Today, I want to warn you about Sweetheart Website hosting deals that you may not know about, or fully understand.  Those backroom deals may unwittingly influence your buying decisions.


There’s nothing wrong with having a Sweetheart Website hosting deal — I’ve had them in the past, over 15 years ago with Earthlink and then SimpleNet — but you have to be upfront about those communal relationships and also disclose the monetary connection and not hide your shilling done on behalf of the host in the name of the hostee.

You can usually recognize a Sweetheart Hosting deal by the always-mandatory logo of the hosting company in the blog or website sidebar or footer.  How many regular people that pay their own way willingly put that logo or bug in their sidebar or footer for free?  Not many.

If you see the web hosting company’s logo on a private site’s public pages — usually with a specific hotlink to a  specialized tracking URL — you need to immediately question any recommendation the author of the site is making in favor of that “sponsor”  and the sponsor’s unpublished, but still tendrilic, relationships.  

When site publishers have sponsored site deals, they are speaking to you with a vested interest in favoring their host and not in favor of getting you the best deal or in giving you the most disinterested advice.  That makes sense, right?  That’s why these deals are hidden and hushed up.

A few site owners place disclaimers on their site revealing their vested interests — but those disclaimers are not always easy to find and sometimes the language is contorted when they say they were “not paid to write the article” or post the page and other nonsense that isn’t really true. 

The unpopular question we must all ask as innocent and disinterested readers of these sites is, “Are you paying the full public pricing for your hosting and bandwidth, or is someone, or something, giving it to you for free, or at a reduced price?  If so, what are you getting out of it and what do you owe them?”

Sweetheart Deals are everywhere — so always be wary of what you read and keep your guard up when seeking recommendations from any website or blog.  Those with vested monetary interests are purposefully not always made clear to you.

I have had many offers for sponsored site deals over the last 15 years, and I’ve turned them all down.  I find it is always better to pay your own way and keep your independent voice intact, your integrity undiminished, and your spirit undeniably un-owed anybody at any time. 

I enjoy writing and publishing without prejudice or third-party vested interest influence.  I celebrate my own stuff in my sidebars and I always pay my own way for everything on all my blogs and network of websites — and you can take that to the bank and cash it!

2 Comments

  1. Glad the warning was issued and accepted, Anne! There are so many of these free hosting shill sites out there — especially in the technological field — that innocent readers need to be aware of the minefields and conflicts-of-interest lurking behind each click of the mouse.