Getting selected to participate in a beta test is an exciting time. The product you’ve been chosen to test is likely something that you’re enthusiastic about and would probably use in your daily life anyway. However, one big concern companies have when handing over their pre-release product to a group of people in the real world is secrecy.
Companies understand that their avid users and early adopters are very enthusiastic about their product. This enthusiasm can sometimes get misdirected in a manner that can inadvertently compromise the beta test.
We know that a majority of our beta testers are would never intentionally violate the non-disclosure agreement (NDA) they signed at the beginning of the test. However, sometimes testers can get so excited about a product that they cross that line unintentionally. Below we list a few ways that we’ve seen testers go a bit beyond where they’re supposed to, so you know where that line is and can protect yourself and the beta test by not crossing it.
Many of you find out about our beta testing opportunities from other community members posting the landing pages on forums. It’s great to spread the word about exciting testing opportunities (and we encourage you to share anything that’s on the landing page with your friends and social networks). The problem arises when you return to that forum after you’re selected, let other readers know you were selected, and share details about the product. Even something as innocuous as “I got in! The smartphone is on it’s way!” could be a violation of your NDA. So it’s best to keep your selection to yourself. We do have a team that monitors forums and you will be removed from the test if you share information about the test with others.
We live in a culture of over-sharing. While you might be in the habit of putting a daily update on Facebook or posting every meal on Instagram, you have to break the habit when you become a beta tester. Even though you’re just sharing the information with your friends, you don’t ultimately know who is going to see your post. A quick screenshot of your update and it could end up in anyone’s hands. This means that even if you’re trying to be vague or clever (“Guess what I got in the mail today?”), a simple message or image could be a huge NDA violation.
Testing out a new streaming device and want to invite your buddies over to test it out with you? Think again. Your friends don’t understand the importance of NDAs the way you do, so they might not realize that taking pictures or sharing details with others is not okay. If those pictures get out, you will be held responsible for what they shared and any repercussions.
How Do I Know Where the Line Is?
There will always be gray areas when it comes to beta secrecy. If I’m testing a TV, can my family watch it? (The answer is yes, by the way.) Does the NDA ever expire? (Yes, but exactly when varies.) If you’re ever unsure about something, just ask us. Talk to your beta manager or email firstname.lastname@example.org. We’re always happy to clarify your responsibilities and make sure you know what’s expected of you.
Who Can I Tell?
It can be frustrating to keep all this excitement to yourself. That’s why we’ve developed our platform to give you the opportunity to share your excitement in a way that doesn’t violate your NDA. Want to shout your excitement from the rooftops? Log in and write a forum post about how amazing it is that you get to test this product. There are a bunch of other equally excited testers that would love to gush about how cool the beta product is with you. So go nuts! Talk about how you used the product that day and what surprised or disappointed you about it. Just don’t put it up on Twitter afterwards.