Hostgator.com support going down hill?

A few days ago, I forget which post it was but I was giving praise to Hostgator.com in regards to their support. After all I have used hostgator.com, godaddy.com, and a few of the Endurance International Group sites (EIG) and honestly hostgator.com is the better of the hosts mentioned. I do design for a living, and while my rates are not cheap my customers can be. They sometimes think that the hosting should be dirt cheap, as they have no idea what is going on beyond the curtain.

Hosts like Hostgator.com are the equivalent of Panda Express.  

Many customers I have that want cheap hosts like hostgator.com have a mind frame like my nephew.  When he was 12 he refused to eat French fries at my place as he was afraid they were made from some kind of vegetable (Keep in mind I am a strict vegan), soon he got a lesson from his non-vegan grandmother what they were made of. This year he turns 20 and he thinks places like Panda Express offer custom made food. For those that are unfamiliar with what Panda Express is, they claim to sell Chinese food (ok I am no fan). You grab a tray point out what is under a hot lamp and they dish it out to you, not cooked to order in what amounts to a school lunch line.  Personally never been a fan of Chinese restaurant chains and prefer locally own places. If you are ever in the Phoenix Arizona area I recommend a place called Uncle Lee’s and sons.  Granted only been there once but they really know how to cook tofu.

With anything that is cheap you can’t expect perfection. One of my colleagues had an issue dealing with one of their online techs. Well not just one issue but several. This time around hostgator.com went two days without responding to a ticket.

Do you think this personally bothers me that hostgator.com took 2 days to deal with a ticket?

In short no, I actually expect worse.  Apply the whole cheap hosting against the car industry and you will get a glimpse into my thinking on the hosting industry.  Companies like hostgator.com want you to think that they offering you a Ferrari, when truth of the matter is they are offering you a Pinto, Gremlin, maybe even a 1970’s VW beetle.   Don’t get me wrong these are cars that will get you where you want to go (provided they are taken care of), and often they may be the most practical solution given a person’s means. But that does not mean you are going to win any races against a Ferrari. Even if hostgator.com was not to do this, the others would for sure.  After all people generally gravitate to where the biggest perceived deal is.  Hostgator.com has no problem pushing people to buy on such deception especially under the guise of getting your hosting for $0.01.

Overkill verification with hostgator.com

The below is a chat session with hostgator.com to be clear I am not the one named AngryMonkey. Generally I try to remain calm even if things are really slow on the host’s end. The reason being I have clauses in my design contracts that stipulate that I get paid for any time that goes beyond the contract when caused by a third party that was selected by the customer.  Third party in this case is hostgator.com.  Most of my overage fees are with Endurance International Group hosts. The below chat is not something I recommend both for customer or hostgator.com.

(7:12 am) [System] Customer has entered chat and is waiting for an agent.
(7:13 am) [Cody B.] Welcome to HostGator Live Chat. My name is Cody. I’m happy to assist you today.
(7:13 am) [Cody B.] Hey there AngryMonkey, can I have the ticket ID this is regarding please?
(7:13 am) [AngryMonkey]:  *REMOVED*
(7:13 am) [Cody B.] Thanks 🙂
(7:13 am) [AngryMonkey]: Does HostGator still own SEOHOSTING.COM or is it out of business?
(7:14 am) [Cody B.] I assure you nothing has changed about SEOHOSTING.COM.
(7:14 am) [Cody B.] For security purposes, I will need you to verify your identity by providing the PayPal transaction ID of your most recent payment, or the last 4 digits of the credit card on file for the account, depending on your payment method. I apologize for any inconvenience this may cause. 
(7:14 am) [AngryMonkey]: Unbelievable. One minute. I will log into the account.
(7:14 am) [Cody B.] I do apologize.
(7:15 am) [AngryMonkey]: *REMOVED*is the last transaction ID
(7:16 am) [Cody B.] I’m sorry, it would be PayPal transaction IDs only. I can accept the last 4 of your credit card on file, or the 4 to 8 digit number known as the security PIN number on the account.
(7:16 am) [AngryMonkey]: Jesus Christ. I’m logged into the account, I have given you a ticket number, and I’m complaining with regard to a ticket that has NO response in 2 days. Just a minute. I will log into my PayPal account now.
(7:17 am) [Cody B.] I can send you an email at your gmail account and have you reply if that’s easier.
(7:19 am) [AngryMonkey]: What would be easier if you  just updated the ticket. But go ahead and send me an email and I will jump through your hoops.
(7:20 am) [Cody B.] It is sent, if you could please reply back to me via email I will have you fully verified. I do appreciate your patience.
(7:20 am) [AngryMonkey]: This email is to confirm that the owner of this email, and the related HostGator account, is in Live Chat with a HostGator agent named Cody. You are requesting personal information about the HostGator account. Please reply to this email confirming that you are the owner and that you are currently speaking to this person via chat. 

Best Regards, 

Cody B. 
Phone / Chat Support Technician 
HostGator.com LLC 
http://support.hostgator.com
(7:20 am) [AngryMonkey]: Happy?
(7:20 am) [Cody B.] Can you please send me a reply via email?
(7:21 am) [AngryMonkey]: I just replied via the ticket
(7:21 am) [AngryMonkey]: Now, do you want to tell me what’s going on? I have other HG accounts, but not purchased via SEOHOSTING.COM — and I am already regretting my decision.
(7:22 am) [AngryMonkey]: I understand you need to verify my ID, but that has NOTHING to do with getting adequate response to a ticket.
(7:23 am) [Cody B.] I just need to fully verify your ID so I can give the ticket to my supervisor and have someone take care of it right now.
(7:23 am) [Cody B.] I’m just trying to help but in order to put in the request I need full verification, I’m not seeing a reply to the ticket at this time. I know it seems kind of silly and I do apologize.
(7:24 am) [AngryMonkey]: Well, congrats. You’ve covered your ass. But if you just looked at the ticket, you would see it has nothing to do with security or access and everything to do with getting a response.  It’s absurd. Seriously, when a customer is inconvenienced due to a lack of support and/or response, to inconvenience that person further is just absurd.
(7:24 am) [AngryMonkey]: Is there anything else you need from me at this time?
(7:25 am) [Cody B.] I need you to send me a reply to the ticket please.
(7:27 am) [AngryMonkey]: Sent.
(7:28 am) [Cody B.] Thank you so much. I have you fully verified. I’m going to get with my supervisor and get this ticket taken care of for you right now.
(7:29 am) [AngryMonkey]: Great. Wonderful.
(7:32 am) [AngryMonkey]: Anything else I need to do at this time?>
(7:33 am) [Cody B.] If you could just remain in chat for a moment just in case there’s anything the migrations team needs from you that I may be missing. 
(7:35 am) [AngryMonkey]: Cody, I’ve been waiting TWO days. I’ve jumped through your employer’s silly hoops. IF you and HG haven’t figured out by now that making a client wait for support is a bad idea, then I’m out of here. If I don’t get a response to the ticket within 12 hours, I will simply cancel. I’m not waiting any longer. Sorry. I do apologize. I know you don’t make the policies, but no… I’m not going to wait any longer. I’ve been on chat for 23 minutes.
(7:35 am) [System] Chat closed by customer request.

Don’t get me wrong there is a point and time to be secure and ask for things that identify a customer as who they are. But I think a big identifier is when a customer points to a hostgator.com ticket that has not been dealt with for 2 days.  Frankly security is the last thing hostgator.com  should worry about here, as who is going to know that ticket has not been dealt with for 2 days aside for Hosgator.com? Seriously the hostgator.com tech spent too much time trying to verify who a customer was rather than looking to see that a ticket was dealt with.

But that is beside the point; we are talking about cheap unlimited hosting offered by hostgator.com. Customers are not individuals in this market they are numbers.  What can you expect from a company that charges as low as $3.96 a month?

Since my friend has had other issues with Hostgator.com he has noticed a few other problems with chat. First is it seemed the line on support was getting longer. But a change happen this month where instead of showing a place , a time with a really long decimal point was coming up. Personally not a bad touch if only they would change it to two decimal point. But here the second problem and it’s a real kicker they answer the chat and find some reason to “look at the issue” to take another 15 – 20 minutes.

Hostgator.com chat Before

Hostgator.com chat After

Normally I try to refrain from profanity being posted on this site. By my friend (aka AngryMonkey) had this to say about Hostgator.com:

Comment retracted at author’s request

I don’t quite see the same thing, but perhaps a clue to the server’s problem may be that servers should not be in a swamp. Look down mister hostgator.com, look down.

Webhostingstuff.com – A Hostgator.com Affiliate

This is an open letter to Hostgator.com in regards to their affiliate webhostingstuff.com.

According to your Affiliate Terms of Service:

http://www.hostgator.com/tos/affiliate-tos.php

HostGator expressly requires you to disclose that there is a “material connection” between you and HostGator any time you offer an endorsement or testimonial on our services, in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission guidance as outlined here. Such disclosure should be clear and prominent, meaning close to the endorsement or testimonial.

In short they must disclose that they get paid for every referral.  Through my screen shots you can clearly see there is no disclosure.

Webhostingstuff.com does not disclose on any page that links to Hostgator.com that they get paid for their endorsement of your site.  For which they put your company on the number 1 positions for Top Best Hosting and Hot Deal list.

Instead they have what is called WHSRank, where supposedly they base ranking off of customer feed back.  Regardless of this there are two hosts with more positive reviews then your company.  After years of reviewing their site I can tell you that they do not base any ratings off of WHSRank, but off of what they are panning off as PPC, which really is bidding on positions.  In Hostgator.com’s case they signed up as one of your affiliates.

I have suspected for a while now that webhostingstuff was an affiliate of Hostgator.com. That Hostgator.com may not be involved in the ruse called PPC (pay per click) which is no where evident on Webhostingstuff.com’s site or other sites.

http://hosting-reviews-exposed.com/?p=1015

All it took to find out if they were a Hostgator.com affiliate was a simple cleaning out my cookies going to webhostingstuff.com and clicking on the HostGator.com  link and ta da, sure enough a Hostgator.com affiliate cookie shows up in my cookie folder.

But in short here is what I did to look at the cookie:

Firefox seems the best way to watch cookies.

  1. Go to options
  2. Click on Options
  3. Select Use custom settings for History
  4. Show Cookies

From there you get a window to watch cookies as they come in.  You can also clean out all cookies from here for Firefox.

What I did next was go to webhostingstuff.com, clicked on the hostgator.com link.  Where for some bizarre reason I have to select from three sets of characters which one has an actual word. After sending me to Hostgator.com I find an affiliate Cookie for Hostgator.com.

No surprise that Webhostingstuff.com has Hostgator.com at the top of both Top Best Hosting and Hot Deal lists.  After all that $50 – 125 per sign up is hard thing to resist.

In short I am asking that you have webhostingstuff.com put up a disclosure or that you remove their affiliate access.

Regards,

Benjamin of Hosting-Reviews-Exposed.com

Hostgator.com and FTC Compliance

A few months ago Endurance International Group announced FTC compliance; it appears that Hostgator.com has also done the same. In the middle of last month I had wrote a post and emailed Hostgator.com in regards to their upcoming black Friday promotion.

I challenged them to take on the spam which had gotten pretty bad as I was getting it in emails, YouTube comments, and blog comments. While I don’t approved of the method which they choose to deal with it, I can say I only got one comment spam for Black Friday.

A simple challenge to Hostgator.com

http://hosting-reviews-exposed.com/?p=2743

My other challenge was for them to do the same FTC compliance that EIG was doing with their affiliates.

My mistake in writing to back to them was I had just woke up when I had gotten the email early in the morning. I missed the part where they stated that they had sent out FTC compliance emails to their affiliates. I was told after my last response I could personally contact one of their staff if I had any additional questions. Which I waited till after Thanks Giving, Black Friday, and Cyber Monday, to ask for the FTC compliance email (last Tuesday to be exact). I realize the next part I could have found on my own by reviewing their terms of service, but I wanted an email that stated in short that if you do a review and get paid you had disclose that fact.  Right now there is someone that I had always thought that was making money as a Hostgator.com affiliate, turns out I was right. I should have looked at the cookies, pretty simple clear my browsers cookies out and then go to the site to see if any affiliate links come up. Sure enough this process showed an affiliate cookie, and not just for Hostgator.com. Tomorrow I will revel which review site it is, and if you read my blog it should not be to figure out who it is.

Part of the reason I am sending this post out as a email is in hopes of getting other people to email Hostgator.com once I expose the review site for not following FTC guidelines. While Hostgator.com can ignore me, it’s a little harder for them to ignore other people.  I plan to have the post up tomorrow.

A brief examine of their affiliate terms of service revels that reviews for profit must be disclose.

Hostgator.com’s terms validates the FTC requirement

http://www.hostgator.com/tos/affiliate-tos.php

5. Responsibility for Your Site.

HostGator expressly requires you to disclose that there is a “material connection” between you and HostGator any time you offer an endorsement or testimonial on our services, in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission guidance as outlined here. Such disclosure should be clear and prominent, meaning close to the endorsement or testimonial.

http://business.ftc.gov/sites/default/files/pdf/bus71-ftcs-revised-endorsement-guideswhat-people-are-asking.pdf

Stay tuned for updates in regards to the review site I plan to expose that is not FTC compliant with Hostgator.

Hostgator.com – Black Friday Spam

The week after Thanksgiving I found tons of spam in relation to hostgator and Black Friday.   It was everywhere email, this blog, my personal twitter account and my YouTube videos.  I suppose its not all Hostgators fault.  They did say not to spam forums and email.  Though I did get spam by email, and so far my forum seems to have been ignored.  Yet they offer a super cheap package which is hard to resist when you don’t understand the ramifications of overselling.  After all a three year unlimited account for roughly $36 a year, and yet still get $50 – $125 per sale.  Even some one as bad as marketing as myself should be able to manage a few sales with that kind of a deal.

The pre-Black Friday Hostgator Promotion

Be ready to see a huge amount of activity and unbelievable sales numbers that will only come around once a year!

Here’s what we want you to do:

Post about the promotion on your blog
Post on Twitter and Facebook
Post about it on forums (follow all forum rules and don’t spam)
Tell your E-mail lists (Again, no Spam!)
Refer friends and family
Push all of your hosting related traffic to HostGator and EARN BIG!
Tell everyone you know!

Which leads to hostgator spam

Spamming a blog is ok, because Hostgator did not say you couldn’t right?

I suppose hostgator can use the argument that their terms of service and their mail outs stated not to send spam via email and forums.  But this line motivates people to get a high payout “Any commissions earned during our Black Friday special will receive a FULL commission!“.  Top that off with Shared hosting” $4.95/month AS LOW AS $0.99/month.  How hard is it to resist doing spam for an offering that is super cheap when there is a chance for a big pay out. It may be questionable if Hostgator intended for there to be spam, but its clear what happen.

Webhostingstuff.com Top 25 Best Hosts for June 2010

I am starting to wonder when it is that web hosting stuff changes their rankings. It seems that it was the middle of this month.

These are the hosts that were on May 2010 top 25 list but not June 2010 list:

12 Greenville Host

14 Identity Website Hosting

17 Green Geeks

24 Netmar

25 ThePrimeHost

While they may be off the list, that does not mean I stop my review of their sites. I am still going by the order of May 2010.

Here is how the lists reads now

1 iPage

2 Just Host

3 FatCow Web Hosting

4 Arvixe Web Solutions

5 HostGator

6 InMotion Hosting

7 3Essentials Hosting was 11

8 MochaHost was 7

9 Interactive Online

10 Omnis Network was 13

11 ServersAndDomains new

12 nativespace was 8

13 Site5.com was 15

14 2GB Hosting was 16

15 Cloud.bg was 18

16 iWeb Technologies Inc. was 19

17 IoxHost was 10

18 Indichosts.net was 20

19 Scala Hosting was 21

20 Steadfast Networks was 22

21 LFC Hosting was 23

22 WebInternetHosting new

23 Plexihost Affordable Web .. new

24 Fire Dragon Hosting new

25 i7net inc. new

As you can see 5 new companies, one of which I covered earlier was i7net.net. A company that webhostingstuff.com’s own site says has no reviews and 72% uptime. Which is what caught my attention as I was looking over their list. The site has a lower rating then hosting-reviews-exposed.com Alexa rating. The domain was also registered March 2009.

My current problem is I don’t have access to webhostingstuff’s site because they seem to block you after so many visits to their site. So I can’t see where these sites rank in webhostingstuff.com’s in popularity. I was able to see that i7net.net was “unknown”, yet some how a top 25 webhost. I tend to believe that i7net.net is my hostdawgs.com. This will be a site to keep an eye on. I only have 21 hosts to go til I review it again and this time I go to the site directly.

HostGator = Bad Web Host? Read Honest HostGator Review

We now come to Hostgator number 5 on the top 25 and #5 of 10,293. with webhostingstuff.com. The only host whose top 25 ranking matches its popularity ranking. Also the only company with a single digit ranking in traffic popularity on webhostingstuff.com. It does not seem in the last 2 years that hostgator, while their claims of growing popularity have not been able to get past number 5 in rankings.   You would think they could at least beat Arvand.  Perhaps hostgator paid in advance for their “advertising” on webhostingstuff.com for that 5th spot. I would suggest contacting webhostingstuff.com to get a push up on those rankings, perhaps hostgator can get in a bidding war with iPage for that number 1 spot …… sorry I meant advertising Webhostingstuff.com does not “sell” rankings *eye roll*. Did I forget to mention the mysterious disappearing negative fee back.

Clearly Hostgator has no problem with listing awards from websites that are nothing more then elaborate or not so elaborate affiliates.

http://www.hostgator.com/reviews.shtml

There are only a few of those that offer an award that don’t have an affiliate link, or better yet a coupon. Plus webhostingstuff.com is on the list.

Though one of the affiliates……….. I mean award sites does not have all good reviews:

http://www.reviewshut.com/web-hosting/hostgator.html

I am not sure the point of these “awards” when most of the sites don’t have any visible advertising, other then coupons and affiliate links. Clearly they have to pay for their hosting some how, nor is anyone going to write tons of content for nothing. After all are you going to bad mouth an organization that will pay you $50 – $125 per sign up, or are you going to sing their praises. This is nothing more the a list of reviews for profit, not an unbiased set up like Consumer Reports.

Hostgator Affiliate Program(s)

So far I see that Hostgator.com has two commission programs. One at Commission Junction and their own.

Through Commission Junction you get a flat $100 fee per sign up

At Hostgator.com directly

1-5 a month $50 per sign up
6-10 a month $75 per sign up
11-20 a month $100 per sign up
21+ a month $125 per sign up

It appears unlike other companies I have reviewed this is on any term Monthly – higher terms.

Depending on your marketing skill if your not that great your better off with Commission Junction, if your really good your better off with Hostgator.com.

But the big payouts are reason why they are growing so fast is just like the other 4 hosts I reviewed they have a large payout that encourages their affiliates to flood the search engines with tons of crap. You can see this when you do a search on “host gator sucks”, real complaints are hidden in between the “I have your coupon” sites and other affiliates.

Hostgartor.com likes to brag about numbers, which I imagine impresses people to believe they are a legit operation. Which is why I got so many comments on my video from people who need an lesson on ethics, that having the money does not mean you need to cheat. Their large numbers are based on a high payout. What I would love to know is the amount of cancellations versus the amount of new orders. The amount of refunds. How about operating costs? Numbers that I don’t see. Their company may be growing, but they are going to suffer loses. Another number I would like to see is the number of affiliate payouts. What they are paying Commission Junction, after all the affiliate gets $100 per sign up, and commission junction is not a free operation.

Then there is this link http://www.googlelady.com/1281/exhostgator-employee/

I am not sure how valid the information is, but there are several points that ring true such as the affiliate program. But anyone can look that up. Its not like the person she is supposedly interviewing is not disgruntle or for that matter real. But having worked at Wal-Mart during my college years I know how those benefits that drew me in were not immediately available and had tons of catches. Two examples were their health insurance and college tuition programs. They claimed I had to be a full time employee (did not matter I was working 40 hours a week for 18 months). But on the flip side I have been with good employers that had dirt threw at them that were lies, such as one company I only had to wait 30 days for my health insurance to kick in. But I have to wonder if hostgators employee pages http://www.hostgator.com/benefits.shtml is nothing more then veneer. After all they have make sacrifices some where to make sure that their affiliates that drive those big numbers and drown out the negative feedback.

Unlimited Hostgator.com plan, you must use this much space in order to apply

http://blog.hostgator.com/2008/10/20/all-you-can-eat-hosting/

I am not sure how many customers read the cartoon and saw the irony in Hostgator talking about the wonders of overselling and unlimited space. But you have a heavy set man at a all you can eat buffet next to what is mock “you must be this tall” roll coaster ride sign, indicating you must be this thin to enter.  Subliminal truth?

The Hostgator.com Traceroute

Tracing route to hostgator.com [67.18.54.28]…

hop rtt rtt rtt ip address fully qualified domain name
1 1 1 1 70.84.211.97 61.d3.5446.static.theplanet.com
2 90 1 1 70.87.254.5 po101.dsr02.dllstx5.theplanet.com
3 0 0 0 70.85.127.109 po52.dsr02.dllstx3.theplanet.com
4 9 1 1 70.87.253.122 te1-3.dsr02.dllstx2.theplanet.com
5 1 0 0 70.87.254.94 te1-2.car09.dllstx2.theplanet.com
6 1 1 0 67.18.54.28 gator.hostgator.com

Even though Hostgator has their own building, it does not appear they have their own server center, and they to like the first three companies I reviewed that are also using theplanet.com.

My finale thoughts on rather anyone should buy from Hostgator.com

Even though Hostgator.com is only in number 5th position, they probable should be in the top position at webhostingstuff.com. Granted I consider the top 25 hosts, a list for the top 25 to avoid because their main concern is raking in money, not making investing in infrastructure that advances their services. Developing “unlimited” / “overselling” is not investing in infrastructure, but concentrating on the misinformed world wide consumer that may not understand that you get what you pay for. Bernie Madoff did the same thing with promises of over optimistic promise of high returns on investments.  Anyone that offers a higher then 100% commission on a first payment is more interested in bringing customers in then keeping them.

This is my own personal rant against hostgator.com

In many ways hostgator.com has been a good host for me, and I am not saying because I hosted with them. I say that because I would get a lot of their dissatisfied customers. Customers that thought before hostgator that my prices were too high, only turn around and realize that being cheap on your source of income was not all that smart. For that matter I think at the time I loved hostgator.com at least until I saw this post back in February 2009:

http://blog.hostgator.com/2009/02/06/bad-economy-good-for-hostgator/

It was as if Hostgator was telling everyone in the United States we have jobs but you ignore us. Their a big host, but it does not mean everyone is going to know who they are. So in the search for jobs they are not on the top of the list. Better yet not everyone is going to have skills to deal with computers and customer service. My grandfather a soft spoken person, awesome at fixing cars (for that matter he spent more time with his truck then my grandmother) and generally any thing mechanical would not have the first idea of how to use a computer. I could not imagine him on the phone trying to handle customer service, as he is not very loud.

Somehow the 10% employment was a result of people being lazy. It had nothing to do with the mismanagement with companies, the deregulation to prevent those companies from being corrupt, or did it? Apparently Brent has never had to go door to door with a resume. What job that you might be able to get barely pays the bills so you have to get a second job and still its not enough. The jobs that you have skills for won’t hire because you had no experience (in my case) or you were too old (my grandfathers case). The first job I had to settle for did not even involve a resume but an application. I am sorry Brent, but you need to walk in the people that are getting welfare’s shoes before complaining about handouts. I encountered these problems when I was in school and my scholarship that only covered so many of of my expenses had to be supplemented. The effort to find a secondary source of income was killing my grades. Yes there are dead beats, and even those that milk the system to get a nice pay check from the government. But its not everyone.

But this is coming from someone pretending to be a bum for a day:

Oh look I see my video to the side when you go to youtube to view his  video 🙂