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 On Tour – San Fran to London to Hyderabad and Back

October is bursting at the seams in terms of uTest speaking engagements! The exec team will be presenting at leading events all over the world this month — from San Fran to London to Hyderabad and back.

SAN FRANCISCO 10/4-10/7
We start in San Francisco next week at CrowdConf, the world’s first conference dedicated to the world of crowdsourcing and the future of work. CrowdConf will be held at the St. Regis Hotel on October 4th.

Crowdsourcing veterans CEO of oDesk, Gary Swart, and CEO of Elance, Fabio Rosati, will join Doron on a panel to discuss the ways crowdsourcing models are used to maximize a company’s potential and manage costs. More details here!

By the way, we will also be at CTIA in San Fran October 5th – October 7th at both the Mobile Web & Apps Forum (10/5) and the iPad & Tablet Publishing/Entertainment Apps (10/6) event. CTIA will be held at Moscone Center West. Let us know if you’ll be there!

LONDON 10/13 & 10/19
Next stop – the UK! On October 13th, Co-Founder of uTest Roy Solomon will be speaking at TCL’s Star Testing event in London. Other speakers include our friends James Whittaker (two-time Testing The Limits veteran!) and Tom Lounibos, CEO of SOASTA. This event will be held at One Alfred Place.

On October 19th, uTest exec Matt Johnston will be among the outstanding line-up of more than 40 speakers at Mobile App World, which includes Google, Microsoft, Ericsson, Orange Global and the BBC, who will be discussing the future of mobile apps.

HYDERABAD 10/28
Next stop – India! uTest was selected to attend the invite-only Google Test Automation Conference (GTAC) in Hyderabad on October 28 for the second year in a row! uTest exec John Montgomery will be there.

DEARBORN 10/28
Last but not least, Matt will be speaking at TiE CON 2010 in Dearborn, Michigan on October 28 at 1pm in the Crowdsourcing track.

And that’s it! (Where’s an exhausted emoticon when you need one?) If you want to meet up with us at any of these events, please shoot us a note. We’d love to share a coffee break with you.

Vote For The Coolest #KickAssApps

Well, it’s that time! Last week we kicked off the “Where’s The App For That?” Twitter contest and this week we’re asking YOU, our amazing community, to pick your favorite app from the most creative/entertaining/funniest mobile apps below.

The “inventors” of the top three apps with the most votes will win new iPods! We’ll officially announce the winners this Fri, Oct 1.

[poll id=”3″]

Thank you to all who participated in the contest! We received many great ideas last week. If you would like to connect directly with or follow our top “app inventors,” please check out their Twitter profiles at: @statelessSH, @Omeriko21, @rodydio, @Ed_Wing, @linzlovesyou, @OrenTodoros, @eurekalopes and @the_qa_guy.

Where’s The App For That? Tweet Your Best Ideas and Win A New iPod

Ever visit your app store of choice — whether it be Apple, Android or BlackBerry — and not find the app you really need?

Well, here’s your chance to tell the Twittersphere your best ideas. Be creative, be innovative, be wacky & off the wall; the best ideas will win shiny new iPods.

HOW TO ENTER
1. Follow @uTest on Twitter
2. Be creative! Tweet/Reply to @uTest with your wacky or useful, non-existent mobile app with the contest hash tag #KickAssApps

Example: @uTest a video app that watches where you’re driving so that you can text, email, play doodle jump & drive simultaneously #KickAssApps

CONTEST DURATION
The contest will run for the duration of this entire week — Sept 20 thru Sept 24 (11:59pm ET) — so get your ideas in soon!

JUDGING
The top ten most creative/entertaining/funniest mobile apps will get shortlisted by the uTest team. We’ll then post the top ten best ideas on the uTest blog for three days — Sept 28 thru Sept 30 (11:59pm ET) — and let our readers choose their favorite app through a poll. The “inventors” of the top three apps with the most votes will win a new iPod! We’ll announce the winners on Fri, Oct 1.

PRIZES
–1st Place: iPod Touch
–2nd Place: iPod Nano
–3rd Place: iPod Shuffle

So, next time you’re on the road — working, gaming, social networking, reading, listening to music, taking photos, or just checking the weather — and can’t find the app you’re looking for… Ask yourselves, “Where’s The App For That?” and tweet your best ideas. Good luck!!

For official contest rules and legalese, see our Terms & Conditions.

Tester Spotlight: John Kotzian

One of the most frequently asked questions we get from prospective customers is, “Who are these testers anyway?” In response, we decided to launch a Tester Spotlight series, where we profile some of the best and brightest from our community. Our latest guest is John Kotzian, who provided such terrific responses that we decided to turn them into a blog post. We think you’ll like it.

In this interview, John explains how he quickly climbed the ranks to become one of uTest’s highest rated testers – covering his past QA experience, his testing philosophy, his personal life and more. For more on John, check out his blog.

uTest: How did you get involved in software testing? What was the first app you tested?

JK: Basically by chance and a leap of faith. I was working POS Inventory Management for the Borders Books and Music Seasonal Kiosks and I was looking to move up in the company. I was spending a lot of hours managing the day-to-day operations of the inventory warehouse. I had to be there at 7:30am to receive the first shipments of the day and I regularly worked until 11:30pm to get everything completed.

At the time, Borders was launching its first Ecommerce website and started a QA team from scratch. They wanted someone who could test websites. I had a side job building web sites for local businesses, so I applied. I didn’t know the methods of software testing as a trade, but I knew my clients wanted an error-free site, so I would check my work from the mindset of a user.

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Ask @uTest Anything About Raising VC Funding

We’re still collecting questions from entrepreneurs, startups, angels and journalists about the process of raising money in the current climate.  Given that we just closed a $13MM C round, this has been an area of intense focus for us over the past few months.

And we’d like to share all that we have learned.  So we’ll be writing an in-depth post on the process of raising VC funding in the Q3 2010 environment. And, as we mentioned previously, we’re prepared to answer any and all questions that you may have… no hold barred; no topics off-limits.

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 next week and force them to answer!

uTest Funding In The News!

As you may have heard, we raised a $13 Million C Round led by ScaleVP which we announced yesterday and couldn’t be more excited about the things to come!

The media definitely re-affirmed and fueled our enthusiasm because leading journalists, bloggers, and social media mavens (500+ tweets!) were buzzing with the news. If you’d like to catch up on the details, here are our top biggest press hits:

1. TechCrunch by @leenarao
2. Xconomy by @wroush
3. Huffington Post/Silicon Alley by @courtneybmyers
4. Dow Jones Venture Wire by @tomiogeron
5. Boston Business Journal/MHT by @galenmoore
6. FINS/The Wall Street Journal by John Shinal

For all news, please visit the uTest News page. So, if you get a quick coffee break today, please join us and “Read All About It!” and let us know if you have any questions about our upcoming plans and expansion. Thanks again to all for your notes of congrats!

*Disclaimer: This post is a bit of a shameless self plug for all our moms out there.

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!

Version 3.0.5 – Better Testing Coverage & Faster Test Cycle Creation

Didn’t we just introduce something new, like last week? Don’t our engineers sleep? Surely we’re not already rolling out more new stuff for our testers and customers?

Well it appears we do have an update, and this one is pretty sweet. If you remember, we launched a whole new uTest experience back in April with version 3.0 of our testing platform. Since then, our product team has been watching and listening to both our testers and customers. We cheer when things work well, but we also take good notes when we see our users struggle.

Today’s update is all about fixing some of those nagging usability issues and making our user experience smoother. Some of the changes are big and some are small, but all of them were inspired by you! Let’s take a look at a few of the things that have changed:

More Effective Testing Coverage
One thing we’ve heard about creating a test cycle is that specifying testing coverage should be easier. The problem is we have so much diversity in our community – with close to 30,000 testers, hundreds of thousands of devices, dozens of operating systems, and several hundred countries and geographic areas. Customers had to do some digging to make sense of all this choice and get exactly the coverage they needed.

Today we’ve made some big improvements in this area. The first change is that you’ll be able to search for countries by global region, so if you’re just interested in European countries, you won’t have to find them in a huge list of every country in the world.

The second change is that we’ve also added quick search boxes that will help you narrow down any field to exactly the coverage choices you need. Whether you want to test your app with the Motorola Droid in the United States on Verizon, or on the Apple iPhone 4 in France on Orange Telecom, you’ll be able to get your test cycle started in a snap.

New Test Cycle Creation Wizard
But it’s not just coverage selection that’s changed. We’ve redesigned our test cycle creation process, simplifying some steps and improving the layout in others. We think that creating a good test cycle is the most important thing a customer can do to ensure testing success, and this update should make this process much smoother.

This new process also means changes for testers who are viewing the test cycle. For example, customers and testers will both appreciate the new Scope and Instructions page that is shorter, simpler, and cleaner.

All the Rest
There are dozens of little things that have improved as well. Here are a few of them:

  • You can now easily distinguish read and unread bugs and messages. Unread bugs and messages will be highlighted, while read bugs and messages will be grayed.
  • If you use a bug tracking system, newly exported bugs will appear much cleaner and easier to read.
  • Both testers and customers can now choose to stay signed-in to the platform without having to reenter their password each time.

Do you have an idea for our future product releases? uTest community members can join our tester forums and check out our Platform Feedback section. Customers can contact their project manager directly or drop us a line.

Mobile App World, London: October 19-20, 2010

Apps! Apps! And more apps! As the summer starts winding down here at uTest, we’ve been able to take a step back and a closer look at the big trends emerging all around us. What has been most apparent is the tremendous spike in mobile app testing needs. From top marketing agencies to retail giants to social gaming startups, our customers are developing more mobile apps to grow (or define) their businesses than ever before.

According to Game Developer Research, 25% of game developers are now making mobile games – that’s up from a mere 12% in 2009!

In addition, a survey conducted by iGR found that more than half (53%) of US mobile developers are building apps for Apple’s iPhone OS. BlackBerry was the next most popular, followed by Android and Windows Mobile.

In response to this incredible momentum, this year marks the launch of Mobile App World 2010, where global leaders in mobile tech and app development and entrepreneurs will gather to network and learn about the latest developments and innovations.

uTest will be among the outstanding line-up of more than 40 speakers, which includes Google, Microsoft, Ericsson, Orange Global and the BBC, who will be discussing the future of mobile apps. Shoot us a note if you’ll be around!

Note: If you’re looking for some cool, new mobile apps, check out Mobile App World’s August Apps Of The Month. You may spot a uTester’s favorite app! :)