How To Spot A Well-Reviewed Hosting Company
Customer reviews are hugely important in the world of ecommerce – they are often the crucial factor in convincing a potential customer to convert and click that ‘Buy Now’ button. For that reason, fake reviews are a massive problem online, and the hosting industry is one of the worst affected areas. Some hosts and a large majority of affiliate marketers will do whatever it takes to make you click on the host they want you to.
As a customer, how can you protect yourself against fake, shill or sock puppet reviews? How can you research potential hosts without being influenced by falsified information? Below, we’ve put together a checklist for spotting fake reviews as well as some top tips for helping you to search and find genuine reviews.
Fake Reviews Checklist
- Look for detail – fake reviews will lack detail because whoever’s writing them will likely have very little real experience of using the host. A proper review will include details such as uptime and customer service anecdotes.
- Too Good To Be True? – no host is the perfect match for everyone all the time, so if a host comes across as too good to be true, you’re probably dealing with a shill reviewer. This is particularly obvious if there’s a whole list of 5-star reviews all saying identically positive things.
- Verified reviews – the higher quality review sites will grade reviews according to whether they are ‘verified’. There are different ways to do this, but the most common is when the reviewer has to use an email address that comes from a domain hosted by the host they are reviewing.
- The ‘look’ – fortunately, most sockpuppet reviews are pretty obvious – they just won’t look genuine and you’ll be able to spot them a mile off.
- Marketing Speak – a genuine reviewer probably won’t use ‘marketing’ speak (for example, words and phrases like ‘guaranteed’ or ‘100% satisfaction’) when they describe a host, so look out for anything that looks as if it’s been written by the sale department.
- Discount code or link – make sure to check where the reviewer links to in their write-up. If a link is broken or looks suspiciously like an affiliate link, you can probably disregard the review.
- Timing – if a host has a long list of reviews on a certain site, check the timestamp; you might well find that all the reviews were posted within minutes of each other. Highly suspicious!
- Single review reviewers – generally, the more reviews a reviewer has left on a site, the more trustworthy they become, particularly if these reviews have been given over a long period of time. However, bear in mind that many people will stick with a single host for years, so it might be difficult to get that kind of corroboration on a purely host review site.
- Duplicate reviews – a neat little trick to check the validity of a host review is to copy and paste a section of it into google; if lots of direct matches come up, chances are this is either an automated review, or someone is being paid not very much to litter the web with positive feedback.
- Extreme Stars – reviews of either 1 or 5 stars deserve more suspicion than anything in between. By no means disregard them completely, just be a bit more rigorous in checking their validity!
NB. Remember to look out for fake negative reviews as well. Some hosts and their affiliates aren’t above trying to make their competitors look bad to boost themselves up the rankings.
How To Search For and Find Genuine Reviews
Running through the above checklist every time you read a review can be a time-consuming business; the best way to avoid shills is to find a source of reviews that are trustworthy in the first place. But that’s easier said than done!
Generally speaking, the more detailed the better (but beware of unnecessary repetitions of product names); once you find a good source of well thought and detailed reviews, consider trying to add your own and see how many hoops you have to jump through to do so – the more the better!
This is a guest post from Lucy at Who Is Hosting This. They’re currently accepting Cirtex reviews.