Are Consumer Review Sites Valid Measures Of CMS Software Excellence?

October 23, 2020 by Dave Haynes

My industry friend Nurlan Urazbaev – who has been producing the signage and DOOH industry round-up Digital Signage Pulse for many years – flagged something that’s been on my mind in recent months – the merits of review sites for CMS software.

His headline: TechRadar’s List of “Best digital signage software in 2020” looks strange, at best.

The Techradar top five listed:

I have nothing bad to say about any of these CMS software companies or their platforms, but I think it is reasonable to suggest these are not the companies that spring to mind among those people who have years of experience invested directly in this industry.

Nurlen suggests the nature of how review sites work is that a vendor can cook the results via its own submissions – a bit like how restaurants can amp up their diner ratings by writing their own glowing reviews.

I note all this because lately I have seen more and more companies – usually smaller ones with  skimpy or non-existent marketing budgets – noting how high they were ranked on services like Capterra.

The Capterra site has, by comparison, a top five of:

Another review site, called G2, lists its top five as:

The admittedly limited amount of poking around in reviews on Capterra and G2 suggest the end-user review submissions are credible and the people actually know what they are reviewing. I have written in the past about review sites for signage software that bordered on nonsensical, but that does not seem to be the case here.

A sample from CrowdReviews:

What was the best part about using FrontFace for Public Displays?

FrontFace is truly a superb piece of software! i accustomed be longing for Associate in Nursing easy-to-use application that serves my wishes (info / welcome screen in associate extremely public town hall). Most of what I found on the net were subscription-based product where you’ve to pay cash for victimization the code. With FrontFace you get a permanent license that never expires which does not prove any running costs!

I would LOVE to understand and get some on-the-record or quiet and private feedback on how these sites work and whether the reviews are credible. There are some good platforms included in these lists, but many companies who would not be top of mind. 

We are increasingly conditioned to using consumer reviews  to shape decisions on where to eat, what to buy and where to stay, so it is not surprising that there is a market for software reviews. It is NOT how I’d recommend software sourcing, but for a harried SMB manager, it may be the only due diligence he or she has the budget and time to do. My guess the buyer market, and reviewers, skew to smaller solutions that are not looking for STRATACACHE, Scala, Four Winds, Reflect. Appspace, Comqi, Navori, Signagelive or some of the other well-established solutions that get considered for larger and enterprise jobs.

I also wonder if reviews are paid, and how that shapes the veracity of reviews. The absence of top-tier solutions that most “lifers” in signage would know leaves me skeptical.

For the hell of it, I submitted a nonsensical review on Capterra. We’ll see if it goes up.

  1. Ken Goldberg says:

    I think it is fair to say that your headline is a rhetorical question.

    Those sites are 100% appropriate as a resource for people who would use those sites to make a business decision.

  2. Daniel Hargett says:

    Betteridge’s law of headlines is an adage that states: “Any headline that ends in a question mark can be answered by the word no.” Source:

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