Beta testers or Final testers?

I am a beta tester for a number of apps out there, but also for a specific, expensive, software application that shall remain nameless. For 2 months now I am busting my ass to provide bug reports and provide reproducible cases. I think I have reported about 25 bugs in that short time.

The app’s mailing list that I am also part of was largely low volume. Bug reports from others except myself was at the range of once every 5 days.

Fast forward to today, which is when the application’s final version got released. Suddenly, the mailing list is full of bug reports. Complaints left and right! Crybabies!

So basically, these lazy sloths got the program for free, and never bothered to properly test it. And when they got the final release and used it for real, suddenly they have complaints.

Developers should remove beta testers who don’t report back with some sort of feedback, even if that feedback is not a bug report. These previously valued users, will have to actually buy the app after they are kicked out — as they became beta testers exactly because they were experienced users of the app in the first place. If they don’t like it and go with another product, well, the developer lost nothing anyway.

Moral of the story: if you are honored by a developer to use his creation for free, at least report back with some feedback, as this is the only thing the developer asks of you.

1 Comment »

William Eggington wrote on September 13th, 2007 at 8:19 AM PST:

Been down that road many times myself. A lot of users love the idea of getting a sneak peak at whats coming up in the next version their application of choice but don’t see their involvement as an important part of the process. One thing I found interesting with one developer is that they will give credit to those who found legitimate bugs and post thank you notes to those people in the change notes made with each release. This is a very simple way of saying thank you to the beta testers that are actively involved in shaping the product’s future and provides a nice little pat on the back to those of us who spent the time to make the reports and work with the developers on a fix. Hard for a cry baby to argue his point when there is a record of his involvement through the process.

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