I came across Mob4Hire this week. A new site that provides "Crowd Sources Mobile Application Testing". The developer submits projects involving specific handsets and network operators. End users bid on projects and get paid via Paypal.
It’s often the case that an application is tested but fails in real-life use due to limitation of some random network operator. Mob4Hire can help reduce this problem by allowing developers to reach a greater breadth of network operators and phones. I also see it as a much more targeted solution than beta testing where typically only fraction of percent of users submit useful observations.
On the other hand, I can see some companies having problems with confidentiality and the inevitable variable quality of testers. Also, this site doesn’t solve the problem of ongoing support and testing – where the majority of problems surface. If you/your company didn’t test the particular variant then it may be difficult to fix.
The Mob4Hire site/process is still beta and a bit clunky and ambiguous in places. However, I think Mob4Hire may have something useful here if they evolve the service based on developer and tester feedback.