G2 Market Research is passionate about helping buyers find the software solutions that can best solve their business problems. The goal is to represent software to buyers based on the way they are sold. Below is a breakdown of what qualifies as a product to be listed on G2 as well as how different types of products are represented with profiles on G2.

Products on G2 are categorized into at least one category based on the functionality of the software or service, i.e., the product’s features, and not based on what it is used for or who uses it. Many products could be used for purposes other than those they were specifically designed for, but that subsequent use does not change the categorization of the product. 

Additionally, there are also some common FAQs at the bottom of the page.

1. Basic product guidelines: What is included and excluded

a. What is included

At the G2 marketplace, the following products qualify to be listed and reviewed:

  • Products that are a B2B software product or service.
  • Products associated with a specific software or services vendor or an open-source project.
b. What is excluded

At G2, we do not represent the following products on the site:

  • Products that are only sold to individual consumers. Those with both a business-to-business (B2B) and business-to-consumer (B2C) component or use case can be included and reviewed on G2, but only for the B2B product and use case.
  • Products that are not yet generally available (for example, those in the Alpha or Beta testing stage).
  • Different tiers or editions of the same product.

2. Types of products

a. Product Suites

Product suites are combinations of products from a single vendor that may offer an advantage to businesses through an expanded range of features and functionality, prebuilt integrations, and simplified vendor relationships.

On G2, these product suites receive their own profile page, with an icon that reads “Product Suite.” Scoring for product suites is an aggregate of the reviews for the individual products included in the product suite, as defined by a G2 analyst.

b. Platforms

Products that have the capability to be used in several different categories can either be treated as a platform on which custom solutions are developed, categorized by its most commonly recognized set of features into a single category, or included in more than one category at G2’s discretion.

c. Add-ons

Add-ons, sometimes known as plug-ins, are products that only work in conjunction with, or for the enhancement of, another specific software product (core product). Add-ons are primarily sold by third-party developers, but software companies may also acquire and sell new technologies as add-on features or upgrades to a core product.

On G2, third-party add-ons are listed as separate products because they are sold by different vendors. Such add-ons will be categorized based only on the functionality of the add-on, and not based on the features of the product it is added onto. The core product retains its own profile on G2 and does not qualify for additional categories solely due to the presence of the add-on.

An add-on that is developed by the same vendor as the core product will not be listed separately on G2. Instead, the functionality of the add-on may be represented by the core product's inclusion in the relevant categories.

d. Discontinued products

A product’s G2 profile will be removed from the site upon confirmation from the vendor that a product is no longer being sold or that a sunset date has been set and there are no new or upsell sales being made. All reviews for invalidated products are removed from G2 along with the product.

G2, in order to ensure that the B2B software and services market is accurately represented, will not remove a product that is currently being sold. G2 cannot omit these products completely, even if requested to do so, nor, under First Amendment principles, prohibit users from posting comments which comply with G2’s terms of use and otherwise comply with applicable law.

3. Services

A services provider is any business offering where there is majority human intervention or involvement in completing projects to support the business.

Making G2 research relevant and easy for people to use as they evaluate and select business service providers is one of G2’s most important goals. In support of that goal, it is a critical part of the research process to organize services firms and agencies in a well-defined structure that makes capturing, evaluating, and displaying reviews and other research orderly.

Each service provider gets one profile on G2, and it is categorized based on all services they provide. The following methodology is used to manage the process of categorizing service providers and the related reviews in the G2 community:

a. Basic provider guidelines

At the G2 marketplace, the following service providers qualify to be listed and reviewed:

  • Service provider must be associated with a specific public or private company (i.e., vendor).
  • The provider should offer services through direct contact with the client’s representative or as a hosted service accessible through an online portal.
  • Depending on the individual service, it may be available in a one-time or ad hoc agreement or part of an extended contract with the terms agreed upon before executing said services.
  • The service provider must be categorized into at least one category or subcategory heading based on the services provided and not based on who uses it.
  • The provider must be selling a full service to clients and/or offering an accompanying online platform, and not simply a for-cost product for clients to install within their organization’s infrastructure or deploy on a cloud (i.e., software).
b. Variety of services

Service providers are listed under the service provider’s name with a single G2 profile that is categorized in as many services categories as the company qualifies for, based on the services it provides. 

Many providers offer a multitude of services and qualify to be included in multiple services categories on G2. We approach their placement in the following ways:

  • If the provider clearly offers a number of services, we will place the provider in as many relevant categories as the provider qualifies for.
  • If a provider offers a service related to but not exactly matching one of our categories, they will be placed in the nearest “Other” category. Many companies are categorized as “Other” services in addition to more well-defined categories. For example, a company may feature consulting on niche Microsoft products as a major component of their business, in addition to consulting on SharePoint. They will then be placed in SharePoint Consulting in addition to Other Microsoft Consulting to properly represent the breadth of their expertise to visitors and reviewers.

4. What is a category?

Categories are the building blocks of G2's taxonomy. In the G2 marketplace, categories are used to classify different types of business software and services. 

A category is a grouping of software products or services that solve a particular business problem and provide similar features.

Components of a G2 category page

Definition: A category’s definition provides a high-level overview of what the software does, who uses it, and its benefits. This section, consisting of a paragraph or paragraphs, appears at the top of the category page. The definition also includes the feature requirements that products must meet to be added to the category. 

Feature requirements: Within the category definition, the feature requirements are a list of features that a product must have to be included in the category. The feature requirements are the bullet points listed toward the end of the definition.

Product list: Products included in a category are listed on the category page. They are sorted by their G2 Score by default but can also be sorted alphabetically, by Satisfaction score, or by popularity. 

Buyer’s guide: A buyer’s guide is a detailed article that describes the software category in greater depth, including common features, users, benefits, potential challenges, and how it’s purchased and implemented.

Category types

Parent categories

Within the G2 taxonomy, there is a category hierarchy. Some categories, known as parent categories, have subcategories underneath them. There are high-level parent categories, such as Sales Software, which has dozens of child categories underneath it. There are also parent categories within those higher-level parent categories, such as Quote Management Software. Finally, there are child categories that contain no subcategories underneath them, such as Pricing Software. 

Parent categories are part of the taxonomy in order to make it easier to understand and navigate, but parent categories do not actually contain any G2 product profiles, and no products can be categorized within a parent category.

Products are placed only within child categories. 

Horizontal and vertical categories

Vertical products are products that are developed for use in a specific industry vertical to execute a unique business process or set of processes, and cannot be used by companies that are not in that industry without significant customization. These products have features that are customized for the vertical industry (such as integrating with other products within that vertical) and are, in other words, unique to the respective industry. G2 distinguishes between vertical and horizontal products to ensure buyers can find products that are most relevant to their needs.

The vast majority of the time, products are categorized in either horizontal categories or vertical categories, but not both. However, at G2’s discretion, horizontal products may be considered for a vertical category if they meet all of the vertical category’s requirements, have significant customization specific to that industry, and have a substantial industry presence. See the FAQ section for specific examples.

"Other" categories

Products that do not qualify for any defined categories on G2 will be listed in a relevant "Other" software category. For example, an HR tool that is not eligible for a defined HR category will be listed in Other HR Software. "Other" categories do not have definitions or feature requirements and are designated only for products that cannot be listed elsewhere on G2. If a product qualifies for a defined software category on G2, it will not be simultaneously listed in an "Other" category.

Roll-up categories

From time to time, it is necessary to create a new category that is effectively the combination of some of the products, features, or both from an identifiable set of other categories. These new composite categories will be clearly defined and will not impact the underlying category structure. Instead, they will operate in addition to the original product categories, not as a replacement for them.

Product suite categories

A product suite category consists of a set of core and supplementary categories. Core categories determine the features that are required for a solution to be listed in the product suite category. Supplementary categories are those that are commonly seen in solutions across competitors and may enhance the overall offering; however, supplementary categories are not necessary to the core functionality of the solution.

The listings in a product suite category will consist of:

  • Product suites, which are a roll-up of multiple product listings. For a solution to be in a product suite category, it must have a product in every core category.
  • Individual product listings, or platforms, that are represented in all core categories
Categorization inquiries

Questions and requests for changes to the categorization of a product can be submitted to G2 and will be evaluated by G2’s market research team. Each product is evaluated based on whether it meets the feature requirements for the requested category or categories. Vendors are encouraged to submit specific evidence of how the product meets the requirements for the desired category. The above categorization methodology will be applied to all inquiries. The review will include a thorough evaluation of any evidence or information provided by the individual or company that submitted the request. Final categorization decisions are made at the discretion of the G2 market research team.

5. Company size product segmentation

In addition to categorization by function, products will also be evaluated for, labeled by, and have the capability to be segmented by the appropriateness for use by company size and broken into three groups. This segmentation does not change the categorization but does provide the capability to display “like” products in a category based on the target company size. The three categories are:

  • Generally appropriate and most often used by small and medium businesses (below $1 billion in total annual revenue)
  • Generally appropriate and most often used by large businesses ($1 billion and higher total annual revenue)
  • Generally appropriate and used across all businesses regardless of company size

Company size categorization is based on this chart:

Small Total number of employees is 50 or fewer
Medium Total number of employees is between 51 and 1000
Enterprise Total number of employees is greater than 1000

From a software buying and use behavior perspective, many departments of enterprise companies can and do perform in many of the same ways as small and medium businesses. Many departments or divisions have the authority to purchase, deploy, and operate their own software based on specific needs and simply roll up data to the corporate systems as needed. Cloud software is making this behavior more prevalent as it removes the need for the division or department to provide and operate its own infrastructure.

6. FAQs

Q: How and when do we create a category? 

A: Software markets are always evolving. Products are added to categories when submitted on G2, when a new category is created, and when a category cleaning occurs (i.e., a review and audit of the products in a specific category). Continuous monitoring of the products in existing categories ensures that our real-time taxonomy is reflective of any emerging and developing market trends that could create new business opportunities or a more accurate representation for software buyers.

When evaluating a new category, G2 evaluates the number of products in the space (6-10 at minimum) in order to ensure that the space is established to some degree. In addition, G2 first looks to see how they can improve existing categories before creating new ones.

Q: What is the difference between software and services?

A: As the number of B2B solutions continues to grow year after year, the distinction between software and services is becoming increasingly complex. The definitions and categorizations will constantly evolve on G2 as we aim to stay current and best represent the thousands of products and providers on our site. In launching the B2B Services offerings on our site, G2 made strides to recategorize service providers on our site that were previously placed in software categories, and create new listings for vendors that offer services in addition to software. 

Additionally, there are a number of service solutions that are supplemented by online or mobile platforms (e.g., On-Demand Staffing). G2 encourages reviewers to assess these providers based on the quality and thoroughness of the service in relation to helping their business, more so than their satisfaction with the corresponding software interface.

Q: How can one distinguish between horizontal and vertical products?

A: G2 distinguishes between vertical and horizontal products to ensure buyers can find products that are most relevant to their needs.

Examples of vertical products:

  • MediaShout
    • Category: Church Presentation
      • Why this is a vertical product: This product is designed exclusively to create, edit, and display presentations during church services. While this product has features that are common with presentation software, it would not be used outside of the church or religious industry, and is marketed to be used solely for church presentations. Therefore, this software belongs in the church presentation vertical category. 
  • Ellucian Banner Finance
    • Category: Education Finance and Accounting
      • Why this is a vertical product: This product is designed to manage financial processes, budgets, and grants at colleges and universities. While this product has much in common with general-purpose budgeting and accounting tools, it would not be used outside the education industry, and thus belongs within the education vertical. 

Examples of horizontal products: 

    • Salesforce CRM
      • Category: CRM
        • Why this is a horizontal product: Salesforce CRM is designed to manage sales processes for a wide variety of businesses. Its base functionality, including tracking leads, managing accounts, and recording customer interactions, can be used by sales professionals in multiple industries. Their website describes customers in several different industries.
    • Xero
      • Category: Accounting
        • Why this is a horizontal product: Xero is built for any business that needs to manage its accounting processes, such as invoicing, expenses, and financial reporting. Companies from any industry can benefit from this software because per its website, it's designed to be used by all small businesses, accountants, and bookkeepers.

Q: Do application programming interfaces (APIs), extensions, and plug-ins get categorized as products on G2?

A: APIs that exist as offerings targeting a B2B use case may qualify as products on G2. For example, G2’s Cloud Communications Platforms category houses API offerings exclusively. Individual APIs with niche use cases are less likely to be approved for listing than those which solve broad business problems. Ultimately, the decision for whether an API is suitable to be listed on G2 is made at the discretion of the G2 market research team. 

Extensions and plug-ins that are sold separately (i.e., have their own SKUs) from the product they work with, as long as they fit a category’s inclusion criteria, are listed on the G2 marketplace.

Q: Can I remove categories from my G2 profile?

A: A product should only be removed from a category when the product does not meet the category’s feature requirements or otherwise is not a good fit. Occasionally, vendors request to remove their products from certain categories even though they appear to meet the requirements for those categories. This can be due to the vendor feeling that they will never be able to compete with bigger vendors in the space (which is not an appropriate rationale for removal), or their product is pivoting to a specific vertical or updating its features (might be an appropriate rationale).

Our stance on the Research team is that we do not remove products from categories if they still meet the feature requirements. Doing so would misrepresent the product’s full capabilities to buyers who use G2 and would also limit the quality of reviews that users can leave. On G2.com, we categorize products in all relevant categories that they meet the requirements for, even if that category does not represent the product’s primary or core use case.

Change log

Future changes and updates to this policy will be made in the body text, and a change note will be included in the notes footer.

5/13/16 – Added definition for all-in-one products.

10/5/20 - Modified the definition for Pre-Integrated Product Suites to reflect two different product types: Product Suites and Bundled Suites.

1/26/23 - Modified the definition for Add-ons, and added definition for "Other" categories.