The web hosting market is very competitive. And this might even be an understatement. There are literally thousands of web hosting providers promoting their services online.
Every market with so much competition also brings out the worst of the heard. Web hosting companies that can’t compete with their quality often decide to go the opposite route and try their best to “promote” their service with blackhat marketing techniques.
And on the top of the Blackhat pyramid, we find fake web hosting reviews.
What Exactly Are Fake Reviews
We all know about fake news. The media seems to be full of them in the 21st century. But have you ever heard of the fake review pandemic?
Have you ever seen a Kindle book with amazing reviews and tons of recommendations, only to discover the book is complete garbage? Spelling mistakes, third world grammar and free creative commons images for visuals. There are only two explanations why something like this might happen – option A means everyone who reviewed the book lives on another planet than you and option B means you’ve just fallen for a deliberate scam that is known as fake reviews.
These reviews are made with the single goal – to provide you with false information on the quality of the product with hopes you’ll reach for your hard-earned dollars and buy the damn thing. Or not buy the damn thing. You see, there are both negative and positive fake reviews.
The positive fake reviews try to oversell the product. For example, you might see tons of glowing reviews for an unknown hotel only to discover their rooms are filled with maggots and cockroaches. The positive reviews try to persuade you to take action – to book the room, to buy the room, to choose this web hosting provider.
On the other side of the specter, we have negative fake reviews. These try to bring down the reputation of a company. Dirty business owners do this to overcome their competitors by trying to convince you they’re the least bad option of the bunch. You see a lot of these in the web hosting market, where someone first bashes a certain provider and then at the end of the review gives recommendations for an alternative.
What you need to remember is that both positive and negative fake reviews are completely made-up and have nothing to do with reality.
Why Are Fake Web Hosting Reviews Even a Problem?
If someone is reading reviews it means they reached a point where they already decided they need a certain service or product. In our case, they’re looking for a web hosting provider. Marketers would call these people hot leads or people at the end of the sales pipeline. They’re looking for signals of past buyer to make the best decision they can.
Online reviews and endorsements are a huge selling point in the digital age. According to 2016 data, over 80% of people said they trust online reviews as much as they trust personal recommendations. You can image the havoc fake reviews have on our decision-making process when selecting the best web host for our business or website.
Why Do People Write These Fake Reviews Anyway?
The number one reason people write fake web hosting reviews is money. Without the financial incentive, we’d have no (or close to no) fake reviews online.
There are three main types of people writing the reviews:
– Mercenaries – these are individuals that are hired by a shady web hosting company. The company pays them for their fake reviews. The company is basically using “freelancers” to spam the internet with lies. Something we see way too much of.
– Employees under the gun – these are people who are employed at the company that decided fake reviews are a viable marketing strategy. We actually feel sorry for these people since they have to write lies in order to keep their jobs.
– Affiliates – these are the people who made a deal with a hosting provider where they get a financial reimbursement for every new client they bring to them. This gives them a strong incentive to do whatever it takes to find leads and this includes lying.
Where Can You Find These Reviews?
In the web hosting world you’ll find most of the fake reviews to be hosted on individual websites. These are usually simple affiliate websites that look like they were done in a day, tops. Here’s how it usually goes – someone, a shady marketer, will find a few different web hosting deals and the shady marketer will become their affiliate. He/she will build a review website where he/she will review a bunch of different web hosting providers by listing their pros and cons, personal experiences and so. The problem is that the personal experiences will more often than not be completely made up. They will only do this to convince you to buy the service so they can earn their commission.
You especially need to be wary of what we call thin review websites. These are websites that have close to no content – we’ve even seen sites that were made from a single page, and most of them seem to be promoting the same web hosting providers. The reason for this is that they all opted for the affiliate deals that promise the highest payouts.
It’s your duty, as a consumer, to make sure you don’t fall for any of these schemes when picking a web hosting provider for your needs. This isn’t always easy as you can imagine, but by paying attention and being aware of fake reviews is usually enough to make a smart decision. And a smart decision means you’ll have to deal with a reliable and trustworthy web host.