From my experience, testing (whether alpha or beta) is a good vehicle for companies like Adobe to harness the experience and insights of many interested people using all kinds of different system configurations, and with many points of view about what is optimal for various functions of the software. It helps them to insure to the extent practical that they have "covered the bases" in the context of their objectives for the release at hand and discovered issues (not necessarily, but not excluding, bugs) which they may have missed internally. My sense is that the externally-oriented testing programs are very costly for them. Setting up and administering a serious testing program - and Adobe's are serious - is a major, resource-intensive undertaking; but it's part of the cost of doing business. From the perspective of the testers - it's daunting. In thinking over my experience with it, it's best to have a duplicate Operating System which you don't mind crashing or impairing because nothing important would be at risk or unserviceable for an unacceptable period of time. It's also important to be able to devote quite a bit of time to it, becauser apart from the time a single tester would consume actually testing the application, to make one's own input effective much time is needed reading the testers' forums to understand what others are finding and saying. The remuneration/advantages a tester gets is normally pretty small potatoes compared with the time and effort devoted to it, so one gets into this stuff (time permitting) and does it as a matter of personal interest, a desire to help the company improve the software for everyones' benefit and as a learning experience.