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Mob4Hire: Crowdsource your app testing

It takes a global village of mobile users to test an application well, and only a Web site to bring developers and testers together.

Mob4Hire logo

Crowdsourcing worked for restaurant reviews, so it's got to work for testing mobile apps around the world, right?

That's the premise behind Mob4Hire, which presented at Under the Radar on Wednesday.

The pitch began with a compelling use case: You need to test the app on 20 handsets in another country where you don't have an office. Mob4Hire's Web site connects testers all over the world with developers who need their apps tested on multiple handsets and operating systems.

Mob4Hire takes a 15 percent cut, PayPal takes its customary 2.9 percent service fee plus 30 cents per transaction. The testers get paid to run the app on their phones and report what they find. With all the fees, testing this way will still cost much less than deploying a company's ranks to set up testing in other locales.

Mob4Hire doesn't have a certification program yet for testers, but that may come. Mob4Hire also has a contract with LogMeIn for letting testers get to a remote emulator.

The session judges admired the business model, but wondered if carriers would come up with their own centralized models for testing those apps they ship on phones. Here's my red flag: a shallow pool of testers who give poor feedback in uncontrolled environments for pocket change.