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Old 01-03-2000, 01:15 PM   #1
Steve_S
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Arrow "Beta" defined. I hope this helps.

I sure hope no ones minds my post which deals with the definition of “Beta” My sense of the issue is that many of our members don’t have a crystal clear picture/definition of exactly what the term Beta means.

My definition is culled from nearly 10 years of Beta testing. All the major products from various ISV’s including Web software. I actively Beta tested and reviewed dozens of products when I was a full time technical writer. This goes all the way back to Windows 3.0 and that’s circa 1989.

Beta means nothing is guaranteed to work. You use Beta stuff at your own risk. This means in my case that Beta software has destroyed an entire site and in the early days “nuked” my entire computer system so bad I had to ship it back to MS so they could repair it.

No features of any Beta software/program are guaranteed to work. All your data, earnings, reputation, and traffic are at risk and their is absolutely no guarantee that any of this stuff will work.

If you are comfortable with this fact and definition then you can and will gain a huge competitive advantage in many cases. If you aren’t, then don’t participate in any Beta programs by any vendors. It’s a black and white issue with absolutely no gray area.

Your Beta Bug reports are valuable input and help all parties. As long as you realize that a “fix/solution” takes time and is never like a quick tweak to your own HTML page. Typically, their are a team of programmers who place bugs on a list and then rank them. Then they have internal controls and work their way down the list. This also includes what is called “regressive” testing which means a new bug fix may or may not introduce or break existing features. On major roll outs a new “build” nee bug fix may occur once per week or in longer intervals like every other week or even once per month. The “builds” may reach 3 digits before the product is ready for prime time. This means months or even years in some cases. Windows, which most of you use, has had over 150 “builds” per version before it was released.

Judging any companies software/service by the quality and functionality of their Beta software is not only unfair but usually leads to false conclusions. I speak from first hand experience. Beta stuff rarely if ever resembles the “shipping” or final product. I’ve seen and tested numerous products for both platforms for over 10 years and every major consumer Windows OS. And, plenty of high end Web stuff to base this conclusion on. Please make your final judgments on the “shipping” non Beta product.

Please excuse my obsessive details but I hope this helps you. Many other vendors have and will bring their programs to our “Community” for Beta testing and thus we have the rare opportunity to be the first to use the software and gain a competitive advantage.

Good luck to everyone http://www.very-cool-stuff.com/ubb/smile.gif


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Old 01-03-2000, 02:28 PM   #2
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just my opinion and possible brain fart

there's a fine line with beta though. if a software manufacturer is aware that their software in beta is destroying folks property or property interest. that manufacture has a duty to pull that software from distribution and fix it IF THEY KNOW WHAT THE PROBLEM IS AND HOW TO FIX IT.

relating to referrals, that's an elementary problem to fix once aware of the problem.

beta isn't a unfettered license to destroy property or misappropriate property interest. http://www.very-cool-stuff.com/ubb/wink.gif



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Old 01-03-2000, 03:44 PM   #3
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Based on my years of Beta testing with dozens and dozens of companies their is absolutely no grey area under any circumstances. And, Iv'e had legal advice on this issue and been an expert witness in court proceedings.

No "fine line" as you say. No parsing and trying to turn the tables on the vendor. No ...."duty to pull that..." You and only you must clearly realize that their is absolutely no warrienties, guarantees, set time lines, guarantee of any fixes, hacks, bug swats guaranteed or implied. Period and the end.

Your "that's an elementary problem..." is not and never has been true of major product roll outs.

If you had ever sat in a room with "coders" and white boards seeing how this stuff works and the incredible complexity involved you might have a clearer picture. Nothing, repeat nothing happens quickly like a day or two.

All well run companies do it this way. It's clear to me that perhaps you should not participate in any vendors Beta program.

Your choice not to participate is fine as a lot of folks don't feel that the competitive advantage justifies the "grief"



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Old 01-03-2000, 10:44 PM   #4
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Arrow

testing

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Old 01-04-2000, 12:26 AM   #5
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again just my rantings and opinions

if only the law was that easy anybody could practice it. many know the general rules of law. however, they lack the intricate knowledge of the exceptions to the law, which wins cases.

the legal term "as is" is very similar. it has no warranties and all that too, general rule of law. however, there are exceptions that put liability right back on the seller/vendor even if "as is".

beta also implies a limited distribution. having a public distribution under the guise of beta is dubious at best.

court proceedings were mentioned, no lawsuit goes to trial if there's no gray area. if beta was an unfettered license to do whatever. such a case wouldn't even make it to trial.

i digress http://www.very-cool-stuff.com/ubb/wink.gif

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Old 01-04-2000, 01:32 AM   #6
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I am sorry Steve but I feel that you are posting this definition is because of Tekno. I know they have banners top + bottom of this bulletin board.. When the owner posts that criticizing a company is bad on a board which is supposed to, it defeats all purpose.. I know Ryan bases most of his upgrades and downgrades on the members criticizing of sponsor companies.

I agree with fairhousing.. beta is not supposed to be public for everyone.. beta should be limited. GetPaid4 was good for me because I got an early chance to get referrals. Then they messed up they say they have a fix which I am faithful.

The majority consensus of the webmaster world is that Tekno is great. Some like myself say they are anther ad company which is reliable.. It's like everyone buys Pentium III when their product cannot compete with Athlon. AMD has a much better chip for graphics, internet surfing [rec. by cable companies], and gaming. Yet majority will cough up extra $$ on what they believe to be a better product and buy Intel.

When I have time and build my sponsor site I will be more strict on my experience and with opinions of fellow community members at this board.

Just my tired opinion
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Old 01-04-2000, 02:34 AM   #7
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I have no interest in Technosurf, one way or another. That is not meant to be good or bad, just a statement of fact.

I do, however, have a great interest in the community of geek talk, aka this forum. It is for that reason I feel obligated to speak up.

Steve has made some general points which clearly represent the mainstream, and clearly respresent widely accepted definitions of "beta"

The major argument here is "beta should be limited". Ok, so what is limited? When a major software company (ie MicroSoft) put a piece of software out in Beta how many millions of folks get to test it? So what is limited?

RE: "if only the law was that easy anybody could practice it. many know the general rules of law. however, they lack the intricate knowledge of the exceptions to the law, which wins cases."

Remarks like that realize why I feel the need to get on my soap box like this. The laws should be that easy. The laws shouldn't be so darn complex that I have to pay some suit big bucks to find the exceptions to the rules.

I've seen quite a few cases in this forum lately where someone tries to make a general statement, and folks find all the exceptions to the rule. It gets old after awhile.

We are talking to the public at large, we have to speak in generalizations, not exceptions.

All legal arguing aside. Look at this from a practical standpoint. We are all welcomed in this "house" called the geek talk bulletin board. However this house is still owned by Steve_S. How often does he make strong statments like this? Not very often. In fact his presence is pretty quiet on this board. So that fact he has made this statement, and this fashion, says to me this is something that means alot to him.

I'm waiting for the childish criticisms and hate e-mail I'll get for making these remarks, but I guess that's the price you pay. Guess my old school upbringing, and respect for family is showing through. But when a man invites you into his house, and does his best to provide that opportunity for you, (as in this forum), a little courtesy and respect is in order.
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Old 01-04-2000, 10:48 AM   #8
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uonline said: ....” I am sorry Steve but I feel that you are posting this definition is because of Tekno. I know they have banners top + bottom of this bulletin board.. When the owner posts that criticizing a company is bad on a board which is supposed to, it defeats all purpose.. “

Actually, you won’t find the following verbiage anywhere in my posts: ...”criticizing a company is bad” Also, please take a look at some of the 10,000 or so posts on this BB and you will see that all “vendors” including Tekno receive lot’s of “criticism” on this BB. In our database are literally thousands of posts of this nature that we have never “touched” and we read every one. I’m a little disappointed that you wouldn’t take the time to do this before you posted.

On a number of occasions I have taken a “stand” for your rights to “criticizing a company is bad” and this means a members posts stays in place. On some occasions this cost me money to defend your rights. On other occasions I have “banned” a “vendor who wanted to advertise on this BB for “rules violations” or simply told the vendor I will not compromise our “members” rights in exchange for advertising revenue. money.

The “Beta Defined” thread was motivated by a number of factors and I would like to return to this subject in this thread meaning let’s try and stay on topic. I’m trying to take this BB to the next level where “vendors” of all sizes and shapes will feel comfortable in brining their Beta programs to our community. Many vendors who have never joined or posted on this BB have told me they don’t want to do this because some of our members don’t have a crystal clear definition of “Beta” and you can see this first hand in some of the Tekno Beta stuff threads. They are obviously correct and hence my post. I’m hopeful that this will help take us to the next level. If we can make this work and if all parties clearly understand the inherent risks in using “Beta” programs and or software as well as the generally accepted definition of “Beta” which I posted then this will provide you and all members with a huge competitive advantage in the marketplace which translates to more money for you and all our members. If you don’t like the definition or inherent risks then the solution is simple. Just don’t participate which is fine as most folks don’t think the “grief” justifies the rewards.

On the other hand, if some our members continue to think that a Beta program/service is supposed to function just like a “released product” my plan will never work. If they apply the same “standards” to a Beta program as a “released product” my idea won’t work.


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Old 01-04-2000, 03:10 PM   #9
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All that anyone really needs to understand is that beta ISN'T the final product. Also that problems ARE expected in the beta phase (That's what makes it beta!). Getting on the board and posting "getpaid4 has lost all of my referrals" is ok. But at the point when you even think about losing confidence in the company, you need to relize that the program explicitly says beta. If any of you expect results from a beta program that you'd get from a final product, then you have another thing coming.

As far as beta being wide spread, I don't really think this matters at all. Being beta shouldn't have anything to do with how many people are using it. It has to do with the product it self, and how reliable it is.

- Joe

[This message has been edited by Joe (edited 01-04-2000).]
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Old 01-04-2000, 03:27 PM   #10
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Thanks for all of your input in helping explain to folks the status of the getpaid4 program. Before too many people start thinking too many bad things about the program, however....

For 95+% of the people out there, hours are being recorded accurately and have been for weeks. We still have some compatibility issues with some folks coming through weird proxies that we are dealing with.

Regarding referrals, we believe that all referrals are stored 100% accurately, the only problem being displaying them currently. We are working on this, and expect to have them finished on or around the 15th of this month so as to include all referral monies for November's payouts without any delay.

Regarding the program as a whole, MANY of the problems have been fixed or will be fixed in the next day or two as we put out another update of the software. I thank everyone who has been willing to participate in our beta mode, and I hope that you are rewarded as the program begins to be quite a bit more stable and reliable.

re's
John DeMayo
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[This message has been edited by profallfree (edited 01-04-2000).]
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Old 01-04-2000, 03:36 PM   #11
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The thing is, that when you signed up for GetPaid4, you were more than sublty warned that it was in Beta. It wasn't like they said somewhere in small text that it was in beta, and that the software may be unstable (both on the server and client end). If you missed all the warnings on the page, you probably should look closer next time you signup for something important http://www.very-cool-stuff.com/ubb/smile.gif

Now, when a program is in "Beta" and you have been forewarned of possible problems, you should expect some problems, and you really have no legal case against Teknosurf nor any legitimate reason to yell at Teknosurf in a public forum because their program is not working as you had hoped.

As for beta's being limited, I have to disagree about limiting access to them. Part of beta testing is ensuring it will work on a large amount of diverse machines/configurations. Having a "public" beta is a good thing, IMO, I'd rather experience glitches in public beta than experience problems in the final product, and I'm sure many would agree.

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Old 01-04-2000, 04:54 PM   #12
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Goodness, we've got some folks that like writing replying to this topic. Is this the essay section, hehe?

Like i've said in some other post about the getpaid4 program. I have confidence in tekno. http://www.very-cool-stuff.com/ubb/wink.gif



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Old 01-04-2000, 05:45 PM   #13
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My boss pay me to come here and read all the forums.

Some of you make posts which are insulting to me and our hosts. Some of your thoughts on Beta bare no clue to the real Beta prograams

uonline.....you need to appolagize for your post. It has zero truth about our hosts and I am offended. Before you accuse read and search.

The greeky mythologhy post and all the twisting and turning and this and that about how you judge a company by its Beta program is totally and absolutely untrue. You should rethink and work for a few years in the industry before you make that kind a statement. You have not so please do..

The other stuff about turn the tables is so far from fact or experience it is hard to describe.

Excuse me but I just had to say this. It make me very upset at some of you.

-moneyhungry
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Old 01-05-2000, 12:57 AM   #14
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Steve_S,

I'm not going to argue with your definition of "Beta" but I will say that it's practical application is extremely limited.

It is one thing to draw an analytic distinction between "Beta" and "Final Product" but it is something enitirely different to claim that this distinction is maintained in the practical employment of the terms, "Beta" and "Final Product."

Many companies use the term "Beta" in many different contexts. For example, there are some companies that follow strictly the Greek etymology of the word and hence, use "Beta" as the second test following the "Alpha" test. Following the "Beta" is just a third release, then a fourth release, and so on. There is no dichotomy set up between "Beta" and "Final Product." There is only gradation from "Alpha" to whatever the latest version is. This gradation is enough to constitute a grey area.

The rigorous defintion of "Beta" which you prsented basically says 'use at your own risk' and 'don't expect anything.' This is fine but problems arise when companies employ the rigorous definition to cover over the contextual definition. Whenever, a company undertakes "Beta" testing, it always places it within a specific context which leads to a practical definition. Because it has become contextualized and assumes a practical defintion, testers of the beta are going to expect results and certain guarantees. And sometimes it is enough for the company to defend itself by pointing to the rigorous definition. It may be enough legally but it is not a company's legal conformity that determines the value of a company.

With relation to GetPaid4, there is no doubt that members did expect something from the "Beta" stage. Contributing to these expectations were things like: Teknosurf's good reputation, the implementation of a pay structure, the ability to begin building a downline, and most importantly, the release of specific information regarding the public launch and the ability to recover stats.

It would have been a completely different situation if another company was running GetPaid4 and had operated differently in the "Beta" phase. But it is the specific practical context that Teknosurf placed the "Beta" phase for GetPaid4 in that greyed the rigorous definition of "Beta" lying beneath its practical application. And this "greying" process in inevitable.

The rigorous definition of "Beta" is enough to defend a company against anything related to legality or any other discipline that is analytically based. However, I still believe that it is the practical-contextual definition that the term "Beta" assumes that is the determining element when it comes to decisions such as should I promote this program or even how credible is this program.

So while I can not say, 'I do not advise you to use Company A because they said I would make X amount of dollars and then they lost my stats,' I can definitely say, 'I do not advise you to use Company A at this time because I am disappointed in the results from the beta phase'
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Old 01-05-2000, 02:39 AM   #15
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2 moneyhungry..

Wow you have been here for 1 day with 1 post and you are the professor correct? You come and criticize me and the rest of the members who have been here a long time. This post was relating to other GetPaid4 topics in the past which I doubt you have even read, yet your statement says your the pro, OK by me.

In my post I offended you..
Run it by me again you work for who tekno or intel..LOL

Like I said in another topic which again I highly doubt you have read I have faith in Tekno, John posted that all was recorded no loss of data.

Quote:
Before you accuse read and search.
That's what you said and I can't say it any better than that, directed to you.
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