Court Orders Biz to Make Site Accessible to Visually Impaired; Fails Same Test

Mon, 4th April 2016, 19:05

Last year Edward Davis sued Colorado Bag’n Baggage in a California court claiming he couldn’t shop online for the retailer’s products because its website was not accessible to the visually impaired. The suit claimed violations of the federal Americans with Disabilities Act and a California anti-discrimination law. This week, Judge Bryan F. Foster of San Bernardino Superior Court granted summary judgement in the suit.

In its order, the court noted that the plaintiff had:

“presented sufficient evidence and legal argument to conclude Title III of the ADA applies to plaintiff’s use of a website where plaintiff has demonstrated he sought goods and services from a place of public accommodation because he demonstrated a sufficient nexus exists between defendant’s retail store and its website that directly affects plaintiff’s ability to access goods and services.” Further, the plaintiff had “presented sufficient evidence that he was denied full and equal enjoyment of the goods, services, privileges, and accommodations offered by [the retailer] because of his disability.”

The court ordered the retailer to pay the plaintiff $4,000 and to take the necessary steps to make its website “readily accessible to and usable by visually impaired individuals or to terminate the website.” Because the law allows the plaintiff to recover attorney’s fees and costs, the price tag is expected to reach 100K. (editor’s note.. And here I thought only security experts and politicians were screwing the general populous!) Lawyers for the plaintiff said the ruling broke new ground in an expanding litigation area.

HostJury has written a number of articles over the years on accessibility for the visually impaired including the one about the Ontario Gov passes Accessibility Standards Law then fails to follow it. In that article, a number of accessibility errors showed up on the government’s site making the announcement. Four years later, the content of the page has been updated but the same tests still produce errors similar to the one in the San Bernardino case.

The next accessibility test HostJury conducted was on the San Bernardino county government's official website The test reveals 59 known errors and a further 1267 potential errors. The editor correctly pointed out that the San Bernardino county gov is not the same as the San Bernardino Superior Court.. So another test is run on the Superior Court site and … 22 Errors, 56 Alerts, 15 Features, 41 Structural Elements, and 3 Contrast Errors.


Screenshot of the Superior Court of California Wave Test


As predicted before, these types of cases are likely to continue. (editor chimes in.. Reebok was recently hit with a proposed class action alleging that the company’s website violates the Americans with Disabilities Act). If you aren’t sure whether your eCommerce or business website is accessible to the blind, now may be the time to find out.

Free web accessibility tools like AChecker and Wave are readily available. WebAIM {} goes further and will provide a statement declaring the level of accessibility of your web site on a specific date. There are four steps to site certification:

  • WebAIM conducts a comprehensive review of your site, generally on a representative sample of pages.
  • They provide a report that documents compliance and other accessibility barriers found on your site.
  • Once the documented accessibility requirements are met and verified (this may take a few iterations of re-evaluation and reporting), they will certify the accessibility of your site to a predetermined standard.
  • If you'd like, they can then monitor and re-certify your site to ensure accessibility over time.

The cost for the certification is.. Zero dollars!

The alternative.. the domain is hosted with Network Solutions and currently shows a holding page “This Site Is Under Construction and Coming Soon”. Getting a sense of whether your site can be navigated using a screen reader will provide a better sense of whether the site could be considered a “low hanging fruit” for plaintiffs and their lawyers to find.


One Final Note

The lead counsel for the plaintiff in the Colorado Bag’n Baggage case is quoted in the WSJ Law Blog saying:

that the ruling marked the first time in such a lawsuit that a court has entered a judgment in favor of a plaintiff over a defendant’s objections. “It’s pretty groundbreaking,” said Scott Ferrell, founding partner of litigation boutique Newport Trial Group.

So HostJury ran a Wave test on the Newport Trial Group website…

screenshot of Wave error report for Newport Trial Group website

Maybe some of those legal fees from the San Bernardino win could be used to ensure their website is accessible to the visually impaired. We have reached out to the parent company of Colorado Bag’n Baggage for comment.


Siteground Web Hosting

Kicking The Tires On Aabaco Small Biz Websites

Wed, 30th March 2016, 11:27

Late in November 2015, Yahoo completed an Alibaba makeover and rebranded it as Aabaco. As part of the switch, Yahoo also changed its small business hosting service’s name from Yahoo Small Business to Aabaco Small Business. Yahoo Small Business hosting has always had a reputation for being easy to use, and gained a large, loyal customer base during its 18 year run. Does Aabaco Small Business continue that tradition? Let’s find out!


screenshot of Aabaco shopping cart


The default login page provides simple, minimalistic access to all of the services offered by Aabaco, as well as billing information. There isn’t much to this, just click on the relevant section you want to go to. The services currently offered by Aabaco include email, domains, ecommerce, web hosting, and domains.


screenshot of Aabaco 'getting started' window


On the creation of a new account, Aabaco tries to simplify the process of getting started by providing a handy walk through. The walk through takes you through setting up your email, designing your site, and promoting it.


setting up your email on Aabaco is easy


Email is included with even the most basic hosting package, which does help save the customer money on purchasing email services for their domain. Domain specific email simply gets routed through Yahoo’s default servers to a Yahoo hosted account. At $5.99 a month for a basic plan, when most email hosting costs at least as much by itself, this is a huge deal for the business owner that is merely looking for a landing page and domain specific email.


screenshot of Aabaco recommended task list


Aabaco also presents a list of tasks when you create a new website that helps guide you through setting up all the different sections of the website. These sections include the overall design, a “Home” page, a “Services” page, an “About Us” page, and a “Contact Us” page. The editor provides options for what kind of layout and design you would like to use, but unfortunately we were unable to find a CSS or HTML editor for intermediate/advanced web designers. This means Aabaco Small Business is strictly for the amateur crowd.


screenshot of Aabaco layout and design choices


screenshot of Aabaco widgets and manage page options


Aabaco does do a good job with providing options to novice webmasters so they don’t have to have a website that looks exactly like every other Aabaco customer’s website. There are tons of design options, as well as five layout options to choose from. The widget selection is poor for now. Hopefully Aabaco has plans for adding more widgets in the future. The page management console provides a few more options for how your pages display. You can choose to hide pages from the main navigation bar, or not even publish them at all.


screenshot of Aabaco site settings window


The “Site Settings” console allows the Aabaco customer to change their contact information, business name, display settings, business category, web analytics, and Norton site seal. This is also the place to go if you want to delete your website and start over from scratch.

Here are some screenshots of what the default website layout and pages look like.


 screenshots of what the Aabaco default website layout and pages look like


Once you’ve completed the initial design of your site, Aabaco assists even further with an additional walk through that guides you through submitting your website to search engines, sending a grand-opening email to all your contacts, and creating an Aabaco local listing.

Through the business control panel, you can also add additional users and tweak their administrative access privileges.

It is important to note that Aabaco also offers a service called Localworks, which lists your business in over 50 local directories like Yahoo and Yelp for $29.99/month. This service also allows you to quickly update your listings, track their performance, and add additional information to them.


Aabaco also offers a service called Localworks


This is what the current pricing for Aabaco’s e-Commerce plans looks like. The transaction fee is 1.5% on the Basic plan, and goes down to .75% on the Premier plan. The Premier plan also comes with 30 business email accounts vs. the Basic’s 10. Premier plans also get a designated account manager and priority telephone support. Both the Premier and Professional plans get API access for third party solutions. The Professional plan seems to be the most complete solution for those looking to save money, but you will have to compromise on the availability of support with it.


Screenshot of Aabaco e-commerce plan pricing


Aabaco Small Business appears to be just as much the perfect solution for the novice small business owner as Yahoo Small Business once was. While Aabaco Small Business has seen a large number of complaints since its opening, one can only hope that with time these issues will be ironed out as is often the case in any new product or service launch. However, the lack of expert tools such as an HTML/CSS editor limits the scope of Aabaco’s audience on their hosting plans, which can go on to hurt their high end plan sales since advanced webmasters aren’t likely to use a high end plan they cannot test out via using a basic plan first.

Another sore selling point with Aabaco Small Business plans is that the website designs are seriously outdated. Aabaco would stand to see a lot more business if they updated their designs to be a little less 1998 and a little more 2016. Due to this, we see little use for Aabaco’s Small Business plans beyond creating a basic landing page for a small business. Ecommerce customers may want to look for a webhost that provides more eye catching designs for their website.

About the author: Jonquil McDaniel is an IT professional in Florida that has been writing and tinkering with technology both personally and professionally her entire life. She has an infectious enthusiasm for all things technical; a gift for creative problem solving and communications of all kinds; and a warm, positive disposition that infiltrates every word she writes.

Aabaco Small Business web hosting

Automattic has taken over a majority stake in Pressable

Thu, 17th March 2016, 16:16

Automattic has acquired a majority stake in managed wordpress host Pressable with a purchase of Pressable CEO Vid Luther’s shares of the company.. Formerly known as ZippyKid, the San Antonio Texas company was founded in 2010 by Luther before being rebranded as Pressable in 2013.

Pressable announced the move in a blog post saying:

Vid Luther has resigned from Pressable, and we wish him best of luck. Vid is replaced by our new Interim CEO Chris Lauzon. Chris, as many of you know, was the former Director of Support at WP Engine and has been at Automattic for several years. Chris’ background uniquely positions him to help Pressable during this period of transition. Top priority for all of us is to evolve our infrastructure to better support complex WordPress sites for eCommerce, marketing sites requiring social integration, and custom applications running on the WordPress API. Chris will also work to ensure that we continue to deliver the amazing WordPress support that is the hallmark of the Pressable brand. We’re super excited to have him leading our efforts.

The post also states that Automattic has provided Pressable with access to financial resources, expertise, and staff to help lay a solid foundation for growth. Pressable says that in the coming months they will be implementing new infrastructure improvements and a roadmap of new features that will allow client WordPress sites to run faster and more reliably than ever before.

In April of 2015 Automattic invested a million and half dollars in Pressable so they were already a significant investor in the company. Pressable is expected to remain an independent company and will chart its own course.

Aabaco's Small Business Crash: Is Yahoo Cleaning Up Before It's Too Late?

Tue, 15th March 2016, 18:15

Late in November 2015, Yahoo announced that they were phasing out their self hosted Small Business plans in favor of partnering with Aaabaco. Within only a few weeks, HostJury readers filled up Aabaco Small Business’s review page with complaints about the failed migration and poor customer support. We at HostJury immediately noticed the dissent, and decided to contact Yahoo for ourselves to see if some of the problems being reported could be resolved.

HostJury followed up with a Yahoo PR rep to find out if some of the problems being reported had been recognized by Yahoo and were being worked upon. It took a long time to address all of the issues mentioned - there was a bucket list. However, the Yahoo representative did a wonderful job on providing a response on each mentioned issue, letting us know what issues had been resolved and what was being done to resolve the issues that still existed.

One of the biggest complaints we noticed on Aabaco’s Small Business review page was poor uptime. This was most noticeable in the uptime score, which was only a 9 (ouch!). HostJury researched Aabaco’s regular hosting and found that they provide a 99.9% uptime guarantee to Aabaco customers. Of course, we wanted to know if this same guarantee applied to Aabaco Small Business customers as well.

The Yahoo rep passed on the following statement from an Aabaco Small Business spokesperson: “... we continue to stand behind our 99.9% customer website uptime for both web hosting and ecommerce customers’ sites (not including planned maintenance downtimes). Any time our team detects or is notified of an issue, we work quickly to correct it.” So, if you notice your website is down, please immediately make contact with Aabaco’s customer support to report it, and also take note of how long it lasts so you can have your account credited.

A concerning review we noticed on the Aabaco Small Business page concerned the difficulty one HostJury reader had with canceling his account. He complained that Aabaco customer service required he provide his full credit card number in order to cancel his account. We showed this review to Yahoo’s PR representative, and this is the message she had to pass on from Aabaco’s representative: “Asking customers to provide their credit card numbers is no longer our primary identity verification method. Our new sign-in system now allows customers to establish secret questions and answers. Credit card numbers will only be used as a secondary method for customers that did not set up questions and answers.” This was certainly a huge relief to hear. Just make sure you set up those secret questions and answers, and you’ll be good to go if you decide to cancel in the future! No credit card numbers necessary!

Probably the biggest complaint of all among HostJury users was the long time Aabaco’s customer service took to respond to their opened support tickets. For this particular issue, we at HostJury suggested that Aabaco start implementing a customer based support forum to help cover issues that other more experienced customers can help with, without any input from official customer support. The Aabaco Small Business representative had this to say: “In addition to staffing up back in December to provide additional Customer Care resources to our customers, we will also soon be announcing new channels for customers to interact with our Customer Care team. Additional details will be available soon.” Hopefully part of this will include live help without much of a wait time… and maybe, just maybe? That customer based support forum we suggested!

In conclusion, it seems that Aabaco is aware of many of the issues present in the Yahoo Small Business to Aabaco Small Business transition, and is working to remedy them. There also are some helpful tools available to Aabaco Small Business customers that could be made more obvious on the Aabaco Small Business website, such as their system status pages. With a little patience and time on their side, hopefully Aabaco will be able to turn Yahoo Small Business around to once again meet the kinds of webhosting standards Yahoo Small Business’ long time loyal customers have come to know and love.

Aabaco Small Business web hosting

EiG brand ApolloHosting morphs into Verio

Sun, 6th March 2016, 15:26

Endurance International Group (EiG) has announced that ApolloHosting, starting February 29 2016 will be rebranded as ‘Verio’. Endurance International Group recently added Verio, an industry-leading provider of online business solutions, to its family of brands.

EiG in the release states that small businesses are what drive the global economy. The release continues:

For several years now, ApolloHosting has been in the process of transforming itself from a web hosting company to a multi-faceted online services provider. Our goal is to give our customers the tools they need to utilize the promise, power and potential of the web, and hosting your website with us is really just the first step.

By combining ApolloHosting with Verio, we're hoping to offer the best of both worlds -- Verio customers can take advantage of the superior web hosting infrastructure currently enjoyed by ApolloHosting customers, and you will be able to leverage the Verio brand as we continue to develop our suite of services to help you succeed online.

We’re not going anywhere. Accounts will continue to be supported by the same team as always (customer support, systems administration, etc.). We'll just be going by a different name from now on.

So beside the name change what can be expected. Well not much aside from a few small changes to the email server. On a positive note there is no disruption in service expected.


Contabo professional hosting solutions

Real Confidence Builder: cPanel Hacked Again

Fri, 29th January 2016, 18:11

For what seems like the ump-teenth time, web host control panel favorite cPanel has sent a dear john letter to customers letting them know that the data entrusted to cPanel is safe but in a move that's akin to closing the gate after the horse escaped, they're changing your password.. just incase even though your data is safe!

cPanel's Aaron Stone writes:

I am writing to let you know that one of our user databases may have been breached. Although we successfully interrupted the breach, it is still possible that user contact information may have been susceptible.

The customer contact information that may have been susceptible is limited to names, contact information, and encrypted (and salted) passwords. Please note that our credit card information is stored in a separate system designed for credit card storage and is not impacted by this possible breach.

Although current passwords are stored salted and encrypted, we are accelerating our move to stronger password encryption at the same time in order to minimize disruption. In order to safeguard the system, we will force all users with older password encryption to change their passwords.

It is important to highlight that this incident was not related to cPanel products or the Targeted Security Release published on January 18th.

While the hack itself will have no impact on the average hosting client, it doesn’t exactly instill confidence when the developer of one of the most widely used control panel in the hosting industry can’t keep the nefarious types out of their own servers. On the bright side, it should be easier for the spammers to contact certain web host with those shared details.


Magento Hosting by ProperHost

App Host Parse Announces Shut Down

Fri, 29th January 2016, 16:07

The Parse homepage is now blank except for one important announcement, a link, and a thank you.

Parse's hosted services will be fully retired on January 28, 2017. We're proud that we've been able to help so many of you build great mobile apps. Thank you for using Parse.

The link is a post by Parse co-founder Kevin Lacker.

We have a difficult announcement to make. Beginning today we’re winding down the Parse service, and Parse will be fully retired after a year-long period ending on January 28, 2017. We’re proud that we’ve been able to help so many of you build great mobile apps, but we need to focus our resources elsewhere.

We understand that this won’t be an easy transition, and we’re working hard to make this process as easy as possible. We are committed to maintaining the backend service during the sunset period, and are providing several tools to help migrate applications to other services.

First, we’re releasing a database migration tool that lets you migrate data from your Parse app to any MongoDB database. During this migration, the Parse API will continue to operate as usual based on your new database, so this can happen without downtime. Second, we’re releasing the open source Parse Server, which lets you run most of the Parse API from your own Node.js server. Once you have your data in your own database, Parse Server lets you keep your application running without major changes in the client-side code.

We know that many of you have come to rely on Parse, and we are striving to make this transition as straightforward as possible. We enjoyed working with each of you, and we have deep admiration for the things you’ve built. Thank you for using Parse.

Facebook acquired Parse back in 2013, and at the time the social network said it planned to keep Parse in operation. Whether it was ever a good fit is for others, but at the time HostJury noted that ‘Parse lives ups to one of its guiding principles. Built by developers.. for developers. Their documentation is not for the novice or weak of heart!’.

Parse CEO and co-founder Ilya Sukhar departed this past August. In 2013, Sukhar stated that Parse and Facebook together would help developers "build, grow, and monetize" apps and that Parse will become the underlying layer that people build on and pull in various Facebook services when they need them. That’s how the product will evolve with the union of the two."

A lofty goal but even Zuckerberg would have to concede that developers are not exactly Facebook’s target audience.

eApps cloud hostingeApps cloud hosting

2016 Auld Lang Syne Deadpool

Mon, 4th January 2016, 12:05

Happy New Year! Welcome to 2016! Have you resolved to change your life this year? Gonna head to the gym and work that holiday weight off? Well, if there's one thing that always motivates us here at HostJury, it's the bracing stench of the rancid dead. It's time for the first Deadpool of the year! (Make a wish!)

Emagin Hosting

Emagin Hosting: as in, emagin trusting your business to a provider that can't even spell imagine. A sudden domain expiration earns the good folks of Emagin our coveted First Blood of the Year award. The trophy is a tupperware container, and I'm pretty sure you can guess what's in it.


Dead and gone is little­leaguer CaptureHost, and all that remains is a hundred of their offers for lifetime discount hosting! Gotta love those lifetime discounts­ like marriage, the intent is clearly eternal, and yet the reality is rarely so.


Perfect name, I mean really. They came, they mingled, and then they left.

Hosting Cove

"Hosting Cove provides customers a worry free service with no hidden contracts or fees." Judging by the awful buzz on WHT and their immediate demise, we may have to take issue with that assessment.


Sometimes while reading the deadpool you may wonder, what exactly is it that causes a hosting provider to go under? Well, we're not going to bury the lede on you, Elief's uptime rating was a 6... out of 100. What's more, HostJury reviews tell us that Elief has had multiple customers experience catastrophic data loss due to a failure to backup just about anything. We've had users come back to amend old positive reviews simply because the service had become so awful.

Before the end, it seems that Elief removed any and all contact information from their site. Truly, Elief seems to have been the worst possible webhost. May their tortured databases rest in peace.

Mariachi Host

Inside sources tell us that MariachiHost folded primarily because most customers found having Vicente Fernandez blaring through their speakers every time they accessed cPanel was a bit much. But props to MariachiHost for picking a gimmick and sticking to it.


A bit of a weird one: Lewcy transferred its service to, but that domain is for sale, and it doesn't seem like there's any forwarding address. We're chalking this up to a double kill.

Smart Web Hosting

Let it be known that we took the high ground and did not make a petty joke out of this webhost's name. Here's hoping there are some smarter options for Pakistani websites out there.


Having given up the ghost, HostingX is reportedly moving on to much more interesting content, simply by adding two more X's to their name. Can't wait to uh, research how their next endeavor goes.


"At HostNucleus, we're always looking for ways to improve your hosting experience." In this case, by strongly urging you to find it somewhere else.


Despite their fairly solid reviews, PavHost has folded. Let's take a minute to cherish the memory of tech support worker Michael Long, one of few to be named in a HostJury review as an exceptional support agent. Rest in peace, you beautiful bastard. Hope you're resetting administrator passwords in the sky. Or just, like, not dead and working somewhere else. That's fine too.

Hillock Hosting

Hillock? Hillock? Was a regular hill just too exuberant to represent your company, guys? No wonder they tanked­ lack of ambition.


If I were tech support at this company, I would respond to every query for assistance by pointing to the logo on my shirt and just staring. There's technically no reason to believe that this happened to every single one of their customers, but you know what they say about proving a negative...

Oh, you don't? And you'd like to know? Read the shirt.

While there's little doubt that 2016 will continue to generate new lists of the dead and dying for the webhost deadpool, that doesn't mean we can't be kind to ourselves in the new year. One resolution that's easy to keep is reviewing the reviews before committing your project to a new web host!


Everleap Cloud Hosting - Free Trial

Penny Wise, Pound Foolish: Why Every Business Needs Security in a Web Host

Fri, 18th December 2015, 16:56

The past two years have seen a major shift in the way we approach our holiday shopping agendas. While most people shopped in brick and mortar stores in the past, this year we are seeing approximately three quarters of shoppers doing their holiday gift shopping online, with only 3% saying that they plan to shop in physical stores for their presents. If you’re a small to medium sized business owner with an online store, you’ve probably already seen the effects in your online sales as customers prepare for this holiday season.

But along with the increase in online sales traffic has came an increase not only in bandwidth usage but in cyber crime as well, calling for an increased need for cyber security awareness among online store owners. Cyber security has become a booming, highly in demand business, with some cyber security professionals pulling almost $5,000 daily for their unique services. Such news can make a small to medium business owner cringe, knowing they could never afford such a luxury. Does this mean that as a small to medium sized business owner you shouldn’t be concerned with securing your online store since you can’t afford such a professional to secure your traffic?

Would you avoid locking a physical store and setting up a security camera just because you can’t afford a security guard?

Just like smaller physical stores have some more affordable security options available, so should you as an online store owner through your web host. Many business owners are so concerned with the bottom priceline and stability in their web host that they forget to check for security options. Others may not even be aware that there ARE web hosts with security options available to their customers! And most may not know what to look for in a web host’s security profile.

Looking for a secure web host is a lot like looking for a good system administrator. Many of the same principals apply. The number one concern is backups. Does your web host offer daily incremental backups of your website? This is important for if your website becomes compromised by malware so you can quickly and easily restore it to its original state without loss of data.

Of course, you also would want to know that your system administrator isn’t hosting any malicious websites alongside yours, so another important factor to consider with your web host is if they carefully screen customers during the registration process to ensure they are who they say they are. They may do this through various means of screening, collecting proof of your identity, and/or calling you before setting up your account.

A good system administrator that’s concerned with their employer’s online security will regularly conduct penetration testing both from inside and outside of the network to make sure there are no leaks. Make sure to ask if your web host also does this. Another important question to ask is if they are using a clustered firewall which only allows traffic in the network that is explicitly requested from within its walls.

Another thing you would want to make sure your system administrator is doing is using network monitoring tools and antivirus software to alert them of any suspicious network traffic and files. Does your web host employ security personnel that utilize network monitoring and antivirus tools to keep a watch on their network 24/7? Are they quick to respond to threats and take them offline for repairs?

Just because you can’t afford a cyber security professional doesn’t mean you shouldn’t consider security when looking for a web host. Any extra cost involved in ensuring you have a web host with your website’s security in mind is easily compensated for tenfold by the peace of mind knowing that your store, customers, and assets are safe from financial losses. This holiday season, give yourself and your customers a gift that keeps on giving by making sure you have a website that is secure from online cyber crimes.

About the author: Jonquil McDaniel is an IT professional in Florida that has been writing and tinkering with technology both personally and professionally her entire life. She has an infectious enthusiasm for all things technical; a gift for creative problem solving and communications of all kinds; and a warm, positive disposition that infiltrates every word she writes.

Moonfruit Responds to Extortionist By Nixing Own Services

Mon, 14th December 2015, 13:01

The UK based webhost and website building platform Moonfruit has responded to DDoS cyberattack extortionist threatening their services by taking their own site offline, along with thousands of its clients websites.  Moonfruit is a subscription based service that lets customers easily build drag and drop websites from existing templates.

Matt Casey, Director of Moonfruit, states that the company had been threatened with a second cyber-attack and had decided to make its customers' websites unavailable for "up to 12 hours" to make infrastructure changes:

As a result of the threatened attack on Moonfruit, we have taken the decision to make significant infrastructure changes which will offer us the best possible protection against these attacks both today and in the future. Unfortunately as a result of these changes, and your own sites will be offline from approximately 10 am (GMT) today and will remain offline for up to 12 hours.

We appreciate this is very short notice, but we hope you understand the unusual circumstances we are facing. We planned for every eventuality over the weekend, but the final decision to go ahead with these specific changes was made this morning.

We’re genuinely sorry for the disruption this will cause, and please do bear with us. We have been working with law enforcement agencies regarding this matter and have spared no time or expense in ensuring we complete the work as quickly as possible.

On Friday Moonfruit sent out an email to clients explaining the reason for some brief downtime the day prior and the motivation for the attack.

We’re getting in touch to ask for your support in defending us from a malicious and illegal attack that we’re facing. You may have noticed some brief down on Thursday afternoon (10/12/2015). This was caused by an organization who call themselves the Armada Collective. This group carried out a DDoS attack on our servers for approximately 45 minutes. At the time of this attack, they contacted us to demand we pay them a large sum of money. They stated they would resume their attack on Monday should they not receive payment before then. Having investigated the group it is very clear that even if we were to pay them (something we would never consider) the attacks would not cease. In fact, whenever anyone has given in and paid them, the attacks get worse and the demands increase.
Since receiving the threat we have been working tirelessly to put in place any and all protection possible. We’ve also expedited a number of projects that will offer us long term protection from future attacks. We’re confident that we can fend off these attackers, but we do need your help.

Moonfruit says it’s working on placing unbranded holding pages in place to visitors to site will be aware of why a site is not online. There is no risk to financial information, and customer information is protected from being accessed.

Building your own professional website is as easy as 1.2.3

Onset of Rigor-Mortis is a Telltale Sign. Another WebHost Deadpool.

Fri, 11th December 2015, 18:04

As we scramble towards the end of an eventful 2015, it’s time for one last Deadpool... or maybe even two! These unlucky 13 providers couldn’t quite stay above water through to New Year’s, so all of their clients have the pleasure of buying themselves more reliable hosting for the holidays. Our advice: don’t trust that Santa guy. He’s a classic fly-by-night provider.


And now, for the dead:

Fully Managed Clouds

Fully Managed Clouds has bit the dust, and their domain has been redirected to a pleasing array of Vietnamese ads. Potentially one advertising a dating service? And you thought cloud hosting wasn’t intimate enough. So if you’re feeling blue over losing your hosting provider and need someone to vent to over some pho, Fully Managed Clouds can still help!

Carbon Host

Carbon Host’s profile on HostJury promises information coming soon. Is that so, Carbon Host? Because with a website reduced to a little nub index, we’re pretty sure there’s not much forthcoming. So long!


Yes, Brohoster has gone belly up, and even their domain is for sale. But let’s focus on the meeting of the minds that must have been the conversation where they picked its name.
“Bro, what are we going to name our hosting business?”
“…bro, are you thinking what I’m thinking?”
“Bro… I think I am.”

Albergue da Web

A Brazilian hosting provider named after parochial hostels used by pilgrims. That’s the most interesting fact we can share with you about Albergue da Web. The second most interesting thing is that ‘Albergue da Web’ sounds like some kind of made up Spanish inventor. The third is that the company is well and truly dead.


YourHostingPro now redirects to Skorit Systems, but not even their web page is configured yet. Don’t presume to be my Hosting Pro, guy. At least not until you get your stuff together.

Acme Hosting

In a shocking turn of events, an Acme product has completely backfired on its users.


To be applauded for graduating from being a NoviceHost, alas, with this untimely death an ExpertHost it shall never be.


AxoHost’s website has imploded alongside its service. One might say it’s been axed, if one were just an awful, awful person.


With the fall of Databloc, it would appear that Datanato has uncontested dominance over digital Europe. We should always note that the deadpool is meant to be a somber occasion, especially for a decade and a half old company like Databloc. But taglines like “Databloc is 100% financially independent and are here to stay!” make that really hard, so dry your eyes and get a laugh or two in.


VPSdatabase bragged BULLETPROOF hosting in their HostJury profile, and so by the looks of their current state it would appear someone came at their servers with a knife. Next!


Bit-Flux is the name of a now-defunct hosting provider, but in the grim darkness of the far future, it will refer to some kind of android-only wasting disease. So don’t complain about losing your website, because you could be vomiting nanomachines or something like that, and doesn’t that sound worse?


To this day FusionHost is staying true to their quality commitments: 99.9% uptime, 100% of the time, 0% of the time.

That’s it for 2015. Congrats to all the survivors, and remember: read the reviews before picking a hosting provider, or forever be cursed with the sudden and thoroughly unpleasant bit flux!

Siteground Web Hosting

Dissecting SquareSpace

Fri, 11th December 2015, 17:49

I was really excited when I heard about SquareSpace and signed up for the free trial account. The main website definitely sells the SquareSpace hosting and design platform very well, and I was eager to see if it actually lived up to its attractive exterior. I could easily picture a lot of designers and artists taking to SquareSpace as a host if it was really as easy to use of a platform as it claimed. It could even make a good host for a small to medium sized business that would like to create a snazzier, homespun website.

SquareSpace’s pricing is pretty straightforward. A personal package limits the amount of pages and contributors at $8 a month, while the business package features unlimited everything along with a $100 Adwords credit and a Google Apps account for $18 a month. Online store owners will be interested to know that there are also commerce options available; at $26 a month for a basic package with no transaction fees and unlimited pages, and $70 a month for the additions of abandoned checkout autorecovery and real time carrier shipping. A little recognized option is the ability to also obtain a single page landing page for $5 a month. Perfect for a virtual “business card”. It is also important to note that there is a 2% to 3% processing charge on any payments made on SquareSpace to a non-commerce account.

The 14 day trial gives you access to a full featured website, with some caveats - no search engine listings, and any visits to your SquareSpace hosted URL will throw up a captcha page before the site can be viewed. Thus, the trial is only good for taking the design tools and controls for a test drive.

The SquareSpace web designing platform is undeniably unique. In fact, the entire SquareSpace experience is one that I find difficult to describe. SquareSpace seems to have done to web hosting what Google+ did to social networking… bringing minimalistic, sharp modern design and an intuitive, fluid UI to what is more often than not a very confusing and antiquated control panel.

What I personally find most appealing about the SquareSpace platform is that while it is obviously built to appeal to beginners, a lot of the more familiar advanced capabilities are present as well. Even more interesting is that there are two levels of CSS style editors - one that is a bit more guided, with a list of style elements that allow you to point and click your way through colors, sizes, and other attributes; and one that is a completely free styled text editor. Of course, there is also a variety of templates to choose from, and the entire web design editing side of SquareSpace is strangely reminiscent of Google Blogger’s features; only this one is quite more stylish.

The commerce side seemed a little simplistic for any major ecommerce website. However, I can easily see many freelancer types taking to the straightforward interface, if you can forgive the lack of being able to integrate with any accounting software like QuickBooks. A rather “cute” inclusion in the commerce side of the SquareSpace platform is the ability to add discount coupon codes to your site. Along with this are the basics: orders, inventory, and payments. Adding a product is as simple as adding a product page to the website and entering in the information for each of your products on the page. From this point you can manage the inventory, orders, and payments from the other commerce options listed in the control panel. There are also advanced settings available which allow you to adjust the sales tax, change shipping options, and customize automated thank you emails for when someone makes a donation.

While SquareSpace’s commerce side lacks a little love, their website metrics seem pretty robust. There is your standard traffic overview, along with a collection of more specific metrics such as mobile usage, RSS subscribers, referring sites, and search engine queries used to land on your site. There’s also a sales overview included in the metrics to help you keep track of your revenue trends.

One of the more interesting bragging points for SquareSpace has been that it features built in search engine optimization (SEO). This feature is neatly tucked away in the website marketing settings. To be honest, I was a little disappointed to find that instead of including a robust and flexible system for search engine optimization, SquareSpace’s offerings are exactly the same as other content management platforms like Wordpress and Blogger, allowing you to change the meta description and customize the formatting of nested URLs.

While I can easily see SquareSpace working out well for the amateur or entry level designer or artist looking for a cheap and easy way to get a portfolio up on the web, I cannot see myself recommending it as a serious solution for online store operation or designers/artists that have matured careers. The lack of robust commerce and very small selection of templates makes for a very generic and lackluster website for professionals that require something personalized and powerful. However, I do see this as possibly enabling web designers to offer their clients a low cost, entry level website with a little pizazz that they can add and subtract to themselves with little to no prior expertise being needed; much like many web designers are already doing with other content platform management systems like Wordpress and Drupal.

For my brother, the freelancer photographer/designer/producer/poet on a limited budget with little to no coding skills, SquareSpace is perfect; in fact I may be setting him up with an account for Christmas! For my law firm client that needs a competitive, unique, and robust custom site; SquareSpace is likely to get passed on for a more customizable content and design management platform. Overall though, I can say that SquareSpace does offer an ideal newbie’s platform for a reasonable price. Your experience and mileage may vary!

About the author: Jonquil McDaniel is an IT professional in Florida that has been writing and tinkering with technology both personally and professionally her entire life. She has an infectious enthusiasm for all things technical; a gift for creative problem solving and communications of all kinds; and a warm, positive disposition that infiltrates every word she writes.

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'No evidence information used inappropriately' in WP Engine Breach

Thu, 10th December 2015, 15:52

According to a report at el Register, managed WordPress hoster WP Engine is confessing to a security breach that prompting it to reset 30,000 customers' passwords.

"At WP Engine we are committed to providing robust security. We are writing today to let you know that we learned of an exposure involving some of our customers’ credentials. Out of an abundance of caution, we are proactively taking security measures across our entire customer base. " it said in a statement yesterday.

Obviously this statement was in the form of an email to clients as there are no tweets linking to a statement and the company blog is strangely silent!

Apparently WP Engine says there was no evidence that the information was used inappropriately, but as a precaution it was invalidating passwords associated with the WP Engine account. WP Engine also says its investigation was "ongoing" and that it would update customers as soon as its security team learns more.


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UK webhost Easily reveals specific domains targeted in malware attack

Thu, 10th December 2015, 14:12

It is being reported that UK webhoster and discount domain pioneer Easily has emailed customers informing them that it has fallen victim to a malware attack. The company has not revealed how many customers were affected by the attack but assures people that credit card details have not been compromised.

COO Edwina McDowall says that a forensic investigation by an external team uncovered the malware. McDowall says that the assailant is, as yet, unknown but steps have been taken to eliminate the malware.

Writing to customers whose accounts were not directly affected by the attack she said:

The investigation revealed that a list of domain names registered on behalf of our customers was accessed. However, none of the domain names that are registered to you were featured on the list that was accessed. We have found no evidence that your account details, passwords or any personal information which could identify you was accessed. However, as a precautionary measure, we recommend that you change the password which you use to log into

At this time there is no word on which specific domains were targeted or why. Clients of Easily can share their experiences by writing a review.


django, rails, and wordpress hostingHosting for developers

United Hosting Sells Out For $16M Plus

Tue, 1st December 2015, 17:25

Cloud hoster iomart has made its second acquisition of 2015, announcing that it has acquired the managed hosting company United Hosting. The details of the deal which were made public gives iomart the entire issued share capital for a cash price up to £11.0 million (okay that’s $16 Million plus USD) with £7.5 million of that upfront. A further £3.5 million is contingent on United Hosting achieving agreed EBIT performance targets in years to April 2016 and 2017.

United Hosting was founded in 1998 and provides managed, dedicated and shared hosting services and domains to approximately 6,500 customers, the majority of which are small businesses. The company is based in Hemel Hempstead in Hertfordshire, where its main data center facility is located. It also leases data center space in London and in Dallas, Texas and has a support function based in India.

Angus MacSween, CEO of iomart, said:

In line with previous acquisitions made by iomart, United Hosting is a profitable, growing business whose services reflect those we offer. As such, the business fits well within our acquisition criteria and will be a valuable addition to the Group.

Matt Wallis, Director of United Hosting, said:

This is a huge opportunity to develop and grow the business. We are now backed by one of the leading providers of managed hosting and cloud services in the UK as well as a company with all the regulatory and financial strength that comes with being listed on the London Stock Exchange.

Having met with Angus and his executive team we believe they can take us to the next level of success.

The co-founders of United Hosting, brothers Matt and Simon Wallis, will remain with the business. This is the second acquisition of the year for iomart. In June, the Group acquired SystemsUp, an IT consultancy specializing in the design and delivery of Public Cloud solutions.

Iomart Hosting growth has been fueled by a number of webhosting company acquisitions over the years including ServerloveRapidSwitchEasyspaceTitan InternetMelbourne Server Hosting and RedStation.

Iomart rejected a take over bid by Host Europe last year.

About iomart

Award winning cloud company iomart Group PLC (AIM: IOM) enables businesses and organizations to operate their online data and IT environments safely and securely. Headquartered in Glasgow, Scotland, iomart partners with leading vendors such as VMware, Amazon, EMC, Microsoft, Asigra, Arbor and Dell to offer customers a centrally managed, controlled and completely agnostic set of hybrid, private and public cloud platforms. By owning a global network and datacenter infrastructure, iomart can support any customer who wishes to move seamlessly between any and all of these platforms with a consultative level of knowledge and expertise, delivering cloud services to meet exact business needs.

D9 Hosting

UK Competition & Markets Authority to Review Compliance in Cloud Storage Sector

Tue, 1st December 2015, 16:57

The UK’s Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) is says it’s launching a review of compliance with consumer law in the cloud storage sector amidst consumer concerns about price and service changes for cloud storage. It is estimated that 40% of UK adults use cloud storage services store photographs, music and documents.

The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) review of consumer law compliance in this important sector follows some reports of practices and terms being used that may breach consumer law.

The CMA states it has heard about consumers being surprised by significant price increases and by reductions to unlimited storage capacity deals after contracts have been agreed. The CMA is also aware of concerns about the loss or deletion of some consumers’ data.

The CMA wants to hear from businesses about their practices and from consumers and industry experts about their experiences.

Nisha Arora, CMA Senior Director, Consumer, said:

Cloud storage is a dynamic and growing sector which is already highly valued by consumers.
We want to hear from business, interested organisations and consumers about their experiences, to assess whether companies understand and comply with consumer law and whether cloud storage services are working well for consumers as a result.

If our review finds breaches of consumer protection laws we will take further action to address these, which could include enforcement action using our consumer law powers, seeking voluntary change from the sector or providing guidance to business or consumers.

Amongst the biggest providers are Amazon, Dropbox, Google Drive and Apple's iCloud.

The CMA’s review will assess how widespread these practices are, whether they breach consumer law and how they are affecting consumers. The review is open for responses until 15 January 2016 and a final report is expected in the spring of next year.

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Free Website From StartLogic Helps Put Cities on the Map.

Mon, 30th November 2015, 11:20

When I heard about “Let’s Put Our Cities on the Map”, I was really excited about the huge savings such a program could bring to my clients, who are mostly small business owners on limited marketing budgets. “Let’s Put Our Cities on the Map” is an initiative by Google to increase awareness of opportunities potentially being missed by businesses with a less than stellar online presence. Google’s own research found:

Four out of five people use search engines to find local information, like business hours and addresses, and research shows that businesses with complete listings are twice as likely to be considered reputable by customers. Consumers are 38 percent more likely to visit and 29 percent more likely to consider purchasing from businesses with complete listings. Yet only 37 percent of businesses have claimed a local business listing on a search engine.

That’s a lot of missed opportunity for small businesses and definitely an incentive to rethink how they conduct business. I really hoped that such a program could bring my clients huge savings in web hosting costs. Of course, I had to check this program out for myself, first. So I signed up for an account, using my own business as a base for building a website.

StartLogic is the company sponsoring this free web hosting initiative. The initiative’s stated goal is to help more businesses develop an online presence, since many small businesses still lack a basic website. This project features a free year of web hosting and a personalized domain name, which seems like quite the steal. Besides just offering a year of free web hosting and a domain name, the site also features an online application system that is intended to help the web building newbie get a functional and professional appearing website up in a minimal amount of time and effort.

The beginning process seems straightforward enough, requesting the name of the business, if it will be advertising services, products, or both; also the industry it’s related to, and what the intended servicing areas will be (with your current location filled in automatically, which the website neglected to mention - oops! I ended up with my home city listed twice! Make sure you have this list right; you won’t get a chance to change it afterwards!).

You’re then whisked away to a basic outline of what your site will look like, with areas that permit you to edit their content. I was pretty disappointed when I attempted to upload my original website’s logo, only to find that the editor resized it to something insanely small, like 500x100 pixels. After several attempts to properly size the image without having any guidelines available on how to make it fit so that it didn’t get resized to match the size of a pea, I gave up. Unfortunately this was the case with both the places for a logo and a background image. I can only assume that this is a probable bug within the web application, that will hopefully get fixed soon.

The rest of the website creation process was a breeze thanks to the guided web application system, which presents areas for the website introduction, a coupon, services offered, hours of operation, contact information, and a couple of spots for promotional content. There was a selection on each of these that guides the user through the automated creation of appropriate content for each section, but I found the language used in the automated content to be very cliched and lacking in authenticity… you could kind of tell it had been generated. Best to stick to your own words here!

The finished project, like with most generated websites, was very generic and unoriginal. However, it was also a very clean and professional appearing layout, so I couldn’t complain very much. Being able to add my own images without them being resized to crazy dimensions would have definitely helped my website stand out, however.

Overall, I was pretty pleased with how easy the entire process was, and was beginning to think this might just be a good solution for clients that want to be more hands-on with their websites and save costs both in terms of hosting and my services. Then I got to the control panel and started clicking on options…

Ok, my site was finished, so I wanted to submit it to search engines next, naturally! Hold up. There’s a fee for that… $19.95 per year. Considering you only need to submit your site once, and the ability to do so is FREE with on many other webhosts. Even worse, the submission tool for online maps (which work the same way as search engines do) is a staggering $99.95 a year! This is definitely starting to look sketchy to me!

How about accepting payments online for your services and wares? I’m afraid only a screenshot can explain that for me:

StartLogic control panel shows the payment gateway is free after you pay $14.95 per month

It’s free… after you pay $14.95 a month….

Website backups are $12.95 a month, with no option to access your file directories or database to do backups for yourself (which is typically free).

Want the basic virus scanning and firewall protection a web host normally provides customers by default? Well, at least they’re only asking $1.95 a month for that!

So let’s say I want to set up an online business with this web host. I’m going to use the basic editor (you can create a better, more unique site for at least $12 a month; $19 if you want to be able to interact with third parties like Facebook and Twitter). Once we add up all the aforementioned services, I’m looking at spending close to $150 a month… compared to the average $15-$20 a month most web hosts ask. Some even less. will go as low as $10 a month…

While “Let’s Put Our Cities on the Map” is a FANTASTIC idea, it seems StartLogic has perverted such a well intentioned project with their need for higher profits. It’s a shame, because otherwise I can easily see this web host as being a great alternative for small to medium business owners that don’t mind putting in a little work to get their websites going. While the experiences of others with this web host may vary from my own, I cannot recommend this web host without issuing a warning: be prepared to pay dearly for those little extras many other web hosts have included in their web hosting offerings for free!

For anyone considering the offer, other conditions worth noting include:

  • This offer is only available to businesses and organizations in the U.S. and Puerto Rico.
  • This offer features a StartLogic website free for one year. The website includes three web pages, 25MB of disk space, 5GB of bandwidth (monthly transfer), plus a domain name.
  • The free year begins on the day you sign up for a StartLogic account. After the first year, you’re automatically billed monthly for hosting. If you registered a domain through this offer, it will be renewed annually. Presently StartLogic hosting plans start at 12-month term: $8.99 a month (billed $107.88 for 1 year)
  • The StartLogic website is free for one year, and a credit card is not required to build a website. However, a credit card is required to claim your free domain name. This is standard practice and protects you from someone else trying to claim ownership of your domain.
  • If you need additional website functionality, like e-commerce, it may require an upgrade to a paid plan.
  • The free website offer includes chat support only. Email and telephone support requires an upgrade to a paid plan.
  • The free website does not include email. However, you can add this feature.
  • The free website includes 25MB of storage for photos and other files. StartLogic also offers plans with additional disk space if upgrading to a paid plan.

Choose wisely and check out StartLogic reviews on HostJury!

About the author: Jonquil McDaniel is an IT professional in Florida that has been writing and tinkering with technology both personally and professionally her entire life. She has an infectious enthusiasm for all things technical; a gift for creative problem solving and communications of all kinds; and a warm, positive disposition that infiltrates every word she writes.  


WiredTree Managed Web Hosting

Ninefold Cloud Falls Out Of the Sky. Are More Destined To Follow

Wed, 4th November 2015, 01:20

Ever wonder why all those big, puffy clouds “floating” in the sky on a summer’s day stay in the sky? Why don’t they fall down? Are they lighter than air. Everyone knows clouds are made of water and water is heavier than air. So why don't they fall down? Well enough with the philosophical confabulation. They do fall down! Australian cloud hoster Ninefold is throwing in the towel and giving up the race against richer rivals.

In a news announcement on its website, the company said it has decided to discontinue its operations after realizing that it would cost the business significantly more to take its existing platform to the next level.

For nearly five years, Ninefold has delivered a cloud computing platform focused on our brand promise of ease and performance, delivered through simplicity. We were the first Australian provider to invest in Aussie infrastructure that was truly cloud - multiple availability zones, instant horizontal and vertical scaling (at cloud capacities), purchased online by the hour. We developed a simple to use user interface and made it easy to integrate via API. We achieved many great milestones on the platform’s journey. Thank you to those that were part of the journey, and thank you to our customers who have made us who we are.

Significantly more investment is required if we are to make what we’ve built go to the next level. After an evaluation of the underlying technical platform, much consideration and deep reflection, we have decided not to embark on this journey. We will shortly notify our customers that we will be sunsetting our Public Cloud Computing (Server) platform, the last day of operation being January 30, 2016.

Many armchair commentators will point out that Ninefold's main selling point in the Australian market was its local presence. With key players like Amazon, Microsoft Azure, and Google Cloud opening datacentres in Australia, all while slashing prices, Ninefold just became collateral damage in a natural normal Darwinian part of late 20th century economics.


Taking it to the next level...

The competitive strategies adopted by tech giants is quite simple. Acquire, or outspend smaller competitors. It’s not uncommon to see corporate giants spend small fortunes to achieve similar level of product development obtained by their smaller counterparts on a shoestring budget. (editor’s note: more perplexing is how casually giants decide something has failed and the decision is made to scrap the entire project).

A member of Harvard Business School’s Forum for Growth and Innovation, Maxwell Wessel, published a series of posts in the Harvard Business Review titled “Why Big Companies Can’t Innovate.”

In the first post in the series Wessel tells how back in the 70’s, Gerber company’s growth potential was waning so to grow profitability and fight margin pressure, groupthinking execs pivoted towards a market they hadn’t successfully penetrated for decades: adult food. With people spending more time at work, Gerber’s knew if they could develop a quick, healthy meal for adults, they had an avenue into meaningful growth.

Gerber created a product for adults that looked and felt just like its product for children and slapped a new label — excitingly named “Gerber Singles” — on existing pureed products and shipped them out. (editor’s note between heaves.. the only way to get a baby to eat this stuff is strap them into a chair and sneak it in their mouth while making airplane sounds. Facial expressions were priceless though) The product design allowed them to use their existing processes for sourcing and distributing food as well as empowered them to use excess manufacturing capacity.

Needless to say the whole exercise was a colossal flop and the product was pulled from the grocers shelves. Companies like Gerber don’t struggle to identify the next great idea. Their idea had merit, and the market trends were real. Hundreds of millions of dollars of similar type products are now sold annually meeting market demand that Gerber first identified.

Gerber did exactly what it was designed to do: create operational efficiency. This deeply-rooted tendency goes all the way back to a corporation’s typical life cycle. In it’s infancy, it’s designed to bring innovation to the market. A start-up’s success is not gauged by earnings or quarterly reports; it’s measured by how well it identifies a problem in the market and matches it to a solution.

Conversely, mature company use a different matrix: profit. Successful mature companies do what they’re designed to do: create operational efficiency and deliver profit. Seasoned managers steer their employees from pursuing the art of discovery and towards engaging in the science of delivery.

In the end it can be summed up as big companies are really bad innovators because they’re designed to be bad at innovation. The dilemma faced by Ninefold is similar to the paradox not being addressed by many small and medium sized web hosting companies today. Company growth potential is waning and transformational growth will not be achieved by asking how can we do what we’re already doing, a tiny bit better and a tiny bit cheaper.

eApps cloud hostingeApps cloud hosting

Endurance Expands Online-marketing Prowess. Acquires Constant Contact for 1.1B

Mon, 2nd November 2015, 16:15

Endurance International Group (EIG) is on a buying spree again this time agreeing to acquire online marketer Constant Contact in a cash deal said to be worth around $1.1 billion. EIG has consolidated numerous well known web hosting brands such as HostGator, Bluehost, Site5 and Arvixe into its fold.

Constant Contact provides email-marketing services for small businesses but the combined companies will serve more than 5 million small businesses and nonprofits and have a combined revenue of more than $1 billion. Endurance said in the release that the acquisition of Constant Contact would expand the company's core business of small business marketing and web hosting to online marketing services.

Hari Ravichandran, president and chief executive officer of Endurance:

We couldn’t be more pleased to welcome Constant Contact to our team and our family of brands. We have long admired Constant Contact and its strong management team, and all that it has accomplished in building a great product set, as well as building an influential culture and team. Their focus on the customer and product development complements our offerings for small business services, and expands our ability to address the needs of SMBs. We know that once small businesses have a web presence, they look for other products and services that will help them to grow their business. We see an opportunity to help our growing subscriber base meet their goals through an integrated suite of solutions, and we are excited to add this talented team to our roster.

Gail Goodman, chief executive officer of Constant Contact:

Our team has always been passionate about helping small businesses do more business. Joining the Endurance family of brands will allow us to extend our reach and be a better partner to small businesses across the globe. We have long shared a parallel path—from our focus on SMBs, to technology, to talent—and we believe this transaction will build continued value for all constituents.

EIG will be paying $32 per Constant Contact share, a 23% premium over its closing price of $26.10 on Friday. The transaction is expected to close during the first quarter of 2016, pending shareholder and regulatory approvals.Following this deal and other recent purchases, Endurance said it sees adjusted revenue of about $1.1 billion in 2015 and that number growing 10% to 12% next year.

Everleap - Affordable Cloud Hosting

HostPapa & CentriLogic Rank In List of Canada’s Fastest Growing Companies

Thu, 29th October 2015, 17:38

Technology is increasingly the backbone of business so it’s not surprising that the information technology industry takes up over a sixth of the spots on the 2015 PROFIT 500 Ranking of Canada’s Fastest Growing Companies. As expected based on prior years, the achievements of a number of Canadian web hosting companies have cemented their ranking on this prestigious list.

James Cowan, Editor-in-chief of PROFIT and Canadian Business says

The PROFIT 500 represent the highest tier of entrepreneurialism in Canada.They should be lauded for the positive economic contributions they’ve made to their communities—and the entire country. They are examples of what can be accomplished with innovation, discipline and determination.


Southern Ontario based HostPapa has again made the cut and been named to the list for the third time. HostPapa made the list with five-year revenue growth of 190%. This is the third consecutive year that HostPapa has been ranked.

HostPapa’s continuous efforts towards achieving customer happiness are clearly visible through various new ideas and concepts. Most recently the host has decided to include the exclusive free 30-minute one-on-one support session with an expert to address any concerns or technical challenges their customers might face. In fact, HostPapa is the only company in this space to offer this type of service.

Jamie Opalchuk, Founder and CEO of HostPapa says:

We are excited to make the PROFIT 500 list of Canada's Fastest-Growing Companies for the third consecutive year. Our customers are essential to this success and the dedication of our staff to customer satisfaction was the key to these positive results. We’re excited to be regularly launching new services that enable us to triumph as one of Canada’s Fastest-Growing Companies.


Also based in Southern Ontario, CentriLogic ranked 72 on the list with five-year revenue growth of 1,005%. This achievement follows several recent milestones for the managed hosting firm, which provides co-location, cloud computing, managed services, and advanced IT outsourcing solutions. Recently, the company opened a 28,000 square foot state-of-the-art data center in Mississauga, Ontario.

Robert Offley, President and CEO of CentriLogic:

Canada has played a pivotal role in our success globally and it’s exciting to achieve this growth alongside so many other accomplished Canadian businesses. It’s an honour to be included on the PROFIT 500 for the second consecutive year. We hope to maintain this growth trajectory into the future, as organizations are looking for comprehensive managed hosting and cloud solutions.


Based in Montreal, CloudOps achieved a five-year revenue growth of 300%. CloudOps ranked in position 204. It's the third consecutive year that CloudOps has made the grade.

Founder and CEO Ian Rae says

CloudOps is excited to be part of the PROFIT 500. This achievement three years running reflects the strength of our team and the demand for our products and services, including cloud networking and our infrastructure-as-a-service. CloudOps is a leader in cloud solutions, having built clouds for telcos and enterprises around the world. CloudOps is an enthusiastic supporter of open source software and believes in contributing to the communities that help evolve the technologies it uses.

CloudOps was also listed in the Deloitte Technology Fast50 in 2014 and is a Citrix Gold Partner and a Networking for Data Centre Specialist.


Carbon60 Networks

The Toronto-based Managed Cloud Company leading the way with service innovation, technical expertise and “white glove” support made the list with a five-year revenue growth of 177%


About HostPapa

HostPapa is a privately-owned web hosting company, helping small-to-medium sized businesses (SMBs) leverage new internet and cloud based technologies since 2006 from their office in Burlington, Ontario, Canada. HostPapa has been offering hosting and other business solutions for almost a decade and has become a trusted vendor, hosting over 500,000 websites. HostPapa was also the first Canadian web hosting company to make a public commitment to going green, with all HostPapa operations powered by 100% green renewable energy.


About CentriLogic
CentriLogic is a global provider of managed hosting, cloud computing, and advanced IT outsourcing solutions. With a comprehensive portfolio of products and services, CentriLogic works with customers to develop adaptable and dependable IT solutions that support their unique application and workload requirements. The company’s dedication to a customer-centric philosophy has earned it the trust of some of the world’s leading companies and visionaries. Headquartered in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, and Rochester, New York, USA, CentriLogic owns and operates data center facilities throughout North America, Europe, and Asia.

About CloudOps
Since 2005, CloudOps has enabled hundreds of enterprises and web-based companies to build their businesses in the cloud. We provide private, public and hybrid cloud solutions for businesses seeking scalability, and for enterprises making their move to the cloud. Our best-in-class cloud architecture and proven approaches allow companies to confidently, securely, and reliably capture business opportunities while achieving higher levels of performance.

About Carbon60 Networks
Carbon60 Networks Inc. specializes in “end-to-end” hosting solutions for public and private sector organizations in Canada with business-critical IT workloads. Carbon60 has a “multi-origin” cloud hosting infrastructure which allows websites and applications to be hosted across geographically diverse regions around the world. Carbon60‘s solutions integrate robust, cost-effective development, quality assurance, staging, production, and disaster recovery services backed by a 99.99% SLA.

000webhosting May Be Free But Their Hacked Database Will Cost You

Wed, 28th October 2015, 22:53

Free web hosting is a awesome concept but unfortunately there are few things in life that are free. That's not to say you can’t get web hosting without expending a monthly pittance. You can. It’s just not free. The cost for keeping cash in hand can take on various models. Whether through adware, data mining, up-selling to a paid format. Sometimes all three. But it isn’t free.

Troy Hunt run the website service 'Have I been pwned?' (HIBP), which allows people to discover where their personal data has been compromised on the web. When a breach hits the public airwaves, he load in the email addresses and those who subscribe to the service (editor's note: it’s really it is free!) get notified of their exposure or you can just search for yourself on the site.

Hunt writes on his blog that someone contacted him saying that approximately 5 months ago, a certain hacker hacked into 000webhost and dumped a 13 million user database consisting of name, last name, email and plain text password. Once Hunt determined that the data was in all likelihood real and from 000webhosts, he attempted to notify the company regarding their leaked data, thinking they’d want to advise their customers and obviously fix the underlying risk. Well this is where, according to Hunt, it all started to get very hard…

I'll spare repeating the steps as Hunt details them quite adequately, but it’s safe to say that 000webhosts gets very little hate mail. Actually they probably get no hate mail as it is near impossible to contact them. Reviews written by users of 000webhost on HostJury allude to the possibility that the host is merely a marketing tool to entice users to sign up for a paid hosting service offered by

And this is where Troy Hunt started sleuthing next.. and where he encountered further obstacles

“off to as well so let’s give them a go. I head over there and it’s a similar deal – no obvious contact info. Well that’s not entirely true, they have an image of a telephone with “24” next to it… then a fax number (they accept faxes 24 hours a day, perhaps?) plus an address in Cyprus”

Using the contact form, a helpful person named  Elvin S suggests Hunt contact 000webhost.

A day and a half later, a now obviously frustrated Hunt gave up on 000webhost and was again back at Hunt uses the contact feature to clearly explain the dilemma, even suggesting that the information be forwarded to their CEO (because that’s what their website suggest you should do). Hunt's efforts prove futile.

+2 days, 4 hours and 49 minutes after first attempting to contact them: I decide it’s not worth trying to get direct and personal contact and it’s more important that they’re convinced there’s a problem. I give them enough information to verify the breach but nothing that’s too sensitive to expose to a generic help desk worker

And that was the very last contact I had with them. To date, there have been zero response from them after that last message and this is a communication channel that had previously been pretty chatty. Clearly, this is just not something they want to know about.

Troy Hunt took to twitter to publicize the difficult situation he found himself in. And the quagmire got deeper. Hunt did get further confirmation the data originated from 000webhost and there were at least some rumors circulating of the breech, and that the information was stored in plain text. Most disturbing was a comment from one respondent…

The database is selling for upwards of $2,000 right now, I can't understand which moron would be considering giving you a copy for free when people can make some serious money from this database.

After four days of dealing with the web hosts, an exasperated Hunt contacts a friend. Thomas Fox-Brewster, a reporter with Forbes has reported on these sorts of incidents in the past in what Hunt describes as a fair and balanced manner. Fox-Brewster soon discovers the parent company of 000webhost and is UK based Hostinger. Fox-Brewster tries to get in touch with them but “they fob him off, not wanting to talk with him about the potential breach”….

But they were getting someone’s attention. All 000webhosting passwords were reset by the company this week and FTP has been disabled until November 10.

So far there is still zero communication about the actual breach itself. Not from 000webhost, or, or Hostinger. The data is still available in the shadier locales of the web... although it is not freely available. It will cost you around $2,000. As I said earlier. Nothing in life is really free!

Read Troy Hunt detailed version of events here.

Forbes Reporter Thomas Fox-Brewster version can be found here

HostGator's Across The Board Price Increases

Tue, 27th October 2015, 19:40

Back in late August, Hostgator, with a short curt email announced across the board price increases on all their hosting packages and plans . The decision was said to be a reflection of the changing hosting industry and increased costs as a result.

Historically in the hosting industry, changes in service and upgrades tended to benefit all clients, while the price increases only affected new clients. HostGator appears to be one of a growing number of companies rethinking that policy. Their latest price increase will affect existing clients also and accounts renewal will be at processed at the increased rates.

Not surprisingly, some clients who may have ignored the email announcing the new pricing structure as just more spam, are not so quick dismissing the invoice. One such person claiming to be a HostGator client for nine plus years say service declined after the Endurance International Group’s purchase of HostGator.

I hardly EVER call or open a ticket. I have probably not contacted them for any reason in the past 5 years. Then EIG bought them, servers went down, got slow; more than one server move.
I never received notice of the price increases. I just today got the yearly renewal notice email for October which showed the price increase.

Their chat does not work today. It times out after 40 minutes of waiting. Repeatedly.

For years my price was $79 a year; I always looked at that charge as a great deal. Now it is $144 and all they done nothing but provide worse network, hardware, response and uptime and made it nearly impossible to contact anyone for support, like 1.5 hours when it used to be 1.5 minute wait time.

Another stated:

I have just canceled my HostGator hosting and moved to somewhere cheaper - I have been with them for 4 years, but honestly, not informing me about a price increase, not answering my support tickets for over 11(!) days, about the downtimes that occurs often lately (about right after the price increase) and then increase prices for a decreased overall quality? Haha, not with me! They gotta learn that and I know heaps of customers who canceled their HG accounts (and not just the small ones) upon that "smart" move of HG.

Not everyone is disappointed with HostGator’s price hike though. Over at that forum with the partisan web hosts spewing the only unbiased reviews on the web nonsense, some web hosts are contemplating whether all EIG brands will follow suit and raise prices while others are having a downright difficult time hiding their glee:

I'd love to see all providers follow. The shared hosting market is crap. If Endurance increases their shared hosting prices across the board, other providers will feel inclined to do so and the industry as a whole will go up. Good job Hostgator!

Another host states if he raised prices, he’d give clients a better service or quality for that… (editor’s note.. Let’s make sure I understand this clearly… this host is saying that if he charged more, he would provide better service. Which would mean clients don’t get better service at the moment? If you ever doubted the ongoing need for HostJury! Okay, back to HostGator).

A common complaint among consumers are companies resorting to deceptive or misleading marketing practices. It may be open to debate whether certain hosts can be accused of crossing that line but the industry can’t be accused of not coming up with unlimited ways of getting close.

HostGator pricing structure is actually quite easy to understand ONCE you reach the order form. Prior to that you only see those come get me price with that infamous * . We have less incentive to hide stuff so here is HostGator’s new price structure:

Hatchling Plan
1 Year @ $7.16 mo.
2 Years @ $6.36 mo.
3 Years @ $5.56 mo.

Baby Plan
1 Year @ $9.56 mo.
2 Years @ $8.76 mo.
3 Years @ $7.96 mo.

Business Plan
1 Year @ $13.56 mo.
2 Years @ $12.76 mo.
3 Years @ $11.96

It’s important to keep in mind that these are introductory prices. So your renewal rates will actually be higher. (HostGator does clearly show what the current renewal price is on the order form). Monthly or semi annual terms are available but it will cost you more again.


How about some Add-ons

Many of the budget priced webhosts have resorted to padding their bottom line through the use of upcharging and upselling extra services and features. At the time of writing, HostGator has resisted the urge to follow some competitors and still offers FREE 24/7/365 Phone, LiveChat, Email Support. They also have no set up fees, and offer free migration of your existing website. So kudos on that.

That's not to say HostGator won't try to upsell additional features that many webhosts may already offer inclusive in their price.

  • SiteLock which Secure and Accelerate Your Site -- Highly Recommended (editor's note.. HostGator writes highly recommended. We just copy and paste). Protect your website from fraud and malware, while speeding up its performance for visitors. This advanced security helps to block malicious traffic and scans daily for other harmful threats. A $99 value for $1.67/mo (Billed Annually)
  • How about Constant Contact which allows you to Channel Your Marketing Mojo -- $10/mo for the First 6 Months (50% off!)
  • It’s Highly Recommended that you get a gmail account from Google. Only $5.00/mo
  • For only $19.95 you can have Site Backup: Daily Website Backups to the Cloud
  • For $14.99/yr you can get your site listed in search engines like Google, Yahoo!, and Bing.


HostGator’s Terms of Service (ToS)

Price Change

HostGator reserves the right to change prices or any other charges at any time. We will provide you with at least thirty (30) days notice before charging you with any price change on any annual or longer term plans. It is your sole responsibility to periodically review billing information provided by HostGator through the user billing tool or through other methods of communication, including notices sent or posted by HostGator.


Unless otherwise provided, you agree that until and unless you notify HostGator of your desire to cancel the Services, you will be billed on an automatically recurring basis to prevent any disruption to your Services, using your credit card or other billing information on file with us.

Siteground Web Hosting

Media Temple's New & Improved Shared Grid Targets Professionals

Sun, 25th October 2015, 10:37

Media Temple has rolled out a new and improved version of its Grid shared hosting platform, targeted at freelance web designers, developers, and small and medium agencies. With added architecture and feature upgrades Media Temple is hoping to turn their state-of-the-art clustered architecture with auto-burst capabilities into an even more powerful (and now managed) hosting solution

The latest versions allow users to easily expand resources as their needs evolve by adding on Media Temple’s new Booster Packs (each Booster Pack provides 10 additional sites, 10GB SSD storage and 1TB bandwidth).

The Grid Pro plan starts at $30 per month and provides the headache-proof, yet highly reliable and scalable, shared hosting that freelance web designers and developers want – adorned with out-of-the box add-ons like CDN (Content Delivery Network), Google Apps for Work productivity tools, a plethora of new security features, and 30 days of backups.

The Grid Agency plan will set you back $150 per month and builds on the Grid Pro features but caters to smaller creative agencies by offering them additional resources and greater protection from security vulnerabilities, including a Web Application Firewall (WAF) that prevents harmful traffic from reaching any site by siphoning out malicious bots, spammers, and website scrappers. Pay annually you will get one domain registration and a SSL certificate for one site!

Finally, the Grid Agency+ combines the power of Grid Agency with white glove setup, security and performance monitoring, as well as consulting services by Media Temple’s award-winning team of engineers, CloudTech, to bring round-the-clock peace of mind to mid-sized agencies. Priced at $350 a month but does include one domain registration and a SSL certificate for one site when paid annually.

The new Booster Packs are priced at $30 and allow for 10 additional sites, 10GB SSD storage, and an extra 1TB bandwidth.

All managed shared hosting plans include:

  • A simpler, more time-efficient user experience that boasts a more intuitive, fully responsive custom control panel; a streamlined onboarding process; a revamped file manager that enables quick upload, edit, and organization of files and folders; a new one-click application installer that provides an easy and quick way to install and manage apps; as well as Google Apps for Work.
  • Higher reliability and scalability: In addition to Grid’s existing clustered architecture and burstable resources (which keep sites and apps up 24/7 regardless of any intense traffic spikes) all plans come with generous compute resources, which reduces the overage risks. Additionally, with the introduction of the new Booster Packs, customers can seamlessly add on additional resources without having to change plans.
  • Speed, speed, and more speed: Grid plans are built to run exclusively on next-generation hardware, featuring Solid State Drive (SSD) storage and SSD database for faster load times. All plans include TrueSpeed CDN, a global Content Delivery Network powered by industry leader in website security, SiteLock, that can increase website speed up to 40%.
  • Managed shared hosting: Plan for peace of mind! All Grid plans meet the definition of software-managed. Media Temple has included: a library of 20 one-click apps that automatically update; SiteLock’s Secure Malware Alert and Removal Tool (SMART), which proactively scans websites for vulnerabilities 24/7 and automatically removes any detected threats; performance monitoring; and 30-days of backups – with the ability to restore files via the new file manager.
  • All new plans are backed by Media Temple’s premium 24/7 customer support.

Media Temple Grid Hosting

Arvixe: the beginning of the end?

Sat, 24th October 2015, 13:56

For a last number of years Arvixe has been able to continually maintain a position as a best rated web host on HostJury based on reviews written by a loyal, and generally satisfied client base. So when Arvixe was acquired last year by mega host Endurance International Group (EIG), the naysayers (editor’s first note.. more accurately.. the competition) were out in full force prophesying a doom and gloom end of the world for Arvixe.

The apocalyptic demise purveyed by the doomsday date setters did not occur but slowly subtle changes did begin to appear. Reviews of Arvixe services, while not necessarily bad, did hint that something had changed beyond the ownership. Lapses in service, and increasingly, difficulties reaching support techs became recurring themes in many reviews being written.

If the chatter around the web is any indication, any expectations of a repeal in the direction Arvixe is moving appears to be dashed. Although a number of Arvixe threads have been started on that forum with the partisan web hosts spouting the only unbiased web hosting reviews on the web jargon, one in particular, started by a person claiming to be a former Arvixe staff member, provides some startling insight to the inner workings of the company

I was an Arvixe staff member about 2 years ago. I've kept in contact with a couple close friends at Arvixe and noticed over the last 48 hours a lot of their statues on Facebook had been updating to "leaving Arvixe". I reached out to one of them and found out almost all of the old Arvixe staff are being terminated at the end of this month. With the trend of all of the poor Arvixe reviews, I thought the EIG community would like to know what may be going on behind the scenes. So if anyone was wondering what may have happened to a specific staff member at Arvixe who maybe had provided you excellent support over the years at Arvixe, chances are they are no longer there.. Supposedly 100+ were let go and about 8 were moved under the EIG umbrella.

If there was ever any doubt that EIG was all about the numbers and not about providing a quality customer service experience, let this serve as an example. Arvixe was known for providing excellent customer service for years. Now... not so much. Work for a company being brought under EIG? Do not believe the hype. Exit immediately.

Another person with the user name SevenFourSix claimed to have been just terminated. The person reiterated what had been put forth by the original poster but also provided an in depth analysis of recent events:

My last day at Arvixe was September 30th. Layoffs were announced on the 26th. There was no transition at all. Starting on Monday people began to realize that no one was actively replacing laid off staff because there was no one to replace them with.

The ticket count kept on climbing. Some staff went to work double-time trying to at least do something for the huge number of problems our customers were facing and others were demoralized and did next to nothing their last days.
On my last day there was no server monitoring staff left. If a server went down then a shift manager had to fix it, but most of the shift managers were in training with EIG except for those who were also getting laid off. Servers failed and little could be done.

The only people who checked the forums for customer problems were laid off as well. The main Priority Support person was laid off. He was also the most experienced support tech at Arvixe. Most of the QA department kept their jobs but they were more of an internal disciplinary wing with only one person as an exceptional tech and one person as a really bad tech.

Arvixe Managers kept their jobs. Not Shift Managers, Shift Managers there were like lead support techs. Now ASO has more customers to support, less support techs but twice the managers.

If you have a ticket open at Arvixe it will not get a response for 4 days to 1 week. The best bet is to get on twitter or facebook and contact Arvixe Support that way with your ticket number. Then the social media monitor will contact a shift manager, the shift manager will then get a support tech to stop what they are doing and work on a ticket. I was stopped in the middle of tickets constantly to work on a social media ticket.

The core cause of this is a question we speculated about. Arvixe had shared hosting on two server images of 96GB RAM each. The original plan was to divide the customers on each server by 4 and place each quarter on one 32GB RAM image. That was akin to moving 1 lot of customers to a 128GB of RAM but would mean less tickets per failure should a failure happen.

But a step was missed. Instead they migrated all 96GB customers to 32GB. Then to make up for that foul-up, They provisioned more servers but the future to-be-laid-off support staff had no access to the new servers. Then, the new servers had no, or little functioning backups. One went down and was down for 1 week or more.

Then our backup software had a bug in it. This was not Arvixe's fault. But this would have been something manageable had the migration not shoe-horned 96 into 32 and support staff could not restore a working mysql database. Only one person could do this and he was not around 24/7. That added to the ticket count.

Then EIG and ASO would do poorly constructed commands. One took out part of a reseller server, Then support had to spend time recovering that. Before EIG if someone would do a command like that, they would be fired. After EIG we were told "who did it or what was done is not important". That was how we deduced a very high up person at ASO/EIG had done that command.

An ASO / EIG person also "hacked" our customer database and changed all customer names to one name of someone in Pakistan. Again, all we knew was that it was internal and it was "not important" and "not a hack", even though ASO people were the first to proclaim it a hack.

Arvixe's problems are now it is management heavy and light on support. They moved servers from more resources to less resources. ASO/EIG staff who do clumsy commands that destroy things. That's what happened.

(Editor’s note.. In the preceding dialogue, the poster makes reference to ASO. ASO is the abbreviation for another EIG brand, A Small Orange. It would appear from the poster's statements that A Small Orange has taken over managing Arvixe tech support)

There were others confirming what has already been said but in fairness, one could certainly just surmise this is a case of sour grapes being disseminated by disgruntled former employees. That is until Arvand Sabetian, founder and former CEO of Arvixe appears to confirm the thread:

I'm not sure what else I can say here as most of what's happening has been brought to light by the individual poster. I'd just caution as to taking any exact information with a grain of salt. There is no way anyone but EIG management will have an idea on number of staff retained and let go. Both the 100+ and the 8 in the OP's post are false. But regardless, the jist of the story is as described here.


Speaking of Arvand..

Arvand Sabetian, founder and CEO of Arvixe Hosting, was lauded in Inc. 30 under 30 for two consecutive years in 2002 and 2003. Sabetian first started his company – Arvixe after his junior year of high school. On October 31, 2014, Endurance International Group (EIG) acquired Arvixe, a California-based web hosting provider to small and medium-sized businesses for a purchase price of $22.0 million, which consisted of a cash payment of $17.6 million at the closing with the remainder payable 12 months following the closing.

Another interesting tidbit floating around the web concerns the CEO of EIG, Hari Ravichandran

On September 18, 2015, the Board of Directors (the “Board”) and the Compensation Committee of the Board (the “Committee”) of Endurance International Group Holdings, Inc. (“Endurance” or the “Company”) approved the grant of a performance-based restricted stock award (the “Performance-Based Restricted Stock Award”) to Hari Ravichandran, the Company’s Chief Executive Officer. In connection with the Performance-Based Restricted Stock Award, and in order to better align Mr. Ravichandran’s compensation with corporate performance, Mr. Ravichandran and the Company have amended his employment agreement with the Company to reduce his base salary from $750,000 to $200,000 and to reduce his annual cash bonus with respect to calendar years 2015, 2016 and 2017 to zero unless otherwise determined by the Board or the Committee.

The Board of Directors at EIG slashed Ravichandran's annual income from $750k to $200k and eliminated all cash bonuses. In return, he vests into EIGI shares quarterly, as long as he remains employed there and scheduled for 2015-2017. This ties his own personal compensation to stock performance.

Possibly the final payout to Arvand Sabetian is contingent upon Arvixe performance..

There are a number of related articles that will be appearing on Hostjury in the coming days. There are also more question than answers.

Contabo VPS Servers

Posting Fake Reviews Nets Bell $1.25M Fine

Fri, 16th October 2015, 19:41

Canadian companies may want to rethink the wisdom of posting fake reviews to embellish those online reputations after Canada's Competition Bureau slapped Bell Canada with a $1.25 million fine for encouraging employees to plant glowing online reviews for two company phone apps.

In November 2014, certain Bell employees were encouraged to post positive reviews and ratings of a free app without disclosing that they work for Bell. The company did attempt to have the reviews and ratings removed as soon as it became aware of the matter. Nevertheless, the Bureau determined that these reviews and ratings created the general impression that they were made by independent and impartial consumers and temporarily affected the overall star rating for the apps.

Under the consent agreement registered with the Competition Tribunal, Bell has also agreed to:

  • enhance and maintain its corporate compliance program, with a specific focus on prohibiting the rating, ranking or reviewing of apps in app stores by employees and contractors; and
  • pay an administrative monetary penalty of $1,250,000.

In addition to the consent agreement, Bell has indicated that it will sponsor and host a workshop to promote, discuss and enhance Canadians’ trust in the digital economy, including the integrity of online reviews.


Impartial reviews benefit both consumers and businesses.

When researching any product or service, consumers and businesses have come to rely on user reviews to provide a wealth of information so informed decisions can be made about the product they are considering. Conversely and beyond the obvious impact of misleading information on consumers, fake reviews affect competitors not trying to game the system. Companies may resort to posting fake reviews for a number of reasons

  • The Marketing and SEO fake reviews:

Utilized by new companies, or maybe old companies with new offerings looking to save some time and get a leg up on their competition having their product noticed in the marketplace. Some companies try to justify this behavior as just another form of advertising.. we view it as akin to link sharing or hiding keywords as hidden text

  • Employee bonus packages:

Many companies have come to rely on incentive programs to motivate their minimum wage support monkeys. “Get good reviews and you get a bonus”.. yeah we can all see how that could end badly!

Sometimes companies do use insouciant gesture like an email, or a poll, to get user input and opinions. Then there are the companies taking it one step further and making responses becomes a public review.

  • The reviewing my competition review:

Maybe it’s the web’s dirty little secret but some companies have been known to take it upon themselves to write a review of a competitor. Seldom seen as glowing or rated with 5 stars.

  • They just plain suck:

The worst kind of fake review are when companies write fake reviews to mislead potential clients. Maybe if these companies spent as much time appeasing customers and delivering services they could spend less time trying to undo damage, and they’d likely have a lot less damage to undo.. Then again maybe not. Sometimes they just suck

No company is able to appease 100% of the people 100% of the time. Like everything else on the web, reviews needs to be taken with a grain of salt. But reviews do serve a necessary function. They are the word of mouth testimonies of the internet. So do your part. Recommend and review your web hosting provider to other users, and share your real hosting reviews.

Modern Cloud Hosting - Everleap