I continue the post series about top web hosting, how we are fooled about them and how to choose the really decent hosts. This article touches upon the phenomenon of the best web hosting review sites promoting the hosts. These hosts appear here and there. Looks like the same names are mentioned everywhere. So subconsciously a reader thinks that these hosts are the best, and there are no other good hosts.
Yes, it is called marketing and this is how it affects our perception. There are myriads of blogs and websites promoting the same hosts. The law works here: a million flies can not get it wrong, so let’s join them. No way. Those flies are wrong. They are paid directly or indirectly. No mass behavior please. Look from aside. Read on. And you will benefit from it.
The first category of top web hosting review sites contain only EIG web hosting or the EIG hosts take the top positions in the rankings. So it is not just very suspicious. I would rather consider such sites to be sponsored by EIG or maybe it’s just a coincidence. EIG is a rich corporation that takes over web hosting turning them into money-making machines destroying high-quality web host service.
So how to check if this or that web hosting review site goes into this very bad category? Very simple. See the recommended web hosts on that website and compare with the list with EIG subsidiaries. It will give a clear idea how much this “top web hosting” review site feels sympathy to EIG evil and its money
People kept their hope that these hosts would continue to be great as long as possible. However, HostGator already seems to have more and more issues now, whereas it seems that ASO still performs great (mid 2013). But in a long-run, I am afraid, EIG will push it all downhill anyway…
Update from August 2, 2013 (source: Mashable):
Unanticipated additional issues are occurring. We are continuing to update as more info comes in…
Update from December 31, 2013 (source: the WHIR):
Endurance International Group filed for its IPO earlier this year, but its hosting brands have suffered from several outages in the process, tarnishing its brand
Endurance International Group brands Bluehost, HostMonster, HostGator, and JustHost are ending 2013 with a massive outage affecting customers worldwide.
Update from April 16, 2014 (source: the WHIR):
More Downtime for HostGator and BlueHost Customers…
These lengthy outages are becoming too common for some customers… Some customers on Twitter have reported spotty access to sites over the past three days.
So, it was all expected. Moreover, August and December 2013 and April 2014 EIG outages are just the very major problems that got resonated in the mass media. If you search in the web you’ll find much more everyday issues and complains from current EIG hosting users. By the way, here’s a my detailed review of FatCow (which is EIG hosting) that has vivid proof of continuous server performance issues.
The second category of top web hosting review sites that promote web hosts without considering their quality at the first place is similar to the first category. As a rule, their philosophy is to promote only those web hosting companies that have generous affiliated programs that let them earn sweet juicy commissions by referring you to those highly promoted companies.
How to know if a “top web hosting” review site is from this very bad category? See the affiliate commissions offered by a web host company on its web site. If a review website actively promotes only hosting with high commissions, then this review site is very biased and is just pumping money not suggesting really good hosts.
The reliability and performance of those “top web hosting” companies play far not the first role when being nominated to be the best ones. The bigger commissions – the higher rating the web host company gets on such review sites.
Such best web hosting review sites philosophy is the following. No commissions or small commissions for referrals offered – no place in their “truthful” rating charts for such web hosts. Not worth spending time on them really then. Effectiveness is measured by the money they can earn per referral. So why bother about web hosts with lesser marketing budget? Even if they are better hosts indeed?
Not good. Really not good.
Of course, the only fact of high commissions can not be and should not be an argument against a web hosting company or a review site promoting it. But the point is that most of the web hosts promoted with big-bucks commissions are too far from being the best.
And if a review site promotes only those companies that offer attractive commissions and no other companies are granted a high rank in their charts, then it is the strong argument against such review site. In a nutshell, top web hosting award should not be based on merely generous commissions.
Unfair top web hosting review sites manipulate us with reviews and ratings
There are tons of reviews added to those web sites imitating objective ratings. And the most of the reviews is a (excuse my French). What kind of (oops, again), you may ask? The answer is simple. Those reviews are effective in their MASSES to make you believe from generated or specifically chosen social proof effect. Lots of reviews are fake, paid, specially selected, highly unreliable and simply stupid. I am not throwing accusations out of a thin air. Fake or paid reviews is a common practice:
- Some researches reveal that from 10% to 30% of online reviews are fake. The more competence – the more fake reviews. And web hosting is a very competitive market. So expect to have a great density of purely fake reviews out there.
- Here is a yelling example from another a book competitive market. A book author, Stephen Leather, gained a tremendous success by promoting his own books from fake amazon accounts.
- Here is another interesting case with Yahoo’s app’s rating and reviews.
- High-quality reviews cost as low $2-10. And moreover, anyone can hire a person for as low as $1-2 per hour to write reviews. Freelance web sites are full of such job offers.
Thus, fake reviews are dearly common especially in highly competitive markets such as web hosting.
By the way, a lot of fake reviews can be determined if you want. I’ve written an article about how to find out if a review is fake.
Even if we set aside fake and paid reviews, it is obvious that manipulation with reviews is not a big deal. Any web hosting review site can gather 150 reviews and pick out just 100 positive and moderate and a little bit negative as a spice. And it leaves out 50 truly negative review. And, puff, a “top web hosting” is shining now.
In addition, review sites can play with their visitors and add “outsider” web hosts, presenting a lot of negative reviews specifically for this web host. Very easy. But go to another “top web hosting” review site and you’ll see that it may have a different set of the best web hosts but from the same pool of high-comissioned web hosting companies. Who can check such lousy practice? Unlikely anyone. The review system is not transparent whatever review web sites speak.
What can be done then to find out the really good web hosts? Actual recommendations that you can apply right away are in my article about choosing a reliable reviews and web hosting. And in the future, I hope, the authority resources that provide with valuable and reliable information will be widely spread. Not like it is now when top Google search results for most popular queries like “top web hosting” are filled with money-making review sites. And when actually truthful and expert reviews are somewhere in the underground of Google search results.
However there are still big questions remaining in the idea of creating independent and reliable review system, as the problem is not only about top web hosting sphere particularly but about almost any goods&services sector and business in general and even outside business. However, it is another story for another article that, I think, is worth writing down.
That’s it for this article. What is next?
- You still can try checking by yourself how truthful and reliable are the reviews that you read. How to do it? See the next article that will help you spotting fake, paid or unreliable reviews.
- if you want, you may see my top web hosting companies list.
- Here’s my pricing-vs-affiliate analysis of hosting: the article with the comparison table (useful method that helps you to find a good host).
- Or go back to the table of contents for this article series.
- And of course, any time you are welcome to leave a comment on this top web hosting issue.