Crowdsourcing is proving to be highly useful these days, whether it’s used for getting real-time traffic data, providing accurate business listings, or testing for software bugs, which is the business the Southborough, Mass.-based uTest is in.
The company’s idea is to outsource software testing, a time-consuming activity, to testers around the world, thus enabling small start-ups to use ad-hoc quality-assurance teams, even though they couldn’t afford traditional QA testing.
Larger companies — uTest says it has some Fortune 500 software companies signed as customers –- can also benefit from harnessing the power of the crowds by speeding up the testing process as well as by cutting down the costs of testing. Some of the statistics uTest boasts are impressive: the company says there are over 30,000 professional testers from more than 165 countries in its community, all looking for bugs and defects in software products.
Previously, testers who had iPhones and iPads were not able to report a bug they found using their device. Instead, they had to find a regular computer to do that when testing iOS apps for bugs. Now, testers can conceivably spend their commutes and other downtime earning a little bit of money. (Testers are compensated through a pay-per-performance model, getting money for bugs found or for useful feedback.) Testers can report bugs directly from an iPhone or an iPad, and uTest’s customers can receive the test reports directly on their iPhone or iPad anywhere they are, provided there’s reception.
For crowdsourcing to be effective, the community has to be engaged and the process has to be as effortless as possible for the tester. For its part, uTest seems to have this in check, and business appears to be growing fast: the company closed a $13 million third round in financing and had a 300 percent increase in year-over-year revenue in the third quarter of last year. In total, uTest has raised over $20 million in three rounds since the end of 2007.
[Photo credit: edrodzen]