This mom gets paid to review websites

We could all benefit from listening to our mothers more and, apparently, so could the Internet.

That's the idea behind a new user-experience (UX) critiquing service, which gets a real-life mom to review websites. The company then publishes a screencast of the mom using the website and delivers a report complete with some "some motherly UX advice. "

"Dear internet: My mom is tired of your sh**," the company's website reads. "She can't understand your website and it isn't her fault."


Courtesy theuserismymom.com

The User is My Mom charges $75 per site review. It splits the proceeds with 65-year-old Pam – chief website tester and mother of entrepreneur and developer, Scotty Allen.

"In many ways, my mom is a great user to have. She spends plenty of money online, and is a natural born evangelist for things she likes, and an active anti-evangelist for things she doesn't," Allen told CNBC via email.

Impact the bottom line?

There is a huge number of Internet-users just like her that websites need to cater to, he explained: "People with good computer fundamentals, but who lack the necessary context to figure out confusing user interfaces or poorly explained services."

And he's not the only person to recognise the importance of usability.

Lins Karnes, managing director and executive producer of digital production agency B-Reel London, has worked with the likes of Google, Facebook, Spotify and H&M. He said that companies often fail to rigorously test user experience.

"People should never underestimate how this can impact their business," Karnes told CNBC, adding that a poorly-designed website could ultimately impact a firm's bottom line.

Services like The User is My Mom, "accentuate the need to think about websites and interfaces as intuitive," he said.

‘Drunk people have interesting insights’

The User is My Mom's Allen and co-developer Richard Littauer help Pam with reviews, making themselves available for questions along the way.

They convinced Pam to take part following the success of sister project, The User is Drunk, which sees Littauer get tipsy and review sites for a fee.

But Littauer insists it's no joke.

"Drunk people have interesting insights. First off, they're brutal - they don't care about your website, they care about getting what they want," he told CNBC.

"Secondly, they are less likely to put effort into figuring something out, and less likely to figure things out in general."

The User is Drunk was so successful that Littauer had to up the price from $50, to $250, and eventually to $500, in order to slow demand.

Since launching in March, Littauer has reviewed over 40 websites for companies like Gizmodo, vacation rental service HomeAway, and educational game portal Mathbreakers. He said some had paid top price, but wouldn't give further details.

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The service's popularity was what led Pam to get involved.

"I told her Richard was tired of getting drunk for money. And I told her I'd split the money with her," Allen wrote on the website.

The tongue-in-cheek overview also warns: "She may miss some things. She will probably get distracted...She may review Facebook, Twitter or the Internet at large by accident while reviewing your website - we're sorry."

But there are some restrictions -- porn sites need not apply, and Allen writes that he will refund the money if he's too embarrassed to show Pam the client's content.

Pam is currently the sole mom reviewer on offer, but Allen said he's already looking through 25 additional applications.

"Most people are really enthusiastic about recommending their moms. We've clearly hit on something that strikes a chord - technology is still really frustrating to use, particularly if you lack a lot of the context that people that grew up with it have," he added.

But applicant's shouldn't expect a full time job. Pam is still tutoring high school students on the side, and spends free time hiking and quilting.