Last updated on December 8th, 2021. Posted in Web Design For Online Business.
If you've ever Googled, looking for the best web hosting for your small business, then no doubt you've come across web hosting review sites. Web hosting review sites are those websites that list out tons and tons of web hosting companies, with glowing reviews for each.
Here are links and resources mentioned in today's video. Enjoy!
Why do these sites list out so many web hosting recommendations? And why do they only have positive things to say about each of them? Well, here's how it works: In an effort to maintain positive reputations for hosts that have been acquired by larger conglomerates, web hosts offer big affiliate commissions.
This means that for every referral they send, the web hosting review site earns a commission. So while some web hosting review sites might be honest, there are plenty that aren't. Many hosting review sites offer glowing reviews for any and all web hosting companies who offer a decent affiliate commission.
They load their reviews full of affiliate links...hoping readers will click on one. And while affiliate commissions are a perfectly legitimate and widely used method online (plenty of companies run affiliate programs, including Amazon, WordPress.com, eBay and many others) website owners often take it too far.
Site owners begin concerning themselves only with earning big commissions and not providing their readers with accurate, reliable information. Said another way, with the potential to earn big commissions, website owners have a huge incentive to skew product reviews in a favourable way.
So, cheap web hosting companies who once had a very positive reputation, who's performance, service, and customer support has since slipped, continue gaining glowing, positive reviews. And not because the host is still as good as they used to be, but because they provide great affiliate commissions.
And that, my friend, is the dark secret of the web hosting industry. So what does all this mean for you and I -- business website owners who just want to find solid, reliable web hosting for online business?
It obviously means that it's very difficult to tell which web hosting review sites are being honest and which ones are simply in it for a pay check. It means we need to be wary of web host review sites. Many are riddled with spam reviews and fake customer comments, too.
And this isn't anything new. In fact, TechCrunch ran an article about this a number of years ago. So if you dig around a bit and find yourself on a web hosting review site, notice that certain hosting brands are ranked very high...that's because these hosts are offering the biggest affiliate commissions.
Worse, I've even heard of big hosting brands sponsoring positive reviews. Ethical, huh? Now let me ask you, why would a company need to pay for a positive review? Obviously because no one is writing positive reviews independently! And so what does that tell you about the quality of their service?
And as you dig, you'll find that there are some easy-to-spot signs that tell you if you're reading an honest, legitimate review or not. For instance, do the reviews you're finding seem balanced, detailing pros and cons, or are the reviews only positive and glowing with nothing negative to say?
Do the reviews weigh different aspects of the service, point out flaws, downsides, and areas where a particular host can improve? Or, is the review flowery and positive and come with four and a half stars?
A review that makes a product or service appear flawless is clearly biased. What they want most is for you to click on their affiliate link. And in order to get you to do that, they're going to make the web host sound amazing.
But the truth is, there's no such thing as a perfect web host for business. Really, It all depends on you, your needs, and your budget.
Another "tell" that tips you off that you're on a biased review site is if the site lists tons and tons of web hosts. Here, they're taking a shotgun approach, hoping you'll click on any -- any! -- of the affiliate links their site is riddled with.
So does this mean that anyone who's reviewing web hosting companies and using affiliate links is shady? No, absolutely not. Again, affiliate commissions are a perfectly legitimate way to earn money online.
But to me, as a website owner with an audience, this demands a lot of responsibility. I do review web hosts and other tools and services myself. And I do use affiliate links.
But this is where the responsibility part comes in. I have a responsibility to my audience (that's you!) to provide legitimate, honest, and accurate information.
I work hard to thoroughly research whatever it is that I'm reviewing. And when I make a recommendation, I try to be as unbiased as I can be. No tool or service is perfect, so I'm always outlining pros and cons.
And, I only recommend stuff that I either use myself, or that I've researched heavily and know is from a reputable company.
Not all website owners with an audience feel the same way as I do about this...but this is how I run my show! Providing accurate information is more important to me than an affiliate commission.