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And yet a bunch of them chose MongoDB (over something else, not just over RethinkDB.) Was there some point in time when it was the best option for a lot of people?

They were a fairly early entry into modern document databases. They offer sharding/mirroring, and have a really simple, relatively nice interface. In the end, they're a good (enough) fit for a lot of use cases. While RethinkDB imho is absolutely better, market share entropy counts for a lot. ElasticSearch is a similar product in the end, with lower consistency guarantees, that is another good fit for a lot of use cases. Cassandra (C*) is also a good fit for similar use cases, though more difficult to work with, it's also more tune-able to specific needs.

It really depends on what you need... Every non-sql database tends to sacrifice something for some performance gain... RethinkDB is as close as I've seen to one without sacrifice.

Yes, there was a point it was clearly the best option. Qualitative it was easy to understand. The mongo Cli looked exactly like MySQL. And it's single node performance was decent.

CouchDB was super slow. Cassandra was amazing but a bit confusing. MongoDB made sense and worked.

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