How to spot fake web hosting reviews and avoid getting suckered by them.
One of the slimiest marketing practices on the Internet is the fake review. Some marketers will say ANYTHING to make a sale. The most subtle form of the fake review is the supposedly "independent" review site. These sites are setup by affiliate marketers who get paid based on each sale they generate. Note that there is a serious conflict of interest as these marketers will make the most money by promoting the "best web hosting" services with the highest commissions/payouts. These marketers also generally do not disclose that they are getting paid to generate sales. Don't get scammed by these sites as their goal is to make as much money as possible rather than providing useful information. Often, the marketers putting up these sites haven't used the products or services they are marketing. Some are even so lazy as to have two completely different sets of rankings for web hosts.
The way to spot an affiliate marketing site is to check whether or not it contains affiliate links. These links contain codes that allow visitors to be tracked and therefore credit the affiliate marketer with a sale.
To check an affiliate link, move your mouse cursor over the link and look at the URL that is displayed by your web browser in the lower part of your screen. You should see the following URL for the previous link:
The codes /BI/1234/KBID/5678 at the end of the link identify the affiliate marketer's account (1234 and 5678 are made up numbers).
Other affiliate links look like the following:
http://affiliatename.cybersam.hop.clickbank.net (Anything with clickbank in it is probably an affiliate link.)
http://affiliates.opienetwork.com/ez/abcdefgh/ (Anything with affiliates in it is, obviously, like an affiliate link.)
http://www.tkqlhce.com/click-1234567-12345678 (commission junction link; will redirect to the retailer's website.)
Unfortuantely, there are ways for affiliates to cloak their links to make them hard to spot. Fortunately, most affiliate marketers aren't bothering to do this yet.
Another way of spotting fake review sites is if you found the site through paid advertising. Anybody who is paying for advertising (e.g. sponsored links in Google) is looking to make money.
Something else to watch out for is the widespread practice of overselling. Most (if not all) web hosts will offer absurd amounts of bandwidth and disk space. Some even go so far as to offer unlimited bandwidth and disk space. However, hidden away is all web host's terms and conditions are clauses that allow them to kick customers off for using excessive server resourches (e.g. using up too much bandwidth, disk space, CPU, memory, etc.). The web hosts have little intention of actually delivering on their advertised claims. The reason why they can get away with overselling is because 99% of customers use very, very little bandwidth and disk space. Almost all websites use <100MB of disk space and less than 5GB of bandwidth. The typical customer will not realize that overselling is false advertising.
The other downside to overselling is that it attracts the kind of customer that does use a lot of server resources (e.g. warez sites). Before a web host kicks these customers off their service, these customers will use a disproportionate amount of a server's resources and cause all websites hosted on a particular server to be slow. When you purchase shared hosting, your website is hosted on a server that is shared with other customers. Overselling is typically a bad practice for the customer as it reduces the quality of web hosting received. When looking for a web host, you should seek a web host that does NOT oversell their services.
Products where you need to watch out for fake reviews or scams:
Web hosting reviews
Weight loss products: Wu Yi Tea | Acai Berry scam
Easy money schemes: Jeff Paul's Internet Millions | Rich Jerk | Reverse Funnel System | Google Cash scam | Passport to Wealth | Blessings Unlimited
Affiliate page deconstructions at Ripoff Radar: Lifecell / wrinkle cream review sites | Web hosting reviews | Weight loss scams (e.g. Wu Yi green tea, Acai berry) | ThermothinPlus with Acai / Colon Cleanse
This site by Glenn Chan. Please email any comments or questions to glennchan /at/ gmail.com