Interserver.net – The Next Top Host? Part 1

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Interserver.net finds its way to my blog not because I found them on a review site. Instead they clearly were shopping around for review sites that will promote them.  Originally I had planned to write this post on Interserver.net back in October, which sort of mutated to a full scale write up of all the hosts that had written me in 2012 asking me to write a post about them.  That soon fell apart because I don’t always have an abundance of time. So in short I am going to take Interserver.net the second highest on traffic stats to ask me to advertise them. The top host in traffic stats was done last year (ixwebhosting.com).  Since I don’t have a lot of time and may only get a few more posts done this month I am going to start with outlining how wrong interserver.net’s email exchange was and plan to do a review of interserver.net (terms of service, affiliate program, ect, ect). If next month is not as busy as the last few months I may come back to the topic of other hosts that thought it was a smart idea to offer to pay for a review.  Those reviews will be based off traffic stats from highest to lowest.

How do I know Interserver.net was shopping around for review sites?

Because a rep at Interserver.net sent me this on September 19, 2012 and twice on September 20, 2012 when I did not respond.

Hello,

You currently promote hosting companies via their affiliate system. We
would love for you to join ours. We are a simple and low priced
hosting company. We offer web hosting and VPS. Our prices start at $6
paid monthly not yearly or more like most hosts.

We are paying $100 per sale. Our EPC is $425.

We are part of the CJ affiliate network.

If you are not a member you can sign up at cj.com. Our merchant id is
3812192 and Interserver is the company.

If you have any feedback please respond back to me. If you do not want
to join our program please let me know why and if there is anything we
can do.

Thank you,

Okay at best I think it is safe to assume that Mike of Interserver.net glanced over my site. Copied and paste a ready-made response to anyone he thought that might promote his company. Two words attracted him, “hosting” and “reviews”. The third word in this site’s domain was completely ignored which is “exposed”.  Michael also ignored my contact form that made it clear I would post his email. So I sent a warning.

Hello Michael,

No there are no hosting affiliate programs on this site, simply Adsense. Not to mention what you see on for ads depends on what you were looking at in search engines. Clearly you have no idea what hosting-reviews-exposed.com does. The purpose of this site is to expose unethical web host marketing. Like for example a host contacting review sites to get them to promote their company.  While that review site does nothing to disclose their relationship with the hosting provider.

I suggest before emailing any other site, especially if you are under the assumption they are a review site you actually read their content before sending them an email.

Please be advised that if I find your site on any so called top 10 lists or other so called review sites I will post this email.

Regards,

Benjamin

The last response I got from Mike of interserver.net:

Sorry for the miss understanding. But your right 99% of all review sites are promotions for affiliate programs. Make that all review sites. Add all coupon code sites to the list. When I am looking for information about a product I am looking to purchase lets say a vacuum all the information is garbage. Google will eventually catch on to this and make review sites that are affiliate linking go away. But until then google ads is not enough marketing for a hosting company. So when you do see us on review sites with affiliate links I am accomplishing my objective. 

I appreciate your time and keep up the good work. 

-mike

Let’s read between the lines, in short the rest of the industry is doing this, so interserver.net will to for as long as it is feasible. That is why interserver.net went from being on warning to being on my to do list.

Before I go into what is so wrong about this email exchange with interserver.net, about this part of the first 3 emails “Our prices start at $6 paid monthly not yearly or more like most hosts.”.  First off that is not true. When I first looked they had more than monthly pricing. I have found annual pricing on interserver.net’s packages as well as monthly terms.

internetserver pricing copy

Then they added semi-annual, biannual and 3 year pricing.

interserver new pricing

I don’t see an issue on what terms a customer pays. I personally made it as flexible as possible and the more a customer paid up front the cheaper per month their account was. The limits of how much time a customer paid were pretty much dictated by my merchant. But to be honest I preferred they paid month to month as to avoid lose income from the discount. Some people prefer to pay more than a month, for reasons not always in relation to the discount. The less billing options you have the less likely someone is going to want to sign up.

As for this nonsense about Google catching on is also just that nonsense. Google can build the proverbial better mouse trap, but the problem is those proverbial mice evolve. Truth be told those proverbial mice seem to evolve faster than Google even thinks about adapting.  Over 5 years I have seen auto blogs lose no traction in search engine relevance. Blogs that are ran purely off spun content (ones that would make the people who love to check the grammar on my site go nuts (sorry my typing is not that great on my iPad/iPhone)). When Google attempts to adapt those adaptions are not always well thought out. Like there October implementation that hurt traffic for domains like hosting-reviews-exposed.com because of the dash(es) in the domain. Relevance could very well be the undoing on Google.

The second thing that is stupid about Michael of Interserver.net thoughts on Google is that Google would remove sites with affiliate programs out of search engine results. The only sites that I have made that do not have affiliate programs in them are generally religious and political sites. Not to mention sites that sells their own products, but sometimes they also have ads up for products that complement their own offering. Most sites that I build are made for the purpose of advertising and/or using affiliate programs.

Commission Junction (cj.com) has over 1000 companies that use them to get affiliates (interserver.net among them). Which leads to all of those affiliates with legitimate content. Legitimate content that people search for on Google.  Don’t forget that Google has its own advertising program called Adsense.  Which you can find Affiliates of CJ.com and other programs vying for desirable keywords.  Which leads to the question: how much in advertising fees would Google lose if they kept sites with affiliate programs off their search engine?

Which begs the question how will Interserver.net get customers if search engines don’t show case sites with affiliate programs? After all I Interserver.net can’t find what key words would be ideal to target for a company trying to get in the same ranks as hostgator.com and godaddy.com.

Also the other reason that Michael of Interserver.net does not know what he is talking about; Google has their own affiliate Network.  It’s called Google Affiliate Network.

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