Ixwebhosting.com: Digitalfaq.com (your affiliate) is trashing your company

Ixwebhosting.com has in the past responded to past posts, and I hope they will do so again. Because one of their affiliates is trashing their company. Clearly it makes no sense for Ixwebhosting.com to pay someone that is telling people to avoid Ixwebhosting.com.

A few months ago I encountered Digitalfaq.com, a forum that is trying to be a review site. Despite claiming to be an expert on hosting, they provide nothing that will prove they have used the hosts they recommend or advice to avoid. There is no data that might help prove a host is good or bad.

But when I pointed out that Digitalfaq.com had affiliate links to hosts bash the brand for like Ixwebhosting.com the owner had this to say:

http://www.digitalfaq.com/forum/myths/5061-hosting-reviews-exposedcom.html

Second, if somebody is stubborn, and going to sign up with one of those hosts anyway — likely due to the lure of cheap “unlimited” — then yes, we’ll take the affiliate commission for it.

Personally if I was the owner of Ixwebhosting.com I would  at least cancel their affiliate membership, if not seek collecting any payments that were made to digitalfaq.com. Their membership id is PID=3235990.

This is what Digitalfaq.com has to say about ixwebhosting.com

So perhaps Ixwebhosting.com may not be sold on that, more proof is needed that Digitalfaq.com is really trashing their brand. Well there is a whole post designated for just that:

http://www.digitalfaq.com/forum/web-hosting/3009-ixwebhosting-review-good.html

IX is a Commission Junction affiliate, and has a payout of $50-150 per sale. (All CJ publishers can readily see what the payouts amounts are, so this is a verifiable fact.) So when you see “review sites” with IX listed as a “top rated” host, you know why. What they really mean is “IX pays us the most, so buy from them so we can get our $50-150”. By contrast, quality hosts generally cannot afford to pay out more than $5-25 per sale, because they actually invest their income in quality hardware, quality bandwidth, quality datacenters (rental or otherwise), as well as trained/knowledgeable support techs.

Every place I look that ixwebhosting.com shows up on Digitalfaq.com I find the clickable link. Clicking the link for I find the following code in the URL for Ixwebhosting.com PID=3235990.

Not to mention some of the hosting companies that digitalfaq.com recommends do a lot of what ixwebhosting.com does.

The following hosts depend on the amount of sales per month. So if you only bring in 1 customer you get the lowest amount, or should you bring in more 10 or more you may get the max per sale.

  • Jaguarpc.com $65 – $110 (65 – $125 per sale through cj.com)
  • Downtownhost.com $40 – $100
  • Arvixe.com $70 – $135
  • Glowhost.com $50 – $125
  • Siteground.com $50 – $150 (cj.com-/$7 – 80 per sale through cj.com)
  • Inmotionhosting.com $50 – $100 ($100 per sale through cj.com)
  • Hostdime.com $40 – $150
  • Site5.com $25 – $100

But some of these hosts upon review find themselves on “review sites”. I search for a few that I knew are frequently on review sites with the term “*host name* reviews” and here is what I found.

  • Arvixe.com – Hosting-review.com
  • Inmtotionhosting.com – webhostinggeeks.com
  • Siteground.com – besthostsdirectory.com
  • Glowhost.com – hostingsthatsuck.com.

Arvixe.com, siteground.com, inmotionhosting.com, and Site5.com all magically appeared on webhostingstuff.com, a review site that charged host for being in the 1 – 25 spots. A small summation how webhostingstuff.com was not to be trusted.

http://hosting-reviews-exposed.com/webhostingstuff-com/webhostingstuff-com-a-rigged-contest.html

Any surprise that hosts that find themselves on other so called review sites are also on digitalfaq.com? One has to wonder if Digitalfaq.com feels they have not got enough payments from Ixwebhosting.com and changed their stance.

But there are companies that pay out far more than Ixwebhosting.com such as:

Liquidweb.com $60 -$5000 or 5% reoccurring commission.

Back when I first looked at the host Digitalfaq.com recommended I found that 89% of the hosts they recommend have very clear affiliate programs. 2 of the three had affiliate login areas. The one host that did not have a clear affiliate program had WHMCS which has a built in affiliate manager.

http://hosting-reviews-exposed.com/review-sites-exposed/digitalfaq-com-whinny.html

Digitalfaq.com goes further to trash Ixwebhosting.com

You’ll see these sorts of hosts referred to as “oversellers” or “unlimited” hosts. This is because they’ll oversell their services, stuffing too many clients onto a single server, which causes everything to run slow. And because resources are finite — there’s no such thing as an “unlimited speed” CPU or an “unlimited size” chip of RAM — you’ll find that there are very narrow limits on what can be done with your hosting account. These limitations are buried in their site documentation, such as the Terms of Service. Unless you’re hosting a teeny tiny little HTML-only homemade site for personal use, then you’ll want to seek better quality services. These are NOT business-grade plans, as uptime tends to be unreliable, and there’s little room for expanding your site (including more traffic as your business becomes more popular). For that matter, it can be unacceptable for a high-traffic personal site.

And to make the situation ironic, many of the better hosts are the same price, or even a little less costly. Go figure. The primary difference is a good host puts a cap on the space and bandwidth you’re allotted. It’s not “unlimited”.

But Digitalfaq.com changed their stance on Unlimited hosts back in March.

Excluding a few well-managed hosts like JaguarPC or Site5, unlimited hosting plans are impossible, made with promises that cannot be kept.

http://www.digitalfaq.com/forum/web-hosting/5089-top-hosts-2013-a.html

Why Digitalfaq.com change their mind on recommending unlimited should be clear. After all how much did those two hosting companies pay out?

  • Jaguarpc.com $65 – $110 (65 – $125 per sale through cj.com)
  • Site5.com $25 – $100

Most review sites don’t link back to host they don’t recommend. Especially when they make it a point to capitalize on trashing a host while recommending another.

I meant to do this sooner, but as I have stated many times before this site does not pay the bills. That and I have a new house being built, the time table was recently moved up from being finished in late October to late July. Just in case Digitalfaq.com thinks I lost interest. I plan on doing one of these posts for every host that digitalfaq.com chooses to trash like ixwebhosting.com. For those that ask by no means is this a defense of Ixwebhosting.com. I just feel that two wrongs do not equal a right. If digitalfaq.com’s actions did not influence a customer to choose Ixwebhosting.com, than they should not be paid for that referral.

Here is who they recommend instead of Ixwebhosting.com:

Again, if you want an enterprise-grade quality host, look at EuroVPS.

If you want a cheap host, that still has some quality, look at Stablehost or Ninjalion Hosting.

  • EuroVPS.com – $26
  • Stablehost.com – $25
  • Ninjalion.com- $30

I am sure that would include some of the hosts they now recommend that offer unlimited hosting.  Because the current list is between $25 – $500. So the very reasons that Digitalfaq.com uses to claim that Ixwebhosting.com is a bad host, makes them a bad review site.

Just in case Digtalfaq.com decides to change or delete their post here is a screen shot.

Ixwebhosting review  Are they a good host for my website  - digitalFAQ.com Support Forum (1) copy copy

So in short Digitalfaq.com claims that they are a bad host based on their being with CJ.com and offering payouts near the same as the hosts they recommend. Ixwebhosting.com is also a bad host because they offer a unlimited hosting.com.

Ixwebhosting.com has a clause that makes it very clear they can terminate bad affiliates:

http://www.ixwebhosting.com/affiliates/tos

F. Defamation/Libel

You agree that in the course of any performance under this agreement or otherwise with respect to any dealings between you and IX Web Hosting that you will not transmit any information which is or might be considered to be defamatory or libelous.

Clearly claims of a high affiliate program (that Digitalfaq.com clearly signed up for) and unlimited hosting are all points to be used against choosing a host like Ixwebhosting.com are grounds for removal.”

So one has to ask, will Ixwebhosting.com take action on this rouge affiliate Digitalfaq.com?

Digitalfaq.com – Hypocrite – whinny disclaimer / excuses Part 3

Digitalfaq.com on my first inspection did not have a disclaimer. But on second review I see this at the bottom of a lengthy fact less sales spill:

Disclaimer: If one of our suggested hosts has an affiliate program, great, we join it, and the funds are used to support the costs of maintaining this site. If not, oh well, good is good, and they still get our suggestion. A few splog owners have contacted us, crying that we’re hypocrites by having some links that earn small affiliate payments ($10-15 average), yet deriding their spammy sites for doing the same. Sorry, but it’s NOT the same — it’s not even close. Our list is based on quality of hosts, not their payouts. If this list was based on payouts alone, it would recommend high-paying ($100+) lousy operations like GodaddyIXWebHosting or Bluehost. Notice that our #1 suggestion, EuroVPS, had no affiliate program for years.

http://www.digitalfaq.com/forum/web-hosting/4432-top-hosts-2013-a.html

Digitalfaq.com March 19, 2013 Host recommendations

I am not calling the owner of Digitalfaq.com a hypocrite for having affiliate links. As for EuroVPS having an affiliate program, good for them. But is Digitalfaq.com implying that because Eurovps.com did not have an affiliate program that somehow it’s bad for a host to start out with one?  Digitalfaq.com’s disclaimer implies that affiliate program are some how wrong,

I am calling the owner a hypocrite for not providing any data, just stereotypes. After all Digitalfaq.com claims their rankings are based off of server/network performance. That means Digitalfaq.com should have at least data for one of the many measures that determine if a host is good or not. Another detail that would go father is/are domain(s) that were hosted with companies that Digitalfaq.com claims to have used.  Which would allow anyone to see if that more than a single web page was put up, or a full working site(s). Data that is far more valuable than just having the uptime of the hosting companies site’s server ( For those not aware an established host is not going to keep their main site on the same server as their customers). The data would be even better if backed by a third party like Pingdom. Instead like all so called review sites Digitalfaq.com wants you to take their word for it. Never mind there are no list of domains hosted currently with the recommended hosts (not even going to start with domains no longer hosted with the recommended), with a detailed history.  That was after all one of the criteria, detailed reviews. Instead Digitalfaq.com can’t even offer a up time % for any of the hosts they recommends servers.

Digitalfaq.com is doing the same concept that every review site they want you to avoid does. It would be a cleaver (though dishonest) trick if the fake hosting review industry had not already thought about that one. Webhostingstuff.com one of the oldest of fake review sites says “Unlike some dubious “top  10 hosting sites” that promote web hosts based on affiliate commissions, our fair our fair and honest ranking system helps visitors find the real top web hosting companies.”.  Instead webhostingstuff.com (not a blog) had hosts bid on the top 25 positions (the only affiliate program they ever appeared to use was Hostgator.com). The same owner of webhostingstuff.com also owns other sites that does exactly what Michael Low preaches against on webhostingstuff.com on sites like hostaz.com (which runs off affiliate commisions, with so called top 10 format, and no not a blog).

Is Digitalfaq.com the same as all the other so called hosting review sites?

In short yes. What Digitalfaq.com fails to do at the very first in what is a very long post is disclose up front they earn money if you sign up with one of the hosts they recommend. Many so called review sites claim their competitors are being dishonest. Nothing more than a slight of hand trick. Take the obvious and use it for distraction. Instead of providing data like many so called review site, Digitalfaq.com provides stereotypes as a distraction from the lack of facts.The disclaimer reads like one written with a kid caught with his hands in the cookie jar.

the funds are used to support the costs of maintaining this site

I can say the same, what Hosting-reviews-exposed.com brings in does not cover the costs of running it.  Yet I would be lying if I said I would not like it to make insane profits. Also unlike Digitalfaq.com I disclose that I make a commission up front whenever I have recommend a product (example Kindle Fire). Yet some how Digitalfaqcom, whom I seen nothing declaring they were a non-profit organization, though they take donations seems uncomfortable with making buck.

If Digitalfaq.com had disclosed up front their relationship with the hosts lists, I doubt I would have read any further. Making a commission off a recommendation is not evil. But instead to distract from what they are doing they bring up the behavior of other so called hosting review sites.  Yet that alone was not enough from my attention deficit order from distracting me.   I was only further inspired when they broke from what was a very good recommendation “A bad host promises ridiculous limits — or no limits at all! Unlimited! Yeehaw!” . This only drove me to want to address the inaccuracies in their claims. Clearly getting $25 – $150 + (by plus I mean bonuses when you sign up a certain number) per sign up was hard for Digitalfaq.com to resist.

Digitalfaq.com’s Top Hosts 2013

As I mentioned in my last post, I notices affiliate links the moment I started clicking on hosts listed. Yet that was not my first clue that they were part of a affiliate program. It was the fact that Digitalfaq.com had coupons. After the addition of unlimited hosts I decided to see who had an affiliate program and how much they paid out. Plus on average what is the payout? Was it really as little as $16? I visited every site and found the least each host had was an affiliate login area.  Breakdown is Affiliate page / payout. Those with (NEW) were added after I started, not to imply that they are a new host.

Digitalfaq.com’s Best Web Hosts / Overall Hosts

  1. http://www.eurovps.com/blog/post/affiliate-program 20 Euro = $26
  2. http://www.stablehost.com/affiliates.php $25
  3. http://www.jaguarpc.com/affiliates/ $65 – $110 (based off number of sales)
  4. http://www.hostingzoom.com/affiliate-program.php $65 (NEW)
  5. http://www.downtownhost.com/affiliate-program.php $40 – $100 (based off number of sales)
  6. http://www.mddhosting.com/affiliates.php  $15 – $25
  7. https://affiliates.arvixe.com/ $70 – $135 (based off number of sales)
  8. http://www.hawkhost.com/Affiliate 25% Up to $159.87 based off step 1 of shopping cart on highest plan
  9. https://secure.ninjalion.com/index.php?/affiliates/ $30

Removed from the list is:

http://asmallorange.com/affiliate/ 200% of monthly price up to $200

No explanation to the retraction by Digitalfaq.com.

Digitalfaq.com’s Best Unlimited Hosts

  1. http://www.site5.com/affiliates/ $25 – $100 (based off number of sales)
  2. http://www.jaguarpc.com/affiliates/ $65 – $110 (based off number of sales)
  3. https://affiliates.arvixe.com/ $70 – $135 (based off number of sales)
  4. Glowhost.com – http://www.shareasale.com/shareasale.cfm?merchantID=17701 $50 – $125, + bonus at sale 10 of $100, Bonus at Sale 25, $500. (NEW)
  5. http://www.inmotionhosting.com/hosting_affiliate_program.html $50 – $100 (based off number of sales)
  6. http://support.froghost.com/index.php?/Knowledgebase/Article/View/149/25/do-you-have-an-affiliate-program 50% Up to $215.10 based off highest item found on product page
  7. http://www.wirenine.com/affiliates/ $50
  8. http://www.siteground.com/affiliate_program.htm  $50 – $150 (based off number of monthly sales).

Digitalfaq.com’s Best Reseller hosts

  1. http://www.mddhosting.com/affiliates.php  $15 – $25
  2. http://www.hostdime.com/affiliates/ $40 – $150
  3. http://www.stream101.com/affiliate/ 15% – highest possible is $15 based off order=form.
  4. http://www.site5.com/affiliates/ $25 – $100 (based off number of sales) (new to list)
  5. Geekstorage.com – http://www.geekstorage.com/about-geekstorage/affiliate-program.html $25 – $75 (NEW)
  6. http://www.downtownhost.com/affiliate-program.php $40 – $100 (based off number of sales) (new to list)
  7. http://www.stablehost.com/affiliates.php $25
  8. http://www.eurovps.com/blog/post/affiliate-program 20 Euro = $26
  9. Hostingzoom.com (labeled Reseller Zoom) https://www.hostingzoom.com/affiliate-program.php  $65 (NEW)
  10. http://www.jaguarpc.com/affiliates/ $65 – $110 (based off number of sales)
  11. https://www.crocweb.com/clients/affiliates.php no clear info, but affiliate login area present

Digitalfaq.com’s Best VPS Hosts

  1. http://www.eurovps.com/blog/post/affiliate-program 20 Euro = $26
  2. http://fhpp.futurehosting.biz/  100% – $709.95 based off highest item in shopping cart
  3. Mediatemple
  4. http://www.liquidweb.com/cn/c/refer/index.html One time commission $60 – $5000 or 5% reoccurring monthly
  5. http://www.downtownhost.com/affiliate-program.php $40 – $100 (based off number of sales)
  6. Solarvps.com – http://www.dedicateddollars.com/ Tier 1 ( 0- 9 sales monthly (75% of first bill), Tier 2 (10 – 19 sales monthly) 100% of first bill, Tier 3 (20 + sales monthly). (NEW)
  7. http://www.jaguarpc.com/affiliates/ $65 – $110 (based off number of sales) 125% of first bill.
  8. http://www.knownhost.com/affiliate/ $25
  9. http://www.wiredtree.com/affiliate/ 75% probable $3985.65 based off of highest item
  10. Modvps.com – part of Hostingzoom.com http://www.modvps.com/affiliate-program.php $65  (NEW)
  11.  http://www.hostv.com/affiliates.shtml Double the monthly amount, possible $690 based off order page
  12. BuyVM.net not program found, however WHMCS present and has affiliate capabilities. Domain creation April 26, 2010. (NEW)
  13. Evolucix.com, https://www.evolucix.com/clients/affiliates.php no information available however noticeable affiliate login area from the Client area (NEW)

Two new additions are not 5 years old (as Digitalfaq.com recommends) based off domain creation.

Ecolucix.com – Domain Creation October 19, 2011
BuyVM.net – Domain creation April 26, 2010 (though the design looks like it’s over a decade old).

Other than crocweb.com (which seems like a rip-off of hostgator) and Buyvm.net every host has a clear and present affiliate program. Despite the lack of information for an affiliate program for crocweb.com there is a login area for affiliates, and Buyvm.net has WHMCS which has affiliate capabilities. An average is hard to determine without spending more time taking into account of hosts that pay base on percentage,   $16 does not appear the average, but many of these companies . Once again no data to validate how each host earned a recommendation.

Its worth noting that only one host offers does not offer payments in the U.S. dollar ($), and that is the host that Digtalfaq.com has gone on the record for hosting with Eurovps.com. Which pays more than $16 per signup.

Either the owner of Digitalfaq.com doesn’t understand that not all hosting review sites work the same, or is neglecting to leave it out.

After all Digitalfaq.com’s disclaimer seems to insist that the FCC is going after blogs(As if all review sites were blogs). That the problem was all about affiliate commissions, yet they signed up for affiliate programs if they were there. That assumption alone tells you that Digitalfaq.com is not a source for facts.

My last Digitalfaq.com post will cover what they don’t understand about review sites.

Digitalfaq.com – Hypocrite – Claims of what makes a great host Part 2

Digitalfaq.com’s Top hosts of 2013 post claims to have the magic formula to spot a bad host. Never mind they have their own recommendations on who to host with.  But do the hosts Digitalfaq.com recommends stack up against their advice? Not to mention is the advice valid.

There is a site that has their own advice; it’s a review site that does not always focus on who gives the highest payout. Instead this is one of the few “blog” review sites out there that Digitalfaq.com claims the FTC is after.

I find those sites vulgar and unethical. Affiliate-driven lists are a cancer on the Internet, and to communication in general. In fact, that’s why the FTC has been more involved in blogging since 2009, to combat this nuisance.

http://www.digitalfaq.com/forum/web-hosting/4432-top-hosts-2013-a.html

An inaccurate statement, designed to draw your attention away from digitalfaq.com’s lack of data on the hosts they recommend. But this post is not the only one I have found that does not deal in facts. I’ll cover that in my last post about digitalfaq.com.

Digitalfaq.com’s attempt at distraction, or what they claim makes a great host.

Most review sites I have encountered are not blogs.  But hostingsthatsucks.com is one of the few exceptions. Sure they have their own top list of hosts. Yes all of the top hosts featured on the list are high payouts. But their approach is not to just focus on the high payouts, but any payout even if it’s a few bucks. The company focuses on being on the top of search engines for a specific kind of search. This is where the blog comes into play, with a theme of “(Hostname) sucks)”.  But seldom do the hosts that show up there actually suck (though that seems to change based on affiliate commissions or their free hosting is shut off). They used to be pretty good at being in the top of that particular search engine result but lately their traffic has been taking a dive. Zyma.com got one of their “reviews”, which was also without fact. Not to mention their site failed to mention that this site was brand new. My counter posts earned me the title of Benjamin the Grumpy blogger because I had addressed why a brand spanking new company had no negative reviews.

http://hosting-reviews-exposed.com/unlimited-hosting/zyma.html

Sure I was accused of not liking new hosts, but I am more hurt by the fact that this site was not referenced (ok not really). The fact that Zyma.com had no negative reviews  (or any reviews) worked perfectly into Hostingsthatsucks.com’s formula. Which is to be on the first page, and better yet first result for when every you searched for “(hostname) sucks”, and than claim that the company has few negative reviews, or few valid negative reviews therefore the hosting company which they happen to be an affiliate for does not suck. Going through the searches myself I often found more than the claimed “few” results. It does not take a lot for them to make a page and spin the concept of less “sucks” results for a host = “good”, “so no need to look further click now, oh and we have coupons”. Hostingsthatsuck.com didn’t follow FTC compliance until I brought it up with Endurance International Group. But they are a blog, yet they don’t always go for the highest payout. But I will get into that with my last post.

Just like Hostingsthatsuck.com, they want you to see a lengthy post and than buy from one of the hosts on the list. But do any of these points have merit and/or do all the hosts live up to these standards?

Digitalfaq.com’s Points: Professional skills./ Wisdom only by age

The first two seem to be a knock against the young. Despite all of my years doing business online I have yet to come to a point where I suspected the person on the other side was a child. Though this may be an interesting point should Hostgator.com manages to find itself on the list. I have to ask is there anyone that knows the exact age of the person they are communicating with? There are times I don’t even know the gender on the other end.   Decades of good living have people checking my id and doing a double take whenever I buy over the counter allergy drugs. I hope that they are not just flattering me and that I do look more than a decade younger than I am.  Talking to your host generally involves dealing with them by phone, ticket, chat system, email, possible a forum, and maybe if you really like them their social media. You generally do not get to see how old the person is on the other side. While age is not apparent in communications, professionalism and skill are.

I got started in webhosting at a young age, and my current age is one of those facts I don’t care to share as its bad enough by this point I am reminded of my own mortality. My start came about from someone who had found my design work online he had helped me to get more clients and eventually to start 4 hosting companies. He was about 30. However it would be our other business associates that would be the road blocks to success.

If you read my blog earlier you will know about two of my business partners. The first of which was a man (age 52) who had 5 years of technical experience, 20 years’ experience of running his own company. We will call him Bob.  However at the greatest hour Bob freaked out. In a mere week we had over 5000 clients.  My first business partner and I were ecstatic, especially after months of work and spending our own finances it appeared we were near reaping the fruit of our labors. Not to mention this was miles beyond our expectations. For which everyone but Bob was working on how to adapt. Instead of remaining calm and hiring more people and buying more servers, Bob decided to lock us out. It was sheer lunacy. Talks of hiring more people and buying more equipment despite growing profits had alarmed him.  He had never had an influx of customers on this scale before. The first Business partner held control of the domain. Two weeks after the site launched, it died.  To this day my first business partner owns the domain, it’s a sad reminder of what might have been.

My first business partner and I went on to form 4 more hosting companies after that, to this day they are still around. Years later after launched a successful company he sent me an email wondering if we had a place for him. I blocked his email.

Due to a non-disclosure agreement I can’t discuss names. But I am not restrained from telling about our second business partner/CTO and how he almost killed our second attempt at a hosting company. We will call him Bruce. Bruce was 48, (64 now) more than double my age. He had 4 years of experience of running his own private hosting company and despite his failures continues to run it to this day. He also had 7 years of hosting tech experience. On top of that he had 7 years of software development experience. Despite all those years of experience, Bruce did not have the wisdom for success. Our CEO and I (CFO) had no idea how bad he was, because he appeared to be doing his part until a month after the launch. Between poor choices of script installment, bullheaded behavior towards hiring more techs despite a huge influx of customers, and apathy when it came to any form of a business meeting it was clear he was not someone you wanted in your company. Not to mention if he had been left unchecked he would have been cramming customers like sardines.

The nail in the partnership was when Bruce claimed to be taking time off for a funeral. Funny thing is his mom sent pictures of him para-sailing to the CEO’s mother

Putting that aside there are a lot of teenagers out there that have contributed to the internet, so before you go knocking them make sure you are not using any of their creations. Age does not equal wisdom. If anything Digitalfaq.com has alienated a demographic.

Digitalfaq.com’s Point: Ownership and investment

In short the claim is ownership equals a reason to stick around. This may be true for many hosts, however there is no true data available to make a rational grounds for holding against a host not owning their own data center or servers. After all hostgator.com uses softlayer.com (formerly theplanet.com). I have no idea if they lease or own the servers. Note: hostgator.com (a host that offers unlimited hosting) is a sponsor of Digitalfaq.com.

But while we are the subject of companies like hostgator.com that use softlayer.com’s data centers; the following hosts that appear on digitalfaq.com’s top hosting list are also with Softlayer.com.

  • Asmallorange.com
  • Hawkhost.com
  • Site5.com (theplanet network info)
  • Froghost.com
  • Futurehosting.com

Furthermore the following hosts that do not appear to have their own data centers:

  • Downtownhost.com – Delaware U.S. owner, server in Argentina
  • Ninjalion.com – (belongs to downtownhost.com based off whois info) Delaware U.S. Owner, server in Buenos Aires
  • Stream101.com – private network info
  • Knownhost.com – private network info
  • Hostv.com – Osogrande.com servers

I can’t say with 100% certainty that they don’t own their own data centers. Nor would I know if they are not if they own their own servers.

Needless to say there is one unifying factor that all hosts find a reason to stick around rather they own their servers and data centers, and that is reoccurring income.

On a side note, Hostgator.com is a sponsor of Digitalfaq.com.

46bbf7b1-d2af-4789-af58-e5b349c9160e

Digitalfaq.com’s Point: Earned reputation

This is where I call bull shit, and yes I used a colorful metaphor. Reviews even with great detail may not tell the whole story. Just as all so called review sites may not be in it for large payouts.

One thing that I personally kills a review no matter how detailed as I have previously mentioned sif a domain is missing from the hosting review it is worthless. I see no data with this list of stereotypes that indicates any sites that are hosted with these “approved hosts” Domains give you a chance to look at the whois to see how old the site is and if they actually are hosted with whom they claim to be hosted with to see how long they have been hosted with the company they claim to be with. Not to mention actually looking at the site gives you some back ground into what kind of customer they may be. A just bought domain name, with a single page website can also make a review worthless. Another part to the domain is if the Whois info tells you that the hosting company owns the domain in the review (something I have caught some hosts doing).

Just as positive reviews are not an end all indicator of service; the same can be said of negative reviews. Happy customers are far less likely to write a review than an unhappy customer when it comes to hosting. A webhost is not going to get the same fandom like say Star Wars. Not to mention who is to say if detailed reviews are not being written by a host, and detailed negative reviews by competitors or customers that no one can please. Over the last few years I have found fivver.com, where surprisingly you can pay people to buy a cheap kindle book and give it 1 or more positive reviews. At the same time there are those that offer to buy your competitors book and write negative reviews.  For that matter the amount of likes on Facebook, followers on twitter, or other social media that can be bought as well.  I have seen 12,000 likes on Facebook for as little as $5. There are companies out there that specialize in nothing more than providing a false start, many calling themselves Reputation experts/SEO experts.

Speaking of companies that deal in providing reputation some of the companies on Digitalfaq.com’s recommendation list I have caught dealing with one of the worst hosting review sites out there, webhostingstuff.com:

These hosts paid not in affiliate commissions, but bid against one another for positions in a top 25 host list on webhostingstuff.com

Digitalfaq.com has no links to any solid reviews.

Digitalfaq.com’s Point: Successful longevity

As a general rule most businesses are likely to fail in the first 5 years, however that does not mean that a company will stand the test of time after 5 years. In my time hosting has greatly evolved. Social Media, Unlimited, Cloud and VPS hosting was not even a concept when I first started. FrontPage used to be something we highlighted to bring customers in.  Making your site compatible for a phone would have been a laughable concept. But here we are.

What Digitalfaq.com seems to neglect here is that a new company may be eager to bring in new customers. They have more at stake than an established company with a steady source of renewals. So ruling a company out because they are less than 5 years old does not make a lot of sense. At the same time reoccurring income is a great motivator for any company to keep going, and eventually get their own data center and servers. I for one was guilty of loving the reoccurring customers more than new customers.  Remarkable there are hosts out there that manage to scrape by on 10 year old concepts and terrible service. Like Burst.net.

Digitalfaq.com has another area they failed to disclose, and that is not every host on their list is 5 years +. One method I have to find out how old a site is by reviewing whois info. My preferred site is: http://centralops.net/co/DomainDossier.aspx

I have found many companies in the past that will try to claim they are a certain age. Like a company called mindshark.ca. They claimed that they started in November 2006, despite their domain being registered in 2010.

http://hosting-reviews-exposed.com/re-review/mindshark-ca-%E2%80%93-in-re-review-part-2-proof-is-in-the-details.html

Based off the whois info I can often find out how old a company might be. There have been a few sites like iweb.com that has removed the start dates from their sites because I have pointed out their creation date was after their “start date”.

The following sites based off whois info did not exist 5 years ago.

  • Ninjalion.com – created August 26, 2010
  • Crocweb.com – created August 9, 2009

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However domain creation dates do not always equal start date. I have 2000 + domains that clearly did not start when I got them, at best they have ppc page.  Sites may start weeks, months, even years after the domain’s creation. Which is where another site called archive.org comes in handy. It gives you snap shots of how a site looked in the past all the way back to 1996. Using this site I found a few interesting points about the following sites.

  • Froghost.comDomain creation January 6, 2004. Froghost.com’s Facebook page says they were founded in 2009, they joined Facebook January 2011, first post was March 12, 2011. Their first tweet was on March 11, 2011. However archive,org shows a standard domain registration page launch page till February 18, 2010.
  • Crocweb.com, while created in August 9, 2009, does not appear to have an actually hosting page till August 22, 2010.
  • Futurehosting.com – Domain creation July 10, 2001, shows a coming soon page till December 8, 2008.

Froghost.com and Futurehosting.com could be classified as aged domains. Domains that are sometimes purchased for the sake of selling later. But are prized for having long creation date behind them. I have about 2000 domains that I have bought over the last 15 years. All of which I had planned to start something with. About 20 of them are hosting domains, all of which are 10 years or older.  Currently I am cleaning house and I put sites up for sale to bring in new design customers. You would be surprised that one of the biggest selling factors is the age of a domain. Aged domains are the reason why archive.org is a very important tool when reviewing a host or any site claiming to have years of experiences, regardless if someone recommends it or not.

Digitalfaq.com’s Point: – Knowing the limits

When I first looked at this section digitalfaq.com was clearly anti-unlimited hosting. But now clearly they are not immune to the huge payout to companies like site5, Arivixe, Inmotion, and Siteground.com who I have found buying top spots with webhostuff.com (or what webhostingstuff.com likes to call ppc advertising), Details about the payouts for these companies and their affiliate programs in the next post.

Unlimited resource accounts are not for the serious site owner.

Digitalfaq.com’s Point: Transparency

If you think this is the point where you don’t have to read the TOS because Digitalfaq.com read it for you, think again. I cannot stress enough that you should read the terms of service with any company.  What is really missing here is what to look for in the terms of service.

Since I don’t have a lot of time I am going to deal with one company I know that operates like many hosts that Digitalfaq.com considers the worst offenders. Which brings me to Siteground.com. What was it Digitalfaq.com said?

good host has easy-to-understand policies, rules and agreements.

A bad host tries to hide “gotchas” in their often-buried documents, which are written in butchered “legalese” English, and hide limits such as SQL connections, inodes, email I/O, and file usage that turn so-called “unlimited” accounts into highly limited near-worthless web accounts. Many times, these documents are buried on their site, and thrown in the face of customers as the basis by which to charge them fees or outright deny service or tech support.

For starters Siteground.com has 12 web pages in regards to terms of use. That alone makes it harder to understand the company’s policy as the SiteGround Terms of Service web page is lengthy on it’s own (and opens up in a pop up window). This web page is 21 pages long, 15,185 words. The word refund appears 35 times over 11 different sections.

In addition this is what they consider unlimited space for “Unlimited web Space applies to your use of web pages only (html, php, etc.). All other files are considered as premium storage for which our Fair Use policy shall apply.. The phrase “fair use” appears which translates to unspecified limits. :”Fair use” appears 20 times in 4 sections. Which translates to when you become no longer profitable they can give you the boot.

Digitalfaq.com’s Point: Upgrade paths

One of the big problems with hosts like many that appear in so called hosting review sites is they are very limited in their offerings. There is no way Endurance International Group (EIG) will allow you to host something on the scale of Google.com or Amazon.com with one of their unlimited plans. Never mind that’s the impression they want you to have as you look over their nutritional mock up on fatcow.com where it uses words like “oodle” and “free”. The sad truth is there are many out there that don’t even know that EIG has 40 + hosts, and leaving one in angst they may go to another expecting better service (never mind this EIG host may be cheaper than the last one). Considering how companies like EIG operate, you may have picked their most expensive host, but may very well be subjected to the same restraints/service as their cheapest hosting plan. The hidden limit at which they kick you off or put a bottleneck on your account is determined by profit. All hosting is about profit (well maybe except when it comes to charities). That is not to say making money is bad, but there is a problem when you don’t know how far you can expand. But if a host tells you they are not concerned about profit, I tell you don’t walk away, run.

With companies like Rackspace.com I know if I exceed my borders I get billed for it. Which to me seems better than wondering at what point I get the boot. I have design deadlines to worry about not rather my site will be up or not. No sorry that’s not a recommendation, as I myself have not prepared or kept enough data to make that recommendation. So no affiliate links, perhaps the stray Rackspace Google ad.

In short Digitalfaq.com’s recommendations fall short of what makes a great host

I don’t fault any one for recommending a host, and getting paid to do it.  On other sites that’s how I make money. Making money is not evil, nor the root of all evil. The method used to make money is a different story.  Digitalfaq.com uses sterotypes. Teenagers are bad, so they would not know how to operate a server and are dumb. In which case I ask, what hosting companies are employing teenagers, or better yet kids? Hosts that own their data center and servers ” For them, failing is not an option.”.  Yet that did not stop companies like Enron and Hostess.  Not to mention Blockbuster is just around the corner, seriously they are shutting down all over where I live, being replaced by competitor’s vending machines. Than your supposed to go by reputation, yet some of these companies have bought and paid for it, and some even build their own review sites like siteground.com.

In the end Digitafaq.com offers nothing but hearsay and stereotypes with hosts that fall at the standards that were set.  Digitalfaq.com has done nothing to prove the hosts that they recommend are worthy of your patronage, just provide a distraction and affiliate links.

Digitalfaq.com – Hypocrite doing what other Hosting review sites do Part 1

Digitalfaq.com finds its way here because of an email I got from someone that did not know better but thought Digitalfaq.com was a great resource. The person who emailed me thought I might want to reference digitalfaq.com as an unbiased source.  The page on Digitalfaq.com I am referred to claims to be against “affiliate splogs (spam blogs/sites)”.  Going further to claim “These splogger sites simply list the companies that pay the best commissions, and the top site is always the one with the highest payout.“. Now to add to the interest digtalfaq.com adds their own top lists. No surprise but I don’t see a company that does not offer an affiliate program. Which I notice while I am clicking on those hosts I am getting affiliate cookies.

http://www.digitalfaq.com/forum/web-hosting/4432-top-hosts-2013-a.html

Once again (because apparently a few hundred times may still not be enough), I am not against making money or affiliate programs. But I am against what Digitalfaq.com is attempting to do.

I have often been called a hypocrite because I have ads on this site. I am not sure how me having ads (which can often not be about webhosting), makes me the same as someone claiming hosts on a list are the best, giving out “awards”, or unverified reviews all for the sake of a payout. Also the payout when it comes to reviews sites is not always focused on high payments. Some companies like Alreadyhosting.com, hostingsthatsuck.com, and hosting-review.com have ways of profiting off the really low.  Hostingsthatsuck.com was promoting a host that pays out less than $5 per sign up (zyma.com).

I don’t endorse the ads on this site (i.e. making false claims about some company being too good to be true). Digitalfaq.com is engaging in the very hypocrisy that I have been often accused of. While I on the other hand don’t mind anyone being suspicious of me having personal agenda, so long as you realize that it’s very possible that the sites I am trying to warn you about may have their own agenda as well. If you’re not open to exploring the possibilities of what I am trying to disclose read no further

I honestly would not have a problem with Digitalfaq.com doing their own recommended hosts if they actually validated their recommendations with facts, not to mention disclosure upfront that they make money if you sign up with a host they recommend. Instead when I first reviewed it there was no disclaimer, now there is one that is at the very bottom of their long winded fact less “trust me just buy from these guys”. I suspect digitalfaq.com has been called out by others that saw “hostname here”/affiliate/(affiliate id) when their browser was redirecting to one of the digitalfaq.com’s recommended hosts.

Never mind how much Digitalfaq.com tout they have been with Eurovps.com, their domain whois information suggests Digitalfaq.com last change something back in November 14, 2012. Plus since Digitalfaq.com loves Eurovps.com so much why does Hostgator.com and other companies get a far bigger banner. Bigger banner means a better chance of the ad being clicked on. I suspect from the ads I have been seeing they are all affiliate programs.

Over the next couple of days I will be posting a dissection of what Digitalfaq.com is doing and how they are like most of the hosting review sites out there.

Should you trust Host review sites?

There are some people out there that no matter how much of a valid argument that you provide they are going to continue to go with a false concept. If you don’t believe me all you have to do is look up the percentage of people that think British Petroleum is innocent of the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. For that matter there are still people out there that think we have not gone to the moon and the Earth is flat. You could shoot those people to the moon to see the flag that was planted and they would still claim no one has been to the moon and that the Earth is still flat. I say this because of a comment I did not approve on YouTube from user xXZarlachXx.

the most top hosting review looks at the price.

the affiliate links/referral links is the point with inviting people to new websites.

they want to get something for telling others what websites is good.

I did not approve it because frankly YouTube was not going to let me post a lengthy response. Also I am not sure if he or she is an agent for one of these “top hosting review” sites. I have no problem with affiliate programs as long as their incentives are not along the lines of giving away the farm (i.e. payments that are more then 20% of the first payment via the customer). This weak argument is not enough to stop me. As I have yet to see a correlation between price and ranking. Price does not determine rather a hosting company offers a quality deal. The level of service received is what determines rather hosting is “good”.

What I see is a case where many of these so called review sites show case hosting companies on commission junction, where they get between $60 – $125 and beyond for a sign up. Many of these companies do not trust the direct affiliate program of the hosting company they show case. For which I point to alreadyhosting.com’s comments on webhostingpad:

http://www.webhostingtalk.com/archive/index.php/t-934275.html

Even though alreadyhosting.com had a problem dealing directly with webhostingpad’s affiliate system they have no problem still referring people to their company through commission junction.

While at the same time most” top hosting review” sites do not host on the companies in their recommended list. Hostaz.com owned by the same guy (Michael Low) that owns webhostingstuff.com does not host with any of the hosting companies that he recommends, nor do webhostingstuff.com and hostaz.com have matching top lists. Because hostaz.com works on the principal affiliate commissions. Webhostingstuff.com works on the principal of bidding on positions. Most sites that work on affiliate commissions have most have no well written review to tell you why you should sign up, and to be unbiased to tell you the cons in additions to the pros of signing up with any company they recommend. When do have cons its always far less then then the pros of signing up for service. Or for that matter any proof that they tried the host that they recommend. Most of the hosting sites I have reviewed have a lot of complaints, or their search engine results are so obscure that its hard to find cons or for that matter pros. One example is the next on my list i-dentity.com.

The bottom line is these sites are in it for the money, their not in it to refer people to good hosting companies.

Omnis review. Does omnis.com suck? Omnis Web Hosting Review

Next on the list was number 13 in May 2010, but now they are number 8 with webhostingstuff.com. The first thing that strikes me is webhostingstuff’s information on omnis,

Site Established: 18 Jan 1996 (14 years and 179 days ago)
Traffic Popularity: #200 of 10,292 companies

Then there is this on omnis.com’s site

Serving over 200,000 accounts since 1999.

I can only take two things from this. First of all what about the time between 1996 – 1999? The second is exactly how many accounts is currently hosted with them. Sure they have served 200,000 accounts since 1999. Its like how many McDonalds telling you how many burgers they sold. While the strategy works for McDonalds as you can see their fast food chain every where. Nothing near that level of visibility with this webhosting company. There is nothing indicating how many accounts / customers / domains are currently hosted with the company.

But that is not really got my attention, what got my attention was that they have an asterisk next to the free domain on the first page.

* Free domain name offer is limited to 12 month or longer hosting packages for the initial year of domain name registration of TLDs priced at $8.95 or less per year.

Its not exactly clear, but I think its safe to say that the domain is only free for the amount of time paid for on the first payment. In other words you buy one year, you get the domain free for the first year. Every year after you are charged for the domain. This has to be the first company that I have seen do that. But there is a real problem with buying a domain with this company:

http://www.omnis.com/dnregistration.php

Domain name registrations do not auto-renew upon expiration. Renewal must be explicitly requested through the current renewal process prior to the expiration date. Domain name registrations will be deleted 30 days after the expiration date. Deleted domain names may enter a Redemption Grace Period status. The Redemption Grace Period provides an opportunity to restore the domain name and retain ownership. Restoration from the Redemption Grace Period requires a fee of $50.00 in addition to the renewal fee and must be paid prior to a domain name being restored from Redemption Grace Period.

This is a rather absurd policy. Its practically begging for a $50 retrieval fee. Perhaps this is where I don’t play customer advocate. But if you don’t want to manage your domain you should not bother with hosting. You might as well be on some obscure directly or sub-domain by some free hosting company that makes its money off of advertising on the content you create. I realize this is not much of a point as I own hundreds of domains. There is not a week that goes by that I don’t pay for a domain. I make it a point to review the domains that will renew in the next 30 days to decided which will be renewed and which will be allowed to expired. Out of most of my business expenses domains are the lowest cost, but most worth keeping on automatic renewal.

This is another company where they create a lengthy multi-segmented terms of service. Frankly I tend to think customers that buy unlimited space hosting are going to pay as much attention to the terms of service as they paid for their hosting account. But here is the part I find funny:

Omnis Network provides no guarantee or assurance to the time in which a new order will be processed.

Located at http://www.omnis.com/policies/hosting.php

I find this absurd, there should be a max amount of time of when to accept an order no matter how cheap it is.

On the same link I also find

Omnis Network uses Network-attached storage devices to store Customer’s files. The nature of this type of storage requires that Omnis Network limit the number of files Customer can store with the hosting service to prevent exhaustion of the total number of files permitted on the storage device. This limit is 81920 files. Customer acknowldeges that this limit exists for all hosting service and can not be adjusted.

There way along with CPU usage another way they use to close accounts down, but I tend to doubt they have ever shut account down for reaching the file limit.

Also here is a reason to maintain your own back ups if you decide to host with them:

A fee of $100.00 may be charged should Customer require any files from system backups. Omnis Network does not guarantee that the files contained in the system backup are the most recent copies for a given site. System backups are available for at most 6 days.

The omnis affiliate program

Is another high payout, at least on the hosting account which they hand out $75. On domains a more reasonable $1 per domain.

This is the first company that I have seen, or perhaps I missed it when reading the terms of service for other companies, but they do not allow you to use their name in search engine marketing strategy:

Affiliates are prohibited in utilizing our protected keyword “OMNIS” or any variation, misspelling or combination of words with our keyword, in advertising and search engine sites.

This means I should not find any sites with does omnis suck? Read my review to find out.

http://www.hostingsthatsuck.com/omnis-sucks/

I know to many hostingsthatsuck.com appears to be a webhosting review site. But underneath the surface they are really an affiliate that is better served by making companies appear in the best positive light. By the domain name I would assume this would be the place to go to find webhosts that do indeed suck. After spending an hour on their site I am having a hard time finding anyone that they don’t approve of. But they are clearly violating the affiliate terms of service by utilizing Omnis in their search engine results.

Are Greenvillehost.com and Webhostingpad.com the same company?

In May 2010 Greenvillehost.com was number 12 on webhostingstuff.com’s top 25 list. Now they are not on the list. That does not mean I forget. This is another so called green company. Their focus is on green energy credits, going paperless, furniture from renewable or recycled materials, and energy efficiency compliant technology. Though I am, suppose to take them at their word from this page with limit information to prove they are green.

http://www.greenvillehost.com/greenhosting.html

Plus a few well known green facts that seem more like fillers to make a full page then actual facts on what makes their company green. To me it seems they are using “green” as marketing gimmick. There is nothing in regards to recycling of old equipment or details in what makes their data center green. While many companies such as my bank don’t send paper statements, that does not stop them from sending marketing to my mail box, nor is it going to stop employees from bringing cans of soda to work. The one word that does not come into play is recycling. There are a lot of elements from the periodic table in computers. Some of which you don’t want to end up in a land fill.

Interestingly enough they bought their domain in 2008 and they have no problem with stating that. To forgo the problem of not using an aged domain they claim to be formed by “web hosting industry experts”. Which I assume would be webhostingpad.com. Webhostingpad shows up on the network whois, and when you go to webhostingpad.com you find a similar single unlimited package. No signs of the ability to resell on their network. I think the finale part that tips me off is the award(s). http://www.greenvillehost.com/awards.html

This link takes you to http://www.upperhost.com/webhostingpad_web_hosting_review.htm

Greenville hosting has no awards of its own. Not even the one from webhostingstuff.com on their site, though that might have to due with greenville no longer being on the top 25, no telling as I did not review the site before they were off the list. Webhostingpad has a bunch of awards from paid spots as well as their affiliates. If I was to choose who to be an affiliate for it would be greenville for a $100 per sign up, versus upperhost which is $75 per sign up.

But lets get in to my phone call and there terms of service. Clearly when any company tells you they are unlimited, their not being honest. Here is the dandy I found in their terms of service.

http://www.greenvillehost.com/terms.html

Server Resources
Any Web site that uses a high amount of server resources (such as, but not limited to, CPU time, memory usage, and network resources) will be given the option to reduce the resources used to an acceptable level, or upgrade its service to a VPS plan. Greenvillehost will be the sole arbiter of what is considered to be a high server usage level. Please see our
abuse terms for a detailed listing of our resources. Any Web Hosting account deemed to be adversely affecting server performance or network integrity will be shut down without prior.

And at http://www.greenvillehost.com/billing_policy.html

VPS Server Billing

VPS servers are billed on 1 month or 3 month cycles. Payments are made in advance based on the billing cycle selected. Accounts are automatically renewed at the end of each billing cycle for the next cycle to avoid interruption of service.

To cancel service, you must confirm the cancellation by completing our cancellation online cancellation form at
https://secure.greenvillehost.com/cancellation.htm

In the Reason field, please state”Canceling VPS service”. No refund is issued for cancellations or for termination of VPS account.

Here is the thing I find fasinating, while the terms of service mention VPS, there is no vps plans listed any where on their site. I called them because there were two things I wanted to find out . 1. How much it cost to keep the free domain if you planned on leaving (which is $14.95). 2. Specs and a page for the vps plan listed in greenvillehost.com. On number 2 I pretty much stumped the new sales person. It took 8 minutes to find out Greenvillehost does not offer a vps plan, or remedy should you go beyound the unwritten resource limit. I decided to go to webhostingpad.com and find that unlike greenvillehost.com they do offer chat. I did a screen shot of this rather slow chat. I was able to get a link to the vps plan but it did not cover quarterly billing.

http://www.webhostingpad.com/vps-package.html

I think the most disturbing thing is that when I click on the bbb link on the bottom I get the following screen:

Going to the BBB’s site I get an even less favorable view of webhostingpad.com:

http://www.bbb.org/chicago/business-reviews/internet-web-hosting/web-hosting-padcom-in-rolling-meadows-il-88274902

Looking for greenvillehost bbb I get this interesting link:

http://www.webhostingtalk.com/archive/index.php/t-934275.html

I too have had a lot of trouble with the WebHostingPad affiliate program, I have not been very impressed with them in the past but recently they got a new affiliate manager. The new manager seems to respond a lot more quickly than the old one; however, I still think they have a lot of work to do.

What I find humorous is that alreadyhosting.com (in my sights)  a company that works much like hostaz.com (Also owned by Micahel Low of webhostingstuff.com) a site that claims to be “AlreadyHosting.com is an independent web hosting review site.” is complaining about webhostingpad.com.

04-21-2010, 09:50 PM

I too have had a lot of trouble with the WebHostingPad affiliate program, I have not been very impressed with them in the past but recently they got a new affiliate manager. The new manager seems to respond a lot more quickly than the old one; however, I still think they have a lot of work to do.

04-22-2010, 03:58 PM

Hi,

I also agree that you better join an affiliate network like Commission Junction. The commission rates at CJ are higher than those inhouse affiliate program of Web Hosting Companies.

I would have to disagree.. I really dislike CJ. A host that I deal with has a CJ affiliate program as well as an in house affiliate program. They ran a test and estimated that affiliates who chose the CJ route lost about 15% more sales than those who did the in-house program.

NOW.. If you have a dishonest host you would be better off going with CJ.

http://www.alreadyhosting.com/reviews/webhostingpadreview.php

WebHostingPad recently was moved up to the #3 spot on our site! WebHostingPad.com is known for their affordable web hosting package that includes a free domain. Web hosting for only $1.99/month!”

Interactiveonline.com: Testimonial – Is Interactiveonline.com good or bad?

As I get back in the swing of things with the May 2010 top 25 list of webhostingstuff.com I find interactiveonline.com in the number 9 position. This is another one of those sites when you try to do a research on the company name you get results unrelated to the hosting company. They do not appear to be registered with the Better Business Bureau, not like I would hold that against them. But it seems a bit of a desperate search for even positive reviews on this site. I found a few complaints in regards to getting a response from this company, which might have to be because there is no other contact then the support board. What reviews and for that matter affiliates sites are scattered by anything relevant to “interactive online”. So I am going to spend most of my time on their site. I am going to break this into two separate parts, the first part covering:

Terms of Service

Merchant Service

Affiliate Program

Meanwhile I have put a ticket in with them, to see just how fast they will respond to me. These days I can’t say I am too thrilled with a hosting company that does not offer chat support.

In the second part I will cover BeGreenNow.com and their relationship to Interactive Online.

Terms of Service for Interactiveonline.com

http://interactiveonline.com/about/policies

I am only skimming here, and I really am not focusing on the whole terms of service. But here is what sticks out as I skim for certain pieces such as uptime guarantee, refund, reasons to have your account shut down…….. Pardon my random approach at this.

The first thing that sticks out is “We reserve the right to remove any account without advanced notice for any reason Interactive Online sees fit. “.  That’s ….. friendly. Keep in mind this is a unlimited space hosting company.

Then there is the 90 day guarantee, exclusions apply:

Money back guarantee is only available on our Shared Hosting, cPanel Reseller, Hosted Spam Filter & Exchange Hosting accounts. Setup fees are non-refundable. The 90 day money back guarantee is waived on all Special Offers including the free membership to YouJoomla.

Please note the special offer of 25% off on their order page, and they charge a $25 setup fee if you sign up for less then 2 years. I am willing to bet they will charge you the setup fee should you cancel prior to 90 days.

Backups – While they do back ups, the restoration of those back ups are not free unless of hardware failure. Other wise the cost to restore a back up is $25. I see a lot of hosts that don’t charge for that.

Then there is their uptime Guarantee.

Interactive Online’s 99.9% Uptime Guarantee & Credits

In the event that there is network outage*, Interactive Online will credit the monthly service charge for the following month’s service as calculated below and as measured 24 hours a day in a calendar month, with the maximum credit not to exceed 25% of the monthly service charge for the affected month.

I would advise paying attention to the Service credit and Claim Review Process. In essence you have to put a ticket in to request the credit and you have to document the down time. It may take 10 days for them to accept or reject your claim.

FEES!!!

If your account with your old hosting provider does not use the cPanel control panel there will be additional fees.

Real-time Block List (RBL) Fees & Fines

If a customer’s site is hacked, spammed from or there is any other reason why the server gets listed on an RBL, the customer will be responsible for all fees and fines related to getting removed from the RBLs. Customer will be billed $100 for every RBL the server is listed on.

If the customer refuses to upgrade the scripts to the newest stable version we will upgrade the script for them and charge a $25 upgrade fee. Interactive Online is not responsible for any problems the upgrade may cause.

Interactiveonline.com’s Merchant services

My first thought of signing up with webhosting company for an affiliate program is not to. You might wonder why. Looking through the list I see PayPal.com, Interactiveonline.com gets a referral fee from PayPal if you sign up under their link. I would just go to PayPal.com directly and sign up for their system. As much as I hate to say it, PayPal is a must for business. Too many people trust them over handing out their credit cards to people.

The same is true for every merchant account they get set up, and they may very well get a cut of all your sales. I first learned about this from a company called Total Merchant when they tried to get me to refer my customers to their service. It was not til I started receiving checks that I learned I was not just getting a referral fee I was getting a portion of their sales, which I am not really all that fond of the idea. I soon realized that the company that refereed me was getting a cut of my transactions. I wish I would have learned this 5 years earlier.

I soon realized it was a good idea to shop around for a merchant account every year, and even pit merchants against each other. Not to mention pit the merchant I was with to compete with them for a better offer. Sometimes the current merchant will give you a better deal if they see the other offers. Even still when they made an offer that claimed to be better then my previous offer I had to read the terms of service to make sure they were not compensating someway with a new fee.

These days it is easy to find a merchant (well easy if your in the United States), then when I first started 11 years ago. For that matter I got better at figuring out what a good service was and the last 5 merchant accounts I signed up had no set up fees. No middle man between me and the merchant service. Which is why I would advise avoiding Interactiveonline.com for merchant service if you decided to take them up on hosting I had a friend that was burned by Homestead and went from a $19 a month account to over $120 a month.

I recommend contacting your bank about merchant account, as opposed to your host. Especially looking at the some of the set-up fees here ranging from free to $949. Clearly you want to make every penny you get from your customers count, and there is no point in giving your webhost a cut of your credit card transactions.

Interactiveonline.com’s Affiliate Program

They pay $90 per referral on shared hosting

6% reoccurring fee on other services.

They have lots of wonderful “green” webhosting banners for you to use.

No secondary affiliate program that I can find at the moment.

  • Affiliate commissions will not be paid for accounts that are canceled within 90 days.
  • Affiliate commissions are only paid for new customers that are referred to us
  • Affiliate revenue will not be paid until referred customer has been an activated customer for at least 90 days.
  • Referred customers must be active, in good standing and all past due invoices paid in order for affiliate to collection commissions on the referred account.
  • Affiliates can withdrawal earned revenue once their affiliate revenue reaches $90 total
  • If an account the affiliate referred used a promo code, the affiliate commission will be discounted by the same percentage or fixed amount. If the offer is a savings percentage , then the affiliate commission will be discounted for the same percentage. If it is a fixed amount savings the commission will be discount for the fixed amount.

On that last point, it pretty much means they are not willing to pay an affiliate and discount the customer at the same time. Say for example they have a offer for 25% off:

Use promo code SAVE25 to save 25% on any billing cycle. Offer good for new accounts & first billing cycle only.

So instead of $90 the affiliate would get $67.50 that is $22.50 less.

Next stop the Interactiveonline.com ticket system

So far the only method I can find to contact this company is via this link

https://interactiveonline.com/support/submitticket.php

It took them 47 minutes to send me a response.  Timing wise its not too bad, but this is a sales question and other companies that provide chat and phone sales support are going to beat them to the sell.

One of the things I would give my techs grief for if they had done this ticket is not greeting the customer, and not closing with a signature.  I felt it was that you had to make the customer feel welcome.  Especially during the holiday season I would have everyone use something along the lines of wishing you the best in this holiday season.   I wanted my techs to look like human beings and not robots.   With this, I feel like I got a response from a robot.  No hello or anything here.  Or acknowledgement of my name.  For that matter my business partner would have sales staff give out information to entice people in, such as good reasons to sign up for service.  As you can tell from my writings I am not a sales person.

I am not sure I buy that they have been around for 13 years, or had any long periods of down time.  Perhaps they have been around that long.  I tend to doubt it as the only package I see are unlimited accounts.  I have to wonder if they were around for the last 13 years what were the packages they offered before.

My  thoughts on what I found

When I first saw the name of this company I thought I had a short review, considering search engine results are not the best for “interactive online”, the words can apply to a lot of things like games and virtual tours. But a little digging into the site and I find an overwhelming amount of detail.  Anyone that reads the terms of service would pause before ordering.   The cost of having to pay for repairs from a hacking attempt regardless if it was the customers fault or not would defiantly make me avoid the host.

In my next post I uncover claim to claim to be a green host is overboard. Details on their green program are limited at best as they have a certificate for 8 metric tons of carbon and something in their terms of service about buying one tree per customer. Looking at my email it cost them $112. There is no listing of how many trees have been planted.  Frankly based off what I found I find it hard to trust this company.

HostGator = Bad Web Host? Read Honest HostGator Review

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Hostgator Affiliate Program(s)

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

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

At Hostgator.com directly

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Hostgator.com Traceroute

Tracing route to hostgator.com [67.18.54.28]…

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

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

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

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

This is my own personal rant against hostgator.com

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

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

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

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

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

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