Jorge Zhang

Personal website

Earn $100/month with Capterra. Can someone explain this to me?

March 21, 2019

Ok, yes, clickbait-y title. And something I would normally never post: something reminiscent of a pyramid scheme. That being said, I’ve recently discovered this site called Capterra, and I absolutely need to know how in the world they remain profitable. It was incredibly easy for me to make money with them. I personally have made $30 so far with very little effort: likely less than 15-30 minutes overall. Am I being scammed somehow? I don’t think so, as I’ve been fairly careful with providing any financial information. Instead, they send me prepaid Visa gift cards through email. I tested out one of the $10 Visa gift cards that they sent me, and it checked out.

This is what it looks like

Here’s the deal. Capterra is the Yelp of software companies. By choosing one of the brands you see on that page, you can write a review of that service. They are generally very common and you have likely used many of them before: the ones I have reviewed so far are WordPress, Trello, and Blender. By clicking on that link, it brings you to this page:

In this example, I am reviewing Slack

Next up, you have to rate the app:


Afterwards, you have to write the review:

I write genuine and funny reviews (in my humble opinion)

Oh yeah, and you have to prove that you are human:

Maybe I’m not human, because I was having some difficulty with this.

And that is it! Each review took me 10 minutes or less, and I actually had fun writing some of these reviews. I do it for this blog anyway, and I do that for free.

Anyway, I did not get any money, which I wasn’t surprised by at all. Until I got an email:


Which asked me to choose one of 4 options:

I normally wouldn’t post so many screenshots, but I don’t think you would believe me if I did not. Anyway, you can choose the amount to put on the card through this store.

Then, it asked me to send this to my email a second time.

So you put in your email address

Uhhh, I didn’t think there were this many steps. We’re almost there though.

You now go into your email again to get it.

I was a bit uncomfortable giving away this data, but I guess I risked it for the biscuit.

You need to fill this out unfortunately

You have two options to choose from. I personally chose a virtual visa card as I planned to use it for online purchases anyway.

You can choose from these options.


And… Done! The credit card works!

So, here is what I don’t understand. I don’t see how Capterra doesn’t go bankrupt due to paying all of the people who write reviews. Yelp certainly doesn’t pay people to write reviews. So, is this any different?

With anything that is too good to be true, I dug into it a bit deeper. I’m honestly still not sure. But from what I have gathered, the theory is that software companies pay Capterra similarly to how restaurants pay Yelp to be on the service. By being on the Capterra service, these software companies can get reviews, which they use for their sites or whatever.

That still doesn’t explain everything for me, so I looked into what other people online have been saying, and some of the theories hold some water. I read one person who claimed that because Capterra manually approves every review, they only approve highly positive reviews in order to appease their customers (the software companies). I don’t know if this is true, but if it is it would make sense. The reason why is because all of my reviews so far have been overwhelmingly positive. That is a far cry from proof, but other people have reported having problems with getting approved when they wrote overly negative comments.

Some of my previous review titles give you an idea of the kind of reviews I write

Anyway, I’ve vetted Capterra and it seems pretty legitimate like you can get paid pretty easily. If you want to earn some quick cash, I would highly recommend checking it out. If you do, consider using my referral link as that will allow us both to get $5:

Don’t feel obligated to, because while that is a nice bonus that is not the reason I have posted this. My real question is, how can this business model be sustainable? Do you have any experience using this or a similar service and making money from writing software reviews? Please let me know your theories in the comments below. As always, thanks for reading!

© 2020 Jorge Zhang