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When you have a built-in customer base as huge as eBay's, you've got a built-in crowd that can help you test out new features, which is exactly what the ecommerce titan does via a section of its site called "Garden."
Turning your customers into a de facto focus group is one thing, but turning to the crowd for more serious functionality and usability testing is quite another. That simple fact led eBay Europe to extend their software quality engineering program by adding crowd testing through passbrains.com. The Switzerland-based company is part of the PASS Group, which operates offshore sites in India, South America and Eastern Europe, managing crowd testing projects with testers from more than 60 countries.
eBay says using a geographically and culturally disparate cloud is a better way to test.
"Managed Crowd Testing is an excellent tool to further extend our quality assurance strategy by adding test resources with the most heterogenous skill profiles, professional backgrounds and cultural user behavior," says Michael Palotas, Head of Quality Engineering Europe at eBay. "Crowd testers think and work in different ways than internal testers, this is why crowd testing can still find bugs which haven't been detected through traditional software testing methods."
passbrains runs exploratory functional & usability tests for multiple national eBay sites. Hundreds of professional software testers are screened for qualifications and become registered members of passbrains.com. The testers working on eBay's sites continuously hunt for bugs and usability flaws on the online auction platform, which is frequently updated with new features and functionalities.
"The number of testers joining the eBay project is constantly growing and the project generates even more value than we originally expected," says Dieter Speidel, CEO of PASS Technologies. "Through passbrains.com, eBay is able to leverage their external test capacities significantly and to further improve product quality. Many critical bugs occur under random conditions and in most exotic use cases, that's why the crowd should be involved before software products are released."
Speidel says passbrains is continuing to reach out further internationally to additional regions to help ensure that more of those random conditions and exotic cases will be covered by its crowd.