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.

Digitalfaq.com: Top 10 questions for a review site

Digitalfaq.com and hosting-reviews-exposed.com both lack data to back up claims for what hosts are good hosts. Yet only one site recommends hosts and gets paid, the other site is more so about ethics and business practices and not rather a host is a good service provider  (rarely if a host is a bad service provider). One site puts the affiliate disclaimer at the very end of their sales spill, while the other site places it before reasons for buying. One hints that there might be a payment; the other clearly states if a visitor clicks on a link and buys the owner of said site gets paid. Not to mention one has a donation page, the other does not.

Digitalfaq.com’s latest response to my response shows how much the owner may read or worse choose to fabricate. Digitalfaq.com’s owner claims to answer things I was unsure on. Truth is I am not unsure on anything, sure I have questions. But my questions only play into my speculations. Digitalfaq.com’s owner is not ready to answer the questions I have anyway, just the questions the imaginary Benjamin in the owner’s mind has. As to why Digitalfaq.com had affiliate links to companies throughout their post trashing hosting-reviews-exposed.com. It should have been very clear to the owner since I drew attention to those links under “Point 4: What Digitalfaq.com left out”. Something I will get to with the finale point of this post.

For the most part most of this post is based off of http://www.digitalfaq.com/forum/myths/5061-hosting-reviews-exposedcom.html

Digitalfaq.com's reply rant to hosting-reviews-exposed.com



My prior post:


Previous posts links about digitalfaq.com can be found in that post.

Like Digitalfaq.com, I get frequently asked who to choose for hosting. I could have taken the path of putting up a list where 89% of the hosts I recommend have affiliate programs. As I may have used more hosts in the last three years than Digitalfaq.com has in a life time.  But I failed to keep the very records I think all hosting reviews should have. Not to mention if I ever did do hosting recommendations I would have to live to a standard higher than what I think review sites should go by.  So for now the best I can do is provided advice for what to look for when looking for a host.

10 questions for Digitalfaq.com

Since Digitalfaq.com is interested in haphazardly answering what I ask, here are 10 questions for the owner of digitalfaq.com. I am going to keep them short and provide my mentality behind them.

1. Does Digitalfaq.com have any proof they use the hosts they recommend other than Eurovps.com?

The very thing that could have given Digitalfaq.com the rights to declare “The Digital FAQ = Vindicated” (insert some smiley face like the kiddies do) was data. Providing proof of use would have given me little ground to even bother writing a post. Yet what was provided was selectively edited extractions from my posts, insults, false claims of my experience, and at what can be best described as an ego trip.

When it came to discussing who pays Digitalfaq.com the claim was “Some have affiliate programs, some don’t”.  Out of 27 hosts, 3 might not have an affiliate program. So at best 3 of 27 (11% may not, 89% do pay a commision). Digitalfaq.com has a problem with disclosure. Yet he is begging me to go through and figure out the averages of payments “Most shared hosting pays about $20, and the few that we get each month go to pay for this site.” with this little pity party. Especially when it was a $10-$15 average a few weeks ago prior to my write up affiliate payments.

digitalfaq old disclaimer

Also in regards to “And unlike the author of the blog, I know the owners of these companies — I’m not guessing.

No Digitalfaq.com’s owner is really assuming here.

2. What was it that Digitalvfaq.com did from 1977 – 1993?

I realize I am asking a question that was already answered. But I have my reasons.

The business has been around since 1977, when the blogger/author was crapping his Huggies.” Despite the assumption of what my age is, there was no internet back then. But still they give better detail on their about page where I got that quote.

What began in Dallas, Texas in 1977 as a part-time typesetting/layout operation, has slowly morphed as technology developed. By the late 1980s, computers entered our daily operations, and desktop publishing, graphics and advanced layout services were added. ”.

Texas a red state, what a lovely state to hold this view:

It reminds me of those political kook blogs you can find online – mostly Republicans/conservatives these days, but it infects every political spectrum. Or conspiracy sites (9/11, JFK, the moon landing, etc). 

The late 80’s is the best number they can give you for when they were using a computer.  Even though I got a head start with Timex, Texas Instruments, Apple, and Commodore computers from the early to late 80’s. Yet like some hosting companies out there I have encountered they use the start date of a company that had nothing to do with webhosting, and in this case  a company that did not start out using computers. The true web experience for Digitalfaq.com does not start until 1993. But they did not have a website till 2002, which brings us to question 3.

3. Why did Digitalfaq.com wait till 2002 to get a website, and what was the original domain.

Since Digitalfaq.com wants to provide trivia, I had my first site in 1998 with Virtualis.

4. Why did Digitalfaq.com abandon that website in 2004?

Even though I did not keep my first site up, I do keep a redirect up having the domain redirect. The value in this is I have gotten back design clients I had a decade ago. Did digitalfaq.com just abandon their original domain?

5. Does Digitalfaq.com count all the hosts with EIG as 1 or more hosts?

According to Digitalfaq.com a host with a fairly new domain name gets to count the company they are part of for a start date, not the date when the site actually started.  Does Digitalfaq.com count that as one host or by the amount of hosting sites own by a particular group? I ask because many of the providers I have used were bought out, so if I ever do get around to counting how many hosts I have been with I will know that EV1, Fastservers, and Softlayer count as 3 or 1.

6. Where did Digitalfaq.com suddenly get unlimited hosting experience from?

Considering last month Digitfaq.com was against unlimited hosting, how did digitalfaq.com get enough experience over a few weeks to judge an unlimited host as good?

Time machine?  (Sorry had a sarcasm leak)

7. What hosting companies actually employee kids?

Digitalfaq.com made the following claim “A bad host, or “kiddie host”, is often run by minors (children, teenagers) from their bedroom, or even colleges kids from their dorm room.” If this is true Digitalfaq.com could name the companies that do this. Otherwise, Digitalfaq.com needs to reconsider labeling anybody a conspiracy nut.

Considering that many countries have child labor laws it would be a great way to put “kiddie” hosts out of business if the owner would share this information.

8. Is there anyone else that Digitalfaq.com is biased against?

So far it appears that anyone younger than the owner of Digitalfaq.com,  female, and with the Republican Party. Never mind that some of the owners of the companies he thinks are good are younger than me. But here is a little sample of his bigotry.

  • The site is essentially random online rants by one person. It reminds me of those political kook blogs you can find online — mostly Republicans/conservatives these days, but it infects every political spectrum. Or conspiracy sites (9/11, JFK, the moon landing, etc).
  • Females is not the demographic for hosting.”  Him caveman, Him bang chest.
  •  “The biggest problems with teenagers, or even college aged adults, is they move on. That’s why so many hosts fail, sell out, or disappear in under 2 years. We don’t have the time or patience for that.

That last line gets interesting when you pair it with this thought.

digitalFAQ.com is the current online presence for a family-owned media business that started in 1977.

Things that make you say hmmmm.

Digitalfaq.com has already alienated a large part of the population, why stop there?

9. So Digitalfaq.com, what exactly is the conspiracy that Hosting-reviews-exposed.com has?

Generally, when you make a claim you at least back it up.

10. Why is it ok for Digitalfaq.com to profit off of hosts their site blacklist?

The last question is less so a question than a chance for some level of redemption. At the end April if I see affiliate links to companies that Digitalfaq.com openly blacklists, I will contact said companies and see how they feel about Digitalfaq.com’s membership in their affiliate programs.

As a man that I am sure is much older than the owner of Digitalfaq.com (and defiantly far wiser) once taught me as a kid, two wrongs don’t make a right. Of course, the owner of Digitalfaq.com can insult my grandfather. But my grandfather had some wisdom behind that as well which I have been employing.

I may very well agree with the owner of Digitalfaq.com on reasons for blacklisting all of these hosts like Endurance International Group. But the spirit of an affiliate program is to pay those that advertise or recommend their business. Not to reward people for failing to convince someone not to sign up for service.  Being a business owner I would be looking to retrieve any payments made to any individual that did that to my company. I defiantly would not continue to allow a review site like Digitalfaq.com to continue to profit off my program. Especially when they say:

First, it allows us to track (or attempt to track) those who ignore our advice and sign up with one of those hosts anyway. It would mean that our advice is falling on deaf ears, and we’ve not said what was needed — the misleading marketing is winning out over our unbiased information that exposes companies like EIG. That’s unfortunate.

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.

So a choice of a post at the end of next month, or Digitalfaq.com can wait until next year for my re-review when they can set things right.

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.

Manashosting.com Spams again!!!

Manashosting.com is not going to be happy with this latest post. Regardless of what anyone at Manashosting.com may have to say about this post, spam is not legal in this country. I don’t care if Manashosting.com put a disclaimer in their email stating I am not supposed to share it. That somehow an email address they were not supposed to have and marketed to I am supposed to respect confidentiality.

By spamming I mean that Manashosting.com was soliciting to an email address that did not opted into Manashosting.com’s mailing list. I seriously have no interest in hosting with any company similar to the nature of Manashosting.com. So I have no intention of giving them my email address. Nor will I give anyone from Manashosting.com the email address for my other personal account they decided to spam. Just to make it that much easier to delete my email address out. As I half suspect they may have deleted every Yahoo.com address. So I am not going to tell them the domain that email address is under. At best I will say that it is with Microsoft. So a few more domains for Manashosting.com to remove out of their list.

If Manashost.com does not want me to do posts on their company than perhaps they should avoid spamming. No requests for removal of this post from Manashosting.com will be honored. But as previously stated they should delete all email lists, and stick strictly to double opted in address.

A short history of my interactions with Manashosting.com

As I first stated I had no interest in this company, for that matter they spammed me a few times before I decided that this blog should take on spam. After all like fake review sites, spam is a form of unethical marketing.

First Manashosting.com spammed my Yahoo. Email account – November 11, 2010


Not long after that someone named Anthony John contacted me for Manashosting.com. Saying that I should have clicked on their unsubscribe link in their spam, as opposed to making blog post about them spamming me. Anthony of Manashosting.com also asked for the email address of the email they had spammed me by. Since they had spammed me I saw no reason to give them my personal email address.

Amazingly after this email, the spamming stopped from Manashosting.com.

Than a second look at Manashosting.com – November 19, 2010


Than they decided to spam comment on this very blog – October 16, 2011


Manashosting.com demands I remove my posts on their company – January 15, 2012


In short Anthony of Manashosting.com decided to point me to the whole law book from India on Internet Law. Without pointing me directly to what exactly law states I cannot post proof of their wrong doing. Never mind that Manashosting.com’s spamming violates U.S. law.

So far it seems that Manashosting.com wants me to do an annual post on their site.

Manashosting.com finds another of my email accounts – January 17, 2013

Normally I don’t use my Microsoft email all that often, I have had it almost as long as my Yahoo address. The bulk of the use of this account was mostly for Windows Live Messenger. But from time to time I use it for other reasons. I mostly use it for companies I don’t pay a lot of attention to their emails. Like Commission Junction, and other companies that like to send a lot of email. One of the companies that I bought a script from had sent me an email with some coding I needed. I could not find it in the main folder so I decided to check the spam folder, where I found the email I was looking for and Manashosting.com’s spam. I tend to think that the company I was looking for email from was marked spam because of the coding they sent me. But I find it most interesting that Microsoft decided to mark this email as spam and that they would delete it within 10 days of being sent. Which means I have no idea how long Manashosting.com has been sending me spam. Because I don’t normally check the spam folder when I do log into my Microsoft email. Generally I only check it when Trillian has a pop up with an email subject I may be interested in. I don’t believe that Trillian will notify me of any email that is marked as spam.

manashosting spam

Manashosting.com’s latest spam

Create Unlimited Web Pages just for Re 1‏

From: Manasahosting.com ([email protected])
Sent: Thu 1/17/13 12:37 PM

Warm Greetings dear customers,

Is your requirement related to Designing a website? Or do you have a requirement of SEO (search engine optimization) for your existing website? Or are you planning to have a high power Hosting Package? Whatever your need is we are here to help you to get the perfect solutions.

Website Designing:

Innovation and creativity is the name, and at Manashosting Designing we master the art of designing. It is absolutely essential for large and small businesses alike to have a web presence. That seems simple enough, but with countless new websites coming up every day, uniqueness can be primal.

Get high quality web sites designing from experts who have more than 30 years of experience in designing at world’s lowest cost.

Limited period offer 100 web pages designing just for Rs 10,000. You get world class high quality design for just Rs 100 per page.

Become a Hosting Company Alliance and make 99% profit over income. To know more click here

Dedicated server plans starting from Rs7000 per month

SEO (Search Engine Optimization):

SEO focuses on bringing your website to the top when someone searches for a product or service using a few keywords. All possible keywords related to your company need to be identified and made a part of the web content to enable ranking your company on top.

Results of a good SEO ranking results in:

  • Traffic
  • A good number of quality back links
  • Increase in Page Rank

Manual working on your SEO to give natural ranking to your web site:

Keyword Rank, Keyword working, Customize Keyword, High Complicated Keyword, Regional Keywords, Web Pages Optimize, Search Engine Submission, Classified adding, Blog, Forum, Article Submission, Directory Submission, SEO related Content Writing, Image Submission, Audio Submission, Video Submission, Back Links and more

All this and more starting just at Rs10000

Low cost Domain Registration: Register domains at world’s lowest price

Call 1800-258-0258


We also provide low cost VPS, VDS and Dedicated servers.

Thanks and regards,

Sales Team

Toll Free: 1800-258-0258

24518 Harper Avenue

Saint Clair Shores Michigan 48080


Disclaimer: The information contained in this message (including the enclosure(s) or attachment(s) if any) is confidential and may be proprietary or privileged. If you are not the intended recipient or have received it by mistake please notify the sender by return e-mail and permanently delete this message and any attachments from your system. Any dissemination, use, review, distribution, disclosure, printing or copying of this message in whole or in part is strictly prohibited. Please note that e-mails are susceptible to change. Manashosting shall not be liable for the improper or incomplete transmission of the information contained in this communication nor for any delay in its receipt or damage to your system. Manashosting does not guarantee that the integrity or security of this communication has been maintained or that this communication is free of viruses, interceptions or interferences. Anyone communicating with Manashosting by email accepts the risks involved and their consequences. Manashosting accepts no liability for any damage caused by any virus transmitted by this email.

Unsubscribe me from this list

Header information for the Manashosting,.com spam will be posted in the comments area.

From design, affiliate program, SEO, to hosting. Manashosting.com’s offering is all over the map.

Speaking of maps, what I find interesting is that address.


Calling the number that Manashosting.com provides gets me the name of another company once I called: Target Information Management.

The network whois for Manashosting.com tells me:

Comment: Please send abuse complaints to [email protected]

CustName: DreamWorx Hosting

Address: PO Box 806332

City: Saint Clair Shores

StateProv: MI

PostalCode: 48080

Country: US

RegDate: 2009-04-20

Updated: 2011-03-19


Interestingly enough the address for DreamWork Hosting (PO box) and the address Manashosting.com provides are 1.2 mile drive from one another.

I will be sending abuse complaints to Manashosting.com’s partners.

  • Cybercon.com
  • targetinfo.com
  • in.com

Once again if anyone at Manashosting.com bothers to read, no I will not remove this post.


Interserver.net – The next top host? Part 1

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.


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.



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. 


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.

Webhostingstuff.com, not every host that was a top host survives.

Webhostingstuff.com has been the focal point of this blog at several points in the last few years. They claimed to be a place for fair and honest hosting reviews. However Webhostingstuff.com has been a shinnying example of everything that is wrong with the hosting review industry. But I have reached the point that I feel like I am beating a dead horse, if not a dying horse. Unless somehow webhostingstuff.com manages to reinvent itself in a way that revives it this is the last post to pick apart their methods.

So far the only change webhostingstuff.com has been capable of is remaking the so called top 25 list into something that is cumbersome. It no longer starts on the main page of webhostingstuff.com.  You have to actually look for it among a list of items for “best hosts”.  Than you only get to see 5 of the some 23 – 29 Best Hosts. Anyone wanting to see the next 5 Best Hosts would have to scroll down past “Show me more Hot Deals …” link.  Where there were 10 hosts to past.  To find “Next  >>>”, and without clicking next I would have no way of knowing that that is how I get more “Best Hosting”.  Which is why since April 2010 my posts on webhostingstuff.com have been far less.  Anyone past the firth position was not going to get their money worth.

On top of that, right now I cannot access their site.  Because one too many inquires triggers an IP block. Never mind that real people in need of hosting may be researching multiple hosting companies to find the right one.

Then there was the original fair and honest ranking webhostingstuff.com page had this:

To build a fair and honest ranking system, ranking is always performed automatically by the system – free of human interference.

Not far into the whole spill about honesty, they lay down the justification for the advertising they offer. Advertising that I have yet to see.

Human editors are also needed to maintain the high level of integrity of our trusted reviews. Webmasters and system administrators are needed for the smooth running of this large site.

No surprise but that wording is no longer there.

I was going to do several posts on hosts that closed up shop or switched gears. But that seemed long, tedious, and boring (remember I have ADD). But I am going to boil it down into one post. After which my next post is going to deal with what a lot of people have been asking me since my mindshark.ca posts, and that is how to find a seo expert. So one post that focuses on the closures (or switch from hosting to something else).

Why hosting-reviews-exposed.com became a blog and focused on webhostingstuff.com

The very issue that started this site to have a blog was a host called hostdawgs.com. Another host that had watched my video decided to track one month of top 25 hosts that appeared on webhostingstuff.com (it was either 2008 or 2009), a few months after they posted their finding hostdawgs.com a host that appeared on that so called top 25 list at webhostingstuff.com was out of business.  Clearly there were some obvious kinks in webhostingstuff.com’s armor.

Into my second month blogging I found i7net.net on webhostingstuff.com

What could be worse than a host that went out of business mere months after appearing on webhostingstuff.com’s top 25?

How about a host that was not online at any point when I found it on the top 25 list (from June – November 2010) of when I was doing reviews. Between the 21 – 25 positions.  Never mind the worst part was webhostingstuff.com clearly indicated they had 72.62% uptime, and had stopped tracking uptime in July 2009. Which means it had been offline longer than a year.

I emailed Michael Low of webhostingstuff.com in June 2010 about what I had found. It took him until December 2010 to do something. Which was to remove i7net from webhostingstuff.com’s data base.

I7net.net became the keystone in my argument against webhostingstuff.com.  Which can be found at:


The other “top” webhostingstuff.com hosts that went offline or are out of the hosting business:

Since my 10looniehost.ca post  about them forgetting to renew their domain (who last I checked was still a best host) I figured I would look and see who else on webhostignstuff.com’s top 25 list was offline.


These were hosts I found between May 2010 – April 2011. I did not track any that entered into the top deals or best host lists.  Because out of 64 hosts, I found a lot of flaws. Some of which I am amazed they are still online

Firedragonhosting.com – Former Webhostingstuff.com top host – Status *Unknown*

When I first reviewed this host (May 2010), it appeared that it was some messed up Godaddy.com Wild West reseller. By which I mean it appeared the owner of the site was purchasing what people ordered through his reseller account.  If you know as much as I do about Wild West Domains, its illogical. With Wild West Domains your job is to maintain the main site, while working on means to bring in traffic. I know a lot of people that are pretty good with their program. But this guy seems to have a separate order form, where after you order he goes to the reseller and orders what you ordered.  Plus on top of that he is going to have to offer support for a reseller account that is supposed to do the support for you.

He also charged $49.95 to set up WordPress and $9.95 a month for what is essentially a free very easy to set up program.


I know that the domains are under a reseller account because the register shows me Wild West Domains, which is a godaddy.com reseller program.  On top of that most of the domains in this sites reviews were under the name of the owner. Plus hosting was on Godaddy.com’s servers.

Keep in mind I think it is a very bad idea to keep your domain with your hosting company.  However what is worse is letting a hosting provider register a domain for you, and keep it under their name. Webhostingstuff.com was supposed to have a policy of not allowing Wild West Resellers from registering as a host in their system.  Webhostingstuff.com placed it in the top 25, it was number 23 when I reviewed it.

When you goto fire dragonhosting.com there is no product page. It appears to be a login page. I see the ability to order, but I get this message when I click on the order link:

Filling out the order form does not guarantee you hosting on my servers

So they might as well be closed.

Topgreenhost.com – Former Webhostingstuff.com top host – Status *Closed*

There is not much to add here, other than I have control over topgreenhost.com, and if you type that domain in you will see my first post on this former webhostingstuff.com top host.

Yaspe.net – Former Webhostingstuff.com top host – Status *Unknown*

October 2010 was when I first found Yaspe.net on webhostingstuff.com’s so called top host list. At the time they claimed to have 20,000 customers. The problem with that was their Alexa score did not validate that.  Yaspe.net was at 1,812,782 with Alexa in October 2010, and as of today it is at 12,348,306. Keep in mind low numbers are good with Alexa and high numbers are bad.  The traffic stats did not back up a claim of 20,000 clients.  At 12,348,306 they may have one visitor a day.

So far yaspe.net devolved into what I can only assume is a web design contact form.  The banner on the bottom goes to securedservers.com, which Alexa says country with the top traffic is China (42,600).  They offer a $75 per sign up or 10% monthly reoccurring payment.

I think it is safe to assume yaspe.net is out of the hosting business.

Aquariusstorage.com – Former Webhostingstuff.com top host – Status *acquired*

“As of June 2012, all Aquarius Storage operations are now officially part of DJAB Hosting.”

This host was recently acquired by djabhosting.com. Which does not offer unlimited hosting, so I have to wonder how the unlimited customers transferred over. At best from what http://web.archive.org tells me, they came online December 2008.


Webhostingstuff.com, where awards are bought

To me one of the prerequisites to being a top host is the ability to stand the test of time.  In some cases hosts have not even had to be online to be a best host at webhostingstuff.com (10looniehost.ca and i7net.net), others did not even have to be online a month (Hostinglocker.com).  I have hosts like KVChosting.com that tell me that they are paying for advertising.  Advertising is really hard to find on Webhostingstuff.com. But it is really easy to find hosts that did not earn the right to be called a best host or top deal on webhostingstuff.com. Hosts that have no reviews, little to show for experience. Webhostingstuff.com is too lazy to even fabricate a fake review for the new comers or slow to take off hosts.

Can Webhostingstuff.com evolve? I don’t think webhostingstuff.com can, and if they do it will not be anything in the realm of ethics.

iPage.com – Now a top 5 Endurance International Group trusted host review site

iPage.com got my attention the other day when I decided I was off topic once again with this site. That topic being that review sites are not honest, and want you to buy who they recommend so they can get a payout. What do you expect I suffer ADD (attention deficient disorder). Shiny things like the new iPad or even as simple as a shiny pebble can easily get me off topic.  Seriously I have a lot of rocks I have picked up over the years. So I figured while I wait on new tablet accessories I would do what I used to do and actually look at search engine results, and try and stay focused.

This time around I looked at “host reviews” on Goggle, what caught my eye was what appeared at the top in a paid position was an ad by iPage.com titled ‘ 5 hosts that don’t suck”.

I had to do a double take, was I reading this right? Was this a sub-d0main off of iPage.com. Yes it was.

Wait a second, iPage.com is one host. But for those that do not know like I did not 2 years ago, iPage.com and around 40 or more hosts belong to a company called Endurance International Group.


Didn’t they send out FTC compliance emails to their affiliates about disclosing affiliate relations to them?


Well they do disclose, but not very clearly you have to click on the link labeled:

About top5hosts.ipage.com


Where iPage.com states:

Top5Hosts.ipage.com is presented by iPage to provide information about hosting solutions offered by iPage and other hosting brands our company operates. We wholly own and operate all sites listed on top5hosts.ipage.com.

In compliance with FEDERAL TRADE COMMISSION (FTC) 16 CFR Part 255: Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising, we want to be sure our visitors understand that this site is a promotional vehicle, and the opinions expressed are those of our company.

We operate this site because we believe that our brands offer an outstanding value, and we want to give customers an opportunity to compare our brands to each other.

To bad they can’t do some disclosure on how they are 100 % windpowered. Not to mention some explanation on what separates them from Justhost.com which for all intents and purposes seems nothing more than a clone of fatcow.com and justhost.com.

So in short EIG (short for Endurance International Group) threw together a subdomain that lists 5 of many of their sites who are part of the iPage family on to what is called a “promotional vehicle“. I can’t say I find any of what Endurance International Group did impresses me. They seem more interested in buying hosts than actually working on owning and maintaining existing companies.  This is really a cheap attempt at marketing that amounts to a fancy tinfoil wrapping.

“promotional vehicle” is really a colorful way to say oh drat you decided to read the about iPage.com page, guess we better disclose.

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.

Goodbye MediaTemple.net – Perhaps we will meet again!

First off let me be clear, Mediatemple.net was not directly responsible for the downtime on hosting-reviews-exposed.com.

Before this, all began I had already entertained in October 2011 the idea of migrating, after all, traffic was up and the site was performing slower.  Not to mention a month earlier another site that shares this account had its database moved by MediaTemple.net. Per usual the tech at MediaTemple did not bother to check their work.  The site was offline for at least 8 hours. This is something that can easily sour me on a company. They simply do something and do not bother to see if what they did fix a site or made it worse.

By mid-December 2011 it became clear that there were some serious problems with Hosting-Reviews-Exposed.com. Pingdom shows that I had 132 outages. Per my last post, I had not had a lot of time to dedicate to this site and the sites that shared the account at MediaTemple as they were not in any shape or form income makers.  Between a death in the family and a rather serious customer trying to regain a nice sized 5 figure a month income. But December 22st would change that. As I would have a 5-hour outage and unlike the other outages this time the server would not recover within a few minutes.

The problem ultimately was with a plug-in that did the fancy color bars that told you what posts were popular that week (personally glad to see it go as I thought it was tacky).  After removing that plugin, the site ran perfectly. MediaTemple.net’s response was to disable every part of my site leaving only bare-bones WordPress.  On top of that, they disable the theme for my site. Though clearly, they realized that was a mistake because 5 minutes after doing so they re-enabled the theme before I could. Keep in mind it was Rackspace that pointed to the exact issue.

MediaTemple wanted to shoot first ask questions later

I am not a telephone person.  I hate my cell phone. You can thank this bank called Bank of America (who stores their money in the Caribbean), they cured me long ago of ever wanting to talk to someone on the phone for customer service. Maybe someday I will go into my gripe with them. About the only thing that will get me on the phone to talk to someone is a site being down.  I made it to a point to put a ticket in first with MediaTemple.  But it was pretty clear I should call them after all Mediatemple has this 20 hour response time up when I post a ticket.  In the cyber universe, an hour is an eternity too long. I grudgingly listen to reggae music while on hold.  Not that I hate reggae music, I truly love it. It just should not sound like it’s going through a broken speaker that puts out a lot of static.  Anytime I was placed on hold I had to bear with this, which is why I requested not to be placed on hold. The first time I was on hold I had to endure 12 minutes of this.  My mood was pretty sour after listening to this tortured music, not like I could have hit mute.  I mean from a business standpoint it would have made sense For MediaTemple to go with something neutral like elevator music unless of course, it has the same static effect that wore my nerves thin.

Keep in mind I am not a programming person, I am a graphics person. I delegate the non-design part to other people.  Perhaps that’s something I should have explained to the person on the other end at MediaTemple. Since my usual webmaster (whose name is on the account with MediaTemple) was busy with the holidays, I figure why not hand this off to Mediatemple. I asked how much it would cost for them to remedy this. I mean seriously, I offered more money to make the problem go away. Next thing the guy on the other end went into a ramble on stuff I could hardly understand.  The part I did understand was the word theory; after all, I am someone that wanted to be in a field of science (biology). The way he used the word theory is that he speculated on what the problem was and that they did not have concrete proof of what the problem was.  It was at this point I had to ask if this meant he had any idea of what was wrong. because it seemed like he didn’t.  He told me that he did know exactly what was going on.  Hence no need for the word theory. But clearly, his conclusions were that it had something to do with my plugins as he disabled all of them and even the theme for my site. After another ramble, I thanked him for bringing the site back up and told him I will have it migrated off to another provider. This is where I notice that he disabled my theme

MediaTemple.net trying for Redemption

Shortly after hanging up I had contacted Rackspace because I wanted to look for another solution. The MediaTemple tech I was on the phone with updated the ticket and wanted to arrange for me to speak with a supervisor to try and retain my account.  They were supposed to call me around noon. At the same time, he had re-enabled the theme to hosting-reviews-exposed.com.

While in contact with Rackspace and telling them about my problem with MediaTemple while trying to re-enabling plugins slowly to see which ones were slowing the site down.  It was Rackspace that pointed to top posts plugin.  Enabling every other plugin but this one, I could see a drastic improvement in service.

Two hours before noon, the MediaTemple supervisor decided to change the time to 3 pm.  Since I had missed the update too late and had a client to deal with I missed it, honestly I saw no point in updating the ticket.  By 5:15 pm he updated the ticket.

Before I go any further, this is a point where he could have changed my mind, he could have pointed to what was the exact problem. But what I got was a very long list of suspects and:

Please let me know a good time and number to reach you at, I’m available Tuesday – Friday 10am-9PM.”

This was December 23, 2011, Thursday so a total of 3 days where any host has a chance to win me over. Heck, even Virtually and Dialtone had someone to talk to on the 24th and 26th of December.  Keep in mind they were lousy companies that were eventually bought up.  Sure he can celebrate the holidays, and yes I do celebrate Christmas, but it has not been a full day off for me since I became self-employed 13 years ago.

The worst of it was the MediaTemple.net supervisor while not calling on time, had decided that he would list every single plugin that I ran in conjunction with WordPress and how many in quantity that I had on the other sites that shared the server. I can’t say that impressed me. It pretty much pointed the finger at every single one as if they were the problem. This had me believing MediaTemple.net knew less about what was going on than they had led me to believe. They could not point to any particular plugin that was the cause of the problem.  Never mind this is after I disabled the plugin that Rackspace had pointed me to for almost 24 hours, and I had updated the ticket with that information.

After that and up to the time I migrated the site had run better then it had in months. In fact, if it had run this well before I would not have been inclined to migrate off MediaTemple.

I was not beyond being talked out of migrating to another provider. Between the loss of a family member, a new client with a ton of work, the holidays, the cost and time of having someone migrate this site and other sites, and on top of that going from $40 a month to $150 a month I would have loved a reason to not migrate.

But they were unable to do what RackSpace did in a few minutes, and that is point me to a problem.  Another problem that I have not really got into is MediaTemple.net’s in-house control panel.  If it worked that list of plugins would have been shorter. I should have told him that part of the reason that there were so many had to do with the fact that their control panel did not delete sites that I tried to get it to delete. While the control panel says we have 15 sites, you can log in through FTP and see that there are 20. Keep in mind I said I am not a technical person, but I do know how to use FTP, meaning there is a serious issue when I can see this problem. Yeah, I guess I suppose I could have contacted them in the past to fix this.  But I am not here to debug their stuff for them. That is the job of whoever develops the MediaTemple control panel. Another annoying aspect of their control panel is adding a domain to the control panel.  It is not instant like most control panels, it can take up to 15 minutes for their control panel to add a domain (the process relies on a cron).  I figured after a year and a half that MediaTemple.net would have this fine tuned.

Is MediaTemple.net WordPress Friendly?

When you search for “Mediatemple WordPress” you find they have landing pages just for WordPress. But it has been my experience a lot of plugins do not work with their service.  One in particular vital to someone that does not know how to back up their site, case in point is BackUpBuddy. There are some others that I am not mentioning purely because some tricks of the trade are up to the software providers to get out there, and the less that know about them the better off I am. But I found myself constantly having to re-enter my serial numbers in.  At first, I had thought it was the plugin developers favoring cPanel.  After all a very popular control panel, you go where the masses are.  But after relocating for the first time WordPress sites on RackSpace I am more inclined to think it was MediaTemple.net.  BackUpBuddy is working perfectly.  Also, those licensed plugins are not asking me to re-enter my license information. MediaTemple is not as WordPress friendly as they could be.

Final thoughts on MediaTemple.net

MediaTemple.net is capable of great things. I would like to think they are a step above companies like Hostgator.com and Godaddy.com.  But there are things like this that keep me from wanting to list them in the big boys club. They have done what I wanted to do which was to create a control panel. There is defiantly room for a competitor to cPanel.  But it has been an unfinished product in the 1.5 years of my using it.

Then there are things like this:


Is this the point where I tell you that you should avoid MediaTemple.net at all costs? Their control panel while being homegrown, is an unfinished product. At times they seemed understaffed. Don’t even mention outsourced support to them (regardless if it can be done successfully).

Despite these failings MediaTemple is not a company that I will ultimately lump with the likes of Virtualis, DialTone, OChosting, FastServers/Layeredtech), and Burst.Net. They may very well be in the same position as Server Beach. Which honestly after my first dealings with them I would have told you to avoid Server Beach. But before I left the hosting industry I was approached by a company that had bought them out. Frankly, the salesperson they had to contact me had changed my mind, though I had left by the time my previous company started using them. It was because they did what those companies I listed as failures would not do, and that is to seek redemption. MediaTemple did at least try to do some damage control, something I can not say about those I list as failures.

Regardless of how this ended, I can’t say that I would not consider MediaTemple in the future.