This was originally written on July 7, 2015. The screenshots are mostly from that period using archive.org. The site has changed (no longer has a Top 10 that I see, but still misuses Review Signal in the exact same way). I was hesitant to bash competitors, but I decided I don't care, they are the ones behaving badly, I will call them out on it.
This is Episode 2 of Dirty Slimy Shady Secrets of the Web Hosting Review World
I've long hated the fake review sites that plague the web hosting review business. But it just became even more personal. HostingAdvice.com decided to take reviews from Review Signal, edit them and selectively use them to promote companies with very poor ratings.
Let's take a look at what is happening at HostingAdvice.com (This links to archive of their site in case they change it and I don't want them getting any benefit for the BS they are pulling).
They claim to be an expert and say everyone sucks. They are calling everyone else spammy and unreliable. It's hard to argue with the sentiment considering I have the same stance here.
But let's take a look at their Top Hosts in 2015
Media Temple as number one, not the most abusive ranking I've seen. They don't have the best reviews here, but they are 58% (56% as of Jan 2017), which is 2nd tierish, at least more than half their customers are saying good things. BlueHost is #2? That's just nonsense. They have a 47% (40% as of Jan 2017) which means less than half their users are saying good things about them.
BUT WAIT, THERE'S MORE!
Remember that Highfalutin rhetoric about them being different and not spammy/unreliable? How could you possible need a disclosure like that if it were true? That's right, you're just like every other crap web hosting review site out there trying to pimp the highest paying affiliate program on unsuspecting visitors.
If that wasn't enough, there's always the coup de grâce:
Things are starting to make sense. But none of this has gotten personal yet.
So I took a look at the #3 Ranked iPage and to my absolute delight found this under 'Customer Reviews'
Yes, those are the two highest rated positive comments about iPage on Review Signal.
Except they've been given 5 stars which isn't something we do here. Also, they've edited this review without indicating they changed it (adding 'I'), which tells me they did this by hand and not scraping.
So that five star rating is made up. How made up?
So made up that this stolen review was given four stars. They are simply adding their own narrative and judgement to Review Signal's data.
At Review Signal, we only categorize as positive or negative.
Why does this matter and why is this so personal?
This matters because they were conscious enough of Review Signal to steal its content. They were also conscious enough to cherry pick the data they wanted to push the highest paying affiliates and ignored the fact they are selling out to some of the lowest rated companies around. They have JustHost listed as #9 (like many Fake review sites have in their top lists) when every indication shows that they have a terrible reputation. One of the absolute lowest on this site at 39% ( 31% as of Jan 2017) or you can look at the 21% on a no-affiliate link site that uses a similar methodology to Review Signal (now down to 7% as of Jan 2017).
2017 Update: iPage is still listed as 5 Stars with a 4.9/5 Rating as one of their best hosts in 2017.
Finally, what made this so personal is they are using the Review Signal brand to mislead consumers. This site was built to help consumers in a space filled with charlatans and it is painful to watch the brand be used by one of them to enhance their bottom line.
If you're not familiar with Review Signal, I suggest start by looking at our full dataset. Alternatively, you can read about how it works where our entire methodology is detailed including the algorithms used to generate our ratings. The gist of it is we use twitter data to listen to what good and bad things are saying about web hosting companies and publish the results. We validate our method using the few limited available metrics like NPS scores when given the opportunity.
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