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03-21-2013, 03:05 AM
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kpmedia kpmedia is offline
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The staff of The Digital FAQ has spent thousands of hours helping others with their digital media issues. This includes not just digital video and blank digital media, which we're well-known for, but also digital photography and web publishing -- both design and underlying tech, which includes hosting. We help folks one-on-one to find the best custom/individual solution for their needs; we don't give generic advice. All that in addition to being a full-service media company!

Our advice is published not just online, but in books, law enforcement manuals, college theses, etc.

So it's somewhat aggravating to have to take time out of my day, in order to respond to nonsense that was posted on the blog at hosting-reviews-exposed.com. It's time I could put to better use working, or helping others.

Why Hosting Reviews from The Digital FAQ?

The hosting reviews at The Digital FAQ came about because I was frequently being asked for my advice online. (I'm a respected member of several forums, including WHT, which I visit so I can keep tabs on the companies I use.) My inbox would literally fill up with several requests per day. Rather than hide my advice in PMs, I created a small list for others to refer to, back in 2011.

That helped, but people then began ask more advanced questions -- not just which host, but which VPS in Europe, for example. More needed to be added. So we're in the process of expanded digitalFAQ.com to house information on hosting and server admin topics. The first major update was on 3/14/2013, and there are many more to come.

Apparently, that's not good enough for this impatient blogger:
I honestly would not have a problem with Digitalfaq.com doing their own recommended hosts if they actually validated their recommendations with facts
Unlike other sites, we rank hosts based on their merit: uptime, support, server hardware quality, etc. It's in no way biased by payouts like those fake lists that suggest Godaddy, 1&1, Yahoo, and EIG brands. If the pay commissions, great! We use those funds for the site. If not, that's fine, they still get our recommendation!

Who is hosting-reviews-exposed.com?

The site is essentially random online rants by one person. It reminds me of those political kook blogs you can find online -- mostly Republicans/conservatives these days, but it infects every political spectrum. Or conspiracy sites (9/11, JFK, the moon landing, etc).

The "articles" are mostly rambling.

I came across the site a year or two ago. While the basic premise seemed fine -- exposing fake review sites -- it didn't really carry that out. Poor grammar and misspellings aside, the sole author would ramble about all kinds of companies, both hosting and non-hosting: anti-virus software, Amazon.com, WebHostingTalk.com, Cyberhost Pro, 3essentials, Wooservers, BurstNET, Site5, LayeredTech, MediaTemple, etc. It has little to nothing to do with fake hosting sites.

In fact, probably half of the blog (or more) has nothing to do with "exposing" others. And that's a shame, given how fake affiliate blogs pop up almost daily.

Inexperience with Hosts / Novice Suggestions

The author claims to have a great deal of experience with hosting, yet demonstrates very little.

Take the Cyberhost Pro post, for example:
Cyberhostpro is my sixth host out of 7 of webhostingstuff.com September 2010 list. There is not a lot that I can tell you from just a simple search and once over look of the site.
It's a long-winded rant against the company for supposedly burying its ToS. Not once did this person use the host, or even contact the host. When we find an issue at a host, we contact them. That's the professional thing to do. In this case, an inquiry about the location of their ToS would have sufficed. For all we know, it was a momentary oversight by the designer, and they'd be glad someone pointed it out. How immature to write a one-page rant on that topic alone.

He also gives the kind of advice you'd expect from a know-nothing consumer: (1) Use Godaddy, or (2) use Rackspace. The former is terrible, and the latter is overpriced and honestly not that much better these days. (Rackspace is so 1990s!) From 2007-2010, the "site" was nothing more than a one-page rant hosted at Godaddy, and an amateur video on YouTube. In fact, from what I could tell, those are two of the only three main hosts this person has ever used, with Media Temple being the third. Most of the "exposed" posts are completely without merit.

By contrast, since 1993, the admins/mods/owner of The Digital FAQ have used at least 100 hosts.

He also makes the novice mistake of relying on Pingdom to blame hosts (i.e. Media Temple) for downtime that may not have actually happened. As I frequently explain to others, Pingdom can give false results. To truly check uptime, you need to have at least three monitors, and at least two of them should agree before you bother checking it. I don't mean free services either, but monitoring tools run from your own VPS, such as Nagios. That's the only way you can know if a sever is up!

hosting-reviews-exposed.com vs. Facts

There's so much false information here, that it almost hard to know where to start...

HostGator Ads
Plus since Digitalfaq.com loves Eurovps.com so much why does Hostgator.com and other companies get a far bigger banner.
Note: hostgator.com (a host that offers unlimited hosting) is a sponsor of Digitalfaq.com.
This is false. On about 3/5 the site's sponsor chose not to renew, and the site ads reverted to filler from a year or two ago -- way before HostGator was sold by Brent Oxley to EIG. At that time, it was still pretty good, and was suggested. In addition to that, it was in rotation with several other filler ads for Meritline and SuperMediaStore.com, so this criticism is exaggerated at best. It was removed when caught. As of 3/19, we have a new sponsor anyway.

Most review sites I have encountered are not blogs
Most review "sites" are powered by WordPress, using a "review" theme, and have a half dozen "spun" (plagiarized) "articles". They're essentially spammy blogs run by amateurs. If this author spent any time actually exposing fake review sites, he'd probably know that.

however there is no true data available to make a rational grounds for holding against a host not owning their own data center
At no time did we claim that a host has to own a datacenter. That's silly.

Arvixe et al
Arivixe.com – the complaints I found
Again, the author has no experience using this host. By contrast, we've used them for almost 3 years now. Though I think they owner (Arvand) is a cocky a-hole, the servers and techs are very good. Very few hosts perform as well as that one does.

The problem with low-cost "unlimited" hosting is that it attracts lots of novices, many of which don't know the role of a host. They expect too much, have poorly coded sites, etc. Rather than learn about hosting and web development, they complain. When it comes to a review -- any review, hosting or not -- realize that the person leaving it may not know his/her @ss from a paper bag. You almost have to know about hosting to know if the complaint is legitimate.

These are NOT New Hosts
Based off the whois info I can often find out how old a company might be.
... except whois lookups don't show the whole story.
  • Ninjalion.com is part of Downtown Host, which has been around for 10+ years
  • Crocweb.com has been around since August 2009, though it did not operate a public site. It's a good enough host that ~4 years has been enough to prove themselves.
  • Froghost.com is part of Hawkhost, another host that's been around for 9+ years.
  • Futurehosting.com used the domain name Futurehosting.biz prior to securing the .com name. Again, this is a host that's been around for 10+ years.
  • Evolucix.com is another exception, having been around for ~4 years now. Not just that, but it's a young-run host! More on that another day. Very impressive!
  • BuyVM.net is part of Frantech.ca (discontinued), which is 7+ years old.
And unlike the author of the blog, I know the owners of these companies -- I'm not guessing. We've used each of these hosts for an extended period of time.

Trivia: If you look up the domain name for digitalFAQ.com, you'll find that it was only registered in 2004. But we've been online since 2002. The business has been around since 1977, when the blogger/author was crapping his Huggies.

We Read the ToS/AUP
If you think this is the point where you don’t have to read the TOS because Digitalfaq.com read it for you, think again.
This is false. In fact, there are companies NOT being suggested because we disagree with what's written. The example that comes to mind most is web-hosting.com (Namecheap-owned) and WebHostingBuzz.com, because of the odd "WordPress modules" clauses. We warned folks about that back in December 2011. SiteGround's ToS is fine.

hosting-reviews-exposed.com = Pro Kiddie Host

The first two seem to be a knock against the young. Despite all of my years doing business online ...
I got started in webhosting at a young age...
Putting that aside there are a lot of teenagers out there that have contributed to the internet, so before you go knocking them make sure you are not using any of their creations. Age does not equal wisdom. If anything Digitalfaq.com has alienated a demographic....
What Digitalfaq.com seems to neglect here is that a new company may be eager to bring in new customers....
I don't care.

Most all of the readers/members of this site are professionals. At worst, they're serious hobbyists. That's our demographics by choice. We expect professional mature adults at the helm of any service we rely on. The biggest problems with teenagers, or even college aged adults, is they move on. That's why so many hosts fail, sell out, or disappear in under 2 years. We don't have the time or patience for that.

hosting-reviews-exposed.com Uses Shills (Fakes)

Over the last few years I have found fivver.com...
For that matter the amount of likes on Facebook, followers on twitter, or other social media that can be bought as well. I have seen 12,000 likes on Facebook for as little as $5.
If you look closely at hosting-reviews-exposed.com's Facebook "Likes" box, you may notice it has lots of pretty girls. Further scrutiny of these accounts show them to be new accounts, and/or having little use with thin content.
  • Not using accounts is not the demographic of Facebook. (Especially under-30 females.)
  • Females is not the demographic for hosting.
  • However pretty girls that never use their Facebook account is the modus operandi of fake Fiverr users.
Compare it to any reputable host and you'll largely find males from 20-40, which is the primary demographic of hosting. Most of those 700+ "likes" were probably bought from Fiverr.com in an attempt to make the site look more popular than it actually is. How sad.

The Digital FAQ = Vindicated

What's ironic is the author spends time writing three rambling blog entries, yet shows that we don't really care about commissions. Some have affiliate programs, some don't. Some pay only $20, some pay more. Most of those numbers are a theoretical maximum for buying dedicated servers, so it's exaggerated anyway. Most shared hosting pays about $20, and the few that we get each month go to pay for this site. What matters most is helping people find good hosts!

Responding to this is almost a waste of my time.

I'd rather be helping others, either by responding to posts or writing guides.

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03-26-2013, 04:39 AM
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kpmedia kpmedia is offline
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The author was unsure of why some things were done, and I don't mind clearing those up.

Q: Why are there affiliate links to Godaddy, IXWebHosting, 1&1, EIG brands (Bluehost, Hostgator, all 50+ brands), etc?

A: The reason for this is two-fold:

First, it allows us to track (or attempt to track) those who ignore our advice and sign up with one of those hosts anyway. It would mean that our advice is falling on deaf ears, and we've not said what was needed -- the misleading marketing is winning out over our unbiased information that exposes companies like EIG. That's unfortunate.

Second, if somebody is stubborn, and going to sign up with one of those hosts anyway -- likely due to the lure of cheap "unlimited" -- then yes, we'll take the affiliate commission for it.

Thankfully that has never happened, outside of HostGator. Our commissionable links to Godaddy et al remain at $0. Though the number now dwindles, some people still sign up with Hostgator -- one per month at most. That in turn has resulted in us pushing more EIG and HG education. The pre-EIG reputation is still lingering for HG. We don't want them to sign up with HG or any other fake "top 10" brand. We'd like to spare them of that inevitable misery.

Note: The filler ads accidentally shown this month resulted in zero sales.
Note: The forum auto-links company names, it's not something we do in posts. Example: Hostgator.com -- I didn't link it.

Q: What happened to the 'A Small Orange' recommendation?

A: Earlier this month (March 2013) it was pointed out on the Warrior Forum that the ASO logo was now on the EIG site. At some point in the recent past, EIG had silently added the logo to their site.

Based on this new information, inquires were also made at WebHostingTalk.com, and that's when everything came out. Although I felt stupid at first, having missed this, most of the mods at WHT were also unaware of this, so I didn't feel so bad. This is a great example of EIG not publicizing buyouts, for fear of deserved backlash in the hosting community (customers bailing, loss of recommendations, etc). The now-owned "CEO" of ASO responded to the speculation, named June as the buyout date, and assured us they were still in control. However, knowing what we do about EIG's past, such claims are dubious. It didn't help that EIG hid the ASO buyout for ~10 months.

As a result, these ASO-owned companies are not recommended, now being EIG operations:
  • A Small Orange (asmallorange.com)
  • SEO Web Hosting (seowebhosting.net)
  • HostNine (hostnine.com)
  • Cirtex Hosting (cirtexhosting.com)
  • HostV (hostv.com)
While it's a shame to have to remove some of these companies, the fact remains that EIG has a terrible track record of buying out hosts, eventually gutting them and firing everybody involved (often silently), forcing use of their subpar datacenters, and overloading the servers. While ASO is fine "for now", in 1-2 years that's unlikely given how EIG has operated to date.

Though the blog author claimed responsibility for this, it really had nothing to do with him.

So that explains that.

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04-01-2013, 11:00 AM
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kpmedia kpmedia is offline
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More Questions

hosting-reviews-exposed.com continues to ask question, continually trying to paint this site as just another "review" site (affiliate-driven schlock), and continually failing at it. This is the last time I'm going to answer questions, as I have work to do. These attempts to dig up dirt aren't going to work, but I'll play along...

Q: Does The Digital FAQ have any proof they use the hosts they recommend other than Eurovps.com?
A: Yes. Reviews are coming someday. Like everybody else, you'll have to wait. That's not a priority. Our clients are.

Q: What was it that The Digital FAQ did from 1977 1993?
A: Media work. Just like now.

Q: Why did The Digital FAQ wait till 2002 to get a website, and what was the original domain.
A: Didn't need it. Back then, the web didn't do much. The advent of DVD burning changed the need to be online.

Q: Why did The Digital FAQ abandon that website in 2004?
A: Better name, re-branded as such.

Q: Does The Digital FAQ count all the hosts with EIG as 1 or more hosts?
A: It's one company, therefore one host. Many are just hollow "brands" with the same infrastructures.

Q: Where did The Digital FAQ suddenly get unlimited hosting experience come from?
A: We didn't "suddenly" do anything. Both it and us have, as I stated before, been around a while. For example, I do and know far more than is written online. Repeat that with everybody here. I could write twice per day, every day, for years, and still not commit everything I know, or every experience I've had, down to paper.

Q: What hosting companies actually employee kids?
A: There are many. I don't have time to teach a how-to (find kiddies) right now. It's a planned editorial someday. Quite a few have written us in the past 2 years, and most have been upfront about their age -- as a form of begging, usually; "please help me, I need customers, can you review me, I'm only a student" blah, blah, blah. I decline to review them. In 100% of cases, the "host" is gone in under 13 months ... failed. Teens and early 20s students have no business trying to be in business. Sure, some succeed, but it's a fraction of 1% that do. I don't want to deal with the other 99%+, and neither do other professionals. Go to school, learn stuff, graduate, get some job experience, then feel free to try to open a business at that time. Quit being "too big for yer britches" as my grandma used to say.

The rest are either nonsense, or have already been answered.

That's it. I'm done with this.


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