How to recognize fake web hosting reviews?
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Fake Web Hosting Reviews
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Did you know that many online opinions are fake? After long research I have come to the conclusion that approximately 50% is not real. This percentage is almost identical to what BBC News published several years ago. It are particularly the large hosting providers who are the culprits. It's mostly done in secrecy and, to prevent possible damage to their reputation, most of these web hosts outsource this work to specialized agencies that offer their services offline by recruiting ordinary people in cafe's and coffee shops who like to earn something extra. By doing things this way these agencies can stay out of the hands of Authorities and keep their customers, the hosting services, happy. My estimation is that these agencies are responsible for about 65 percent of fake online reviews.
And the rest?
I discovered that the rest of fabricated opinions, which is about 35 percent, is written and published by small web hosts, resellers and affiliates. Small hosting companies often don't have the budget to outsource their shady task. The same is valid for resellers and affiliates. Affiliates are responsible for the largest part of this 35 percent. This is not surprising since there are millions of affiliates all over the world while small site hosting providers and resellers are much lower in numbers.
So, what now?
My advice is to not "consult" others online unless it's a close friend who can be trusted. It would be better not to believe online evaluations by experts who probably earn commissions when you purchase, it's also recommended not to believe customers or ex-customers online. It is advisable to ignore this online source of stories from which it has been proven that approximately 50 percent is likely not based on the truth. The possible cause of this situation is the more than fierce competition among hundreds of thousands of companies, including their affiliates and their resellers which seems also to be the reason why pricing is so low. A reliable solution could be to select a website hosting service with a low client cancellation rate which usually means that their customer satisfaction rate is high.
A possible solution
I know that my own web hosting service probably has the lowest customer cancellation rate. The names are respectively Linux Hosts Inc. (USA) and Linux Hosts Ltd. (UK). It are two sister companies hosting my USA and UK web sites. They belong to the LiquidnetLimited group with fast data centers all over the world that can be found in, among others, the USA, UK, Australia, Finland and Bulgaria with 99.99 percent Uptime Guarantee. Their support team consists of highly trained IT engineers, available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year. They have fast and professional technical support that is able to resolve problems in minutes, no matter how complicated. This company rescues good webmasters from bad web hosts. Technical support helps new clients with everything if needed, such as site transfer to the new account, file uploading, name server pointing and testing, free of charge. This company wants new clients to succeed online because they know that they will earn more if their customers are successful. This is an attitude that other web hosting providers should have as well, but it looks as if many of them most likely don't care. New accounts are backed up by a No Questions Asked 30 Day Money Back Guarantee so you could try my own web hosting provider risk free. Please note that I don't earn from this recommendation. I'm simply upset about the online review scam and I want to help others to prevent them from being victimized by scammers, which is exactly what happened to myself a few years ago. You can visit my provider by clicking the banner at the top of this page.
So we now know that the reliability of a published experience is not always obvious. As said above, study shows that more than 50% of reviews by web hosting customers and experts is not real. They are placed by phony customers or smart business people acting as experts. These experts and clients earn money from their activities. Companies are hiring more and more people or they hire other companies to post positive comments. Usually false profiles are created for this purpose after which the phantom story can be posted.
What was new to me is the fact that there are even (illegal) agencies specifically aimed at creating bogus users and phoney online web space experiences. As said before, these agencies are hired by marketers to promote their website hosting activities. Also, Facebook likes and Google's Plus are being sold in bulk. As a result, the popularity of a web hosting company is blown up to bigger proportions than it is in reality. Although a number of hosting opinion sites, indicate that reviews are checked, posting a fake experience appears to be simple. A registration with a valid e-mail address is all that is required to post a comment. Nevertheless, a false online review often has one or more of the following characteristics which makes it possible to recognize them:
- The user registration date mostly is recent.
- Exclamation marks are used in a reaction to emphasize the positive assessment.
- Also, these fabricated hosting opinions are often vague, so it is unlikely that the person actually had experience with the web hosting service.
- Another technique being applied is the "question and answer" technique. Here the fictitious reviewer first asks a question like, "Who has used their services, I am curious!". Less than a day later, the same culprit responds enthusiastically from a different user account: "I have been using them for many years. . . . . etc." without technical details.
- Upon deeper examination, there are sometimes dozens of identical reviews at the same time being sent from the same IP address.
How to protect yourself against fake opinions?
Fake online reviews on web hosts are difficult to combat. There is often no control over fictitious user data and it is possible for anyone to sign up with an email address. For major review sites it is becoming increasingly difficult to identify a fabricated review. They develop algorithms for their sites to recognize fake reviews based on sentence structure, IP address and word usage, but these algorithms are not perfect. Recognizing and combating fake reviews is not easy. Here comes the downside of anonymity on the Internet into play: it's easy to assume another identity on the Web. It is difficult or even impossible to find out the true identity of the person or party who placed a counterfeit review. These persons or parties can therefore not be held accountable for their behavior or be held liable for the emotional and financial damage to the new hosting customer who did not expect to be disappointed after reading positive news about his or her new provider.
My advice is to just ignore website hosting reviews. Presumably, it's better to do your own research instead of relying on the Internet where much is untrue. And I realize that this is not an easy task. There are currently millions of reviews online which makes it almost impossible to get correct results after doing it all yourself. Personally I ignored all related search terms. To find my ideal service provider, I simply did a very direct search for web hosts with low customer cancellation percentages, hence the banner you see at the top of this page. However, for those who are not interested in the banner, I will write one more article on this subject. This next article will explain how to do this research and how to find the best website hosting service for your requirements. I can already tell you the tip of the iceberg: It's all about testing them which is difficult and time consuming. If you want more explanation you can watch the video below made by someone else.
If you have no time for research you could make use of the advantage of visiting my own web hosting company so that you can have a new provider in minutes. On the other hand I realize that this method also has a disadvantage and that is that this recommendation is one-sided. Last but not least I would like to emphasize that this article is not waterproof for one more reason because, from the moment that other hosts start publishing their cancellation rates as well, it could be that theirs is even lower, right? Anyway, finally, may I invite you to read the banner at the top of this page, just to take a look at my own provider? That is all for now. Thanks for stopping by and please come back now and than to check for possible updates on this page.
Best regards from Dick Detering.
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