Do you ever think back about difficult decisions that you had to make in the distant past—work or personal—and wish you could whisper to your past self some words of comfort that you were making the right decision? That’s the feeling that I have now when I think back a decade to when we were considering the idea of allowing users to post online reviews of their business software on Capterra.
While it didn’t seem like it at the time, it has turned into one of the obvious no-brainers in Capterra’s nearly 20-year history. So much so that it seems hard to imagine how we got through our first eight years without user reviews as an integral part of Capterra.
Of course, 1999-2006 was a completely different time. There obviously were online reviews back then (thank you to sites like Amazon for leading the way), but most of them were for fairly straightforward products and services, like books, restaurants, and hotels. But for complex, business-to-business products? Online reviews weren’t as obvious.
As the Internet became more social, the voice of the customer became both more available and important to all purchase decisions. And while we ran the risk of alienating all the software vendors we work with, as they had to stand by and watch occasional negative reviews of their products get posted on Capterra, the principle by which we answered the question was the same principle that has always served our business well. And that is: if it is good for our users—the business software buyers—then it was generally good for us.
In any type of marketplace that connects those looking to buy a good/service (buyers) with those looking to sell a good/service (vendors), it is those looking to buy who are the primary source of the value. Serve buyers well, do right by your end-users, and you will attract them in droves. And that is what the vendors pay you to do. Of course, this does not mean you neglect the vendors. It’s not possible. This is why we go the extra mile to verify the reviewers are actual users. This is why we let vendors respond to reviews so the buyer can see their side of the story. And the buyers actually get additional insight out of it: they get to see how a vendor responds to unhappy customers!
So, ten years after deciding to become the first website to launch business software reviews, and nine years after receiving our first review, we have just landed our 200,000th business software review. And we hope you think that is as exciting as we do! And don’t worry. We are not resting on our laurels. It took us a decade to get to 200,000, but we have learned a lot in that decade. And we aspire to use what we’ve learned to get to 1,000,000 reviews in less than half that time!
If you are one of the thousands of people who reviewed your business software on Capterra, thank you! And if you are a software vendor and you have received a negative review, responded politely to the reviewer, and not complained too loudly, we love you.