Crowdtesting with Testbirds – leveraging the crowd intelligence for bug-free products

Testbirds – a crowdtesting platform for software and hardware helps clients to find bugs and errors leveraging the crowd.

What is crowdtesting?

Leveraging the intelligence of the crowd has long been used to get ideas and out-of-the-box thinking into an organization. Crowdtesting however has a slightly different spin. It leverages the crowd to test an existing product for bugs, user-friendliness and other issues. The idea is that with any product, specifically software products there are thousands of issues and bugs that are very hard to detect. Often times, companies launch the product and receive thousands of complaints on errors and issues. Customers always find something that doesn’t work. The idea behind crowdtesting is, to make this first feedback loop part of the product development process and increase the likelihood to launch an error and bug-free product.

What is Testbirds?
Testbirds is one of the first movers in crowdtesting in Europe. The Munich based startup has now over 100,000 testers on the platform, that are testing apps, websites, software, games, hardware and other products for bugs and usability. The testers have already tested 250,000 products and found 90,000 bugs. The company is working both with smaller clients, as well as with large corporations such as Audi or Allianz. In 2014, testbirds just closed $2.9 million series A round with a French VC firm.

For more information on how the product works, check out this clip

Why do companies use the crowd?

Testbird provides 4 main sources of benefit to the clients:

  • High relevance of target group
    The benefit of crowdtesting is that you have your “customers” testing your product. Testbirds is trying to ensure that the testers represent the real end users, by applying approximately 60 demographic criteria to the tester profiles.
  • Diversity of testing devices
    Instead of having your own employees test the product, all using similar software and hardware, testbird selects the testers also based on the device diversity. This way, many more bugs can be found, minimizing the risk of errors in the real product launch.
  • Unbiased testers
    The testers have no incentive to oversee errors. On the contrary, they get an additional fee for each error found.
  • 24h ad-hoc availability
    Clients can access the test services 24/7, without the need to have anyone of the testers on its own payroll. The service is quick, easy and comparably cheap.

What motivates the crowd to test?

Understanding what really motivates the crowd seems to be critical in the crowdsourcing business. Testbird has run an extensive survey among their users to get a better perspective of what really drives them. Not surprisingly, the key motivational driver is money. Testbird pays a fixed amount of money for completing a test, as well as a variable fee for each bug found. Overall, 6 factors were found that impact the motivation, of which three were extrinsic factors (such as money). The three other most important factors were altruism (intrinsic – caring for the customers actually using the application), autonomy (intrinsic – being able to work anytime, anywhere) and individual advancement (extrinsic – progressing in your career).

Testbirds business model seems to be working quite well. Both sides of the platform have clear benefits and it seems to be scalable quite easily. However, the question is how sticky the platform actually is. From my point of view multihoming is possible for both, testers and clients. They will probably switch platforms based on the offer the get on the platforms. The future of testbirds depends on whether they can increase the stickiness for both sides of the platform, as well as on the intensity of the competition in this market.


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