Why is the TESTED subscription so Shit?

Created by ZooTv77 on July 1, 2016, 8:31 p.m.
  • So unbelievably disappointed in the subscription I just paid - and immediately cancelled from auto renewing. 90% is on YouTube for free. I feel swindled by these douche bags - congrats Adam et al, you have lost me.
  • Signing up for the membership gets you a limited edition art print, 100+ hours of paywalled content in the form of build-videos, LEGO builds, behind the scenes, exclusive Q&As, unedited footage of various projects, early access to events and promotions and an ad-free experience on the site.

    Considering the harsh language, I'm genuinely curious as to what you *thought* you'd be getting?

  • That escalated quickly.

  • You can even look through the Premium section before you sign up?

  • Yeah - I was a bit harsh, but at the time it really frustrated me. I 'thought' there would be content. Either way. For the price - not what I wanted.
  • Well, if you thought there would be content you were right... about 190+ Premium-exclusive videos to be precise. And since you signed up for a year, you will get 75 more exclusive videos in the next year if they maintain the same pace (190 videos in 2.5 years).

  • I think that what Tested.com has been doing is awesome and worth supporting. Forget what you get for the money you've spent and look at the big picture. Do you love what they're doing overall? Do you get a couple bucks worth of enjoyment from it? Would you be sad if Tested.com went away because everyone expected them to work for free? I think it's a cool thing worth supporting with a couple bucks, regardless of what extra stuff you get for the money. That said, the Premium stuff is awesome, so that's a nice bonus!

  • I do support the tested community and I am excited about what is to come, but since I have became a premium member over a year ago the premium content has slacked off. For instance there has not been any new premium content for almost a month now. I do realize there has been a lot of travel and staff changes, but it does not seem like the Tested web site is a very high priority. If this is the case maybe some communication would be nice.

    Also, is the Millennium Falcon build still going?

  • I think they are going kind of lazy, the forum is full of spam, and I, for one, didn't get any "limited edition art print"...

  • When did you sign up? In the past, the print has taken anywhere from 6 to 12 weeks to arrive depending on when a new batch has been mailed out. If it's been more than a couple of months, email support@tested.com and they will make sure you get the print.

    And FWIW they aren't lazy, just ridiculously underfunded which means the site gets no love in favor of video-production (a majority of their viewers only watch on YouTube and never visit the site's editorial content).

  • Hi Kim, ok, I subscribed on june the 10th, so I will wait a bit more :)

    (I just found that my address was not in my account... I just fixed that :D)

  • @santifc: It might also take a bit longer since they just moved onto the new print. The subject matter of the new one is unknown, but probably related to Adam's SDCC costume, whereas the old one was his drawing of the tool-boxes he had when working at Industrial Light and Magic. :)

  • I have to say I feel a little disappointed with my subscription late. No new premium videos in very nearly a month (since June 24th) and I never received my toolbox poster yet - almost 6 months after I subscribed.

  • @JSLSimpson: Email support@tested.com and they'll sort out the poster. In the email they sent out about a month ago announcing the upcoming, new poster, they said that anyone who hadn't gotten their toolbox poster yet should contact support to insure they get it.

  • Personally, I'm blown away by what I've gotten for my $40. I joined only 4 months ago, and I've gotten the toolbox poster, all the backlog of Premium videos, new ones showing up while I'm still trying to catch up, and occasionally, invitations to really cool events and experiences. (It's worth noting that I live in California, so it's more possible for me than for some folks to get to events that happen in California.)

    When Paramount had a special Star Trek: Beyond event also celebrating the 50th anniversary of Star Trek, Adam Savage hosted and interviewed the stars, and Premium members were invited. I had a great time there, and met Norm, Joey, and (producer) Adam. The swag bag that Paramount gave us as we left included an invitation to the premiere of Beyond at SDCC, so I decided I'd go to San Diego during Comic Con and see what else I could do in the meantime. I got to see the premiere (which was awesome), and just before I headed to San Diego, I got another email for Premium members inviting us to a yacht party on the IMDboat, where Kevin Smith interviewed Adam Savage. I'd pay $40 for any one of those experiences.

    When I happened to be in San Francisco for the Tested garage sale, I saw Norm and Joey again, and they recognized me from the Beyond event, and greeted me warmly, as a friend. I also met Kishore there, and when I saw him on the IMDboat, he greeted me warmly as a friend. These folks are friendly, engaging, brilliant, and way overworked people. And they really care about their members. This is a very small team, working harder than most jobs would require (or potentially even allow), with what I'd imagine is a pretty small overall income for the company.

    Having been to some of these events, I can say I've seen them working hard, and I know there are more new Premium videos on the way. The impression I get each time I see them is that the process of being there to make the videos has been pretty overwhelming recently, so the process of editing and delivering them has lagged for the moment. But I expect we'll see a big surge of new Premium (and non-Premium) content showing up quite soon.

    And let's not forget that among traveling all over California (and even Australia and New Zealand), to make cool stuff to share with us, they're still cranking out many hours of podcasts every week. That's time that could be used to write and edit and transcode and build and learn and design &c. (and sleep), but they're sitting down having a conversation (that they could do without the trouble of microphones and cameras), to share all the excitement with us.

    And they've recently brought on a new producer, Simone Giertz (who is just as awesome as you think she is - we met outside of W00tstock), and Will's no longer hosting everything they do (doubling Norm's responsibilities, I'd imagine), and moved offices. That's quite a bit of adjustment for any small company, and it all happened recently, in the course of a couple months. And while that's going on, they're still cranking out more new content every week.

    I didn't join for the poster, the exclusive videos, or the event invitations. I joined because I really appreciate the enthusiasm, expertise, production quality, and insight we get from Tested.com. I want these people to continue to be employed, so I can continue to enjoy what they create. And if all they want is eleven cents a day, I'm down. Wait - that comes with cool posters, exclusive videos, event invitations, and who knows what else? Oh hells yeah I'm down.

    I could spend $40 watching a movie, eating popcorn, and drinking a frosty beverage. I'm not going to enjoy any one movie as much as I'm enjoying the benefits of Premium membership on this site.

  • Personally, I'm not concerned with the premium content. The overall material is what gets me here and the premium content and poster are a bonus. Great bonus at that. Although the posters are just piling up in a closet until i get the chance to frame them. :)

    I renew each year so i can help the guys continue doing what they are doing. I support other sites on Patreon for way more each year so Tested is a steal.

  • To be fair, the Premium Content was and continues to be oversold. Anyone remember the monthly newsletters that Will first promised way back when? It's not that the Tested staff isn't working hard, it's that they are incredibly inept when it comes to marketing. They don't have a realistic understanding of what they can actually accomplish, they overpromise content, and they consistently miss on their delivery. They promise posters, but because they don't understand actual production on a large scale they're VERY slow in getting them to their customers. They promise new content, but not only do they not understand that they don't have time to create and post that content, they don't communicate that they're going to miss their deadline.

    Communication is key. If they took just a little bit of time to send an email to Premium members explaining what's going on, even when it means explaining why things have been delayed, that would go a LONG way in changing the perception on subscriptions.

    It also doesn't help that their technology is crap. From what I understand the new premium player (which took over two years to finally upgrade) is wonky, and the forums have been chock full of Spam for ages. It's not like people haven't VOUNTEERED their times to help moderate the spam - they haven't even bothered to utilize that free help and it's hard not to think it's from a complete lack of caring. I mean, message boards aren't new. The spam problem can and has been addressed.

    Are they nice guys. Sure. Would they be fun to have a beer with. I don't doubt. Are invites to exclusive parties in California nifty? I guess. But is any of that applicable to 99% of their premium members? Not at all. Being tech savvy doesn't translate into knowing how to run a marketing initiative. The only time you oversell is when you're not going to be around when the consumer has to deal with the product (i.e. a used car). And having other folks berate people who question the value of the Premium subscription doesn't help - it just makes those folks who already feel gypped feel even more alienated.

    Besides, this has really morphed of late from Tested to "The Adam Savage Ego Project." I think he now makes up almost 50% of the content (not counting This is Only a Test, which I still listen to every week). Why not make the majority of Adam's videos Premium? Tested would go back to being Tested, and Adam's fans could pay to get access to Adam. I would be 100% okay with that, and premium folks would really think they were getting something for their money. That would probably dig into their YouTube views, though, so my guess is it would be a no go. Or maybe Adam can provide some money to help fix the tech on this website (if he's going to brand this thing as his Internet presence, you'd think he'd want it to not suck, technologically speaking).

    For the record, I'm not a premium subscriber (although I did think about it for a long time). I figured from the beginning there was no way they could keep their promises regarding content/product delivery. I couldn't help but laugh at the "monthly newsletter." Come on, guys, get serious.

  • @Dizziyne: it was really nice to see you on the boat and around comic con. That goes for all the Tested members I met.

  • @sciencequiche: re:forum spam. Do you know if the Mods are still active? I took a look at their accounts (magzine and Rallier) and it looks like neither of them have been active on the forum for at least 11 months. If they aren't active, no worries, life happens. The Tested staff might want to knight some new mods in their stead though. The "Maker" section of the forums is so bad that I almost gave up and didn't post my topic.

    On-topic: I'm a premium member and pretty happy with my return so far. It's been cool to see the cast grow a bit (Patrick, Kishore, and Simone are all awesome), and see Adam on-screen more. I am one of the mostly YouTube-only members. I don't feel like I've gotten a whole lot out of the "premium" portion of the site, but like others I feel good knowing that my contribution is making the other content happen.

    @norman: You seem to be the man in charge now that Will's gone. Could you please huddle with the other staff and update the site with what premium members get or should expect? I think that communication is the weak point here. Having a regular, announced, release schedule for premium content with information on when outages will happen (holidays + cons+ etc.) would go a long way in repairing some of the lost trust voiced in this thread.

  • @RZR_LZR: Both Rallier and Magzine stepped down. One of them said the reason was the lack of resources devoted to the technical side of the site, which made it impossible to do a good job moderating the crumbling forum infrastructure.

  • @kim_a: Man, that sucks. No wonder the spam is still so bad. Thanks for providing context!

  • Its been over a month since their last post.........

  • I am going to have to agree with the sentiment, but not the extreme nature of the original poster.

    I am super disappointed in the tested premium subscription. It would be cool to see things like group buys of bits and pieces for projects. more frequent video postings, or longer more detailed edits of the free videos. More guests coming in to show off cool shops, or projects. Some videos featuring cool subscriber projects.

    I have always been confused about what it is that I paid for.

    I likely will not be renewing my membership when it lapses, as much as i love supporting these guys and what they do I don't get any value out of the premium access I have from subscribing.

    Where are all the martian costume build videos?
    I have rather enjoyed projects like seen on xrobots.co.uk I would love to see tested pickup some shows like this and add them to the subscription.

    Oh well, it seems they really struggle to have the staff and skill to actually produce more content. I suspect they are working super hard, but its just falling short for the premium.

    I will soon return to being a huge fan that is not a subscriber.

  • @twuelfing: I've gone to so many great events because of Tested, got access to amazing content not to mention the exclusive items. I'd honestly pay 5 times the price.

  • Being a premium subscriber is more than JUST the "extra" content you get. It is also a way to show appreciation for all the FREE CONTENT we get from them. Not everyone can afford to show this support but considering how very cheap it is some I have zero complaints. Sure there are slow periods, especially during Comic Con "season". I signed up almost immediately after finding tested.com. Of course I signed up to see the premium content but after I did I realized it was more to show appreciation and support for this awesome site.

    Yes, the site has some rough edges that I won't go into here, but it's one of those sites I fire up all the time to see what's new. I love the enthusiasm, the spirit, the excitement of the hosts and fans.

    Imagine my HUGE SURPRISE to find a tubular package at my door one afternoon not long after signing up, with "Tested.com" on the mailing label. WHAT THE HECK? It was Adams rolling tool box gizmo thingy poster. I had to jump on tested.com to figure out how and why I got this thing. I almost thought I bought something by mistake, or someone hacked my account. Phew! What a relief. And NOW oh lordy lordy, I am eagerly awaiting the BEAR COSTUME poster!!!!!!!

    Anyone who can't see the value you get by supporting tested.com doesn't understand this community. They don't understand the expense involved to run something like this. I am totally new to the "maker" community and philosophy. Technically I'm not even a part of it yet beyond a few odds and ends here and there, but I am a huge supporter and proponent of the philosophy.

    Although I didn't realize it, I was seeing it develop and grow long before they called it "The maker community", and now with the tech available and the "share everything" philosophy I believe it is the future of tech growth and innovation. Just to see how freaking FAST quality easy to use, consumer 3D printers developed practically "overnight" blew my mind. I have been telling my young nephews about the maker community and showing them all the knowledge and tools available to them, from Tested.com to Instructables.

    Being on the east coast I am restricted to NY Comic cons and even those I can't go to on a regular basis. 2003 was my first Comic Con in San Diego and in just the decade or so since then it has changed dramatically based on the videos I see on Tested. What an amazing experience that was. Back then I made it into a big vacation, visited the zoo, went to Tijuana. I was lucky enough to be friends with a software developer back then who had a booth at Comic Con. He took a whole group of his software users to Tijuana and we had a blast.

    It was a 3D software developer and they had rented a room for a "film festival" showing off animations users had made. That year I was able to show off my "team" creation. I had taken an old movie, cut it down to a few minutes, and each volunteer animated a few seconds of the audio. I believe back then, even though it was a digital "creation", I first experienced the camaraderie you experience when a part of a larger creative group. The project wasn't "completed" but it was close. I ended up animating more than I had planned to fill in gaps.

    So, if you think for a moment that the price of admission for being a premium member is not worth it after such a short time, it could be you aren't ready to be a part of this community. It is part of the concept. Some contribute more than others based on what they have to contribute. That is how it works. That is what I see CLEARLY as the basis of the maker community. Those who can share what they know or have to benefit others.

  • Y' know, I am nowhere near San Francisco. I work shift work for the railway and barely get time in my shed to work on my miniatures let alone get to gigs, with or without Adam et al attending. I didn't get the toolbox drawing (I haven't followed up yet).

    But I paid up...even with a really sucky exchange rate.

    You know why? Because this outfit is one of the rare examples of genuine honest enthusiasm on the 'net and I didn't want to sit by and sponge off YT. I've been a model railroader for about 45 years and have made other stuff along the way,but I'm now planning a cosplay outfit with a distinctly Australian flavour. This never crossed my mind until now.
    In fact I was in the local hardware and spotted the interlocking foam floor tiles...

    Am I getting value for money? Yes. I also just want to participate. If my bunch of clams helps Tested get some kid off the couch,then I'm happy with that.

    FMD there are some tight arses out there....

    SJ.
    Brisbane, Qld.

  • Folks are, of course, free to do whatever they please with their own money, and I'm happy folks enjoy supporting causes they love. However, the Tested subscription was not sold as a charity/donation project but rather as a fee for a service set up. That's how it was advertised and folks have an absolute cause to complain when the service is not provided up to the standards originally advertised.

    That being said, I personally hate when people make excuses for bad behavior. I hope and expect the things I support to try to be the best. I wouldn't make excuses for my children (similarly, Adam Savage doesn't let his kids trade on his name but expects them to live up to the reputation he's made). I wouldn't make excuses for an organization I supported if they did fall short of expectations. This need to defend folks who are clearly in the wrong is strange to me. The "yeah they didn't do that one thing right but they are great people" isn't a very strong argument.

    Finally, it's hard for me to feel bad for the "cash strapped" Tested crew when they talk about buying $900 - $1000 dollar quadcopters, expensive electric powered skateboards, pinball machines, $600+ VR goggles/kits, insanely expensive graphics cards and processors, and even pay $10,000 deposits on future Tesla models. And they have that kind of disposable income WHILE living in one of the most expensive places in all of the United States. Oh, and Adam is a millionaire, so there's that, too. I mean, I don't have an entire Cave full of movie replicas and costumes worth hundreds of thousands of dollars or a handy shop with hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of equipment. I'm glad Adam has it, as he can use it and afford it, but it sure doesn't make me feel like giving him my own money to support his website.

    So, yeah, it's hard for me to feel bad for them on the cash side or to make excuses for them when they don't deliver on their Premium Member promises. Perhaps it would behoove them to change the terms of the Premium Membership so as to either include enough content to satisfy the subscribers (like, say, the entire Arctic trip) or change it to make it clear it's a charity/donation model vice a fee for service set up?

  • Premium membership is not about getting extra content. It's about supporting the site for all the free content they have been putting out for years. The special stuff premium members get is icing on the cake, that is it.

  • That's not how the Tested folks are marketing it. Go to the Premium membership page. Nowhere does it say that it's about "supporting the site for all the free content." It very clearly says:

    -premium members get even more access to Adam than ever before with online Q & A's, an exclusive video series, a special creation designed by Adam, and more.

    -Go deeper into the world of Tested with video series only available to premium members - like Totally Unauthorized Movie Commentary and Tested Lessons - featured on our HTML5-compatible player.

    -Since premium memberships allow us to produce special shows like The Zoidberg Project (in addition to our existing video franchises), what better way to say thank you to our premium members than by periodically debuting new episodes of our video franchises to premium members first.

    -Get first notice and exclusive access to Tested events and meet-ups with Adam and Norm at places like Comic-Con and Maker Faire.

    That sure looks like advertising for services, not requests for charity/support. So, how many Totally Unauthorized Movie Commentaries have y'all received? How many "Tested Lessons"? When was the last exclusive video series? More than that, how many of the "exclusive" video series is just people building Lego?

    I know the cost for Premium Membership is pretty low, but if they want to avoid giving people a bad taste in their mouth they need to:

    1- scale back what they offer for that $40 and CLEARLY communicate the new level of service, or:

    2- fulfill the promises they make on their Premium Membership page, or:

    3- change the model to make it clear that Premium Membership is to support the cash-strapped and impoverished Tested crew to enable them to continue making wonderful free (i.e. you have to put up with advertising but we call it free) content, and we're giving you some extra perks as a "thank you"

    Anyone claiming "It's all to support Tested and you should stop complaining if you don't get what they promised" is WRONG. Stop making excuses for poor performance.

    The reality is this is an easy problem to solve. Just like the reality is that the Spam in the Forums could also be solved.


  • Sorry - couldn't resist. Here are some gems from the Premium Membership FAQ:

    -We're planning on doing about 50 premium member-exclusive content pieces (mostly video) per year. That means we'll post something new almost every week. You'll also get a special monthly email from Jamie, Adam, Will or Norm. The content of this email is separate from the standard Tested newsletter that is available to all users.

    -Both subscriptions offer access to premium member-exclusive content and Tested sans banner ads and site skins. The main difference between the two is cost. Our annual subscription is discounted 30% compared to 12 months of the month-to-month plan. From time to time, annual subscriptions may also include promotional materials, such as giveaways or coupons that you can use in the Tested store.

    -Our premium features include exclusive monthly emails, members-only content and more. That's what we're ready to announce right now, but we've got loads of ideas for ways to further enhance the premium membership in the future and will be constantly trying out new shows, features, and one-time events to find out what our premium members like best. When we roll out new updates and features for premium members, we'll let you know by posting on the homepage and sending you a private message on Tested.

    -We're going to do some sort of premium content 50 weeks a year. We're planning on taking the week between Christmas and New Year off as well as one other week to be determined in the future. Don't worry though, we'll post something extra-juicy the week before we plan an off week.

    So - how many of y'all have received that "monthly email"? If you received a monthly email, have any of those been from Adam or Jamie? Has there been a Premium video every week?

    I'm not saying they don't work hard. I'm not saying they don't make good content. I'm not saying they're not nice guys. What I'm saying is, they've completely goofed on the entire Premium Membership debacle and ought to do right by fixing it in one of the 3 ways I described above.