestingNews.

Please feel free to add any active Tweeps you think we may have missed in the comments! We welcome your recommendations.

SaaS & Cloud Computing Pioneers Showcase Their Innovations

The OnDemand event in Palo Alto provided the stage where the top Internet companies disrupting the enterprise converged with the incumbent pioneers in cloud computing and SaaS. Kicking off the two-day event with keynote Marc Benioff, Salesforce.com CEO who ignited the on-demand revolution, sure set the bar high!

These days were packed with investor roundtables, CEO showcases, and panel discussions on the trends and opportunities in SaaS and cloud computing services.

Lucky for those of us who couldn’t make the show, all the presentations (including Marc’s!) were recorded and can be viewed on the video archives site. Check out uTest’s below! For a list of a few other great sessions, continue reading after the bump.

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uTest Makes BBJ’s List of Best Places to Work In 2010

Boston Business Journal just announced their list of Best Places To Work. And with nearly 450 nominees and only 20 companies making the cut in the Small Company category (20-100 employees), it’s a tough list to get on. But we’ve never shied away from a tough competition, so we threw our hat in the ring. And lo and behold, we’re proud to report that uTest has joined this prestigious list of  the best places to work in Massachusetts!

We’re stoked to be on a list alongside global heavyweights like Google, Microsoft, Ritz-Carlton, Comcast, as well as local startup legends like Carbonite and HubSpot. So, how did we do it? Well, from our open bullpen layout to our always-stocked kitchen to tweeting from the slopes,  to a company outing that consists of climbing Mount Monadnock, uTest is not your typical company… even by startup standards.

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uTest & SOASTA Join Forces To Share The Load (Testing)

It’s been a busy few weeks around the hallowed halls of uTest (ok, they’re really more of a beige).  Somewhere between delivering the keynote at the QUEST conference, interviewing testing guru Scott Barber, and launching v3.0 of our platform, we found time to sign a partnership with SOASTA.

For those who don’t know them, SOASTA leverages the cloud to offer on-demand load & performance testing, which enables companies to test the real-world performance of their web apps.  In fact, the Wall Street Journal recently named them one of the top 50 VC-backed companies in all the land.  So what’s a crowd company doing partnering with a cloud company?  A lot, actually.

For starters, this partnership expands upon uTest’s recently announced load testing services.  As our customers and their apps become more sophisticated, they’re turning to uTest to provide them with real-world load testing.  And this partnership with SOASTA enables us to offer a unique package of on-demand load testing and advanced analytics to help our customers identify bottlenecks and points of failure between their apps and their users.

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