Why TestDome Considers FastSpring a Real Partner for Selling Software Online (Plus: Is Using AI Cheating?)

Katie Stephan
Katie Stephan • Sr. Content Strategist
August 2nd, 2023
Estimated read time: 13 minutes, 27 seconds

When TestDome was created, CEO and co-founder Mario Zivic knew the pre-employment testing software company wouldn’t be able to rely on domestic sales to succeed.

“As a startup with only two or three people, it would be absolutely impossible to go international without this kind of platform.” 

Since choosing FastSpring as their merchant of record provider, TestDome has seen a lot — including steady growth around 30-40% per year pre-pandemic, hiring market fluctuations in the last few years, and in 2023, launching a new live interviews feature and reassessing their test questions to help them stay ahead of the AI curve (more on that below). 

Now as a successful international business, TestDome has been with FastSpring through all of it, and even when other payment platforms launched intriguing new products, Mario never saw a good reason to leave FastSpring.

Here’s why.

Are you looking for a merchant of record that will partner with you to grow your business internationally? FastSpring provides an all-in-one payment platform for SaaS, software, and digital goods businesses, including VAT and sales tax management, payment localization, and consumer support. Set up a demo or try it out for yourself.

Selling Software Internationally With FastSpring

Croatia is a relatively small country with a population of only 4 million people. “We do less than 1% of our business in Croatia, so it’s not really a big market for us,” added TestDome’s head of customer success and sales Igor Novosel. Selling internationally is key to their business model.

The Croatia-based company was started around the time Croatia joined the European Union, but the country also wouldn’t start using the euro until 2023. Mario explained that “having a bank account in Croatia and explaining to someone in the US to send money to Croatia was impossible.” 

Plus, because transactions to purchase TestDome at the time were only a few hundred dollars, that was often too little for international wire transfers.

As Mario also pointed out, TestDome is in the knowledge business, which can be valued differently in different countries. They wanted to be available in as many countries as possible where their product might be highly valued — especially in the US, UK, Australia, and other English-speaking countries.

It was paramount for TestDome to have a partner to help them easily scale across borders and take many kinds of payments from many different places, but there weren’t many options available to them at the time.

“Now, Stripe offers it. Braintree offers it. Paddle offers it. There are 10 local competitors that offer a merchant of record. But 10 years ago, there were like zero! So for us at that time, we were actually quite happy that you existed — it wasn’t about choosing; it was like, ‘Great, at least there’s one!”

And with so many merchant of record options available on the market today, why has TestDome stayed with FastSpring all these years? 

Mario and Igor cite FastSpring’s comprehensive merchant of record model, our commitment to developing our product to keep up with business’s needs, and our outstanding support as reasons why they’re so happy with FastSpring.

TestDome’s Long Standing Partnership With FastSpring

FastSpring seemed like the only option even available to TestDome at one time, but the relationship has proven to be a real partnership that has withstood the test of time — and competitors.

There were only two instances when TestDome was tempted to look at other options besides FastSpring, and in both cases, FastSpring was the clear and easy winner. 

This was bolstered by the excellent service and support FastSpring has provided throughout the years, both to TestDome and to their consumers.

FastSpring Support Goes All the Way to the Top

Igor has been with TestDome for seven years and has been working with FastSpring for most of his tenure there. Much of what he does involves customer support, including handling requests for refunds, customers contacting them because they used the wrong credit card, and similar issues. 

“Working with FastSpring support, these issues have been very easy to solve. Our customers have been quite happy with the service.”

When issues get more complex, such as a customer making a refund request to TestDome while also submitting a chargeback with their card issuer, FastSpring’s support team really steps up. “I’m quite happy with the cooperation and all different kinds of support — not only when a customer needs support, but when we need support,” Igor explained. “We can always count on someone to provide a solution to us.” 

Igor said they haven’t had any major issues using the FastSpring platform. The only non-minor platform issue he could think of in all his time at FastSpring — involving an API change — he was only willing to describe as “non-minor,” not “major,” and it was solved relatively quickly. 

“They’re always there,” Mario added. “There are always things we can suggest to improve, but that’s normal. That’s not something I can ‘complain’ about.” 

In fact, quite the opposite — Mario has personally experienced the commitment FastSpring team members have to helping businesses that use FastSpring

“When we recently had an executive business review meeting with our customer success manager Gareth, your CEO David Nachman was present.” 

Mario said David surprised them with the amount of suggestions and thought he put into their interactions, beyond just information related directly to FastSpring.

“After that call, he sent me an email offering his help and advice, because before FastSpring, he had worked at a company similar to TestDome. We had a whole call where he gave us an extremely valuable piece of advice. The willingness to help and support was not limited to Support — it went all the way up to the CEO.

FastSpring vs. Stripe

When Stripe was first made available in Croatia, TestDome looked into it as an option, out of curiosity. “It’s one of the most popular in Silicon Valley crowd companies,” Mario said.

But Stripe didn’t do everything FastSpring does. 

“Then we would have two or three extra problems. And when you start adding third parties, or Stripe’s own add-ons, or whatever, then it’s not a 2% fee anymore — then it’s more like the FastSpring level fee. 

“And then we’d be switching for no reason, from an integrated solution with one company to a solution split by three different service companies, which just makes things more fragile and more risky for us at the same cost!” 

It didn’t make sense to leave FastSpring just because Stripe was the new hot thing on the market.

Are you looking for a merchant of record that will partner with you to grow your business internationally? FastSpring provides an all-in-one payment platform for SaaS, software, and digital goods businesses, including VAT and sales tax management, payment localization, and consumer support. Set up a demo or try it out for yourself.

A More Modern User Experience Right Here

The other time TestDome considered looking elsewhere for a merchant of record payments platform was when they were looking at their sales motions from a user experience perspective.

Since TestDome has been with FastSpring since their early days, at the time of this UX analysis, they were using the original version of FastSpring, referred to as our Classic platform. While it offers many of the same great features that adopters of our newer version know and love, it didn’t have as many modern updates to compete with the slicker user interface Stripe was then advertising. 

“This started making a problem for us, because people would get confused,” Mario explained. “When they clicked the link to buy, suddenly the URL changed — everything changed. We didn’t follow the color scheme… It was confusing.” 

And because TestDome is a B2B SaaS company, it was even more confusing to sophisticated buyers who expected a smoother experience.

So they reached out to us — and found out that FastSpring was running an unpromoted beta of its new Contextual platform, a same-page pop-up checkout version of FastSpring that came with many additional features, such as a customizable consumer experience, a consumer account management portal, and more. 

“We realized that’s what we needed! We were on board before it was a public product, because your development on the FastSpring side was pretty much aligned with the development of our needs and wants,” Mario said. 

“Basically, every time we’ve wanted to change something, FastSpring was already ready for it.”

FastSpring’s dedication to continually improving and upgrading its products proved to TestDome that we’re a long-term partner to their business.

Are you still using the FastSpring legacy Classic platform (Springboard)? To take advantage of our Contextual platform, its subscription and pricing capabilities, B2B offerings, and advanced reporting tools, just open a ticket with our support team here: https://community.fastspring.com

Read how Walls.io saw their quarter-over-quarter revenue go up 11.87% when they switched to Contextual

A Two-Way Partnership

Besides TestDome using FastSpring, we’ve also utilized TestDome’s app to assist us with hiring for a web development position. For a recent open role, one of our internal hirers actually found TestDome via Google search as a high-quality option for hiring testing — before realizing TestDome is one of the many software businesses that uses FastSpring for their online software sales!

We utilized some of the questions and answers TestDome offers for WordPress development (which we validated — they were great), and we added our own custom questions. We were especially impressed that the coding testing features allow candidates to submit code that’s scored automatically, making the platform easy to use. The notifications and candidate management features were also very user friendly.  

If needed, we hope to use TestDome again in the future for similar candidate proficiency testing.

Staying Ahead of AI’s Influence on Business: “Work Is About to Change”

As TestDome’s business continues to grow, another market change they’re growing with is the influence of AI on the remote testing industry. 

TestDome’s primary service has been pre-employment screening testing that helps hirers find the best candidates for a job. Applicants complete tests online — such as work-sample tests — and can be sorted based on what skills hirers are looking for. 

TestDome even includes features like cheating protection for testing, while allowing the option for online resources to be utilized during the test if that’s something the position calls for in everyday work.

However, with the growing popularity of AI services such as ChatGPT, even complex answers about work-related scenarios could be composed by such services, and a lot of people aren’t yet sure how they feel about that. 

Mario explained that currently, if a candidate is given a test, pastes a question to ChatGPT, and then pastes the answer back, many may feel like this is cheating. Most candidates don’t want to cheat, and they are aware that if they get the job, they will have to use that information which they otherwise don’t know offhand. So candidates usually won’t use a service like ChatGPT during a test.

That said, hirers may still want to ensure candidates produce the knowledge or the solution themselves.

The Short-Term Plan

As part of their short-term plan to stay ahead of this new curve in how knowledge is measured, TestDome is improving their existing testing services and rolling out a new product feature.

To improve their existing testing, they’re evaluating their current question base to understand which questions are more effective and which are less effective, adjusting or removing those less effective options, and highlighting to their users which questions are “safe” to use in relation to ChatGPT and AI services. 

They’re also improving the current proctoring offering that’s already part of the TestDome platform.

Additionally, TestDome is launching a service for live interviewing as part of a skills test, which allows hirers to interact with candidates live via video or chat during the assessment. 

This will allow hirers to proctor the test themselves, with both a live conversation and the testing occurring at the same time.

Mario explains that wanting to further strengthen testing standards now “is just the first reaction we expect from our users, so we’re trying to cover that ground so they have a solution with us, whichever direction they choose as a first step.

“But then there’s a longer step, about understanding how the work will change, and making a proper assessment for that time.” 

The Long-Term Plan

Even though some may consider the use of AI “cheating” right now, working in totally closed environments is not always how work happens, especially as our access to resources continues to expand.

“The moment when these kinds of AI models become part of the development environments we use, such as in Microsoft Office as they recently announced, then it will not be cheating anymore — it will just be a new way of doing things.”

For example, squiggly red lines under misspelled words in Microsoft Word are just standard features of the software product today, all because Microsoft eventually incorporated a dictionary into the app. And that probably doesn’t feel like cheating to most people.

“Work is about to change,” Mario said. “What is changing is the actual work from which we take a sample, to make a test, to select a candidate. We need to change how skills are tested and identify new capabilities candidates need to have to perform well in future roles a few years from now, when AI has been propagated to all our daily tools.”

So besides evaluating their current question base, TestDome is also focused on learning how to create new tests based on what will be important in this new era of work. “Then we can create tests to identify candidates that are capable of doing the work in a new way on a new level.” 

As with all future-looking technology and information, this isn’t always easy. “Unfortunately, this is not something that’s crystal clear,” Mario said. “No one can tell you right now how software developer work will look five years from now. It’s very much a guessing game.” He laughed. “We’re not just trying to guess — we’re trying to first decide how we will guess. We’re one step before guessing.”

But with a strategic plan in place, TestDome is in a good position to continue their pattern of strong growth, even as work — and hiring — continue to evolve.

Partner With FastSpring

FastSpring is proud to have been a key part of TestDome’s success thus far, and we’re excited to see where TestDome takes its business into the future as AI continues changing the nature of work.

If you’re looking for a merchant of record to help you grow your business internationally, we can help. FastSpring provides an all-in-one payment platform for SaaS, software, and digital products businesses, including VAT and sales tax management, payment localization, and consumer support. Set up a demo or try it out for yourself.

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Katie Stephan

Katie Stephan

Katie Stephan is the Senior Content Strategist at FastSpring. Besides her extensive marketing experience, she has an MFA in creative nonfiction writing and has served her local communities as a college writing instructor.

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