Where Do Bad Hosting Reviews Come From?

I have a review of VPS.net, the hosting provider I use, which I wrote several months ago. It’s given me a chance to observe an interesting occurrence. Despite my positive review of the service, a disproportionate number of comments are decidedly negative in tone. I know plenty of bloggers who are at least as happy as I am with the service, so this struck me as odd.

I decided to examine the incoming search keywords for the page. The top ones, predictably, are variations of “vps.net review,” with the interesting addition of “vps.net sucks.” Surely enough, my post ranks well for the terms.

This raises an interesting question: why are so many people who think the service “sucks” searching for reviews of the company? Are they looking for a way to vent their frustration, and spite the hosting provider simultaneously?

Maybe I’m cynical, but could some of the commenters be astroturfing for rival companies? I’ve noticed that the same sort of behavior occurs with reviews of other hosts, on other websites.

Are former customers searching for places t0 malign companies they had unpleasant experiences with, or is there something more devious going on?

  • http://kochman.me Sidney Kochman

    When I look for a new hosting provider, I always Google “________ sucks” to see some of the reviews from less satisfied customers. I search for this not because I am an unsatisfied customer, but because there are usually two sides to web hosting companies, and I want to be well informed before making a purchase decision.

    • http://www.webmaster-source.com Matt

      I, too, search for “somehost sucks” whenever I’m researching a host. It’s definitely a good idea.

      I doubt that you leave comments about your personal experiences with the host in question, though. It would make sense for non-commenters to search that term, but the traffic-to-comment ratio suggests that a large percentage of people searching are looking for places to post negative reviews. Seems a little odd to me.

  • http://blog.fcon21.biz John W. Furst

    It is odd, indeed. But after hearing that Viacom allegedly hired henchmen to upload their videos to YouTube AND at the same time sued YouTube for hosting their videos … weird.

    The prevailing negativity is one of the main reasons why I don’t spend much time in online fora. But I shouldn’t get started, it’s a never ending story.

    I guess every host who has the guts to charge more than $1 a month for hosting must be some kind of evil in those people’s eyes. ;-)

    Yours
    John