A guide to fake hosting reviews

Hosting reviews would seem like a simple search engine result that will take you to the very information that you seek.  You would expect Hosting reviews from your peers. People that actually use the hosting companies they recommend, or used the ones they recommend to avoid. The problem is many of these sites were not put up to inform people who to choose that will best serve your needs. They are telling you who to host with all for the sake of a sale. The most common held belief by those that understand what most hosting review sites are, is that they are about high affiliate payouts. Which does happen, but not with all hosting reviews. Some don’t do it for affiliate payments.

For over a decade there are sites that specialize on hosting reviews and other phrases one might search for in hopes of finding a good host.  Most do it for one sole purpose and that is to get you to sign up with one of the hosts they recommend.  March 2013 I decided to go after a site that thought it would capitalize on their hosting own reviews. The funny thing is they choose to call out other hosting review sites for doing what they were doing. Like many so called review sites, Digitalfaq.com had no data to back their claims. But it went a little deeper than that, as the claim was these fake  review sites were only interested in high payouts and were blogs. While at the same time a disclaimer that made it seem like it was a crime to make a commission.

Which brings me to the reasoning behind this post. Back in March I was told by someone that I should reference Digitalfaq.com.  Digitalfaq.com was no different than any other review site. They offered reviews, with nothing to prove their claims.  Hosting review sites being blogs and all about high payouts was nothing more than one distraction of the many stereotypes used to make a case to pick a host they recommend. The popular perception of review sites is that they only promote high payouts, which is not entirely correct. As for the perception that they are all blogs, many may be. It would be great if every site offering Hosting reviews was just a blog endorsing only those that offer high affiliate payouts.. I would have had little reason to expand from a single page website. Digitalfaq.com wants to distract from the fact they are a forum, with a list of hosts where at best only 89% of the hosts paid out a commission. Interestingly enough those that may not pay were at the bottom of their category. Which begs the question would you rather sign up with hosts 1 -5 or 6 – 10? But not always are hosting reviews done for the sake of an affiliate payout. Despite they deceptions, its not unreasonable to assume that there are other reasons besides affiliate payments for those 11% of the hosts listed to be on lists of recommend hosts.

My experience in the hosting reviews industry

Long before I started this site, I was a hosting provider.  Sites that provided hosting reviews were not all that common back when I started. I believe at the time most hosts did not offer affiliate programs. Though there were sites that’s very profit was generated from affiliate income from non-hosting related sites.  My first successful hosting company had an affiliate program. Not to mention the one secret till now that I have yet to reveal is how exactly we brought in so many customers in when we started up. We made an agreement with some so called marketing gurus or multi-level marketing gurus (those that claim they can tell you how to get rich…… just buy their book,,,, tapes….. and other materials…..). Months after we started our agreement I come to view this as a proverbial deal with the devil.  At the time I was naive about the nature of such operations, but these days I believe they are parasitic. The biggest problem was at the time we offered them reoccurring commissions, something I do not advise any company to do. After all, all they had to do was convince people to sign up with my company. After that keeping them was the responsibility of my company, and the MLM affiliates were sitting back collecting commissions.  Many of them eventually stopped sending us new customers as someone else came along and offered bigger payments up front (though not reoccurring) which gave us a good reason to stop sending them payments.

Despite the deal with the devil, there were other deals we made that were symbiotic in nature which benefited the referring company and my own company. Like a deal with a software company that would offer free hosting with our company whenever anyone bought their product.  They got something free to offer their customers, and we got a supply of new customers.

2003 was the time I noticed top 10 sites. My business partners and I assumed that these were owned by other hosts.  After all private registration was not as common back then (though I am not sure it was offered at all back then). One ever lasting example of this is thehostingchart.com, where IXwebhosting.com sits at the top.  Has been at the top since it came on to try and scavenge the customers from a company called featured price. Looking at the whois for both domains provides you with the name of Fathi Said.

By 2007 I started to see a problem when webhostingstuff.com decided that I had one too many positive reviews for a host that did not give them money.  Which in short led to the creation of this site, a tale I have told one too many times.

Hosting reviews (bogus reviews): motivation and techniques

For this post I wanted to make a guide to the various types of false hosting  reviews, and by no means is this post done. My intention for this post is to help consumers make an informed decision when dealing with review sites. I will modify it over time and re-releasing it as a new post as time goes on.

Hosting reviews – Data, or lack there of

I am not saying that all review sites are dishonest, or that you can’t get informed information from the data they provide. Generally hosting review sites provide little to no data backing their claims that a host is good (or bad). They want you to assume just because they have a site they are experts on the hosting industry.  One of the funny things that I have found is hosting reviews sites that are not hosted on any of the hosts they recommend.

If the data is not made up or data is provided, they are unclear about how exactly they came to the conclusion the hosts they display are worthy.

  • No data just claims
  • Copy and paste product specs
  • Uptime – hosting server not customer server(s)
  • Customer rating only (no customer information for validation)
  • Customer reviews – no domain
  • Customer reviews – domain

Ideally the last one should be the bare minimum that any hosting review site offers.

Types of Hosting reviews strategies and gimmicks

  • Top 10 (or other number)
  • Hosting Directories
  • Award sites
  • Single page / multi page one hosting company focus review site
  • Search engine key word targeting review sites
  • Customer based hosting reviews
  • Cookie stuffer
  • Coupons
  • Customer reviews
  • Gimmick reviews
  • Spam

Hosting review sites may have more than one strategy. Like take for example Webhostingstuff.com had a top 25 list, and yet is also a directory, awards, and has customer reviews.

Top 10 (or other number) hosting reviews

Examples: Hosting-review.com, Webhostingstuff.com,

There is not a lot to explain here, but generally these hosting reviews focus on web hosts with high payout, but not always.  As long as the site is strictly about hosting, I have yet to see the top list not appear on the main page for a site.

Hosting reviews Directories

Examples:  webhostingstuff.com, web-hosting-top.com, and Hostjury.com

In short hosting review directories are a list of hosts. The most effective of these sites are those that cover not a handful of sites, but thousands. This gives them and advantaged of numbers when it comes to search engine indexing. Add customer reviews on there and you have another reason for search engines like Google and Bing to place a hosting directory on the first page first result for “(host name) review”.  This strategy can be damaging to small, new, and hosts that don’t compensate the hosting review site.  One example of this was Webhostingstuff.com, which used its hosting directory to divert traffic to their top 25 list. When a non-paying host got too much positive feedback it was deleted to motivate visitors to view the top 25 list.

Award Sites

Examples: Webhostingstuff.com, web-hosting-top.com, webhostdir.com, hostingreview.com

The best examples of awards sites can be found on Hostgator.com’s list of awards.

When I first started reviewing the hosts that appeared on webhostingstuff.com, I found awards for other review sites. At first I thought that the award sites were either affiliates or getting paid under the table. But last year I come to realize that award sites may have a more parasitic relationship with the hosts they award. Mainly because Zyma.com got an award from hosting-review.com:


Zyma.com had done little to be an Editors choice of 2012 with ½ a month of down time.  The down time was not a red flag for me, as this is not the first time I have found a host down yet being promoted by  a review site . What had my attention was the low payments that someone got if they referred visitors to zyma.com .  Hosting-review.com is by default a top 10 site. Top ten sites generally focus on high payouts by commonly known brands.  The main page for Hosting-review.com does just that.

Now why would I call an award site a parasitic relationship? As I stated back when I was looking at hosts that appeared on webhostingstuff.com’s top 25 I noticed a lot of them had awards from other review sites. At the time I thought it was bad when a host did not link back to the hosting review site that awarded them.  Turns out they may have knew what I was too slow to grasp.  For those hosts like Zyma.com that linked back to hosting-review.com there were two possible outcomes:

  1. Get paid a small commission by Zyma.com if the visitor goes back to Zyma.com and orders. (least favorable outcome)
  2. The visitor explores the site and picks a host on a top 10 list. (most favorable outcome)

In short award sites are traffic thieves.

Single page / multi page one hosting company focus review site

There are a ton of examples, most of which are too low on search engine ranking to mention.  These sites focus on one hosting company.  Like one I saw for Hostgator.com which seemed to just copy and paste everything from FAQ section, blog entries, and whatever else Hostgator.com may have. I have yet to see one that does not focus on large payout companies.

Search engine key word targeting review sites

Examples: hostignsthatsuck.com, alreadyhosting.com,

While sites like webhostingstuff.com could be considered search engine experts, they only get top rankings in search engines because of their directories and customer reviews.

Hosting review sites that focus on key words concentrate on specific key terms.

An example of a reviews site that relies on key words is hostingsthatsuck.com. In short they focus on the following search engine result “(hostname) sucks”.  This may seem an unusual strategy. But they use it to draw people in, and then try to prove that the host does not suck. For review sites like Hostingsthatsucks.com, there is an advantage of focusing on new and small hosts as they have less competition. Regardless of the payment being small, minimal work is required to get into small and new hosts’ sucks search results. All they have to do is one post on their blog.

Many of these key word targeting review sites focus on “*host name* review(s)”

Customer based Hosting Reviews.

Examples: webhostingstuff.com, hosting-review.com, alreadyhosting.com, hostingsthatsuck.com,…..

There are many hosting reviews  that have customer based reviews. Though the question is are they real? A good sign that they are fake is when they are 100% positive. The same can be true for 100% negative reviews. As there are some review sites that do purposely try to make a host look bad. This can happen because a hosting company pulled their affiliate program from the review site, or other reasons relating to pay. Like this example here:


IxWebHosting Poor Service (1)

In some cases hosting companies will post their own fake positive reviews to counter the negatives. A good example of this can be seen here:


An example of sites that I think have no merit in their reviews is alreadyhosting.com because they don’t show a domain that was hosted with the companies they recommend.  Domains allow you to see some details like how long the person might have hosted with the company. Not to mention a look at their site can tell you how much they might know about webhosting. A site that just started with a host has no long term experience. Not to mention a site that still has a “coming soon” page is not going to be someone who has experience with the host they recommend.

Customer reviews, especially when frequent are great for search engine results.

Cookie stuffing

Examples: Alreadyhosting.com

A few years back I learned what this term meant. In short the moment you go to a site like alreadyhosting.com it loads your computer with affiliate cookies. So even if the hosting review site was not your cause for signing up with a host, they still get paid.

Cookie stuffing is generally considered black hat. It’s a great way to lose your search engine rankings should Google or any other search engine provider find you doing it.

Alreadyhosting.com was caught by Mike of MDDHosting.com.


To date this is the only review site that I have found doing this. Also as a side note, Endurance International Group hosts don’t seem concerned about cookie stuffing. Yet they also require annual or better terms to get a payout.

Gimmick reviews

There are two sites that I cannot find that server as perfect examples of gimmicks that are used to draw people in.

The first which had an awesomely honest disclaimer ( I truly love the disclaimer link that followed you), brought people in by telling you who someone was hosted with. For which they had an affiliate link for some of the sites I tried.

However they also offered reviews and the first hosts to pop on the list were the high payouts.

The second review site used twitter feed to tell you if a host was good or bad. What pretty much proved this to be a gimmick was looking at the actually results that made a host good or bad. For example take godaddy.com, over the past few years they have had problems with Bob Parson shooting an elephant, their support behind PIPA/SOPA, and not to mention commercials that degrade women. All of which are bad public relations, however not an indicator of poor service. On the other hand you have, I think her name is Dana Patrick(race car driver?) tweets that have nothing to do with hosting at all. All of which were used to indicate if godaddy.com was good or bad. The worst of it was that bad service tweets were used to indicate that godaddy.com was good, and vice versa on good tweets. Even so a tweet does not prove someone actually hosted with godaddy.com, like those that protested their bad public relations.


Hosts that I have found that benefit from review spammers: Hostgator.com

I have refrained with good reason for mentioning sites as a whole as not all hosting reviews are done on the review’s website. As many reviews can be in the form of comment or email spam by affiliates that troll sites or use automated scripts. Many of them lead directly to a host with an affiliate link. Though the link they provide may lead to a review site. Most of the spam I have seen has an affiliate link that takes you to the host in question. If there is any host that has benefited the most from spam and done very little to curb the spam that would be hostgator.com. However that may change since Endurance International Group purchased Hostgator.com. Last year Hostgator.com did not send out its usual pre-black Friday penny hosting notification.

Here is an example of comment spam I was receiving in regards to hostgator.com:

hostgator affiliate spam

I find it funny the guy who decided to post his site twice came back later to have his comments removed.

Hosting Review Payments

Generally Hosting review sites focus on one form of compensation; however there are exceptions like Webhostingstuff.com which while having hosts bid for spots, was also an affiliate of Hostgator.com (at the time they were the number 1 host) and advertising Gooogle.com adsense.

  • High Hosting Affiliate payouts only (example: Hosting-review.com)
  • Any Hosting affiliate program (example: Hostingsthatsuck.com)
  • Any affiliate program (example: Digitalfaq.com)
  • Paid per unit/bid per position (example: Webhostingstuff.com/hostingsthatsuck.com)
  • Main focus is not to be paid by out siders, yet subscribes to other hosting companies affiliate programs (example:

Paid per unit / bid per position. Or what I like to refer to as under the table. Sites like webhostingstuff.com that allow you to buy your spot in a 1 – 25 position, or take for example Hostingsthatsuck.com, which wrote posts for a fee.

Main focus is not to be paid by outsiders are generally owned by the hosting companies that appear in the number 1 position.

A few examples of review sites that are owned by hosts

  • Hostjury.com – Fused.com (though as of late they did drop to the # 2 spot)
  • Thehostingchart.com – Ixwebhosting.com (they also own the second host on the list hostexcellence.com)
  • Besthostdirectory.com – Siteground.com
  • Avahost.net – Cheap-web-hosting-review.com

A good sign that a review site is owned by a host is when the host constantly shows up as the # 1 host.

The waybackmachine is a great tool for looking at a sites history: http://web.archive.org/

This post on Hosting Reviews is still under construction.

As I stated before this is a post that is in process, it is by no means complete on how fake hosting review sites operate.

Hosting-review.com – Opiemarketing.com Advertising Possibilities

Hosting-review.com is a site that has been on my back burner for some time.  Since the very beginning of this site I have watched Hosting-review.com like the many others claiming to be review sites. After all their site is mentioned in the video that started the traffic for this site. It’s not hard to notice this review site as they appear every time I do a search for “hosting review” on Google, they appear in the ads at the top of the results. Hosting-reviews.com is a review site that uses Google Adsense to bring in traffic to get people to sign up for one of the top 10 hosts that appears on Hosting-review.com. When Endurance International Group (Owner of Ipage.com, Justhost.com, Bluehost.com, and Fatcow.com among 40 or more hosts) in mid-2011 started FTC compliance Hosting-review.com was among the first to apply. FTC compliance meaning that review sites had to disclose they earn money by referring people to hosts.

Before that Hosting-review.com was one of the first to have a terms of use that states “Your use of www.hosting-review.com (“Hosting-Review”) shall be entirely at your own risk. “ in addition “We do not warrant the accuracy or completeness of information contained in external sites, and the inclusion of any information, material, content, or links on Hosting-Review should not be construed as an express nor an implied endorsement of any third-party products or services.”. Somehow a top 10 list and providing such awards as “Editors’ Pick” are not endorsements by Hosting-review.com.

What would lead me to writing this post was back in August 2012 Khuram of Zyma.com contacted me to give coupons to the people who follow this blog. Which lead to a re-review of his site and no I did not provide coupon codes.


Upon review I found that zyma.com had gotten a “Editors’ Pick 2012” award from Hosting-review.com.

Khuram was not exactly happy to see a third post about Zyma.com. But he wanted to prove to me that things had changed.  One of the points of getting change was to tell me how exactly Zyma.com had appeared on Hosting-review.com.  Despite giving me information how Hosting-review.com was involved, Khuram wanted me to write a business plan as opposed to addressing the points I laid out for earning redemption.

By September when I had started work on this post my work load had increased to a point that this post any many others were saved as drafts waiting for me to get some free time. While January is not exactly a free time for me I have managed to irk out a few days to try and get a few posts done as well as work on a personal site of mine. Not to mention I have a bit too much caffeine running through my system to go to sleep right now.

But two parts of that email have been in the back of mind since September 2012:

The first part was the explanation of why Zyma.com appears on Hosting-review.com:

To answer your question about hosting-review.com. They contacted us mid 2011 and were interested in posting our website on their review website. We did not pay them nor provide them with any free hosting. They came to us and decided to post a review about us our service on their own accord.

You can even verify this by contacting the owner of the hosting-review website Dave Price. As a result of speaking to us, they decided to give us an editors pick award and also decided to join our affiliates scheme and place our website on their Editors Pick page.” ~ Khuram – Zyma.com

The second is the email that came from opiemarketing.com (a marketing company) of Hosting-review.com.

—– Sent: 19/09/2011 16:12 From: [email protected]——
Hi Khuram,

I think we have some possibilities for your company, and I have a few questions for you.

Are you available for a call at any of the following times to discuss?:

Wednesday Sept 21st at 2:30pm EST

Wednesday Sept 21st at 4:30pm EST

Thursday Sept 22nd at 9:30am EST

Please let me know what time works best for you and a good number to call you at.

I look forward to the discussion.

Best regards,


Hosting-review.com / Opiemarketing.com

I have to say after seeing that email I have a lot more questions than I ever thought I would have. The first of which is what other possibilities is Opiemarketing.com offering to other markets other than hosting. There is not a lot I can say about Opiemarketing.com, other than there is a link to Hosting-review.com. SEO wise they don’t have the best traffic stats, for that matter I could register a domain right now and have roughly the same amount of stats in 72 hour period of time. But hosting-review.com clearly has traffic stats that can’t be ignored. A good part of their traffic may very well be related to Google Adsense. But other than this letter from Khuram there are not a whole lot of links to both sites. One particular link I found was both Opiemarketing.com and Hosting-review.com both are hosted on HostPapa.com (yeah hosting-review.com is one of those rare review sites to host with someone in the top 10).  Yet they have the same dns to a domain called OMGHP.COM, which happens to belong to the same person as Opiemarketing.com. That alone makes me confident enough to say that both Hosting-review.com belongs to Opiemarketing.com.


I am not exactly sure at what point Hosting-review.com decided to add the marketing strategy of Hostingsthatsuck.com and Alreadyhosting.com. These two sites have a top list, much like Hosting-review.com. But the general strategy is based off of getting their so called reviews in the top of search engine results. Meaning as opposed to just promoting hosts that pay out $100 plus per sign up they can also promote hosts that pay literal peanuts like Zyma.com. A simple example of what hostingsthatsucks.com does is try and get top search engine results for “*host name* sucks”, and than try to convince whom ever came in via search engine results that they did all the work on looking for negative reviews.  Alreadyhosting.com tries to get in the top of “*host name* review(s)”. Both sites realized the restrictions of a so called top 10 list in that their options were limited on whom to promote. Apparently Hosting-review.com sees the same thing?

Hosting-review.com, is advertising zyma.com? Or using Zyma.com to migrate traffic to the Hosting-review.com” top 10 list”?

There is another possible reason for Hosting-review.com giving Zyma.com an award. Case in point webhostingstuff.com. Webhostingstuff.com relies on people who pay for “advertising” which somehow appear on the top list (or the whacked out version they have today).  Webhostingstuff.com did not have reviews for only 25 hosts, they had thousands. Which gave them the benefit of often being at the top of a review search results any time someone looked up a host. Which leads to the whole reason Webhostingstuff.com deleted my positive feedback, they wanted people to skip signing up with my company and go with one of the hosts that paid for “advertising” that somehow appeared in the top spot. Nothing does better than a host having nothing but negative feedback to get possible customers to sign up with the top payers in advertising.

But before I explain why this may work against zyma.com. There is a reason I bring up that Zyma.com pays peanuts, because it will never appear in the top 10 list at Hosting-review.com. All you have to do is look at the payout for each site that appears on the top 10 list for Hosting-review.com:

  • HostPapa.com –$40 – $200 per sale
  • Ipage.com – EIG – $100 – $125
  • Hostgator.com – $100
  • 1and1.com – $90
  • Justhost.com – EIG – $100
  • Godaddy.com – Up to $500 per sale
  • Yahoo.com – $40
  • Bluehost.com – EIG – $90
  • Arvixe.com – $75 – $135
  • Fatcow.com – EIG – $100

EIG = Hosting company belongs to Endurance International Group

All commission information but Arvixe.com came from CJ.com (Commission Junction), Arvixe.com is not a CJ.com member.

hosting-review-zyma-pageHosting-review.com makes £8.59 ($13.57) if a Zyma.com customer signed up under the affiliate link buys nothing but a annual hosting package. It’s easy to see why Hosting-review.com is not willing to put Zyma.com on the top 10 for 40% of £1.79 per month. But Zyma.com does not have to be in the top 10 (or whatever number) with Hosting-review.com, to still be able to earn a commission from people who are trying to find out if Zyma.com is a good host or not. Just slap on a “Editors’ Pick 2012” and those that bother to click on that link/award on Zyma.com which takes them to Hosting-review.com where you can see three links to “Top 10 Lists”.

This is where you get to the business philosophy of Webhostingstuff.com with a twist.

Instead of deleting the reviews of a possible competing host that is not being show cased, you get the non-show cased host to place a reward on their site. If you’re a up and coming host, you can see the desirability of a “Editors’ Choice 2012” award.. Placing this award on the site can have the effect of rerouting traffic. Meaning losing a customer to a host on the “top 10 lists”. However in this case Zyma.com did not put the award on the front page of their site. Its located on perhaps one of the least visited pages of a site, the about page.

Hosting-review.com did not bother to vet Zyma.com.

Let’s say that the scenario I have put together is not correct. Something I will probable explore in my next post on Hosting-review.com are those hosts that don’t appear on the top 10 lists.

Maybe Hosting-review.com really feels that Zyma.com deserves a “Editors’ Choice 2012” award. Shouldn’t that mean Hosting-review.com should do some back ground research on that company?  Back in 2011 and in to the early part of 2012 Zyma.com had some serious down time. The first outage seemed to be October 1 – October 14, 2011. Mere weeks after Hosting-review.com contacted Zyma.com about “possibilities”.

Never mind other review sites and other promoters ended up validating the down time around January – February 2012. Hostingsthatsuck.com validated after Zyma.com terminated their hosting account. Many promoted just for free hosting, which saw their accounts shut down at the same time. To show how happy these former promoters were they rose in revolt telling everyone to avoid Zyma.com by sharing the emails that were sent to them in regards to down time. Regardless Hosting-review.com has no customer reviews for Zyma.com.

From my own perspective it seemed based on the server names changing (panda, tiger, and cobra servers) and what I really feel was insanely low pricing I think it is safe to say that the server was probable overloaded. Currently the price is £1.79 a month (£21.48 a year/ $33.85) versus the original price of £4.95 a year.

Hosting-review.com has since the beginning of this site been in my sights, and I will continue to monitor.

How to write a negative review

Since September I have not had a lot of time to maintain this site, let alone write new content. One of the few saving graces for keeping the traffic going on this site was comments.  Problem is I deleted over 90% of the negative comments. Keep in mind the more comments this site gets the better. But I am past the point where it’s acceptable to have someone post a short one liner about a host sucking. Yes I approved every single positive comment, so long as it’s on the post about the host. But most of them give me material for a counter response.  What would be better for my traffic ranking are detailed and relevant comments.

If you want to see your negative review appear on my site here are my recommendations:

1. Is it really worth writing a review on?

Are you writing a negative review because you have a burning need to get revenge, or do you want to inform the public about issues with a company? Frankly revenge is time consuming, and rarely ever productive. Not to mention unlike other sites, if I feel that a negative review has  no merit and is simply written by someone with an axe to grind I will mark it as spam.  So if you are not willing to write a meaningful review of a company don’t bother posting on hosting-reviews-exposed.com,

Examples of what justifies a negative review:

  • Where you do not get what was offered.
  • Uptime that is below the guarantee.
  • Mistreatment from a hosting companies employees.
  • Slow server response times
  • Longer than 48 hours to get a response on simple issues.
  • Lack of communication during outages.
  • Fees not covered in the terms of service.
  • Billing after a cancelation
  • Over billing
  • Shut down without reason or evidence
  • Account not set up within 24 hours of receiving a payment from you.

 2. Keep it professional

Nothing kills creditability like coming across as someone with an axe to grind.  Here is what to avoid:

  • Avoid profanity.
  • Avoid all caps (This is a personal pet peeve of mine).
  • Try to maintain some level of correct grammar.
  • Avoid being aggressive.
  • Avoid the use of insults.
  • Avoid words like “lawsuit”, “charge back”, and “scam”.

Reasons for avoiding those words:

First – If you’re still with the host, don’t count on them keeping your site up.  Very rarely do I see a terms of service that does not say they will terminate your site for defamation.

Second – If you are on one of those so called unlimited plans that costs less than $5 a month, you are not likely to get thousands, tens of thousands or more. If you were only willing to pay less than $5 a month or less than $100 a year for hosting how likely are you to put down a $1,000.00 or more just to get the ball rolling on a lawsuit?

Third – Based off my own experience lawsuits in the hosting industry are probable rare. But one thing I am sure any host has encountered and that is a charge back.  Business wise it is the foulest word that one can utter. Once you decide to go public with a threat or acknowledge that you did a chargeback any hope of working with that company is gone for good.

A note on Chargebacks.: As a former owner of a few hosting companies, the word chargeback is enough to make me grind my teeth still. Never mind I have not had to deal with a merchant in almost three years. These days most of my funds are sent by wire. I had spent hours on each chargeback for anything that would help to get the money back. Don’t think that you get the finale say when it comes to getting your money back. I have won 1/3rd of the chargebacks back. Which I believe was due to the person on the other end performing one too many chargebacks. One such idiot had done two chargebacks on my company and that was what sealed the deal on my win. The worst of it was his first charge was for less than $20, the second charge was for over $1000.00.

Chargebacks are a last resort, and should only be used when all other measures are exhausted. Even than I would not recommend it if the charge is small, for you don’t want this charge to work against you when you really need to do a charge back.

3. Details

A review that is one line or a few sentences about a host sucking (or being good) are not going to cut it.

The first detail that should be given is the main domain for an account.

The second is a name (first names alone are ok).

Honestly there is not much point to anonymous reviews. Without these details it easy for a host to dismiss and not even bothering at all with dealing with your complaint. In the case of positive reviews its fodder for a rebuttal. The refusal to give the details only adds to the fun.

Other details that should follow:

  • Copies of emails
  • Billing History
  • Chats
  • Copies of support tickets
  • Screen shots.

The more details about your problem (or perhaps success) with a host the better.

4. Your first response may not be your last response

All too often someone writes a comment positive or negative and I have questions. Maybe the host has a question(s) for the customer. Sometimes the review is just a start. If a host comes forward to work with you, give them a chance. Seriously any host that is willing to try and work things out and not make you out to be a villain is worth a try.  Honestly I think the point of writing a negative review should be bring forward positive change.  At the same time it does not in the end work in a hosts favor if they decide to not try.

Hosting-reviews-exposed.com is not a place to get your company profiled

The last few months have been a hectic nonstop onslaught of work.  As the end of the year comes around my work load starts to lessen, and I find myself looking for content to get me back into the swing of things with hosting-reviews-exposed.com. Inspiration it appears is not far away. All I have to do is look at the email for this site to see tons of requests from companies asking to be profiled, asking for me to write a hosting review. Hosting review is not what I would use to label this site. Sure it is in the title, but so is the word” exposed”.  For some reason the third word in this site’s domain is over looked by not just those looking for a hosting provider, but those who will do anything regardless of ethics to make a buck.

Little has been done by me to actually show anything in the way of use. What few hosts I have used and written a hosting review on are less than stellar.  Godaddy.com was at best luke warm, and up till the point Bob Parson decided to shoot an elephant I had an affiliate link up.  Clearly due to a lack of affiliate commissions between the start of that post to the time Mr. Parson mistakenly thought he could turn a vacation into charity proved I had convinced no one to buy. After all I did not make them look like a long term solution, and probable only best at handling a single page site.

Then there is my hosting review on Mediatemple. Despite two attempts to them to respond to my issues I have yet to get a reply on either post, which makes me think perhaps maybe I will not go back if they are not willing to address issues with their company.

Then there are hosts like Burst.net and Layeredtech.com (formerly Fastservers.net (formally powersurge)), I can only hope that people would take my own problems as a clear reason to avoid those hosts. There are also the hosts that I did not write about like OChosting, serverbeach, dialtone and virtualis all of which have been bought up. Since I had not been with them after they were bought up I did not see a reason to post a hosting review on any of those companies. They may be worse they may be better.

For that matter I had been a customer of another company that merged into ThePlanet. I could give you reasons not to try them under their new ownership Softlayer such as they host webhostingstuff.com. But my relationship with them had little dealings, especially since they have made it a point to stop colocation. My time with ThePlanet and their previous incarnation were less than stellar. The first time I ordered with them I waited 7 days and got nothing, contacted them after seeing I had been billed and had been bullied by a sales rep that insisted I never ordered. Despite in the end proving I was right, the jackass on the other end made it a point to call me and hang up on me at every opportunity. I thought after ThePlanet took over perhaps that would change, clearly the sales rep was gone. But ordering had been a hassle still. I admit they were pretty good at keeping my accounts active, but they were not good at starting accounts. Not to mention there was the matter of a $7,800 they over billed my company, that went unnoticed till we brought on a new accountant. They wanted me to fax them a copy of the billing notices which our accountant got off of their system. It took a whole month before they gave in and did a refund without any apology. Keep in mind this is a company that does not give a lot of slack when it came to paying a bill which I found out after I requested sometime after we had a card that had been compromised.  Not the first of the billing issues I had with their company. Not to mention like Mediatemple.net Theplanet has no interest in customers during the holiday season.  After two bad mergers and a lack of colocation I see no reason to see if Softlayer was worth staying around with.

At this point perhaps the only company I am willing to give a nod to is Rackspace.  Details on that may come at the start of next year. But to be honest I don’t feel all that comfortable to recommending any host on this site.

The original focus of this site has never really been to write hosting reviews. It has been to focus on the hosting review industry. I would like to think that this site is more of a warning.

In short I am writing this to be lazy when responding to hosts when they say something like:

Hi. This is my second time sending you an email on how we can get our business included on your listing. I understand that you might have a lot of inquiries coming but I will greatly appreciate if you will
answer this email. We would like to add our business Budget VM on your VPS Hosting List. What is the procedure? and what about the price?

Thanks.” – Budgetvm.com

We are writing because we are interested to advertise on your website, related to web hosting review niche hosting-reviews-exposed.com. “ – Dailyrazor.com

You currently promote hosting companies via their affiliate system. We would love for you to join ours.” – Interserver.net

we would like to tell you our hosting company Cms Best Hosting” – cmsbesthosting.com

Clearly they want me to do a positive hosting review. As some of them indicate either paying me per review or asking me to join their affiliate program. So in short no one bothered to read what my site is about.

Back in August Ixwebhosting.com was unhappy because they thought I did not have a review about their company.  Sure they could have looked to see if their host was on my site in the search box up in the top right hand corner, or even used a search engine by typing in their site and hosting-reviews-exposed.com.  Since they did not answer my questions I can only assume that they came here because they thought this was a hosting review site.  Being what I would call the ashes of featured price hosting, I could not resist doing a second post.

I realize that most of the review sites out there use gimmicks similar to the theme of this site. Like hostingsthatsuck.com their gig is to dominate “*host name* sucks”, and feed a spill about said company not sucking. They claim there are not that many valid search engine results. Which works so long as the reader looks no further.

Then there is this new trend of review sites that are popping up lately where they state something about the industry being rigged, but you should trust them. They provide a lose list of what to look for in a flawed industry. I think the funniest one was:

Check if there are affiliate programs offered with the service you are interested in. Judging by how much they offer, and how it is offered. Keep in mind, that this is a sliding scale and marketers always barter for better rates in return for better reviews.

So I did as they said, and guess what, the very first list on their top list, you could make $75 – 150.

Just to be clear I am not asking people to trust me, but look for themselves. I point to where I find details.  Did the company say they were 10 years old? Well than let’s have a look at their domain whois, and after that lets look at http://wayback.archive.org. Did a company advertise they offer a 90 day guarantee, but I read the terms of service that states you had to sign up for a year or more. For that I am going to point people to that part in the terms of service where the loop hole was. Don’t take my word for it, and actually look for yourself.

I would like to think I do more than they do, more than just spew out specifications of a company’s packages. Nor give some ramble about how they are the best at, or such and such companies’ focuses on “fill in the blank”. The point of this site is not to help people find a host, it is to see that review sites don’t always have the consumer’s interests in mind. Generally they are paid by hosting provider, most often by affiliate commissions. In short buyer beware, a little doubt is a good thing.

So that we are clear this really isn’t a site about where to find the best host. Its about of all things a review of  hosts who employee hosting reviews.

Over the next few weeks I plan on covering the issues on these sites looking for review sites to endorse them outlining what exactly it is I am looking for.

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 
(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.

Hostdime.com – a VPS customer’s review

Normally Hostdime.com would not find its way on this blog.  I have yet to find it on any of the review sites that I have monitored.  Yet they are guilty of offering so called unlimited space hosting accounts. I could of coarse read their terms of service and find some way out offering you space that goes beyond their profit margin. But hostdime.com’s unlimited space accounts are not the reason for this post.

So if Hostdime.com is not having so-called review sites push their product why would I have a post on them?  Sure I could go into a long rant about the flaws of unlimited hosting.  This is the first time an outsider is responsible for most of the content on a post in this case a friend of mine that has been trying to get me to sign up with hostdime.com for the last few months has had a change of heart.  I had held off on signing up because his few months with the company was not enough to inspire me choose them. At the time he was referring me to hostdime.com I was having my own problems with mediatemple.net.


He decided to write a review on hostdime.com and he did not want to give a flawed review industry anything that would help them. I have yet to post reviews by other people because they all lack any detail and are not willing to answer any more questions.  My friend assures me that he will answer questions and he sent me 3 pages worth of content.  By questions I am referring to either those by me or those that are working at hostdime.com. Hostdime.com like any other host has a right to respond to any post that I write about their company. He of coarse reserves the right to remain anonymous.  I have in the past offered this to people that wanted me to take on their host, but they wanted me to do all of the leg work, which is pointless as I don’t have their experiences to write a review for them.

It’s up to hostdime.com to either take this feedback and improve their services, or outright ignore it and continue on like Burst.net.  Sure Burst.net has lasted more than a decade, but I honestly can say I would not want to run a company that has so much angst against it.

A hostdime.com review

Why am I submitting this post for your blog? Because right now, I have nothing better to do.. all of my HostDime VPS’s are down… All of my friend who I referred to HostDime are b*tching and complaining because all of THEIR virtual private servers are down, too…

So I have nothing better to do while I wait for HostDime to fix the problem… While I wait for the goodwill I created with my clients to erode because of HostDime’s negligence… While I wait for any trust I built with my clients over the course of years to evaporate… While I watch my sites and my business unravel…. While my friends email me with remarks like, “I thought you said HostDime was good…??”

Yeah, it’s hell right now and the bottomline is: HostDime sucks. Oh yes, indeed. HostDime sucks BIG TIME.

Let me explain…

I opened a HostDime VPS account 6 months ago… and I was amazed at the speed of the server. But my amazement was short lived….

At first the speed was breathtaking. It was almost like having my own server. SO I bought another HostDime VPS… and another… and another… all over the course of 2 months. I had 4 VPS’s to host approximately 50 sites total. Yes, a bit exorbitant, I agree… but I believe in safety in numbers. I like to diversify my investment.

At first, I was happy the speed was great. It was amazing. But I was worried…. It looked like all of my VPS’ were on the same node. Cause for alarm? Not by judging the glorious reviews on Webhosting Talk. They all spoke of HostDime’s proactive support and performance…

Well, I know people tend to exaggerate. To be honest, I didn’t find their support that “proactive”. On weekends, I was lucky if I could find a HostDime technician who would answer my chat within 10 minutes. Often times, when I initiated a chat request, I would have to wait 10-15 minutes for an “available operator” to pick up…

Well, I’m a forgiving person by nature. I mean, my troubles weren’t major. I could wait 10 or 15 minutes for an answer to a non-critical question, so all in all I was happy…

So, immediately began referring my friends and clients to HostDime. After all, why keep a good thing to myself, right??


In fact, it seemed like the more people I referred to HostDime who bought their VPS, the slower and slower my own Virtual Private Servers became.

After referring 5 clients to HostDime, I immediately noticed something wrong: They were all placed on the same node as my other 4 HostDime VPS accounts …


Then, within days, it all went bust… All of my VPS accounts… and all of my client’s VPS accounts.

The tragedy began with intermittent uptime. I would go to one of my sites and it would fail to load. I would hit refresh a few times… and then… finally, after a few server errors, they would come back up.

Then my clients began emailing me. “Hey… my VPS is down…  what’s up?”  or “I thought you said HostDime was good. For the third time this week, all of my sites are offline…”

Well, what could I do?  I wasn’t operating HostDime. I just recommened them. I wasn’t working their chat system for them, I was just trying to help my clients by referring them to what I thought was a good host.

Ugh. Was I ever wrong. The problems continued and I became intimate with their support team: Ashton, Christian, Sanjin, Jason…  I knew them well – because I was chatting with them every day, complaining about my VPS’s being offline… and reminding them that my own client’s ALSO were wondering why their own Virtual Private Servers were dead in the water.

Here’s what I learned about their support “methodology”. If you use their chat system, be prepared to for unpredictability.  They might answer right away. Or you might be waiting for for up to 30 minutes all-the-while being exposed to their self-aggrandizing messages such as, “Did you know we have our own data center in Orlando, Florida? Please continue to hold. The next available technician will be with you shortly.”

Now in retrospect, who in their right mind would host with a datacenter in Florida?  Hello? Hurricanes. Torrential rains. Seasonal power outtages. Stupid. Stupid. Stupid.

But I digress…

To make a long story short, right now I’m trying to LEAVE HostDime… but I can’t; I’m their hostage. While my sites are online  and I can access my Webhost Manager (WHM) via VPS, I have absolutely NO FTP access…. So I can’t move my sites off. Whenver I *can* access my sites via FTP, HostDime’s network is grudgingly slow. I  might be able to move two 12KB (yes, kilobytes… tiny, tiny files) files before HostDime’s network crashes.

Simultaneously while I am trying, furtively, to escape HostDime and move my sites away, I have all of those clients I referred to HostDime emailing me… Skyping me… calling me…  saying, in sum:  “Thanks a lot, Assh*le… We trusted you… You can forget about any future business from us”

So here I am…. Waiting… watching my income go down the drain, wondering if I will EVER be able get access to my data on my multiple HostDime VPS accounts… So far, no luck. I have over $15K in developed website inventories…  held hostage by HostDime…. Sites I can’t sell. Sites I can’t move because of HostDime’s stupidity… because of my stupidity for trusting them and their rave reviews on WebhostingTalk.com –

You can say I am bitter, yes. But the fact remains: If HostDime is as successful as they claim to be WHY did they, over the course of 5 months, put me and ALL of my clients onto the same node? It stands to reason that their VPS inventory is limited, that they have few Virtuozzo licenses…. And so they must cram as many VPS clients as they can onto a single server in order to break even. Why else would HostDime oversell a server? There’s not another reason for it?

One final note about HostDime support: It’s formulaic. Is your issue simple or do you just need a reboot? No problem a phone call or a chat is all it takes (if you don’t mind waiting for 10-15 minutes at times). Is your issue complicated? Does it require sophisticated technical expertise? Lo and behold: After chatting with “John” or “Mike” or “Jason” or “Ashston” they will say, “I have to open a ticket for you….” Then, you’re communicating with “Sajin” or “Sachin” or “Inder” or something like that —  outsourced, offshore support. In other words, it appears that HostDime can’t afford “expensive” US-based support for complicated,… If you have a serious problem, a ticket is created… then you wait for an outsourced provider to respond.

That’s where I am right now: My sites are offline. “Ashton” wasn’t able to help me on chat, so now I am waiting for “Sanjin” to respond via the ticket system. Same old story – except this time, that story is coming to an end – finally… just as soon as I can access my sites again and leave HostDime once and for all…

A few thoughts about the hostdime.com review

I have to say I am baffled by the placing of multiple accounts for the same person as well as those that had been referred by said person on the same node. It does not make any sense.  For that matter when I ran a hosting company we made it a practice to not place shared accounts by the same customer on the same server.  While many people were not happy with a practice of manual approval of all orders it did more than just prevent fraud, it allowed for changes such as making sure a customer’s new account was far from existing accounts, even when it came to vps and dedicated plans.

Why would I do that? Well a good example of why not is a customer of mine that had 10 accounts with us.  One of his accounts was on a server that was down for 6 hours.  If all of his accounts had been on that server it would have been very hard for him to justify staying with my previous company hence that old proverb of not putting all of your eggs in one basket. It makes no sense to put them on the same node unless the customer asks for it to be done.  In my experience customers never ask for this.  If anything they ask to be placed far away from existing node, just as I have never had customers ask for their account to be on the same set of IPs.

Hostdime.com questions:

  • Why would all of these accounts be placed on the same node?
  • Are the problems still going on with hostdime.com (realize its less than 12 hours since I was emailed this)?
  • Is the reviewer still in progress of leaving hostdime.com?
  • Exactly what parts of the world are the staff of hostdime.com located?
  • Are different departments stationed at different parts of the world, or are their staff for each department located as these international facilities?

It’s been my experience that many times when someone says they are going to cancel their account, a person is simply letting off anger, perhaps hostdime may retain this customer.

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:


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.


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.


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


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


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.


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

Ixwebhosting.com – How legit are those video testimonials?

Back when I was working on the video that would become the trademark  to this site, I was told to look at ixwebhosting.com.  There was no site at all at the time, I threw it together in less then 30 minutes prior to making the finale sequences of the video.  I was also still in the hosting business running 2 companies starting up a third, and only a year away from the 4th.  One of my business partners wanted me to start a blog, and make a post on ixwebhosting.com / featuredprice.com. I never quite understood the point of doing a blog, let alone  a post on this host at the time.  His reasoning was that the owner of this site operated a company called featuredprice.com, which also had their own review site where they were on top.   That is still a post for another day.  This post is about something I found back in March when I was looking at a anti-ixwebhosting.com blog.  I gave him the idea of looking at the videos.  I noticed one problem, and that was none of the sites existed in 2003, or before ixwebhosting.com came into being.  Granted there are more details.

First let me be clear before I proceed into what I found out about the these video reviews and give you my opinion.  I do NOT think these are fake reviews.  The bulk of what I have found are still with Ixwebhosting.com at this time.

Still with Ixwebhosting.com

Here is a list of all the sites in the videos that are still with Ixwebhosting.com


houndsinthekitchen.com – Created Nov 25, 2008 / Updated Nov 18, 2010 – Ohio
kellsband.com – Created Jul 21, 2005 / Updated Jul 7, 2010 – Ohio
digitaldynamicdesigns.com – Created Sep 16, 2007 / Updated Aug 16, 2010 – Ohio
yunbootcamps.com – Created May 6, 2008 / Updated May 6, 2008 – Ohio
1canalgirl.com – Created Feb 26, 2010 / Updated Jan 27, 2010 – Ohio
djscolumbus.com Created Aug 27, 2009 / Updated Aug 12, 2010 – Ohio
ryanomics.com Created Apr 25, 2006 / Updated Mar 17, 2011 – Ohio
fox-counseling.com Created Feb 13, 2009 / Updated Nov 2, 2010 – *privacy protection*
kellisautosales.com Created Oct 30, 2008 / Updated Sep 30, 2010 – garbage information entered, at risk of having their domain yanked.

The thing I noticed while looking up whois dates and address information was two things.  The oldest site is 2005, and all the sites that did not have privacy protection pointed to Ohio.  Which appears to be where ixwebhosting.com is based out of.  To be exact the addresses are literary  in and around Columbus Ohio.   Which is weird because on the page says is:

IXWebHosting is trusted by over 500,000 websites and their owners all over the world.

As I have repeated many times, the number of websites does not equal the amount of customers.  But numbers are not the issue here, I have no doubt that Ixwebhosting.com may very well have these numbers if not more.  My point is that this page indicates they serve the world, yet all the reviews are one tiny spot of the planet. I am willing to bet all the videos were done by the same crew.  Not to mention the videos are hosted on Ixhosting.com, not with youtube.com which could generate traffic.  Not to mention they could feed in more customer reviews that are from around the world.  Back when my oldest host turned 8 years old we had started to ask for testimonials.  When we sent the first mail out asking for them, we did not ask everyone.  We asked people from the first year.   I did not care that they may have been paying less then $10 a month, I wanted feed back from people that had stayed with us since the beginning as who better to give a testimonial?  Made it a point to show case their site, as Ixwebhosting.com has done.  Also when they signed up, which Ixhosting.com has not done.  Granted these were not video testimonials as Ixwebhosting.com has done.  Granted the updated does not always indicate when the dns was changed, but I am willing to guess that most of these customer signed up in 2010.

No Longer with Ixwebhosting.com

esotercdetail.com (no longer exists)

servicemasterelectric.com, Site appears to be under a whois privacy, Updated April 8, 2011

nateriggs.com Updated Mar 17, 2011- Ohio

ast.edu updated May 20, 2010 – Ohio

Here are two video reviews I found on the main page that were not on testimonials page.  Which appears to be due to not being with IXwebhosting.com

Collegeprops.com *private registration* Updated Jul 7, 2011.

Mpex.com, while the domain shows a PA address, the site itself has a Columbus Ohio address. updated  April 19, 2010.

Joe Cortez, no website listed, but how ever there is a Linkedin.com profile for someone with the same name in Ohio who is a webmaster.  However I have no idea if he is still with them or if he left.  A bit bizzare considering all the other reviews list a website.

I will try to contact some of  people whose sites are no longer hosted with Ixwebhosting to get their take.