The Importance of Online Reviews when Picking a Web Hosting Provider
Online reviews are an important step in the decision making processes. They shape the way we decide for a given product or service. We, the consumers, check reviews for both trivial purchases and when buying higher-end products. A report by the Spiegel Research Center revealed that we're over 2 and a half times more likely to buy a product with 5 reviews compared to a product that has no reviews.
And businesses know this. They understand how important online reviews are. That's why you receive all those emails asking you to leave a review after you made a purchase.
Unfortunately, in the world of fierce competition, there are people and businesses who try their best to game the online reviews. They use positive fake reviews, spam the web with them, and try to shape the minds of potential clients.
This negates the whole principle of reviews. Not only do we nowadays have to make the right purchase based on reviews, we must first determine which reviews are real and which are fake. And if you think fake reviews aren't all that common, a research by Harvard Business School from 2013 estimated that around 20% of online reviews are possibly fraudulent.
Fake reviews are becoming a real problem
You're probably reading this article because you can't decide which web hosting provider to choose. And the online searches you took returned a ton of reviews from questionable sources.
We feel your pain. While the fake reviews are becoming a problem across all niches, it's the web hosting market that seems to be getting the worst of it. The reason for this is simple, almost anyone can become an affiliate and promote various hosting companies.
If you trust the wrong reviews and end up signing a contract with a shady web host, you might end up with a slow website, slow customer service and with a website that isn't performing like it should.
Should you even trust online reviews in 2018?
Yes. Probably. While the situation with fake reviews is bad, and seem to be getting worse, there is a silver lining here. A lot of big review sites are aware people are gaming their systems. And recently, they started taking measurements against these fraudulent individuals.
Yelp, Google, TripAdvisor and many more are actively fighting fake reviews. They developed complexed algorithms and paired them with manual reviews in order to determine which reviews are trustworthy and which aren't.
Unfortunately, there's still a ton of smaller review sites that are privately owned. We have no data whether these are fighting fake reviewers or not.
That's why it's important to trust web hosting review websites that either have a proven track record of reliable reviews or those that publicly said they're doing their best to fight fake reviews.
How to distinguish fake reviews from real ones
As a consumer, you want to know which reviews are real and which are fake. Knowing this will help you pick the best web hosting for your needs.
Look at the language they use. False reviewers often use emotional language. They like to over exaggerate with positive or negative attributes. They also often use marketing words and jargon which makes fake reviews often look like infomercials. If someone seems to be trying too hard to promote a random service, there's a good chance you're reading a fake review.
Check the account of the reviewer. On most sites, you can see how long an account has been active. If someone recently opened an account with little-to-no information and posted one very positive review promoting a specific service, there's probably something fishy about the reviewer. Instead, look for trusted individuals and websites with proven track records of reliable reviews. You can also check the timing and the number of reviews. I'm always wary of reviews that are posted within a short time-frame that all seem to be promoting the same web host.
The most important thing to remember is - if something feels fishy, there's a good chance something isn't right.
The sad thing is, that even if you follow all these tips, you might still fall for fake reviews. Researchers at Cornell University did a study where they analyzed how well people differentiate between real and fake reviews. What they found was that most people are very bad when it comes to determining which reviews are fake.
What this all means to you?
Picking a reliable web hosting provider is hard even without fake reviews. Luckily, big companies know that the web is filled with questionable reviews. And when big players start taking action, the smaller ones usually follow.
Honestly, the situation is still bad. Especially in the web hosting niche. It will take years before we get rid of the majority of fake reviews. Until then it's up to each individual to make the smart purchasing decisions based on the reviews they feel are true and real. Luckily for you, distinguishing between real and fake reviews gets easier with time.
We hope this article will help you pick the best web host for your company. And with some luck, you're website will be as reliable as the reviews you decided to believe.