Many web host review sites are not very honest about what they are doing and why. A lot of web hosts will pay you to if you can send visitors and ultimately customers to their site. There is nothing inherently wrong with this; it’s just commission based sales.
The problem is that some hosts pay significantly more for a referral than others do, so the temptation for the review site owner is to give the better paying hosts preferential treatment.
In the extreme case the hosts are not being ranked on quality or support or uptime or reputation or any of those things that you are looking for, these review sites are ranking hosts solely by how much they pay in referral fees. A web host that pays more will get higher on the list than a site that pays less, and a quality host that provides good quality service but doesn’t pay referral fees would not be listed at all.
So many “review” sites are actually paid advertising for the hosts that are listed on the site. Positions on the list are sold to the highest bidder. No Pay = No Listing. The “reviews” listed are there to justify the ranking and are manipulated to ensure that the top hosts have the best reviews. Nowhere on the site will is actually say this though, that would ruin the illusion of neutrality.
There are even a few known cases where the webhost actually owns and runs the “independent review” site that ranks them far above all of the competition. So how do you tell an honest review site from one that is being less than honest?
It can actually be quite simple.
So how do you separate the good from the bad?
The first thing to look for is if the site explains how they are coming to their conclusions. If they don’t explain or simply make a vague claim about some unnamed experts or rely on a single reviewer then beware. The site may not be giving you an honest review.
Another thing to check for is the graphics associated with each listing. Hosts that have affiliate programs are very helpful and like to provide their affiliates with all sorts of banners and graphics to help with the sales pitch. Host without affiliate programs generally don’t provide these extras.There are exceptions to both these rules but generally this is true.
Since only about 1/2 of all major hosts have affiliate programs then, on an honest review site, only half of the reviews should have any banners associated with them. If you come across a review site where every host listed has a banner ad associated with the listing then you need to beware because the site is selecting hosts to review based on whether they have an affiliate program. How can they claim something is the best if they automatically exclude half the candidates?