Hostmetro.com – Less than a year to top host at Hosting-review.com

Hostmetro.com is as I type this post being show cased as number 7 on Hosting-review.com’s so called top 10 list. Until this year I had never heard of Hostmetro.com, after all there are thousands of hosts I have never heard of. Earlier this month I was cleaning out a screen shot folder to get rid of the many files I will never use (never mind I should be focusing on packing for my move).Where I found a screen shot I took of a so called review site that show cased hostmetro.com earlier. Never mind what should have caught my attention was a host I never heard of on the top 10 for hosting-review.com. After all I know all the hosts that find themselves on these kinds of lists. This so called review site thought it was cleaver posting spam on the Facebook page for this site, in hopes of milking it for traffic. Per usual I took a screen shot of the spam banned the person who posted it. At best this review site is worth a screen shot.

hostmetro spam

But a direct link would probable not be a good idea as their traffic score is no better than a newly bought domain. But they had me wondering who was Hostmetro.com, and why were they on the hosting-review.com’s top 10 list? The question you may be asking is why even bother doing a post on hostmetro.com. Truth be told, this is more about hosting-review.com and the big lie I caught them at.

Hostmetro.com was picked by hosting-review.com as a top host because?

Now before I go over the whole relationship between Hostmetro.com and hosting-review.com I would like to make it clear what the connection is. Hostmetro.com like all of the hosts that appear on hosting-review.com’s top 10 sites have an affiliate program.  Which pay out roughly in the $100 range per sale. With the exception of arvixe.com all of these hosts including Hostmetro.com have cj.com (commission Junction) affiliate programs as well as their own in house programs.

Once again I don’t have a problem with affiliate programs, even that of Hostmetro.com. In short its just a form of advertising. In fact, I am an affiliate of many of the programs covered under cj.com. At best I have an issue with the bulk of a customer’s payment going to an affiliate and not their service. Yet that does not make affiliate programs evil. The only reason hosting review sites like Hosting-review.com show case companies like hostmetro.com is because of the high payout.

Hostmetro.com has an affiliate program. 

Hostmetro.com has 2 affiliate programs. The first is directly through Hostmetro.com the payout is $65 per referral. The second one has far more appeal because a third party (cj.com) is involved and the payout is $100.  In addition Hostmetro.com goes further to say on cj.com:

Our affiliate program offers $100 for each hosting account referral. There is no minimum hosting account purchase or term. If you can send more than 15 referrals each month we can increase your commission rate to reward you for being a high performing affiliate. We will also provide you with a dedicated affiliate representative to make sure all your needs are being met. ”

Normally most hosting affiliate programs offer a higher payout per amount of sales, but Hostmetro.com wants you to contact them to arrange a higher payout. Something I was not aware that cj.com had capability for negotiations. But as far as why a third party is a good thing in the case of an affiliate program, they get paid when the affiliate does.

Hostmetro.com does not have FTC compliance in their affiliate agreement

Hostmetro.com does not have a FTC compliance clause like many companies such as hosts with EIG (Endurance International Group). Several companies sent out FTC compliance emails in 2011 like this one:

http://hosting-reviews-exposed.com/ftc-compliance/webhostinghub.html

The reason I bring up the affiliate program is to get a clear understanding of why hosting-review.com would show case Hostmetro.com. Which is they are in this to make money. Despite giving a editor’s choice award to zyma.com (who happen to get 8/10 on user feedback with no customer feedback), they would not show case the host in their top 10. I have two theories behind that 1. The payout was not that high. 2. They gave zyma.com an award to leech their traffic.

http://hosting-reviews-exposed.com/hosting-reviews/hosting-review-com.html

But Hostmetro.com is different from zyma.com, as they have a high payout.

How old is Hostmetro.com? Hosting-review.com hints at 3 – 5 years. Time for Archive.org!!!

If you read what Hosting-review.com has to say about Hostmetro.com you would think the host was at least 5 years old:

HostMetro is an established, reliable web host based in Schaumburg, Illinois. The management and ownership team boasts a combined total of some 50 years in the website hosting industry; the support staff (all US-based) and server technicians have, on average, 5 years experience in web hosting support. This experience is a benefit to all customers – this is a company with deep roots and stability.

So in effect I think it is safe to say they have around 10 employees. . But to be honest, Hosting-review.com never out and out states that the age of Hostmetro.com. There are other things to look at like Facebook, Twitter, and the Better Business Bureau to get a better grasp of how old Hostmetro.com might be.

According to Twitter.com the first tweet was on February 4, 2013.

Facebook.com shows they joined on June 20, 2012. However they have no activity on their Facebook page.

Oddly they have 2,638 followers on Twitter (I am following them), and only 30 likes on Facebook.

According to the Better Business Bureau:

http://www.bbb.org/chicago/business-reviews/internet-web-hosting/hostmetrocom-in-schaumburg-il-88584516

Business started 07/19/2012

BBB file started 12/28/2012

As I have stated many times before the BBB does not actually confirm the age of a company. The start date is something that the BBB asks, and they don’t bother to check any records to confirm this data. But I think based off everything I have seen that it is safe to say that was an honest answer. So as of today, Hostmetro.com is not even a year old.

Hosting-review.com has reviews for Hostmetro.com all the way back to 2011.

So the BBB has a start date of July 2012, heck even Archive.org has this for hostmetro.com on March 2011 (a simple domain parking page). But when was the first customer review?

The first review was a negative one by someone calling themselves Robert, on May 10, 2011.  However I don’t believe there was a Robert. Nor do I believe most of if any of those reviews existed before last month.

http://web.archive.org/web/20110307233037/http://hostmetro.com/

So how is it that Hosting-review.com has reviews (62 to be exact) all the way back to May 10, 2011?

Not to mention Archive.org has no history of any of those reviews prior to this month.

http://web.archive.org/liveweb/http://www.hosting-review.com/hosting-directory/customer_reviews/hostmetro

But there is another host on hosting-review.com added not too long ago – Arvixe.com

Arvixe.com has been around for a while, a lot longer than Hostmetro.com January 15, 2013 they had a total of 6 reviews from July 29, 2011 to September 16, 2011

http://web.archive.org/web/20130115160256/http://www.hosting-review.com/hosting-directory/customer_reviews/arvixe

Then back in March 2013 they somehow managed to go from 6 to 46 reviews and miraculously Arvixe.com is 7th host on the top 10 list at hosting-review.com. Not to mention the reviews change, as the earliest they had any reviews was August 4, 2011. It appears the first 2 negative reviews were deleted. Plus where there were no reviews after September 16, 2011 on January 15, 2015 there were now 42 reviews that had been added in.

http://web.archive.org/web/20130328181208/http://www.hosting-review.com/hosting-directory/customer_reviews/arvixe

I think it is safe to say most if not all of the reviews at hosting-review.com are fake.

But here is the weird part.

http://web.archive.org/web/20130403012235/http://www.hosting-review.com/hosting-directory/customer_reviews/ipage

Ipage.com, Justhost.com, 1and1.com, godaddy.com, Bluehost.com, and Fatcow.com don’t have any reviews after early April 2012. Over a year and 6 out 10 major hosting companies don’t have any reviews. That is unheard of for my site and I get less traffic than Hosting-review.com. The only site I have no covered is 1and1.com and I even get positive and negatives on this host. So Hosting-review.com should be drowning in reviews from these companies both good and bad.

Somewhere after April 25, 2013 Hosting-review.com decided to add Hostmetro.com to their system along with the fake reviews.

Hosting-review.com as I said before is in this to make money, and if they have to throw ethics out the door to do it, well fabricating fake reviews for Hostmetro.com and Arivixe.com is a small price to pay when the truth does not matter.

Hostmetro.com an award winning host

Now this might have been the end of the post, and I would not bother going any further with Hostmetro.com. Yet like some hosts they decided to show case so called awards that had some pretty noticeable flaws. Either Hostmetro.com did not bother to validate the awards they received, or they hoped people would just be impressed by the sheer volume of awards. Looking through the awards I found the following problems:

  • No significant traffic (which was the bulk of the sites)
  • Don’t have links to proof of the award
  • Incomplete sites that were offering awards
  • No customer reviews
  • Certification or registered with a company, not an award
  • Non-active award site
  • 4 award sites are owned by the same group, and feature Hostmetro.com as number 1
  • An award from 2003, despite a business start date from 2012

http://www.hostmetro.com/awards.html

What is perceived as an award by hostmetro.com would be for starters:

Webhostingstuff.com (award 2), did not start monitoring uptime for hostmetro.com until May 2013. June 5, 2013 is when they supposable agreed to webhostingstuff.com’s code of ethics. Never mind this is what WHS equate as ethics:

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

IMG_0469 IMG_0471

Web-hosting-top.com (Award 12) does nothing more than add hostmetro.com to their system to give an “attendance” award.  There is no direct link to web-hosting-top.com’s page on hostmetro.com, where there are no customer reviews.

Cnet.com (Awards (15 and 20) provided certification, not awards.

Webhostinggeeks.com (award 16) – award graphic simply says verified firm and “learned from reviews” (no idea what that means) they did not have any reviews until June 19 where they got 2, and another one on June 20, 2013.

While most of the awards for hostmetro.com are vague some are nonexistent these awards stick out.

Hostsguides.com, ratemyhost.com, hostingguides.com, and webhostingrevealed.com (awards (5 ,8, 14, 17.21, and 23) are all owned by the same individual / group. Plus Hostsguides.com may have fake reviews, and like hosting-review.com lies about the age of the company:

HostMetro has quietly and confidently been providing some of the best web hosting services in the industry since 2003.

Tevin — October 25, 2012 “HostMetro has quietly and confidently been providing some of the best web hosting services in the industry since 2003.

But never mind that, despite being owned by the same person/group their top 10 lists are not in the same order with each site, there is one host that is number 1. Which begs the questions does Hostmetro.com own these fake top 10 review sites?

ratemyhost.com - Domain Dossier - owner and registrar information, whois and DNS records hostsguides.com - Domain Dossier - owner and registrar information, whois and DNS records (1)

hostsguides.com - Domain Dossier - owner and registrar information, whois and DNS records (2) hostsguides.com - Domain Dossier - owner and registrar information, whois and DNS records

Top-10-hosts.com (award 19) – Looking at this domain you would expect to find at least 10 hosts listed, but there is only one host – Hostmetro.com. I would not be surprised if this is owned by someone with in hostmetro.com. The domain creation date was December 18, 2012.

Cheap-webhosting.guide.com (Award 25) is not actually an active website and has a godaddy.com launch page.

The last award (26) which I think is for 100best.com has no link, and is an award for 2003 which is impossible considering hostmetor.com was not around back then. Archive.org proves that Hostmetro.com had nothing more than a coming soon page back in 2003:

http://web.archive.org/web/20031231063304/http://www.hostmetro.com/

Hostmetro.com is another host that I will be following, and proof that Hosting-review.com is not to be trusted as unbiased review site.

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:

http://hosting-reviews-exposed.com/hosting-reviews/hosting-review-com.html

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:

http://www.alreadyhosting.com/blog/tag/ixwebhosting-poor-service/

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:

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

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.

http://www.screen-shot.net/2010-07-13_1835.swf

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.

Spam!!!

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 – 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.

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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.

4 years and counting, reviewing hosting review sites

I can honestly say when I first started in the hosting industry I never thought about doing anything with hosting review sites. But not everyone who shared control of the hosting sites with me, was not thinking of how to monopolizing on hosting review sites.  I had a business partner that wanted to start a fake review site, where our hosts would appear on top. An idea he got from Featureprice. There are other hosts that practice this today such as siteground. He did not have the conscience I have, one that can cause loss of sleep.  Despite winning the argument of staying out of the review industry, I lost the war to stay out of the cheap hosting industry.  That and several other factors would lead to me selling my controlling shares. Being  against starting a fake review site had caused a rift between me and my business partner for a few years.  Up to the point webhostingstuff.com decided to delete our positive feed back.   The rift quickly dissolved when he found I was making this site, and then he wanted to know what he could do to help me with it.

A short re-introduction of the history of reviewing hosting review sites

My start in the hosting industry was about 15 years ago, when I was introduced to the guy that would later be my business partner in the hosting industry. At that time I had been hired because I was pretty good with data bases, and later I would transition over to graphics.  At the time we both worked for a so called “I can make you rich if you buy my book” guy, or in short a guru.  Even before that my business partner had ideas of running a hosting company.  By the time we had gotten out of the “give me money so I can tell you how I got rich” industry we had partnered with someone else that would ultimately lock us out of our first hosting operation, this host would ultimately die 2 weeks after we were locked out.   Which set us back 8 months in getting another host started up.  Ultimately this host would take off and it still is active to this day.  Despite some other failed business relationships one with a tech who did not believe in virus protection.  Details given in one of my early posts.

By the time webhostignstuff.com came into the picture we had 2 hosts running, a third in production.  This was the point where they decided to delete the positive hosting review feedback of one of my companies.  My company was not the first, nor was it the last.  The big difference is those other hosts did not have someone like me.  I am not saying I am special, far from it. It’s the whole thinking outside the dimensions of a box and not just out of the box. Simple put I am really weird.

The reason webhostingstuff.com deleted my positive feed back was because they were using the negative hosting reviews for my site to encourage others to buy from their top 25, and the same for any host that was not paying for a spot in the top 25. After all its not profitable for people to come to their site and find out that people were happy with the service my company provided or the company they were looking into.   That and the less new customers that flow in from webhostingstuff.com to those that paid for top 1 – 25 positioning will be less likely to pay for a spot, or in the case of Michael Lows hosting review site hostaz.com, people would be less likely to sign up for the hosts that are set up with affiliate links.  Despite saying they don’t delete feed back, they do.  They even give reasons for deleting it such as you closed your account and got a refund.  Never mind the reasons for closing your account may very well justify you creating a hosting review.

Seeing (a) positive review(s) would not give the possible customer a reason to review the so called top 25 list. At the same time people who paid for the top 25 have had their negative hosting review(s) deleted.  Something I witnessed with Infinite Networks.   When I first reviewed them they had 6 reviews with a 2 out of 5 star rating.  Then they had 4 reviews so it was 3 out of 5 stars.

http://hosting-reviews-exposed.com/?p=2117

This site started as a way to vent my anger in my scant free time.  After launching the one page site and the video, I contacted many of the hosts that appeared in these so called hosting review sites.  None of them responded back to me. By the end of December 2007 my anger had long cooled down, and I thought this site would go no where.

I of coarse debated on advertising my hosting company on the site, but it seemed like a conflict of interest.  In many ways I think this would work to my advantage as many smaller hosts would point people to my site.

Right before the 4th quarter of 2009 several factors lead to me deciding it was time to get out of the hosting business among them  was zero vacations/weekends and  long hours.  Not to mention I had wanted to finish up school for a career in biology.  I was not too thrilled dealing with a cheap hosting industry as the less a customer paid the more they expected.  They were more likely to put in support tickets.  On top of that others in our company infrastructure wanted to do what EIG (Endurance International Group) was doing (several hosting companies while using the control panel as a advertising platform), and already had two more companies planned for release in early 2010.

By the end I sold my shares for 60 – 70% of their value, in hopes of getting out as fast as possible (a decision I would regret later as that was a lot of money). I had to sign a non-disclosure agreements and non-compete clause (ncc) agreements.

In early 2010 after finalizing the sales Google contacted me to put AdSense on the site.  Also someone in Singapore was trying to buy the site off of me (Which so happens to be where Michael Low is from).

I thought it was a bit odd, here is a site that for two and half years I did nothing with, it was tied to two videos on YouTube.   One with no sound which is the most popular, and has people saying I should add sound.  Another with sound (thanks to a volunteer) that gets less traffic.  I approved or declined of comments and responded to them.  That was the most I did to maintain this site.  So why the heck did Google want me to put AdSense on it?

I decided to see what a search of Google would find.  The first was a blog for a host.  It pointed to my video and actually did a review of some of the hosts on this hosting review site that were on the top 25, one was hostdawgs.com (Which later went out of business).   They showed based on numbers that the system made no sense.  Hosts with a high amount of negative reviews or no reviews at all were on the list. They also had proof that webhostingstuff.com was deleting negative feed back. I also found that other hosts were referring people to my site such as this one.

This was the point I had decided that I need to start reviewing webhostingstuff.com on a regular basis to find their inconstancies.  I would also soon find out the site was losing traffic due to be on a shared environment with Godaddy and would soon move off to MediaTemple.

A summary of 1.5 years of looking at hosting review sites

One of the biggest inconstancies with this so called hosting review site, was a site called i7net.  The problem with i7net was it had not been online for months at a time.  Worse yet webhostingstuff.com stated that because of the frequency of downtime they were no longer keeping track of the up time   So on this wonderful top 25 you could see a very clear 0% for up time next to the zero stars for zero hosting reviews. Despite that it appeared off an on in the top 25 list from June – November 2010.  Until Webhostignstuff.com finale figured it out, and deleted the site’s listing from their data base.

http://hosting-reviews-exposed.com/?p=586

A better summation of the problems I found on this so called unbiased hosting review site can be found at:

http://hosting-reviews-exposed.com/?p=2121

As my reviews intensified I had to start asking friends around the globe to get me screen shots because I was being blocked.  Which in turned my friends started being blocked.  They probable would not have been blocked if I had not sent emails to Michael Low telling him what countries and ISP my friends were in. Seriously if his site was legit why block people?

By May 2011 Webhostingstuff.com went through a face lift making the top 25 list obscure.  As I had to tell a very angry Jixhost.com (who happen to argue with me on webhostingtalk.com) that it may not be profitable to have to pay for a position that is now 9 clicks away from the main page when it was only 1.  Plus risk the chance of  losing people who are blocked.  At which time I have stopped reviews.  Though I can say I am not done with webhostingstuff.com. Despite these changes the only PPC going on with their site is from Google.

Fun on Webhostingtalk.com

I also got exposed on webhostingtalk.com:

http://hosting-reviews-exposed.com/?p=2207

I learned about Endurance International Group

Its funny how a chat can tell you things you never knew.

http://hosting-reviews-exposed.com/?p=771

One of the big problems with this company is it does not fully disclose the list of hosts that are with them.  One of their former employees as you can see from the comments on that last post claimed that justhost.com was not added the BBB record (the only place I know that has a list of their sites) as it was a fairly new acquisition.  Which is not true as netfirms was acquired after that by atleast a year or 2, appeared just weeks after someone notified me that Netfirms had a been acquired.  I think had something to do with it being a Canadian host versus a U.S. host.  As EIG went out of its way to notify people and actually had a page dedicated to the transfer of the customers.

http://hosting-reviews-exposed.com/?p=1964

A few months ago they may have given me an edge with hosting review sites on FTC guide lines.  Which in short means if you profit by a review, you have to have a disclaimer up.  Which another site called hostingsthatsuck.com did not have until after I did a post on them.  I had planned on doing a review of every review site with an Alexa score below 1,000,000 that I came across based on these guidelines.  Time permitting I will start that process up again.

If you are a host, hosting review site, or anyone else I am the last person to spam.

I decided to take on certain elements in the hosting / web site industry.  The first of which was mindshark.ca.  A so called SEO company.  They harvested my email (they claim a third party did it, after I called their bluff on so called opting in), by going to my contact form and sending me an email.  I of coarse trying to not be rude responded.  Next thing I know I got spam.  Never mind the only purpose of that email was contacts from the contact form, blog updates, and YouTube. They claimed that I opted in, having been a previous hosting provider I know full well what opted in means.  In short I wrote two posts that stay at the top of their search engine results to prove they don’t know diddly squat about SEO, which says a lot as I don’t know a lot about SEO.  Did I mention my two posts appear in the top page of mindshark.ca review for Google?

http://hosting-reviews-exposed.com/?p=2037
http://hosting-reviews-exposed.com/?p=2055

Fake hosting review comments by Unlimitedgb.com

This is an on going drama, and one that I never thought would have gotten a lot of attention.  My former business partner thought it was a waste of time for me to do posts on hosts that spam unless they were like hostgator.  But a post on Unlimtedgb.com was the first host to get in trouble with me for posting fake positive reviews on my posts.  Seriously I am try to find the worst things about a host, and this host comes along to create fake feed back while bashing a host. Did they not think that maybe if I did not like fake reviews, I am really not going to like spam.  Not to mention its poor taste to try and make a buck off another hosts expense.

The worst of it was yet to come.  After I wrote a post:

http://hosting-reviews-exposed.com/?p=1240

Which in turn they decided to post positive comments, big surprise as this is strategy they do on other sites to drown out negative feed back (in a few cases some of these commenters came from the same IP).  But the worst of it was this page appeared on the first page of their search engine results. So he tried to bribe me.  I had to see how much he would pay, so before I contacted him I stated on Twitter and Face Book that some host was trying to bribe me and that I was going to soon bust them for it.

Clearly he did not read my Social Media for this site.

http://hosting-reviews-exposed.com/?p=2436

This is where he had the nerve to question my ethics for posting his email after not responding to the above post.  Never mind he spammed my blog, created fake feed back, and then tried to bribe me.

http://hosting-reviews-exposed.com/?p=2461

Despite a third post they decided to start spamming fake comments again on my site. Despite calming they had stopped that.

Bottom line if your going to spam my site, be prepared for me to do a post so I can get traffic off your site.

Another hosting company that has my interest is Gogvo.com, after one of their affiliates decided to spam my personal YouTube account. Which brings me back to the point where I worked for a “give me money and I will tell you how I got rich” guy.  Frankly this is worse than most review sites.  It not even so much the promise of good hosting, as it is the promise of income.  Never mind half the so called gurus have a disclaimer that states that results are not typical (translation stay away).

http://hosting-reviews-exposed.com/?p=2679

Those are some the highlights over the past few years I thought were interesting.

A few answers to questions I get in regards to hosting-reviews-exposed.com

For those that wonder what hosts I ran.

The answer is I cannot say, granted even if I was not legally bound by a non-disclosure agreement I have no desire anyway.

For those that wonder if I will start new hosting company.

Despite having a little more than 3 years left in the non-compete agreement. I ultimately have no desire to get back into hosting.  Perhaps that will change in the future.  But I have no desire to get back into nickel and dime hosting.  No offence, but the cheap plans are fine to start out with, but they are not a viable long term solution for a serious site.  If I get back in it would only be with hosting solutions for those that want serious solutions.  Otherwise called overpriced hosting to those that think unlimited hosting is the key to success.  Even if I did I would not involve that company with this site.

My site is against hosting review sites making money / I hate affiliate programs?

I never stated that I hate affiliate programs.  I have at many points expressed concern over affiliate programs that pay out more than a customer that clicks on an affiliate link may pay for in a year.  I am concerned with quality of service / support.  When 100% or more of a customer’s payment goes to the affiliate, none of it goes to service.

With that said, this is not my only site.  Far from my only source of income (I would be living in a card board box, with a card board iPad).  All of my sites, including this one are involved in an affiliate program or a program like Google’s Adsense.  I am not telling people that they should not use affiliate programs or that making money of referring people to a host is a bad thing.  It’s a bad thing when a review site makes so called top lists based on how much they get paid.  That means they don’t have a hosting customers interests in mind with a false hosting review site.

The problem is I have yet to see a hosting review site that does not manipulate the system to make a gain.  Which is why I have turned away many hosts review sites that have asked for my endorsement.  Often by giving them email of what the post would look like.

Having ads on my site is hypocritical of since I am going after hosting review sites that make money?

This is an argument I don’t understand. I am not telling you what hosts to use (though books, music, video games, or electronics just ask I will refer you).   I don’t have some so called review site with hosts I have never used, telling you their the best while getting  secretly paid out for referals.  For that matter there is no host I am willing to put my name behind.  I admit I have tried some of the same writing  style of sites I find on the first page of “(host name) + sucks” on Google to formulate posts in the beginning.  Many of these affiliates were not even hosted with the hosts they recommend.  One example is webhostingstuff.com which as far as I have seen has never had softlayer.com on their top 25 list.

In short the argument does not focus on the real issue.  Even if I had affiliate ads for hosts every where and made large commissions on referrals I would not be doing the same thing they are, and that is telling you a host is the best.

For over 2 years I have debated on any form of advertising let it be my own hosting company, or like my reviews of the Kindle Fire and Kindle Touch. Now that I think about it, its not so bad advertising non-hosting related stuff.  I also enjoyed writing up a review of my two new tech toys:

Kindle Fire: http://hosting-reviews-exposed.com/?p=2799

Kindle Touch: http://hosting-reviews-exposed.com/?p=2757

Which those reviews ended up paying for my two Kindle’s.  Well the Kindle Fire review paid for both.  I have yet to see any one buy a Touch (come on readers its better than a color device for reading).

Ultimately I think it would have been bad to advertise my own hosting company, while going after other companies.  Simply because this would have been just as bad as a creating a review site.  It would be like telling you my host is best, without actually telling you why.

I can say lately I have been debating about removing Google Adsense and going purely with advertisers that I control.  After all I had one ad come up a few days ago about Hot Thai’s, and I am not referring to cuisine.  That and I have blocked a lot of hosts.  Though I may very well restore every host back to appearing in Adsense.  I have been debating the fairness of blocking hosts while allowing others.  Which is why it would be easier just to stop using Google Adsense and have no hosts appear.

I am now a hosting customer like most of the people that visit here. Being a former hosting provider gives me some insight in what to expect.   I can’t say I am not bias, as there was a standard for the service I gave people when I was in the business.  Ultimately any host I recommend will have to be up to those standards.

Is there a host that I recommend?

Sorry to say but no, the list has grown shorter of hosts I am using which is MediaTemple and Rackspace.  However there are two new hosts that I am in the progress of trying.  Expect reviews this month.

So What will Hosting Reviews Exposed.com be doing next?

It’s a bit difficult to say where this site will go next.  It mostly depends on my free time.

One thing is for certain this site is getting slow again, and that means it needs to be moved to a more powerful system.  Which may mean I move from MediaTemple.

I defiantly plan to find if review sites are following the FTC guide lines and work with the hosts that appear on hosting review sites.  I also plan to post more reviews of hosts that I am using (I added a few) or ones that customers make me set up sites on (some good, most bad).  Not to mention hosts or web site related services that decided to spam me.  Honestly if they cannot afford real advertising they are not worth hosting with.  Perhaps next year I may recommend hosts, but I would not count on it me starting a hosting review endorsement.

Hosting Review Summary – Webhostingstuff.com April 2011 top 25 list in review

April is the last month I will be doing a hosting review summary on webhostingstuff.com’s top 25.  Partly because some where towards the end of the month the top 25 was done away with and a new system was put into place.  The system pretty much depended on how much credits each provider has left and how much they want to bid for each spot.

but more about that in another post.

For April 2011 there were three new hosts, and one host that had 2 of its negative reviews removed.

Hosting review summary for April 2011

When I first wrote up my hosting review summary I found 2 hosts that on the surface looked like they had downtime issues.  Another host did not have much on the surface.  Frankly if they did not send some unnamed rep the post would have been a pretty dry and stale one.  I do appreciate that hosting companies take the time to read my hosting review. I hope that they can take something from it, and that it will discourage them from using fake review sites, and engage in honest marketing.  Even still if they don’t agree with me, it often enhances a post.  I am willing to let Michael Low comment as well, his counter argument has always been welcome.   Because unlike him, I am not going to block him from visiting my site, and commenting on my review of his hosting review site.

Summary Hosting Review for Premiumwebdesign.com

http://hosting-reviews-exposed.com/webhostingstuff-com/premiumwebdesign-com-hostgator-com-customer.html

This is one of those hosts that I feel will never get beyond being anything more then a small host.  There are too many quirky things that will keep it from being a mid level host.  For one the allowing comments all over the site, lacks a degree of professionalism.  Ordering an account seems to be a confusing process as it is not exactly not up front clear where to go to order, which makes me wonder how anyone can order an account.  I suppose you could argue that it cuts down fraud, but not every one likes to contact someone to order, especially legitimate people.  The terms of service are buried deep in the ordering process, and not linked on the bottom of every page like most hosts will do.  But the hidden terms of service get worse when you find that its broke up in to several parts on other pages, I can only guess this was done to increase search engine ranking as a privacy policy is clearly visible, from what I understand Google is supposed to like those when spidering your site.   Every hosting review I see seems a bit forced, not to mention repeated over time.

As I stated before I feel that the reason I found this host on the top 25 had to deal with up time as webhostingstuff.com indicated.

hosting review

I also get the feeling based on the owner being the only one to respond to comments through various parts of the site that this is a single person operation.

Summary Hosting Review for Winhost.com

http://hosting-reviews-exposed.com/webhostingstuff-com/winhost-com.html


I have to say that this was not a host that I found interesting while I did  a review on them, for that matter it seemed pretty dry.   The funny thing is the same day, right after I got my screen shots they got a second review.  Which is a good thing considering the first one was over a year old, and the domain was expired.  But while there was only one positive review on webhostingstuff.com at the time, there were 17 reviews on web-hosting-top.com where 7 good, 9 bad, and one neutral.    Though in my opinion its 10 negative as the neutral reviewer migrated to another host because of the issues they had.

winhost

This is another of those hosts that use webhostdir.com, and they feel there is no need for you to see numbers, or data of any other kind to prove they are a top host.

I think the most interesting thing about this post was not the post itself but that I got a comment from some unnamed rep from winhost.com.  As he/she was not willing to point me to where this ppc / advertising was taking place at.  Also that webhostingstuff.com does not claim to be a review site, without an individual customer hosting review webhostingstuff.com would have far less pages.  Just guessing but I suspect over 90% of the content is customer reviews alone.  As for dealing with clients, I have to wonder how long a defensive measure with customer complaints will serve them.  But this was the host that had me going back to webhostingstuff.com to find out what happen to the top 25, and for one page only I got to see from my home location that the top 25 was gone, after going to a friends house I found that there were definite changes that I will cover in my next post.

Summary Hosting Review for Jixhost.com

http://hosting-reviews-exposed.com/webhostingstuff-com/jixhost-com-home-of-the-very-limited-guarantee.html

This is a host where its pretty clear that webhostingstuff.com rounds up on its hosting review(s),  despite 2 negative reviews and one positive review this company gets a 3 out of 5 star rating.   9 out of the 10 reviews are negative, and 7 out of the 10 are in regards to down time.  Though it may very well be 10 as I did not want to trigger another block by trying to look at each review in detail.

What bothered me with this host was the claim of :

No risk 30 day Money Back Guarantee!

But the terms of service which could easily be found, and in my opinion lacking detail state:

Our 30 day refund policy excludes reseller plans, vps, servers, domains, SSL certificates and plans paid for longer then 1 month and accounts that are suspended or terminated for abuse. We can not refund unused portions of your plan;

Which clearly meant that only on a certain plan, and as long as you did not pay more then a month you got this guarantee.  If you found the service not to your liking during the 30 days and you purchased more then a month or a plan not covered by the guarantee (which appears to be only their business plan), your labeled a host jumper.  This was explained to me by the a chat operator.  Frankly people who I consider host jumpers were more likely to purchase monthly plans then they were to purchase longer terms.

It has been fun debunking the top 25 hosting review(s) of webhostingstuff.

Webhostingstuff.com – A Rigged Contest

I been meaning to for sometime now write up a post to high light why I write reviews about hosts that appear on webhostingstuff.com’s top 25 list.  Mostly because I have hosts that contact me after I do a post and tell me I had no right to do a review on them because I did not use their services.  For some reason they either don’t know that I know, or they don’t know themselves that the “advertising” they paid for actually is a bidding contest between other hosts.  The proof of why a host is a top host is not there.  Data that breaks down the numbers is absent, there are no facts to tell you why one host was better then another.   Some of the sites that are on there don’t have any reviews from customers.  A few don’t even have a 80% approval from their customers.   Webhostingstuff.com wants the consumer  to take their word for it.   I want the consumer to kick the tires so to speak, as a little doubt is a good thing and protects you from a bad deal. While I have lost my original screen shots and email from when I first started the video that gave my site its initial boost of traffic, almost a year of looking at every host that appears on this so called top 25 list gives me the data to prove that the system was rigged.  Which at this time is 61 going to 64 hosts this month that appeared on webhostingstuff.com at one point or another in my monthly reviews.  So if you are reading this, here is where my right to review any host that appears on webhostingstuff.com  top 25.

How effective is your “advertising”, if webhostingstuff.com is blocking people from coming to your site?

The point of advertising is to get as much exposure as possible right? If you had the choice of a billboard ad on a small town in the middle of no where or a 1 minute ad on some hugely popular reality show which do you choose?  It does not take any business guru to tell you which you want.    A few months after I started taking snap shots and doing a monthly posts on webhostingstuff.com they started blocking my location.  Perhaps in part because I let them know what my provider was.   But it not just my location, its been other friends around the world and their communities because they started taking screen shots.  It seems to be triggered after as little as one inquiry.    Its also been people that have no connection to me at all.  Despite their blocking me more people are volunteering to take screen shots for me.  So even though they may block someone, someone else is getting through and getting me the screen shots I ask for.

But the real question is if they have nothing to hide, then why would they block anyone?  The answer to that is their own data shows why you should not choose many of the hosts that appear on their top 25 list.

http://hosting-reviews-exposed.com/webhostingstuff-com/webhostingstuff-is-blocking-me.html

webhostingstuff

Can you afford to pay a site that blocks people that may be looking for hosting?

I7net, the one host on webhostingstuff.com’s top 25 that was not even online

I first found i7net on webhostingstuff.com in June 2010, the problem was it was not even online.  Between June to November of 2010 the site appeared between the 21 – 25 spots.

June 2010 – http://hosting-reviews-exposed.com/webhostingstuff-com/webhostingstuff-com-top-25-best-hosts-for-june-2010.html

September 2010 – http://hosting-reviews-exposed.com/webhostingstuff-com/webhostingstuff-september-2010-top-25-list.html

October 2010 – http://hosting-reviews-exposed.com/webhostingstuff-com/webhostingstuff-october-2010-top-25-list.html

November 2010 – http://hosting-reviews-exposed.com/webhostingstuff-com/webhostingstuff-november-2010-top-25-list.html

Granted those are not the only posts I did on i7net.  But if you search webhostingstuff.com you will find nothing.

By December 2010, Webhostingstuff.com’s Michel Low must have finale paid attention to my blog because I7net is missing from his data base, well more like deleted from the directory.  It seems almost like an attempt to sweep this mistake under the rug and hope that many people did not notice this mistake.  It may very well be over looked.  Its not like I have huge amounts of traffic coming in (though it increases with time), and truth be told I may be the only one that finds I7net fascinating.  Traffic is not that great for the topic i7net,  but this is my best argument for not using webhostingstuff.com.  I can not help but say that I7net was the dead canary no one bothered to look at while browsing for a host.  Though while i7net may no longer be in the data base I have screen shots showing that they were indeed there in the top 21 – 25, and that webhostingstuff.com even knew about the down time.

Ioxhost.co.uk – the first host to admit the system is rigged

http://hosting-reviews-exposed.com/hosts-that-use-exposed-reviews/ioxhost-co-uk.html

This year I made a host mad because I posted the owner’s emails stating  “I agree with you the webhostingstuff website is missleading where itsays “top 10..” when its not based on anything apart from there bid.”  I did this because even though he knew it was rigged he choose to go back to using it.

Later on I would have other hosts such as Corn husker tech that admitted to buying the advertising.  I also have another host that while not admitting on my blog he was paying for advertising has admitted to me privately in email while disclosing another review site that operates on “the pay to play concept”.   Granted my non-disclosure depends on the fact that I never find that host on another so called review site.  But if you choose to contact me via email I reserve the right to post your comments on my blog.

How about a host that wrote their own review? Like Webinternethosting.com

http://hosting-reviews-exposed.com/webhostingstuff-com/webinternethosting.html

Asides for being a customer of Hostgator.com this host broke one of the rules:

http://reviews.webhostingstuff.com/

If “positive” reviews have been removed from your company profile, here are some common reasons:

  • The original reviewer asked us to remove their review in writing.
  • Review was found to be inappropriate.
  • You posted your own fake positive reviews!

Also “WebHostingStuff takes a firm stance against web hosts that attempt to post fake positive reviews. Enforcement actions include termination of listing and blacklisting on our site.“.

WebInternetHosting

Since September 1, 2010 I contacted Michael Low and he of coarse blocked me.  This review is still up.

Perhaps if this host had been smart enough to not include that site on their BBB record, I would never have found it.

WebInternetHosting

You will find hosts out there that have had their positive reviews deleted, hosts that do not pay for the so called “advertising”.

Then there are companies that I have found online for three months or less on the top 25 list: hostinglocker.com, 10looniehost.ca, hosthttp.net, and spacenets.com come to mind

Before I go off into ramble here, I want to make it clear that I have no problem with new hosts.  Every company had to start some where.  There is also the chance that a new host could take the industry by storm, in this market thats always a possibility.  One company that comes to mind is justhost.com which did just that, but unfortunately that was one host that got a false start and was even at one point on webhostingstuff.com.  Strangely enough they left the webhostingstuff.com top 25 host list after I started the blog with other hosts that are owned by Endurance International Group (Fatcow.com and iPage.com).   This is about new hosts that were/are paying for “advertising” with webhostingstuff.com.  New hosts which at the time had zero reviews when they first appeared on webhostingstuff.com.  Would you not think customers would have some say in rather a host is good or not?  Also would you not think a host would have some time under its belt before being a top host?  Considering I recommend no less then 30 days guarantee (you will find me repeating that often).

Hostinglocker.com is the first time I found a host that is online less then a month

http://hosting-reviews-exposed.com/webhostingstuff-com/hostinglocker.html

This was a host I found on the top 25 for November 17, 2010, if you look at their whois record you can see the site was up less then 30 days before getting the number 11th spot out of 25.

hostinglocker

10looniehost.ca

http://hosting-reviews-exposed.com/webhostingstuff-com/10looniehost-ca.html

Its a host that offers a 7 day guarantee, which I will never recommend.   If a host offers less then 30 days, I suggest avoiding that host.

10looniehost

While their whois info says the domain was created July 2010, but webhostingstuff.com indicates that they started keeping track of uptime 12/15/2010.

Spacenets.com

http://hosting-reviews-exposed.com/webhostingstuff-com/spacenets-com.html

Despite having purchased the domain October 2010, the site does not appear to have gone live till February 2011

Spacenets

Hosthttp.net

http://hosting-reviews-exposed.com/webhostingstuff-com/hosthttp-net.html

Another host that had been online less then 30 days, for that matter 16 days by the time I did my review on them.   Somehow they managed to beat out Siteground who was in the 20th spot, by being in the 13th spot.  Worst yet they don’t have a valid phone number.

hosthttp

Is that that all that is wrong with webhostingstuff.com?

The answer to that is no, there are so many more hosts that serve as an example to not trust this top 25 list.  But if you want proof  here are a  few more:

Firedragonhosting.com:  http://hosting-reviews-exposed.com/webhostingstuff-com/firedragonhosting.html

First I have to ask if this host was on the top 25, why was Godaddy.com not on the top 25 list?  After all this is a Wild West Domains reseller which is owned by godaddy.com.  Worst yet it appears this host is putting his customers domains in his name.

Mochahost.comhttp://hosting-reviews-exposed.com/hosting-reviews/mochahost-com-is-the-worst-host-check-this-review-out-before-you-buy.html

All I can say is read the reviews from customers on my post, and other review sites.

Avahost.com and Siteground.com: Its not hard to be on top, when you own your own fake hosting review site.

http://hosting-reviews-exposed.com/webhostingstuff-com/avahost.html

http://hosting-reviews-exposed.com/webhostingstuff-com/siteground.html

Both of which own their own so called review site where amazingly they are always the top host with their top 10 sites.

Avahost.com owns cheap-web-hosting-review.com

Siteground.com owns  besthostdirectory.com

Ampheon.co.uk

http://hosting-reviews-exposed.com/webhostingstuff-com/ampheon-co-uk.html

The first thing I found was that 5 out of the 9 reviews they show cased on their site were not even hosted with ampheon.co.uk.  Which can be explained by the fact that only a small area of the main page of the site is dedicated to hosting.  There is no direct link to a secure support area on the main page, you have to navigate around the site to find it.  This is a company that treats hosting as a secondary operation if even that, which can find out when you read what “out of hours” means.

customers using this service without the appropriate support agreement will be charged £125 per hour, pro-rata to a minimum billing period of 15 minutes if an urgent response is required before the beginning of the next working day.

While I may not know how much the pound is compared to the dollar at this time (though I know one pound is more then one dollar) 125 pounds that sound like a lot of money compared to what other hosts would charge, when most do not for 24 / 7 service.

……………. and the list goes on of hosts that at one time or another appeared on Webhostingstuff.com’s top 25 list

The webhostingstuff.com / hostaz.com connection

http://hosting-reviews-exposed.com/webhostingstuff-com/hostaz.html

But this is a site that claims to be against the top 10 list methodolgy:

Unlike some dubious “top 10 hosting sites”  that promote web hosts based on affiliate commissions, our fair and honest ranking system helps visitors find the real top web hosting companies.

So in short trust this site of mine not my other site?  Hostaz.com is one of those sites driven by affiliate commissions. Both Webhostingstuff.com and Hostaz.com are owned by Michael Low.

Does webhostingstuff.com delete negative feed back?

The answer to that is yes, and I will be pointing the proof in my April 2011 review of which host of the 25 had 2 negative reviews deleted driving its two out of five star rating to a three out of five star rating.  Which means I need to start copying feed back of customers which you will see starting this month with my monthly reviews of WHS.

Ask yourself, do you really want to do business with a site that fakes your rank?  Better yet do you want your company associated with the hosts that I have listed?  Webhostingstuff.com is only the first of hosting review sites I plan, and I am already in the works of new methods of digging up the truth.

Do you still have to ask why I wrote a review about your hosting company because you appeared on webhostingstuff still?

Hosting Reviews Exposed – Webhostingstuff.com March 2011 top 25 list

For March 2011 there will not be any new hosting reviews there are no hosts that I have not reviewed on webhostingstuff.com’s top 25 for this month.  Which works to my advantage as I have had issues with Dell and Eset that have delayed me from posting this month, not to mention several other projects in the works (2 of which are just for hosting-reviews-exposed.com .  But that does not mean there is nothing to look at with this top 25 hosting reviews list.  Unlike last month, there are actually 25 hosts.   For this months post while it will only be one post, its more of a re-review of hosts that have contacted me or have had frequent updates on my previous posts.

Webhostingstuff.com is blocking me from looking at their hosting reviews

Its gotten really hard finding a friend some where around the world that is not being blocked after only one or two page clicks.  Still that does not mean that I am not able to look at webhostingstuff.com’s hosting reviews.   While I do enjoy encouraging paranoia with this company I am no longer going to mention where people are doing screen shots for me.  But if they are blocking me and many others, those that paid for so called advertising fees are not getting what they paid for.   But lets face it, if webhostingstuff.com was honest about their hosting reviews there would be no reason to block me or anyone.  They would not be afraid to let me and anyone else put their system to the test.

Hosting reviews for March 2011 on webhostingstuff.com 1 – 10

Arivixe.com number one host for March 2011 with webhostingstuff.com

http://hosting-reviews-exposed.com/hosting-reviews/review-arvixe-is-arvixe-com-bad-host%C2%A0arvixe-sucks-complaints.html

When I first did a review about this company I did a short review because I found a disturbing trend where they were trolling any place that had negative hosting reviews from customers.  I tend to believe they were trolling my blog because of the person who wrote: “I’m not Arvand, and I’m not a fan of Arvixe”, despite the criticism of Arvand, there seemed to be alot of harsh critisim of the client complaint I highlighted.  I love how people that claim they are no way associated with this company, go on the attack of whatever negatively effects the company they are not part of.   Perhaps they would be willing to buy my Ocean front property here in Arizona.

One comment I missed with web-hosting-top.com hosting reviews:

Hello,

I’m sorry that you feel we are a scam. Your site was attacked through a DDoS by your own visitors. We suggested that you identify the cause of this and remedy it through proper website management and you refused to work with us and blamed our systems for the fact that your site was getting attacked.

Our job is to protect our systems and make sure that all users on the server have a positive experience.

Therefore, your account was suspended and a full refund was sent back. … — arvixe.com representative

Here are my thought on that:

1. How do they know it was the Visitors?
2. If it was the customers fault, why did they issue a refund?

It seems like they have discontinued their responses to negative feedback on hosting reviews after my first post.  But amazingly webhostingstuff.com is the only place to not have any negative hosting reviews.

Hostgator.com number two host for March 2011 webhostingstuff.com

http://hosting-reviews-exposed.com/unlimited-hosting/hostgator-bad-web-host-read-honest-hostgator-review.html

For some bizzare reason I have been accused of aiding this host for “google bombing with fake websites and prolifically self-aggrandizing” (http://seclists.org/fulldisclosure/2010/Oct/466 )with my first post on this company.  The author  does not respond to my emails, nor apparently did they bother to read my post.  I did not give Hostgator any positive hosting reviews.  If there ever was a host that I would not like, it would be this host.

Amazingly this month they have a negative hosting review to go with the rest of the hosting reviews on webhostingstuff.com this month.

Granted it only took a little more then a year to get a review on webhostingstuff.com.  But alot seems to be changing with webhostingstuff.com since I started doing monthly my own  hosting reviews.

Myhosting.com number three host for March 2011 webhostingstuff.com

http://hosting-reviews-exposed.com/webhostingstuff-com/myhosting.html

This site is back on the so called top 25 hosting reviews list.  Despite this its still averaging 3 out of 5 star approval on Webhostingstuff.com.

At this time I have received no responses on this host.

Site5.com number four host for March 2011 webhostingstuff.com

http://hosting-reviews-exposed.com/webhostingstuff-com/site5-sucks.html

At this time I have no feed back from anyone on this site, unlike Hostgator.com this site appears to get regular hosting reviews.

Lfchosting.com number five host for March 2011 webhostingstuff.com

http://hosting-reviews-exposed.com/webhostingstuff-com/lfc-hosting.html

This is a bit of an oddity.  The choose to contact me in regards to my review, and for some reason wordpress marked their comment as spam.  They later contacted me via email and I posted their comment as well as my response.  I made it clear that the reason that I only reviewed their company because they were dealing with one of many hosting reviews sites, webhostingstuff.com in particular whom I have a vested interest in exposing. The strange part is that for some time they had not been on the top 25 list, and when they had contacted me they were not on the list.  But a month after their comment and my response clearly indicating I only reviewed them because they bought advertising by webhostingstuff.com.  I have to wonder why they are back on this fake hosting reviews site.

Kvchosting.com number six host for March 2011 webhostingstuff.com

http://hosting-reviews-exposed.com/webhostingstuff-com/kvchosting.html

At this time I have no feed back from anyone on this site, unlike Hostgator.com this site appears to get regular hosting reviews.

Mochahost.com number seven host for March 2011 webhostingstuff.com

http://hosting-reviews-exposed.com/hosting-reviews/mochahost-com-is-the-worst-host-check-this-review-out-before-you-buy.html

When I first reviewed this host I have to say I was filled with a bit of disgust when I read one customer review that was later countered by someone at Mochahost.com decided to attack the customer by using their relgion against them.  At this point I have seen not postive feed back on my site.  But for that matter even though the negative feed back is strangly absent unlike other review sites like http://www.hostingsthatsuck.com/mochahost-sucks/

Where there is a disclaimer hidden far enough to still get affilate commisions:

Updated: Due to the more recent negative comments and feedbacks from our visitors, we are now also recommending an alternative hosting plan byMyHosting.com. See below for their custom-fit packages priced from only $4.84 monthly! You pay for what you need and all packages come with cPanel and eCommerce-ready support. Our MyHosting review is as good, if not better than about the above webhost. If you have any doubt at all about the above web hosting service, get MyHosting instead. If you are asking for another webhost recommendation, MyHosting.com is your answer.

Iweb.com number eight host for March 2011 webhostingstuff.com

http://hosting-reviews-exposed.com/hosting-reviews/iweb-technologies-inc-iwebs-com.html

I think the exchange on that post explains their philosophy on hosting reviews.  My satisfaction is that they remove the “since 1996” because of that post.

Omnis.com number nine host for March 2011 webhostingstuff.com

http://hosting-reviews-exposed.com/webhostingstuff-com/omnis-review-does-omnis-com-suck-omnis-web-hosting-review.html

At this time I have no feed back from anyone on this site, unlike Hostgator.com this site appears to get regular hosting reviews.

Scalahosting.com number ten host for March 2011 webhostingstuff.com

http://hosting-reviews-exposed.com/uncategorized/scalahosting-is-there-dirt-on-scalahosting-com.html

There have been no comments up this month.  Though I am not sure how “the claim of a website being deleted that might just have been a bad luck.” helps their case.

Hosting reviews for March 2011 on webhostingstuff.com 11 – 20

Hosthttp.net number eleven host for March 2011 webhostingstuff.com

http://hosting-reviews-exposed.com/webhostingstuff-com/hosthttp-net.html

2 months online yet no reviews anywhere.  You would think a host that has been deemed a top host would have some validity to its ranking.

Spacenets.com number twelve host for March 2011 webhostingstuff.com

http://hosting-reviews-exposed.com/webhostingstuff-com/spacenets-com.html

Another host that amazingly has been online for just a few months.  While they do not have alot of hosting reviews……. well they actually just had one review this month.

Hostek.com number thirteen host for March 2011 webhostingstuff.com

http://hosting-reviews-exposed.com/webhostingstuff-com/hostek.html

Ok there are reviews on my site, but the problem is the pro hostek.com hosting reviews did not leave valid contact emails or websites.  sites behind them don’t exist.

Condorhosting.com number fourteen host for March 2011 webhostingstuff.com

http://hosting-reviews-exposed.com/webhostingstuff-com/condorhosting.html

While there is one comment, it had not postive or negative feed back for this host.

Serversanddomains.com number fifteen host for March 2011 webhostingstuff.com

http://hosting-reviews-exposed.com/webhostingstuff-com/serversanddomains.html

No comments at this time.

Wooservers.com number sixteen host for March 2011 webhostingstuff.com

http://hosting-reviews-exposed.com/webhostingstuff-com/wooservers.html

This burstnet reseller was not too happy with me as you can read in the comments.  For some strange reason they expected me to delete, change, or not allow them to post comments.  But the one thing they did not do was explain the advertising fees that allows them to be at the top of a fake hosting reviews website.

Infiniti.net number seventeen host for March 2011 webhostingstuff.com

http://hosting-reviews-exposed.com/webhostingstuff-com/infinitie-net.html

Here is a host that thinks I have no right to write a review about them just because I never used them.  I doubt that webhostingstuff.com has used them.  Even with that said the reviews at webhostingstuff.com clearly do not back this host being a top 25 host when it has a 2 out of 5 star rating.   Honestly if I was Infiniti.net, I would stop paying for advertising atleast until I got the 2 star rating up to atleast 4 or 5.

Gigapros.com number eighteen host for March 2011 webhostingstuff.com

http://hosting-reviews-exposed.com/webhostingstuff-com/gigapros.html

No comments at this time, other in relation to their use of ratepoint.com

Yaspe.com number nineteen host for March 2011 webhostingstuff.com

http://hosting-reviews-exposed.com/webhostingstuff-com/yaspe.html

No comments at this time.

Siteground.com number twenty host for March 2011 webhostingstuff.com

http://hosting-reviews-exposed.com/webhostingstuff-com/siteground.html

Unfortunatly at this point just a question on how to cancel their account.  I had hoped to get more comments then I have right now.

Hosting reviews for March 2011 on webhostingstuff.com 11 – 20

10looniehost.ca number twenty one host for March 2011 webhostingstuff.com

http://hosting-reviews-exposed.com/webhostingstuff-com/10looniehost-ca.html

Another host that does not have alot of hosting reviews, for that matter they only have one.  Interestingly enough it comes from a site thats 4 days younger then the review.

The host contacted me the same day I was working on their review.  But they never responded to my email to clarify any part of my review.

Layersevenhosting.com number twenty two host for March 2011 webhostingstuff.com

http://hosting-reviews-exposed.com/webhostingstuff-com/layersevenhosting.html

While I have no comments I thought it might be intresting if they have improved on their seo score since I did my review.  Its some what up it went from 3,871,793 to 1,538,214.  While brash.im there supposed seo expert site was at 1,936,294 and now its at 1,289,075.  You would think after 2.5 months with a claim of “rash is all about the white hat SEO and we’re pretty damn good at getting web presence for businesses. With 16 billion online searches every month, you need a bit of Brash about you.” they would have made some drastic climbs in their search engine ranking.  Not to mention not to buy advertising to get ranking in a fake hosting reviews website.  Still no reviews with webhostingstuff.com

Phastnet.com number twenty three host for March 2011 webhostingstuff.com

http://hosting-reviews-exposed.com/webhostingstuff-com/phastnet.html

No comments at this time, and only one hosting review on a fake hosting reviews site.

Ampheon.co.uk number twenty four host for March 2011 webhostingstuff.com

http://hosting-reviews-exposed.com/webhostingstuff-com/ampheon-co-uk.html

No comments at this time, and only one hosting review on a fake hosting reviews site.

Bounceweb.com number twenty five host for March 2011 webhostingstuff.com

http://hosting-reviews-exposed.com/webhostingstuff-com/bounceweb-com.html

No comments at this time, and only one hosting review on a fake hosting reviews site.

There may not be any new hosts this month, but there is still little reasoning to why many of these hosts are in the top 25 based on their hosting reviews alone.