Another post in preparation of Hostgator.com’s Black Friday Special

Hostgator.com Black Friday Spam

Hostgator.com has found it’s black Friday special on my blog for the third year now.

As I get back into the swing of things after the end of a rather intense work load, I find reason to write and that is the spam that comes from Hostgator.com affiliates.

Just in case this time someone at Hostgator.com reads my blog, just to be clear I am not blaming you for spam. However if you don’t address it, with more than a unofficial looking short email while still collecting new customers from this form of very annoying affiliates you might as well do the spamming.

Instead of pointing out who has spammed me this time I am going to instead put together recommendations. But first let’s look at the promotional email that hostgator.com put out last year:

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!

From there I am going to formulate what should have been done.

  1. An official Hostgator.com looking email.Seriously the last one I saw asides for being lite on content and poorly formatted was weak. Especially when the prior emailed encouraged use of forums, Twitter, Facebook,  email lists, friends, and family.
  2. Tell your affiliates their consequences and what defines spam. Let us put two and two together, you refer someone and they only pay a penny for service, and you get the full $50 – $125 refer fee.  In short it looks like Hostgator.com how to spam, without actually defining what spam is. From the traditional perspective spam is an email only thing. But the truth of the matter is spam has come to envelope any form on undesired communication via the Internet.  From what looks like people trying to say how grand and wonderful my site is, while trying to get site with a url to something about Viagra in very long link. To the people sending me messages via chat to sign up with some date service or some other crap.
  3. Remind them of your Affiliate Agreement.
  4. If you are going to advise them to use of forums, Twitter, Facebook,  email lists, friends, and family. Advise them on a proper protocol as opposed to annoying people.

Hopefully this time around I am busy with online stores and their Black Friday deals as opposed to going to through my in box, YouTube channels, forums, blogs, and whatever else.

An open letter to Brainhost.com

Hello Corey of Brainhost.com,

I am not sure you understand the nature of blogs.  Generally any blog that is ran with any sense moderates the comments.  Only 2% of the comments I get are approved, as the other 98% of the comments this blog gets are spam. Rest assured I will not stop you from posting your comments on this or any brainhost.com related post.  I have approved all of your comments, regardless if they are duplicates as I do not delete or modify a contact for a host’s comments.

However I have pre-approved you for future comments.  Since I got your attention with the last 2 posts on Brainhost.com, I am doing this third one with questions.  I have emailed you the questions; here I will explain the questions in detail.

http://hosting-reviews-exposed.com/?p=2996

http://hosting-reviews-exposed.com/?p=2980

18 questions about Brainhost.com

The Basics of Brainhost.com:

I have friends that think I should ask some of the basics which would be questions 1 – 4

1. When did you purchase the domain Brainhost.com?
2. When did you actually start up Brainhost.com?
3. How many servers does Brainhost.com have?
4. What is the collective experience in the hosting industry of the Brainhost.com owners?

Not much to explain here, other than question 4.  As an example I will give out a short history of my experience.

I started out as a web designer with work in data bases over 3 years.  I meet another designer who also had a lot of experience in sales who with a programmer decided to start up a hosting company.  The first try ultimately failed as the programmer got paranoid and greedy and locked us out.  The second time was the charm which would give me 11 years working experience where I and other partners formed 4 companies.  Two years ago I would sell all my shares and get out of the hosting industry, in hopes going for what I wanted to do, as well as time to breath.

The Flippa.com/Brainhost.com partnership:

partnership is an arrangement where parties agree to cooperate to advance their mutual interests.

It’s pretty clear what Braihost.com’s interests are, what are Flippa.com’s interests? I happen to be monitoring cookies when going from Flippa.com’s Trusted Partner page to Brainhost.com.  Which interestingly enough I get a cookie once I reach Brainhost.com called AffiliateId.

5. Why did Flippa.com choose Brainhost.com over hosting companies that have an established history like Hostgator.com?

As a Flippa Trusted Partner, we offer web hosting and free site transfer to Flippa customers who have less complex websites, like a simple WordPress site. We do offer dedicated hosting as well (http://www.Brainhost.com/dedicated-servers), but most Flippa customers who choose us do not need this level of service.

I don’t see any explanation as to why Flippa.com chooses you to be a partner.  No offense but I would not have choose to partner with your company.  Your company has been running for around a year, a year does not give the definition of established. On top of that the feedback from your customers is less then stellar.

6. Are you willing to sign an affidavit that Flippa does not receive any kind of compensation? Be it monetary or some other action that benefits them directly.

Anyone that sells on flippa.com understands that Flippa will create any gimmick that makes them money.  Something I plan to explore in my next post.  One example is a $50 fee that will put the sale on the first page, my experience is that this only lasts for an hour.  No surprise but just a quick glance at the other trusted partners I can see on a lot of the sites they offer an affiliate program.  I don’t even have to look at odesk as that is an ad I purposely put on my site.

Brainhost.com package questions

7. Does Brainhosting.com have only one “unlimited”/shared hosting plan?
8. If your hosting company only has one “unlimited” hosting plan, why is the $6.95 a month (2 years) not “The Best Value”?

From the chat I had last week, it seems the only variety you offer is Month to Month, 1 year, 2 years, 3 years, and 4 years.  The package page gives the illusion that there is more than one package.  Not to mention wouldn’t a 2 – 4 years term be better than a 1 year?

9. Per your company’s terms of service, free accounts do not get the same features as paid plans, so what are the differences?

I am well aware that you changed your terms of service after I did my post. You have completely removed the section on free accounts not having the same features as a paid account.  I don’t have a problem with that, but the differences have to be noted, especially on a plan that offers a free year.  Honestly I did a 3 month free hosting plan, and it was enough to make me want to tear my hair out.  Compared to the affiliate programs people were 80% likely to keep their accounts over a year.  Whereas 95% of the three free month accounts were closed by the end of the free period.

10. Why do you not offer dedicated to them, as well as have this “unlimited” service available through your site?

Regardless of your assumptions to what most Flippa customer’s needs, why do you not have the dedicated offer on the offers page for Flippa, or for that matter on your site?

Take it from someone that was in the business of selling dedicated servers, you can’t sell them unless they are out there for people to get to.  You point me to a link that I can’t seem to find a way to from the main page of Brainhost.com.

Brainhost.com reviews and awards

11. Can you explain why most of the complaints out there complain about too much money being charged on an account?

A lot of the complaints I looked at are complaints in regards to charges, and in some cases multiple charges.

Here is one site that serves as an example:

http://www.web-hosting-top.com/review/Brainhost.com

Now I think the explanation for unexpected charges could be sites like Brainhostreview.net offering $1 a month, but the order form that their site takes you to gives no such offer.  On the other hand I really cannot guess as to why people are complaining about multiple charges.

12. Where did Brainhost.com get the award for 2012 webhosting top 10?
13. Where did Brainhost.com get the award for Most Reliable Web Host 2012?
14. Where did Brainhost.com get the User’s Choice Web hosting Award?
15. Where did Brainhost.com get the Rated #1 Web Host award?
16. Where did Brainhost.com get the awards show cased on http://Brainhostreview.net/about-us/

You should check out the review site Brainhostreview.net. What I find interesting is sites that try to tell you that you should host with host like Brainhost.com. But like many of the review sites that I look at, they don’t host with who they promote.  Guess where Brainhostreview.net is hosted?

I can’t tell you how bad it looks when a review site that is dedicated to your Brainhost.com is hosted with Godaddy.  If they don’t host with Brainhost.com why should I?

The problem with a lot of the awards for Brainhost.com is I have no idea where you got them from.  There are 4 on your site, and then their 5 more on Brainhostreview.net.

17. What are the web sites for the people that wrote you testimonials (i.e. John, Michael, and Anna).

The only place I can find any positive feedback for Brainhost.com, is on Brainhost.com’s main page. The one thing that could add some viability to those reviews is putting some websites that are hosted on your service behind them.

The Brainhost.com/NSA Technologies Connection

18. What is you or your collogues relation to the company NSA Technologies?

During my review of feedback about brainhost.com I find several comments that mention NSA Technologies. I am not going to go into the details; I will leave that up to you.

As I have stated through multiple posts, I have no problem with you being new in the industry. New hosts can be more inclined to work towards keeping a customer. The things that concern me about brainhost.com are that you offer an unlimited package, which there is no such thing.  Then there is the $175 payout that ultimately cuts into what could actually pay for service. I truly believe it’s easier to keep customers then it is to bring new ones in.

I look forward to a response on this Brainhost post.

A Call to Redemption: Hostgator.com

This is an open letter to the staff at Hostgator.com.  Please note that all responses will be posted as blog comments.

With Black Friday fast approaching, I feel that your company needs to address a problem, that it is a part of.  That problem being spam.  Last year I received both comment and email spam from your affiliates during your Black Friday event. In short spam being either sending to a non-opted in email address or posting unwanted comments which generally have nothing to do with content they are posted on for the purpose of monetary gain.  This year I have been getting spam well in advance of November.  Of all places my first video.  This was a video I had emailed you and several other companies at the time of release 4 years ago from this month, hoping that you and other hosts would deal with the so called “review” industry.

Here is just a sample of Hostgator.com related spam I received on one of the many videos on YouTube.com.

That does not include my email or my blogs.

Just to be clear, I am not against you having affiliate program or making money. But I believe in doing it ethically, and I can respect creativity in bringing in customers.  But spam i.e. unwanted solicitation, is not a form of creative marketing.  I realize with your affiliate doing spam and in some cases “review” sites, its to your advantage as you make money off their actions.

With Black Friday around the corner, I challenge you to contact your affilates before you send out your Black Friday Promotion to stop them from spamming.  Not to mention seeing you practice the same FTC policy that Endurance International Group.

Unlimitedgb.com – Ignoring my call to action

To start with, I want to make it clear I did not go looking for issues with Unlimitedgb.com, they came to me. They choose to create fake reviews on my site.   Which was for the purpose of bringing increasing their back links and search engine viability. I can’t say if they had planned on purpose to post on my site, or if they targeted any forum or blog with hosting as a topic.   But I can tell you like many other sites that post any negative feed back, they are ready to try and drown out the negative with fake positives.  Which you can see at my first post:

http://hosting-reviews-exposed.com/scams-to-avoid/unlimitedgb.html

For which they choose to create feed back, in most cases not giving out domains.  In one case two different endorsements came from the same ip.

Last week the CEO decided to contact me, not to fix things but to get me to remove my page.

Email exchange with Unlimitedgb.com

Per usual red text is who is responding to me.

Blue text is me.

From:
Sanson Dsilva
info@unlimitedgb.comMessage:

Dear Benjamin,


I am the CEO and the Managing Director of UnlimitedGB.com. Its been 2

years since I have started unlimitedgb.com and its a budding hosting
company. During the start of unlimitedgb.com we outsourced some seo
work to a seo firm “GK Media Soft” in coimbatore, India and what they
did is to generate back links they did blog commenting on various
forums including yours.. I swear on my son this was not an intentional
commenting blast on your blogs and during that time due to a shortage
in manpower we were giving support to customers on live chat only
during the day times in India, and so that is the reason when you came
to our website the chat was offline. During that time we had no more
than 800 hosted domains on our servers. ALL THIS IS IN THE PAST….But Now Benjamin, Please As a Brother I am requesting you, Please
Remove this post from your website.

http://hosting-reviews-exposed.com/scams-to-avoid/unlimitedgb.html
1. Now!
You can verify that we have completely stopped Blog

Commenting.
2. We Provide True 24/7 Support, Please check this for your self..Benjamin I read in you blog that you also have a hosting company and
in a similar situation some one is writing wrong about your website
and you decide and correct your mistakes, and then your existing
customers and new customers sees on a blog that you are bad and
abandons your website and services, But you are not like that right
now…..It Hurts Benjamin, It is really pricking HARD.When you wrote this blog I just had 800 hosted domains and now we have
around 7000 hosted domains and If any of my existing and satisfied
customers just go to google and search for “UNLIMITEDGB” and your page
is in the second position “Unlimitedgb.com – A Scam to Avoid!!! |
Hosting Reviews Exposed”I understand that your blog is monetizing my traffic to earn through
AdSense. I am ready to pay you a compensation for that Please give my
your PayPal ID and I will send you a compensation that you request..to
remove this post
http://hosting-reviews-exposed.com/scams-to-avoid/unlimitedgb.html

You could verify the below two points on my website before you could
decide..

1. Now! You can verify that we have completely stopped Blog
Commenting.
2. We Provide True 24/7 Support, Please check this for your self..

Thank you for your understanding and generosity in this regard.

Best regards,

Sanson D’silva
Managing Director
Interweb iTech (India) Private Limited.

Before I responded I thought I would make it clear before hand I was not going to be paid / bribed to remove a post.

I had no intention of taking any money to remove my post.  But I was curious to see how much he would offer.

I am not saying I want compensation, I am saying what do you mean by that?

I honestly did not expect a reply.  I thought maybe, just maybe he was watching my twitter feed.  As some companies do.   But he did skip over the part of my contact form that states “If your a host that is contacting me about one of my posts I will post any and all emails directly to the blog post associated to your contact.“.

Dear Benjamin,
I have no other choice this post http://hosting-reviews-exposed.com/scams-to-avoid/unlimitedgb.html
is killing a good company that is growing. Please help I am ready to pay any thing you require.

>I understand that your blog is monetizing my traffic to earn through

>AdSense. I am ready to pay you a compensation for that Please give me

>your PayPal ID and I will send you a compensation that you request..t

Thanks and best regards,

Sanson D’silva
Managing Director
Interweb iTech (India) Private Limited.

My curiosity had reached its limit, I made a quick post hoping to get him to engage him in dealing with his customers problems.

http://hosting-reviews-exposed.com/redemption/unlimitedgb-com.html

Hello Sanson,


If you had read my twitter feed before you sent you response, you would have noticed I am not going to take a bribe.
Instead I offer you redemption:

I look forward to dealing with you publicly to solve your issues.

Regards,

Benjamin

Of coarse after three days, Sanson choose not to respond to me.  Never mind I offered to provide free mediation with prior customers.

After I did the last post on unlimitedgb.com I thought I would try the chat out.  Turns out this is the screen I got most of the time:

 

By Monday I sent a response:

Hello Sanson,


I had hoped that you would work with me to turn your company around.
Think about it, you have a pretty bad rap going around the internet,  what I offer is better then having a single page removed.  I offer you a chance to get this cleaned up and deal with your customers.

If you don’t want to work with me then I will make a finale post with the email you sent through my forum that warned you that I will post your email.

Regards,

Benjamin

12 hours later and on my 18th random attempt I finale got a hold of a tech named James.  I seem to have misplaced the chat. In short I asked to speak with Sanson.  He got back to me quickly right after.

Dear Benjamin

>what I offer is better then having a single page removed.

I have over 7000+ customers & 1200+ Resellers and 1% of my customers are unhappy. And to all that 1% unhappy customers I have either refunded the money or they are no longer using my service. So what is the point in communicating with them. As I have mentioned in my previous mail. your forum post is confusing my 99% of happy customers.In this case I better have a single page removed & lead the way by satisfying my 99% happy customers..

>If you don’t want to work with me then I will make a finale post with the email you sent through my forum that warned you that I will post your email.

Please have some basic ethics, my communication with you is 1 to 1 and not meant to be posted on a public forum.

Thanks and best regards,Sanson D’silva
Managing Director
Interweb iTech (India) Private Limited.

Wait!!!!!  He is telling me to be ethical?????

A Finale Email to UnlimitedGB

Hello Sanson,

Please have some basic ethics
 
Please don’t try to tell me how to be ethical.  You spammed my blog, posted fake positive reviews, and last but defiantly by far not least you tried to bribe me. Your not exactly on a list of people that have a right to preach to anyone about ethics.  Or do you want to see what people have to say when they see your email? Your first mistake when dealing with me was thinking this was about money.
 
After finally being able to deal with the chat on your company, and trust me I tried 18 random times since your first email to confirm you had live 24/7 chat support (I was going to give it 20 chances).  When I finale got on chat with my last try, I was not impressed.  A lot of what I see in complaints regarding support rang true, as my responses with “James”, were extremely slow. 
As for this 1%, I don’t know if you have 7,000 customers.  If its true, at less then 2 years old that is a impressive number.  Granted I suspect you started up in 2010, despite what your domain whois says (Creation Date: 28-sep-2009)  But over more then a year now of looking at hosts.  I can say that you have a lot of reviews for someone with 7,000 reviews, you have a lot of negative feed back.
 
 
I have to say most of the positive feed back is fake. It does not have the feel of a happy customers. Not to mention your company tried to create fake positive reviews on my site, which would not stop you from doing this elsewhere.
 
Example:
 
Gopala Krishnan ( gkmediasoft@g… )
October 4, 2010
Time Hosted: 2 to 3 years
 
You need to stop with the fake feed back.  You need to deal with the negative feed back, instead of trying to bury it as I have clearly demonstrated it has ways of going above the positive. I have offered to help you deal with your customers complaints as well as altering my blog post.  You can either work with me, a person who has 11 years of experience, or you can continue to do the same thing. 

Regards,

Benjamin

I doubt that there will be any more response from Sanson

There is a reason I stated that I don’t think the site was active since 2009, part of what drew my interest was a review that said they had been hosting with unlimitedgb for more then 2 years.  Which made me look at the whois for their domain.  The creation Date is 28-sep-2009.  Then there is this chart from Alexa.

 

I think part of what he told me was true, even though he switched 7,000 domains to 7,000 customers. Never mind number of domains does not mean amount of customers.

When you wrote this blog I just had 800 hosted domains and now we have around 7000 hosted domains

This response makes me think that he lied about being 2 years old.  After all 900% increase in a period under 8 months. Where as it took them 15 months  to get 800 domains.   But another thing that makes me think they started back in October 2010 is that most of the comment spam began around that time.  Websites like webhostingstuff.com did not start tracking uptime until around this time http://www.webhostingstuff.com/uptime/UnlimitedGB.html, like the one comment I mentioned:

Gopala Krishnan ( gkmediasoft@g… )
October 4, 2010
Time Hosted: 2 to 3 years

From this point forward if you have a complaint about unlimitedgb I want your support tickets, emails, as well as chat sessions.

Unlimitedgb.com is more then welcome to respond to these complaints, but they are not welcome to post fake positive feedback.

Unlimitedgb.com – A Call to Redemption

If you read my Twitter and Facebook feed from Thursday night, you will know that recently a host was trying to bribe me, which is Unlimitedgb.com. I have been asked to remove my post, as it shows up on the main page of  their search results. I wanted to be certain to do a broadcast to make it clear that I was not going to take a bribe before I contacted him again to see what he would pay.  However I am not in this to destroy, as I indicating with my very first posts.  As the title of this post suggests, I want Unlimitedgb.com to seek redemption.

http://hosting-reviews-exposed.com/scams-to-avoid/unlimitedgb.html

I did a post on them because they choose to create fake comments on this blog to get people to visit their site. Which if you think about it, not a very smart move as this is a site that is all about exposing fake reviews for hosts Kind of like throwing rabbit in a snake pit thinking it will not get eaten. I quickly notices that the posts had a similar problem, they all entered my domain in field for website when making a comment.  I wrote my last post to point out how those spam comments were fake, and several other flaws with this host. To make matters worse they choose to create positive feed back on the very post that called them a scam. Never mind most of these forum trolls did not provide web sites that were hosted with this host. On top of that two of the responses came in the same day came from the same ip address. Not to mention the only positive review that came from someone that appeared to be a client (waterlemon.co.in ) appears to have moved to a Australian server last month.

This is my public letter to Unlimitedgb.com

To Sanson D’silva
Managing Director
Interweb iTech (India) Private Limited.

I am not removing my post, not for any amount of money.   I did not create this site to make money.  Yes there are ads, I would like the site to atleast pay its way.  The people that come to my site, don’t have shopping in mind.   In some cases they want to find a host or they want to complain about a host. You mentioned compensating me, and that I made money by making a post on your company.  To that I have to say I made $18 on adsense last month.  Taking the percentage of traffic I got last month for that single page I made $0.06 if anyone actually went to any of the ads on my site.  Yes the post has the most comments of any of my posts.  Which in part was because someone in your company thought it would be a good idea to post fake comments on my blog.  There are also a lot of unhappy customers as well.  Did it not occur to you that creating fake posts would only increase the relevance of my post in search engines?

I want to make one thing perfectly clear, I did not go looking for Unlimitedgb.com

If the fake comments such as someone that claimed to have been hosting with you for 2 years (never mind your domain whois says that is impossible) and other fake comments had never been posted.  I would never have known who your company was.  Which means I would not have made a post about unlimitedgb.com.

We do not share a similar situation. I owned (past tense) a hosting company that was effected by a review site (webhostingstuff.com), because they deleted positive feed back my customers gave me.   I did not go there and place the comments myself.  I asked them to restore my customer’s comments or to remove me out of their system.  Instead I was blocked, which lead to this site that goes after fake reviews by those in the hosting industry.  Fake reviews like what were done on my site by your company.

Why I will not delete my post on unlimitedgb.com and what can be done to salvage your reputation

Another thing that does not make us similar is I am not going to block you from contacting me as webhostingstuff.com did to me.  I am willing to work with you to turn things around.  The first thing I am going to tell you is it would not matter if I delete the post, you have a lot of angry customers.  Never mind if I did delete this post, someone would figure out that I did something dishonest and / or other people will create pages negative pages about unlimitedgb.com to take my posts place.

I suggest:

  • You need to admit to what was done, and what will be done to prevent it, here on this blog post.
  • You need to address the complaints of your customers.

Running from this will only make it worse, the only thing to do is to take this head on.  If you are willing to take on the complaints of your customers, I offer freely to mediate between you and your customers. I will even contact previous angry customers that posted on my blog as well as other sites if I can.Your not going to get out of this by paying people to remove the past.  Use that money to take care of your customers.

If you will work with me I will modify the post to change the results in search engines, but I will not remove it.

Regards,

Benjamin

P.S. Unlimitedgb has an opportunity to change, I am offering to help you do it.  But I will not give that opportunity to unlimitedgb in an unethical manner.