Cheeky Fasthosts, no, LYING Fasthosts

I got this email from Fasthosts:

Watch the visits to your site dramatically increase by gaining higher search engine rankings for free, with our all new ‘Fasthosts powered’ programme.

Give your website the additional credibility and professionalism that goes with hosting with the UK’s largest, most established web hosting company.

The ‘Fasthosts powered’ programme is a way to increase your website’s exposure through higher search engine rankings and an opportunity to feature on fasthosts.co.uk.

[…]

By linking to fasthosts.co.uk, which is a known “authoritative site”, your search engine ranking will increase as you will be seen as a knowledgeable website in your own right.

To join this prestigious programme go to http://www.fasthosts.co.uk/powered

No, Fasthosts, that’s a lie. By linking to a site, you’ll boost that site’s search engine ranking, not your own. You can boost your search engine ranking by getting people to link to you. As far as I know, linking to an “authoritative website” (I wonder what they mean by that) will not do anything for you.

Of course there are other hosting companies who have a scheme that looks similar on the surface. Like Dreamhost for instance, the company I host with. The only difference being that when I link to them, I gain something too.

Their scheme is a rewards programme. If you click on my link to Dreamhost, then that click is identified as coming from my site. Should you decide to host with Dreamhost too, then Dreamhost rewards me for referring you to them by giving me a percentage of anything you spend with them. They get a new customer and a little boost for their search engine ranking, I get a little money. That’s a nice deal, and everybody’s up front about it.

The Fasthosts deal on the other hand, is not a nice deal. It’s a win-loose situation. They win - increased sales and search engine ranking - and you loose - you don’t get anything in return.

10 Responses to “Cheeky Fasthosts, no, LYING Fasthosts”

  1. Wyrdmaster Says:

    I know where the expert/authority comment comes from - the Hilltop paper (http://www.cs.toronto.edu/~georgem/hilltop/). Krishna Bharat is actually employed by Google now so I figure most people assume something like his tactic is used by Google. The hilltop system works out expert sites by finding quality sites which link to other quality sites. Authority sites are ones which two or more experts link to. It’s like a filter above PageRank, you need to have expert links as well as links to be worth much.

    To be fair, I think they’re technically correct on that point (if you allow that something like Hilltop is being used).

    Whether it helps your search engine rankings is a different story? My own take is that it probably does. If you check out lots of professionally optimised sites you often find links to the likes of Google and BBC and I reckon they’re just there to give the site more gravitas. It’s also a common sense call, I reckon, sites which link to trash are more likely to be trash, sites which take part in the qualityWeb are more likely to be part of the qualityWeb.

    Mind you, I do admit it’s just basically a link exchange deal where the most likely case is that you have more chance of being an “expert site”. You have to hope that they link back to you.

  2. Iwein Says:

    That’s very interesting, although I still fail to see how this would help somebody like me with a small site.

    As Fasthosts doesn’t actually link back to me (unless I am chosen in their weekly draw), this is of not much benefit to me at all.

    I see what you are saying about linking to the likes of Google and the BBC. However, unless this link is topical I think that is spamming. To me, search engine optimisation is all about creating a good quality site. Linking to the likes of Google and the BBC just because this might add more gravitas to your site to me is not ethical SEO.

    Still, this was the information I was looking for, thank you. It looks like I might be wrong, and that my wording may be a bit strong.

    I did write to Fasthosts though, to ask if they were willing to explain what you have, and have not yet received a reply.

    On the other hand, re-reading the wording of their page, I still think that - assuming Google uses Hilltop - their wording is misleading:

    Watch the visits to your site dramatically increase by gaining higher search engine rankings for free, with our all new ‘Fasthosts powered’ programme.

    Dramatically increase? By linking to one site that has PR6? Don’t think so. Not even if your site gets chosen to be linked back to.

  3. Iwein Says:

    I actually contacted Fasthosts about this.

    Dear Fasthosts,

    I wonder whether you give me some more information on your Fasthosts programme.

    In the email I received from you, it reads: “By linking to fasthosts.co.uk, which is a known “authoritative site”, your search engine ranking will increase as you will be seen as a knowledgeable website in your own right.”

    Now as far as I knew, linking to a site - “authoritative” or not (what exactly do you mean by that term anyway?*) - doesn’t boost my search engine ranking, it boosts yours (and therefore increases your sales). As far as I can see, there’s nothing in it for me.

    I may be wrong about this, and I would love to learn where you found the information confirming that linking to an authoritative site will boost my search engine ranking. I hope you will, otherwise I may have to conclude that I was wrong, and that you are not an authoritative site* after all.

    Forgive me for saying this, but if I’m right, one might think that your powered programme is misleading and a lie.

    With kind regards,

    Iwein

    and got an answer (after a reminder follow up email)

    Dear Sir

    Thank you for your mail. In order to resolve your issue, please contact
    our Xtreme Support Team directly, by emailing
    mailto:support@fasthosts.co.uk including your account number and
    PIN. You may also find the answer to your question in one of our
    knowledge base articles available at http://xtreme.fasthosts.co.uk

    If you are unable to remember you username and PIN number, please use
    the reminder service, located at
    http://www.fasthosts.co.uk/login/#loginreminder

    So i said I’m not a customer any more, and therefore don’t have a username and PIN number.

    Dear Shaun,

    Thanks for your reply. I’m in fact not a customer of FastHosts anymore,
    so don’t have a username and PIN. Does this mean I can not get an
    answer to my query?

    Thanks,

    Iwein

    And Shaun answered.

    Dear Sir

    Thankyou for your recent enquiry, this service if for Fasthosts
    customers only.

    Well, that was certainly enough for me to decide not to use Fasthosts ever again.

  4. Paul Farnell Says:

    Iwein - great post, and thanks for letting me know you spotted it too. For people who are interested, I posted my take on this on my site too:
    http://www.salted.com/unsalted/fasthosts-intentionally-mislead-their-customers

    Slowly word is spreading - I’d be surprised if they don’t change their wording over the next few months as more people pick them up on it.

  5. Yusuf Smith Says:

    Wow, I’ve just Googled for Fasthosts (my soon to be former hosting provider) and I’m surprised that they are this stupid.

    I use Movable Type. We’ve all heard of MT’s spam problems, but version 3.2 keeps nearly all of it from appearing on the blog itself. Yesterday, the zombies hit my blog (www.blogistan.co.uk, currently offline) with a load of TB pings, and when the admin people noticed that it was causing their servers to crawl, they isolated my ENTIRE MT INSTALLATION rather than just the script that was causing the problems.

    I sent them a note, saying the following:

    My apologies; this is a Movable Type (weblogging application) trackback script which appears to have been targeted in a spam attack - as such scripts commonly are. This morning I deleted a large number of rogue TB pings from the database.

    I have been unable to edit anything from the SSH or FTP interfaces because the contents of my CGI directory are invisible. I would appreciate it if you would return the contents to their normal home, minus the script you mentioned. It’s not essential to the running of the website.

    This was sent at 11:17 this morning, in reply to an earlier email received at 10:57. Still no reply. I know it’s Saturday, but people browse the web 7 days a week. People have more time to read and write blogs when they’re not working.

    I intend to move hosts this weekend (probably to Bluehost) and that the first post I make will tell the world about Fasthosts’ incompetence. Don’t touch them with a barge pole.

  6. Mike Says:

    Hmm posted about this on a small website I own a while back. Am glad others have been too. Have customers who are convinced that because their hosting company sent them the email it must be above board. I wonder which SEO company they use and gave them this idea…….

  7. Malcolm Says:

    I am a Fasthosts customer and they’re still telling us the same …

  8. Alex Dixon Says:

    Same prob, on phone atm, been on hold 10 mins. Cant get any sense from this company. They brag about their support, when its the worst I have seen from a hosting company.

    try streamline.net

  9. Mark Says:

    Never be tempted to use Fasthosts.

    They are rubbish in everything they do.

    Whether it is just for one basic site, or like us a reseller with many, do not go near them.

    They will be more trouble than they are worth, with slow servers, bad idiotic support and terrible attitude to customer retention. Don’t do it

  10. Lawrence Says:

    Fasthosts are slippery, they are like insurance companies that automatically refuse a claim a minimum number of times.

    They refuse to act on problems and refuse to accept a change their end, however strong your case.

    Then they say… “oh fixed that, all OK now”, and ignore the stress, costs and bad rep caused to you and your business.

    Do not use Fasthosts ever, especially do not get stuck with a 100 sites with them before they take you to the edge of sanity.

    Never use Fasthosts, at any cost.

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