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Are Video Game Testing Job Sites all scams?

20February2011 Leave a comment

I found a rather tiresome rant online about “video game testing” sites. I’ve been approach by one which seems ok. I’m not entirely sure, but it could be something I can teach my 11 yr old son to do.

We can do it together as a father-son bonding activity. I’m not really looking at it to replace my income, but it may be a good allowance type of deal.

I have noticed with increasing regularity that those people who scream about how this and that is a scam don’t really trust anyone or anything. The author in the rant didn’t actually do ANYTHING on any of these sites but declared them scams because of his own skepticism and ignorance.

He makes 5 sweeping generalizations about these sites.

  1. Look for BIG bold highlighted text, this means they are trying to reel you into a deal.
  2. If the site promises over $10 an hour, Stay away from it. Usually game testers only get paid $9-$10 an hour.
  3. If the site asks YOU to pay for a job, never go for it. Why should you have to pay $40 to get a job!
  4. Usually people wanting to hire you will be for a company that is known, like Microsoft and Ubisoft.
  5. If the site looks too good to be true, ignore it and just keep looking.

1) How does BOLD text indicate scam? Bold text is used to draw your attention to what they’re saying. This is marketing.

Most people don’t read every word of the page; they skim and notice what’s being highlighted. Go to any web site and you’ll find “BIG, bold, highlighted text”. I guess they’re all scams too.

I suppose Microsoft is a scammer with Windows since Windows is in BIG, bold text in every ad … er, … maybe that’s a bad example.

2) Every company has HIGH and low positions.

Usually people at McDonald’s get paid minimum wage, yes?

What if you stepped up to shift manager? Still minimum wage?

What if you became assistant or store manager?

What about the guy who started part-time in high school, then worked his way up to become a franchisee?

If I started a site to recruit McDonald’s employees, nobody’d get excited at the idea of making minimum wage to start. Instead, I’d highlight the managers who make a lot more or a franchisee who’s making over 6-figures.

“I never thought when I started that I’d make $250k/year from McDonald’s!”

If you start with the attitude of failure, you’ve already failed.

3) How much did you pay for your BS (or higher) degree that allowed you to qualify for your job?

What would you think of a stock broker who didn’t subscribe to the Wall Street Journal? “He’s a stock broker! He shouldn’t have to pay $45/year to subscribe to the latest news and information in his industry! The brokerage firm he works with should be paying him to read it.”

They DO pay him to read it. He’s better informed than his fellow broker who reads the NYTimes. Thus he makes the better investing decisions, helps his clients more, and makes the fatter commissions.

What you’re not looking at is the “fine print” of those $90+/hour testing positions. They’re for specialty gaming systems, short-term projects, targeted audience, etc.

So, if you have

  • an XBox 360
  • with an HDTV
  • and an HD camera
  • and if are between the ages of 20-25,
  • they’ll pay you $95 to get a screen shot of a specific scene w your camera of your TV (to prove you actually got there)
  • AND write a review of the game to that point.

It should take you about 30 minutes to get to that scene in the game + another 30 minutes to write the review. What have they just paid you? $95/hr (if you’re good).

What if your a bad player at that game? Your rate drops. If it takes you 4 hours to get to that scene + 1 hour to write the review? That’s less than $20/hr since it’s still the same $95 flat fee.

4) These “testing companies are temporary hiring firms. Instead of hiring and laying off a retinue of testers all the time, the major game companies are choosing to OUTSOURCE the testing to another company. The testing company, meanwhile, keeps their testers busy more consistently by working with multiple video game companies. Today, they’ve got a Zynga project on Facebook. Tomorrow, they have JerseyGames test on MySpace. They don’t pay as much so you hold out for the PS3 test coming up next week for Sega.

Am I saying ALL of these are legitimate sites? No.

They often charge for 4 things:

1) Training – It’s up to each person to determine if the “training” is legit or not. I think, in one sense, the training is a way to weed out the “fly-by-night” testers from the “hardcore” testers who will likely be there next month, next year, etc.

2) Job listing access – I covered this above. You’ll need to make up your own mind as to whether such access if worth $30 – 60 per year. One decent project would make the money back as a worthwhile investment, but if you do nothing with it, it’s a money pit.

3) Resume help – A good tester is likely going to have the opportunity to jump from these testing temp companies to actually hired by a major game firm.

The temp company likely gets a finder’s bonus for finding and recruiting them just like Manpower and other temp agencies. Thus they’ll help the tester make the jump to a major software firm.

4) eBooks – Most of these sites use the same process as other online marketers to sell their wares. Capturing the name/eMail allows them to contact you again. A free “report” or paid eBook gets your attention.

A cheap eBook on the gaming industry could be just the thing that a newbie is interested in. The time to start getting in with a major development firm is when you 15 – 17 years old, not 27.

Still, for a part-time job when you spend your evenings on the couch anyway, why not make a bit of coin?

I don’t like people who spread fear, lies, and half-truths. If you have a legitimate complaint about something, wonderful. Let’s have it out. If it’s real, I’ll even report it. But to make such broad assertions of dishonesty based on the size of the font?! I strongly disagree!

Enjoy!

TNF

Categories: Scams and Rants

How to Safely Buy Online with Peace of Mind

19February2011 Leave a comment

I was looking at product reviews online and came across this review of  Rob Benwell’s “Blogging to Bank” by Paul Schlegel.

Unlike a lot of FAKE scam reviews out there (I’ll be hitting on some of them soon), I appreciate Paul’s thorough investigation of and detailed reporting of the questionable or downright dishonest practices of both Rob Benwell and his brother Matt Benwell.

While I won’t go into the details here, I will give the summary:

DON’T BUY ANYTHING OFFERED BY EITHER BENWELL BROTHER!

There is a code of ethical conduct that we need to uphold online. The FTC may or may not take the matter up with them, but if we hold these young men’s feet to the fire in boycotting their products, maybe we can get them to change their ways before other people suffer the same financial maltreatment.

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In related news, I would like to make a strong suggestion to those of you reading this who may be wondering about how to safely purchase online just in case you get scammed and on the hook for a LOT more than you expected.

When I buy stuff online or under a tight budget, I use a prepaid debit card from WalMart ($6 + $3 per load fee). I load it with sufficient money before I buy the product or service, then reload when I need it.

  • I keep it low (<$5) so if I can monitor all the “monthlies”. When a monthly / partial charge comes in, I’ll get an “Insufficient Funds” message. (No fee.)
  • If I choose to keep the service, I’ll load enough to cover it and redo the transaction which is linked in the message.
  • If I choose to cancel the transaction, I’ll send them a “stop billing me; card will have no money” message.
  • Once I get the “Transaction Cancelled” message from Clickbank, I can safely reload.

With such a small fee and easy terms, it’s not hard to maintain multiple cards. If a shyster “ruins” a card by not honoring a cancel order, like the Benwell’s are known to do, you can simply cut that card up and use another one. When the “insufficient fund” message comes in on a good product, give them the new number and keep going.

DON’T USE A CARD TIED TO YOUR BANK ACCOUNT! Such a card should only be used for “essential services” that you don’t want interrupted like electricity, phone, water, Internet, etc. Online marketers (honest and otherwise) should be kept at arm’s length at all times because of the “otherwise”.

Yes, I’m even including ME in that list. I’d hate to find out that I got hacked despite my best efforts to the contrary, and you had your life savings stolen. While I seek to please all of my (potential) customers, I also want to make sure that you not only feel secure but are secure during and after the sale, and blessed even if we have to process a refund.

Enjoy!

TNF

Categories: Scams and Rants