Are You For Real? Spotting Fake Magento Hosting Review Sites

Published June 2nd, 2014 by Michael Farin

So, you’re looking for a Magento hosting company. Before you believe all those glowing reviews, you might want to do some double-checking. A lot of the testimonials on “hosting review sites” are fake – designed to generate income for the “review site” through clicks on affiliate marketing links.

Many of the people who write these reviews have never actually used the Magento services they’re talking about. (Their goal is just to generate income through clicks, not provide honest assessments.) If you believe the reviews, you’re taking a big chance on a hosting service that may or may not be VERY BAD. Unfortunately, it can be hard to tell legitimate reviews on real sites from fake reviews on dishonest sites – so we’ve put together a handy guide for you.

How can you tell if you’re looking at a fake hosting review site?

Here are a few telltale indicators:

The review site doesn’t provide owner/operator information. A legitimate site will feature the review company’s name, address and contact information in a clear, accessible place. A shady, fake review site doesn’t want you to know who’s running the site or why they’re operating it.

The site features lots of display and banner advertising. A little is fine – even legitimate sites have to generate some revenue. But legitimate review sites are primarily devoted to quality content, not to huge banner ads. If advertising seems to be the main purpose of the site, be cautious.

The reviews on the site sound like a monkey wrote them. Or a robot. When real people write reviews, they use decent grammar and spelling, and they’ve clearly used and experienced the product they’re talking about. Real reviews are specific, not generic – they discuss actual pros and cons of the hosting service’s performance. A lot of fake reviews either sound like gibberish, or they’re extremely generic, or else they directly copy and paste information from the hosting service’s own website. (Google is your friend.)

The site features affiliate links. Affiliate marketing can be a legitimate way for advertisers to get exposure on well-known sites – but unfortunately, affiliate link programs are easy to abuse. Shady sites may only accept reviews for the hosting companies that pay them the most money – they don’t care whether the hosting company is actually a worthwhile business.

In order to see whether a review site uses affiliate links, hover over the link and see what pops up. If it’s a simple URL, like, it’s not an affiliate link. However, if the URL includes an embedded code, you’re looking at an affiliate link: the hosting company is paying the review site in order to get more traffic. Bias alert! You may want to walk away now.

Hosting review sites actually can be a useful tool – you just have to make sure you’re looking at a reputable source. But the homework doesn’t stop there. Even if you find a company with legitimately great reviews, be sure to visit the actual site, talk to the provider and make sure they have up-to-date certifications and other credentials. In addition, see if they’ve got testimonials from verifiable customers, a portfolio of great work, and plenty of case studies that document what a great job they’re doing.

The right hosting company will be upfront with you and eager to provide all the information and documentation you need. No shady characters or fakes – you need quality hosting from a legitimate business. And that’s for real.

For more information on Magento hosting and speeding up your Magento site, you can check out our articles here.

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