In 2011, after several years of writing reviews of social technology software platforms on Social Media Explorer, a business partner once suggested we should build a software review site and become the third-party, unbiased source for social technology reviews. Due to lack of bandwidth and capital, the idea was tabled for other short-term profit plays and it never happened.
Thank goodness someone else had the bandwidth and funding to make it so, though. That type of site would be incredibly useful. And it’s now upon us.
G2Crowd.com is just what we’d envisioned, but with a broader scope. With categories that include accounting software, IT infrastructure, storage management and more, it is the self-proclaimed, “Yelp for business software.”
And it’s pretty damn useful.
The company evolved from its founders realizing that most industry analyst reports were written by … yeah … industry analysts. They didn’t actually use the softwares the were comparing and writing about. But no one really could and be an analyst. They need to be ideal people using the software for the intended purpose — they need to be users.
So the idea is to collect real user reviews in a reliable and trustworthy way (you have to verify your account via LinkedIn before reviewing) and score the reviews in a manner that can be easily quantified for consumption — even visually.
G2 Crowd takes any software with 10 or more reviews in a given category and plots it on a G2 Crowd Grid where the horizontal axis is customer satisfaction score-based and the vertical axis is a “market presence” score that includes factors like size of the company, public or not, funding levels, etc. You can easily look at a grid and say, “I want a focused social media monitoring platform that is known to be reliable.” The G2Crowd Grid for social media monitoring shows you that Brandwatch and Crimson Hexagon are worth looking at. Meltwater and Sysomos don’t have great satisfaction scores.
Certainly, there’s still price to contend with, but when you’re looking for business software solutions, you need to know what will do the job first. I’d love it if they factored price into the grid, but that would make it perhaps cluttered with information. Still, a second view with price as an axis might be helpful.
Nonetheless, G2 Crowd makes it easy for you to begin with a problem solvable by software and get pointed in the right direction on where to find a solution. The reviews come from actual users and are trustworthy — at least enough to satisfy those simply looking for intelligent feedback.
And of course, the site become even more useful if you also get in and review the softwares you’ve used. I intend to add to my list of contributions, but have made a few here.
How It Makes Money
G2Crowd certainly needs to watch that fine line between being an unbiased resource and making money from the brands and platforms it features. Their current business model is sound, in my opinion. The brands can pay to access premium features on their review pages like Request a Demo buttons and even product videos. But they never get to edit the reviews or interfere with the unbiased nature of the user-generated content.
These companies also can license the G2 Crowd software to have the review functionality power their own review areas of their website.
The company also aggregates their own review data periodically and issues reports — much like those you’d find from Forrester or Gartner, but at a lesser cost and with more user-generated insights — that sell for around $599. When you’re looking for the right software, a good, third-party report is worth that investment, especially when you get into the enterprise software purchases.
With an audience of 140,000 monthly unique visitors and over 22,000 review in-hand, the argument for the reliability of the data and the reason software companies should get involved with G2 Crowd is there.
Check it out yourself, leave a review for the email marketing or social media software you use. And share your thoughts of the site and its usefulness in the comments.