A positive review posted in a popular online forums is not only a customer’s appreciation to the service. It is a powerful marketing tool. We can see tough competition on the hosting market. Ten thousands of web hosts fight for new customers and some of them use forum reviews as a pat of their marketing strategy.
I’ve decided to spend some time on this article because I see fake reviews every day. Those posts mislead the consumers who place confidence in web hosting companies and a lot of them are being ripped off.
It should be easy to follow a fake review but sometimes it was hard to make a difference. The first thing someone’s need to check is a number of posts a forum member has in his account. If you see someone has written a review about any provider with their first post you should be very suspicious about the post’s authenticity. Why? Because if forum member came to the forums and registered only to post a review, that means they were motivated to do that. I don’t say all “first-post-reviews” are fake. But unless a user says honestly he registered to post the review and has good explanation about the hosting service you can not trust him. I know many companies that offer discounts and other benefits to customers to post good words about them. Sure no one would do that if the service they use is terrible. But a review that came with a first post often means that someone has made a decision to made a post on behalf a web host.
“I like … It is the best host I’ve had”
If you see something like that just see if the forum member states its domain name and go back to “first-post-rule”. A good example of the possible fraudulent review is this one http://forums.webhostdir.com/showthread.php?t=15372. The guy praised his provider with the first post without having a good explanation about the service. They didn’t post their domain name and wrote a review full of superlatives. If you go to any search engine (Google, Yahoo, MSN or my favorite Dogpile) and post providers name, you’ll find how popular it is. In our case mentioned above it is totally unfamiliar. At the same time the web host proudly states in it’s web site it is a “leader” in web hosting. So what chose do you have but to sign up!
Years in Business
When you see a very positive review about hosting provider always check their business history. If someone is in business for less than an year that means it is unlikely to have too many customers. It is possible a hosting provider to be reliable from the opening day if its executives have a good hosting knowledge. But most host haven’t. To provide good service means to have a reliable network and to use expensive equipment. Most newcomers however can not afford to buy RAID 5 server from IBM, DELL, HP or any other popular producer. Powerful machine costs at least $2500. If someone invested in state-of-the-art data center and/or servers they will definitely not offer “web hosting for less than $5/month”.
It is acceptable to find a “newbie web host” that is reliable enough. But it has to provide a good explanation about the experience and knowledge of its staff and executives.
So every time you read superlatives about a company just go to www.whois.sc and type their domain name. If they are in business for less than an year go to their web site and try to find a proof why they are “so good”. Everyone who knows how to handle their business should be able to deliver the technology, experience and knowledge to their customers.