Fake web hosting reviews. How to recognize them

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How to spot fake web hosting reviews

How to spot fake web hosting reviews

I continue my article series about choosing a web host and how we are fooled by money-making web host review websites. Now let’s talk about how you can determine unreliable or fake web hosting reviews. It is my quick analysis after surfing “best web hosting” review sites.

Here are some signals that will help you to see if a review is not worth trusting. These are just my own rule of thumb for conscious and thoughtful reviews reading.

  • No specific useful information, emphasizing emotions. (E.g. “this web host is so cool that I just lost my pants while talking to their sales rep”.) Using emotions is an easy and very effective mean to manipulate. This is the first and the foremost point. If you had to carry out only one idea out of the whole this article, read only this one. Here it is again in other words: do not fall for emotional reviews – you are choosing the web hosting for years and not for one minute fun to get excited. Most of fake web hosting reviews are playing with your emotions. And a lot of them do it so abruptly that you can easily recognize them if you do not consume the information but put it trough the cold-minded critical filter of your conscious perception.
  • Repeating advertised or exaggerated features with no real practical experience review. (E.g. “100% uptime! Very fast! Great customer support!”.) Low-paid fake web hosting reviews are composed simply by copying or rewriting existing marketing materials.
  • Not reliable experience. (E.g. “In four years no problems with them!”) Serious and truthful reviewer would not hyper so much (even if it is a true review and he or she is really satisfied). Four years is a pretty long period, and it is unlikely true to have uptime or great speed all years long on shared hosting.
  • Very little or no experience. Some hosting companies offer new clients a discount if they publish a positive review. The new clients do it with very little or even no experience with the host.
  • Lack of important details. (E.g. “I just called them and they fixed it right away!”) Note that paid reviewers may use some creativity, but still no very technical details since they require expertise to write, and low-cost paid reviewers do not have enough expertise to generate quality content. Most fake web hosting reviews are superficial.
  • EIG/GoDaddy promoting feedback with accusation of the other. (E.g. “GoDaddy sucks, I moved to “some EIG hosting” and very happy!” or “some EIG hosting” sucks, no problems with GoDaddy ever”). Looks like competitors fight 🙂
  • Anonymous reviews, on one hand, might be truthful from a person who just does not want to reveal his or her identity. On the other hand, it is very easy to leave a fake anonymous post. All other things being equal, I think it makes more sense to choose not anonymous reviews by respectful members in a web community you trust. The community is the most important ingredient of this receipt.
  • No contact details/website provided – it is close to anonymous reviews. Even if there are contact details provided, a name on a single review can be fake, and you will never know if it is real or not. But website or respected forum is something where you have much more chances to deal with reputable people.
  • Mentioned web site is not relevant – a reviewer writes about his web hosting, but his web site, that he mentioned, is hosted at another web hosting company. Probably, a paid reviewer just put in some random web site. Here is how you can see where a web site is hosted.

These signals above are not 100% guarantee to avoid fake web hosting reviews, but it simplifies the ways you can find more reliable sources of information.

Watch the language used to tell fake web hosting reviews

Marketing researches show that 72% of people do trust reviews even if they are anonymous. It is a huge field for companies to manipulate us. Be in 28% (or less) of people who trust if only it is worth trusting!

Unfortunately for us, well-paid reviewers can compose a high-quality content with enough technical details that we will not be able easily to identify as fake web hosting reviews. My general recommendation in this case is to watch what language the reviewer uses.

Very often people writing fake web hosting reviews are not quite original in their writing style. And you can quickly identify it if you are attentive enough. Don’t just consuming writings. Analyze and put under suspect what you read. A lot of paid reviewers produce the content in bulk, they can not make each writing quite unique from the writing style point of view. If you are attentive, you can notice that paid reviewers are like all graduated the same school, they all write like following the same pattern. You can feel it once you pay attention to each review you read.

If it is too marketing style, calling you to buy too loudly, with such phrase like “highly recommended“, “5-star”, “10 out of 10” (or “whatever out of 10”), “I recommend it to everyone” etc that are commonly used in promotional marketing, then it is a signal that the reviewer wants to manipulate the readers. Just look afresh, don’t let you brain slide along the promotional rails built by marketing industry to push you to a purchase through fake web hosting reviews.

The good news is that after some practice of reading consciously the real reviews (e.g. on forums with a strong and respectful community) and comparing them with other reviews, paying attention to details and writing style, it will be much easier for you to recognize fake web hosting reviews.

Unfortunately, I think that marketing technology of fooling customers will soon step ahead or have already stepped ahead. The methods of fooling people that work now will soon stop working well as people come to realizing and distinguishing the manipulation principles. For example, less and less people believe a kind of advertisement like “Experts confirm, this shampoo will make your hair 225% better” (What experts exactly? Where are the links to scientific researches proving it? What is “better” and what does the percentage show – thickness, robustness, tensile strength? etc.)

However, as long as people consume such brain-washing ads they still seem to work. And stupid reviews like “this web hosting is just the best” also seem to work for now 🙁

And here’s my input into making hosts reviews more data-driven and fact-based. I run non-stop tests on some hosts to find the most reliable and the fastest hosting. I call it Hosting Performance Contest:
hosting performance contest

By the way, with my blog post and the comparison table of different hosts you’ll see one of the reasons why many bloggers and website owners rate some hosts very high (it’s about high affiliate commissions). And what you can do knowing it:

Title Top Affiliate Programs

Well, that’s it for this article. It is known that people will remember very few of what they have read. So I’ll repeat the most important idea of this post that you would want to store in your mind. In order not to be a victim of fake web hosting reviews you should not fall for their emotional impact.

What is next?

  • You may want to read the next article about how to find a review that can be trusted.
  • Or go back to the table of contents for the whole post series about choosing web hosting.
  • Also, you are welcome to see what web hosts I trust.
  • Also, you are welcome to check out Hosting Performance Contest page where I publish results of my continuous monitoring tests in order to find the most reliable and the fastest hosting.
  • Besides, here’s the page where I put together hosting performance live charts (live) and hosting performance historical data so that you could see how the best hosts perform currently and in the past.
  • Here’s my pricing-vs-affiliate analysis of hosting: the article and the comparison table (useful method that helps you to find a good host).
  • And please feel free to leave a comment about how you deal with fake web hosting reviews.
Last updated on April 3, 2016
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