There is no doubt that the Internet is a wonderful tool. It is a resource that can be accessed anywhere in the world. You could call it a giant library filled with information on absolutely anything possible.
However, since this particular library is largely unregulated, there is a lot of misinformation, phony data and fake review sites. One topic that has become a regular target for fake and incorrect information is webhost sites.
Why Are There So Many Fake Reviews?
The primary reason there are so many fake reviews is that it’s actually pretty lucrative business. A lot of web hosting sites will offer a large fee—anywhere from $50-$150—for each referral that signs up for their web hosting. Because of the high payout, it’s almost impossible to find hosting without landing on some affiliate website. Their only goal is to receive compensation from the web hosts they are promoting and fake review sites will do that in any way they can.
Web hosting review sites can also skew their reviews and recommendations, favoring sites or recommending the sites with the highest payout. It’s because of this that a lot of reviews on these sites aren’t even from actual users. A review site might even be owned by the web hosting platform themselves, constantly favoring themselves as number one to get more users.
If there isn’t payment involved, web hosting sites might write numerous reviews to help boost their SEO. This might be particularly true for newer or smaller web hosting platforms that are looking to build their customers but can’t afford to pay out affiliates like the larger companies. These are carefully crafted reviews to concentrate on specific key words to optimize search terms to dominate search engines. New web hosting companies might also create a lot of fake reviews in the beginning to help build interest and trust.
Affiliate sites might use both of these strategies using cookies. If you visit a review that used SEO to capture your attention and the site has cookies to populate on your computer, even if you don’t click through with them, they still get paid as an affiliate once you select your web hosting (although this can be counter productive because if Google or other search engines find them doing this, they can lose their search engine rankings).
It’s also worth noting here to be wary of web hosting sites that give awards. Often they give out awards to the companies with the highest affiliate payouts.
Watch Out For These Similarities Of Fake Review Sites:
- Lack of Data: If there isn’t any hard data backing up their claims or any specific details about how the web hosting is performing.
- Copied Information: A review that just copy and pasted the web hosting sites’ specs. If a review sounds like an advertisement, it probably is.
- Too Positive: If the review is way too glowing and over the top. It also might be to counteract bad reviews.
- Anonymous or No Information: If there is no validation that the reviewer is a real person.
- Too Negative: If all a reviewer is doing is bashing on a competitor instead of reviewing the actual product at hand.
- Not Hosted Themselves: If a review mentions the site they are hosted on and you run a check to see it’s not.
- No Traffic: If the site traffic is less than the amount of reviews.
14 Types Of Fake Hosting Review Sites:
1. The “Claims” Review Site
This is often an easy one to write for anyone trying to hook you into signing up with a webhost. They don’t include any hard facts or verifiable data. It’s just open-ended statements that make claims. In other words, if it sounds like a used car ad with statements along the lines of, “We will outperform our competition” or “Everyone who signs up with us is a satisfied customer” it is a fake site. Pretty bland, right? Nothing really solid here makes this a fake review.
2. The “Copy & Paste” Review Site
As if the first one wasn’t easy enough to do, any webhost review site that contains the exact, word-for-word content of the actual webhost website should be a giveaway. Sure, when you copy and paste you eliminate the risk of getting something wrong by using the exact content of the webhost. Where this fails is that anyone can copy and paste data from any equipment site and pass it off as an authoritative source online. Don’t be fooled with this one.
3. The “Generic Customers” Review Site
There are many ways to spot this phony webhost reviews site through customer information. Sure, it may list a number of truly awesome, well-written reviews from happy customers. However, check for these details. Does the customer review indicate that it is from a ‘verified purchaser?’ Does the customer review include a domain or IP address for verification? These are two red flags that should be waving frantically in your face at these fake sites.
4. The “Top 10” Review Site
C’mon, we really aren’t that stupid, are we? Anytime you encounter a wehost review site that features their Top 10 Best Webhosts For Features or whatever criteria are being used this week, you know you have a phony site. In fact, if the Top 10 does not include any real details that can be compared from one selection to another you are sure to be staring at a fake site on your computer screen. Again, an easy one to put together with little in the way of facts.
5. The “Hosting Directories” Review Site
This may look like a handy way to learn about different webhost sites on a directory listing but beware. It’s one of many gimmicks used to appear as if the data is from a legitimate source. One serious clue to let you know when you have a fake site is if the directory only lists a few webhosting companies. For a directory of this kind to have any impact it should feature thousands of different webhosts. A difficult task for a fake site to handle.
6. The “One Review Only” Review Site
You may think you’ve hit the mother lode when you come across a webhost review site that features just one company. It can come in the format of a single page website or a website of a handful of pages that sing the praises of Webhost A and only Webhost A. It may even come across a little bit like the whole she-bang was sponsored by Webhost A and only Webhost A. That won’t be the case, but it will be another fake review site.
7. The “Keyword Target” Review Site
These are painfully easy to spot in the sea of garbage websites if your English skills are relatively good. You will be able to identify them by reading any paragraph and noting that the grammar does quite flow but for some reason Webhost A is mentioned a lot in conjunction with other words and phrases related to webhosting. Any time you see keywords that stick out like a sore thumb, you know you have a poorly built website designed as a fake site.
8. The “Awards Site” Review Site
Sure, if you won an award for something spectacular about your product you’d want to brag about it a little bit online, wouldn’t you? The problem with award site webhost review sites is that some of the awards are made up, dubious and about as phony as the webhost review site is. The only real ‘award’ that should be noted when searching for webhost review sites is the position they come up as in your search engine results.
9. The “Customer Based” Review Site
Have you ever stumbled upon what looked like a pretty slick website featuring webhost reviews only to discover it’s actually someone’s personal blog site? This is a dead giveaway when trying to weed through the fake and the real review sites out there. It may look legitimate but if you look closer and see other posts on random topics about the weather, the price of food and bitcoins chances are this is some guy with a fake review site.
10. The “Gimmick” Review Site
You have to admit that the only reason why gimmicks keep cycling around and around is that they all have a certain level of success. With the Internet, scammers are getting much better at playing the game so they are able to create some fresh spins on the old standby gimmicks. A gimmick is essentially a form of bait designed to get you to respond or act on something you read or see on the webpage. There’s a sucker born every minute, don’t be one of them.
11. The “Freelance Writer” Review Site
This is not always an easy one to identify. Essentially the website owner has contracted the task of writing reviews about the webhosts to an independent freelance writer. The probability that the writer has enough knowledge to produce passable content is negligible at best. To the untrained eye, a site like this may pass undetected. However, for someone with extensive knowledge on the webhost topic will be able to spot the fake immediately.
12. The “Redirect” Review Site
Have you ever paid attention to the addresses that flash and flicker in the address bar at the top of the page on your computer screen? Not all URLs are legitimate. You can spot a redirect fake review site when you punch in the Internet address and as the page loads it passes on to one or more different website URLs before finally loading properly. It’s a trick used by many but if you know what to watch for you’ll be able to see the fake activity instantly.
13. The “I’ll Never Use Their Service Again” Review Site
Have you ever noticed that there are very, very few (if any) webhost review sites that point to the negatives of a single brand in an attempt at ‘outing’ them? Sure, there are some less than favorable reviews posted online by ‘verified purchaser’ type sites where some webhosts get kicked around a little but there is no real resource on bad webhosts. Should you ever find one listing the “Top 10 Worst Webhosts Online” it probably isn’t a fake review site.
14. The “Get Paid To Review Us” Review Site
Remember what we said earlier about gimmicks? This is probably one of the most common ones out there. Maybe paying you for a good review is the only way this service can get good reviews. That should tell you something about that particular company or service. There’s nothing wrong with offering customers an incentive of some kind but to flat out feed a bribe to get a good review means the product is either bad or does not do what it is claimed to do.
How Do You Know If A Review Site Can Be Trusted?
Now that you have an idea of how to spot and identify the most obvious offenders of the fake review site rules, you will be able to search the Internet knowing one thing. That not everything you find online is true or endorsed by the company or product being reviewed.
The only way to be 100% certain that a review can be trusted is if it is hosted on a site that doesn’t make money from an affiliation, nor does the reviewer. Unfortunately, it’s hard to find. Here are a couple of ways to check if you can trust a review:
- Balance: The review site has a balance of both positive and negative reviews.
- Research: Don’t trust one site or review. Search around and look at reviews on multiple sites.
- Trust Your Gut: When it all looks too good to be true, it probably is.
If you come across one of these fake review sites, there is not much you can do other than not click on any of the links contained in the site. That’s how the fakers make their money, by sending you to the webhosts through an affiliate link.
If enough people quit falling for the phonies, they would eventually disappear over time. I hope.
Well, nevertheless, which fake hosting review sites do you know? Let’s discuss it further in the comment section below.