How HostGator Lost My (Potential) Business the Second Time

26 replies
Many (maybe 8-9) years ago I was with HostGator. Back then they weren't nearly as big as they are now. I left them then because the couple guys that staffed their forum were the most arrogant, rude, customer service people I've ever seen.

Anytime anyone had any problem it was ALWAYS the customer's fault. They NEVER even considered that something was wrong on their end. And that attitude came across with making people feel like they were stupid idiots for trying to build a website.

LESSON 1: Be good to your customers. Even if the customer is wrong, if you make them feel like an idiot, they will most likely leave. Don't be arrogant. Realize that you are wrong sometimes too.

I left and vowed to never set foot in their house again.

Then HG took off (despite not having my $5 or whatever a month ) and became a big boy with tons of raving fans.

I still wasn't convinced but decided I'd try the Godaddy promotion they put out this week. You can't beat quality hosting, even if it's a test, for .01 for 6 months. I was going to put a domain on I'm not currently using but plan to - so no big deal if the experience turned sour again.

When I heard about the GD promotion I immediately went and checked it out but didn't immediately buy.

First turn off: "Summer" (the default) was their most valuable savings code they said. I entered "Godaddyisdown" and the page refreshed to reflect that it was their most valuable savings code. They knew that Summer wasn't their most valuable coupon. You can say that it's just marketing - why give away the coupon if I didn't know about it. Where I come from it's called lying. It was NOT their most valuable coupon by any stretch.

LESSON 2: Don't make the truth situational. Always have integrity and morals in mind. Pretend you are selling to your grandmother who is on a fixed income when you do your marketing. Cheaters and liars may win temporarily but hardly ever long term.

Second turn off: I returned the next morning hoping the promotion code still worked. I entered the code and the next page showed the discounts. All is well. I entered my information but when I got to the payment page (Paypal), it only showed the summer discount not the GD discount (even though the previous page indicated 6 months for 1 cent).

I thought it may be a problem with Internet Explorer (not refreshing right or something) so loaded up the page in Firefox with the same result.

What's interesting is that I don't know if I had chosen to pay by CC if they would have charged .01 or the "summer" discount. I didn't know they weren't going to honor the GD coupon until I was ready to pay through Paypal.

No matter the reason (my computer, their server), I felt baited and switched. Add this experience with the coupon code mishap and that just sounds and looks bad.

LESSON 3: Once a bad impression is in someone's mind, it will be difficult to remove that so do everything you can to avoid them in the first place. Test your processes and forms in multiple browsers. Try various combinations such as payment amounts or coupon codes in your testing.

Then, even though I had tried to sign up 3 times, they never followed up with me. I kind of halfway expected them to send an email to me (they had the domain and email address) and say "hey we see you didn't check out - is there something we can do to help you?" Godaddy and other big companies do this.

LESSON 4: You may want to follow up ONCE in situations like this. Some companies offer a discount such as "we see you didn't complete the checkout process, if you come complete your purchase now you can take an additional 15% off)" or something similar. Do not put these people on your "list" but consider following up ONCE. I had my payment ready, had already given them all my information, and had clicked the buy button.

Why didn't I click on their instant chat representative button? Remember my previous experience with their support? So I'm a little gunshy.

I'm sure HG is a good host or they wouldn't be so popular. But for me, maybe it's just in the cards, I don't think I will ever be a HG customer. To them it doesn't matter - they apparently aren't missing my $6.36 a month.

For me it's been a learning experience, that interestingly enough spans 8-9 years and both times results in me leaving with the same disastified feeling.

#business #hostgator #lost #potential #time
  • Profile picture of the author Troy_Phillips

    Is it HG or GD .. which one .. I promise not to tell anyone :-)

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    • Profile picture of the author Mark Singletary
      Originally Posted by Troy_Phillips View Post


      Is it HG or GD .. which one .. I promise not to tell anyone :-)
      HostGator (HG) put out a special coupon because GoDaddy (GD) hosting went down.

      The special was 6 months for .01 or 50% off (I believe) for longer term plans.

      I was going to sign up with HG using their GD code.

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      • Profile picture of the author sbucciarel
        Originally Posted by Mark Singletary View Post

        HostGator (HG) put out a special coupon because GoDaddy (GD) hosting went down.

        The special was 6 months for .01 or 50% off (I believe) for longer term plans.

        I was going to sign up with HG using their GD code.

        I'm sure that Summer is their most popular coupon as the Godaddy is down coupon was spur of the moment and for a limited time to take advantage of the unhappy Godaddy people.

        Your loss though. Hostgator is excellent hosting and their support is second to none. I didn't need a coupon to be convinced they're the best company to host with. I hosted with Godaddy a long time ago and it was a miserable experience. I also hosted with Dreamhost and Bluehost and they still couldn't compare to Hostgator.
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  • Profile picture of the author littlevoice
    i think hostgator support team now is from the best in web hosting services .
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  • Profile picture of the author othellotech
    Originally Posted by Mark Singletary View Post

    Then HG took off (despite not having my $5 or whatever a month ) and became a big boy with tons of raving fans.
    Paying $100 a signup in affiliate commissions can do that to a business - there's a reason al 837,912 "top web host" sites, forums, reviews and blogs only list the ipage/eig brands - because they pay the highest commissions - has nothing to do with their service and everything to do with authorised bribery ...

    Originally Posted by Mark Singletary View Post

    What's interesting is that I don't know if I had chosen to pay by CC if they would have charged .01 or the "summer" discount. I didn't know they weren't going to honor the GD coupon until I was ready to pay through Paypal.
    The old "bait-and-switch" is used by a lot of companies - some of the more "interesting" promotions over the years but registrars we come up against have been things like "domain for $0.01" and only when you get you c/card statement and query the charge does that turn out to be "$0.01/month + fees + registration costs + extras" and your 1c domain just cost you $30 whereas a reputable registrar would have done it without the smoke-and-mirrors for $15 !

    Rob Golding, UK Web Host and Accredited Domain Registrar
    Domain Names - Email and Web Hosting - Resellers - VPS - Dedicated Servers - Cloud

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  • Profile picture of the author 3dy
    I'm telling someone almost every single day "don't use HostGator", from my clients to my friends who are just staring to blog.

    They never listen to me. Look, first month is just 1 cent! And they stick with it, because they have already set up their sites in the first month and don't want to move.

    And then they come to complain to me. Not only because they lost their money, but also because the HG support is so bad that they have to ask someone else that works in the field.

    So I'm understanding you, OP. With such a big variety of web hosts, one would be stupid to go for HostGator - at least in my (kind of biased) opinion.
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  • Profile picture of the author WebPen
    That sucks Mark.

    The funny thing is that a lot of warriors seem to love HostGator- I've had good results with them, and I actually just paid for my next 12 months today.

    That said, I have heard a few marketers lately saying that they recommend higher quality hosting. I guess for security, or customer service, or both- not sure.

    Have you tried BlueHost? I was with them when I first got started- they were okay too.
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  • Profile picture of the author Adie
    Everyone can speak based on his own experience and I think HG today has the best customer service ever... Some big companies are slow in responding to their customers but HG is an exception..

    I've been a customer service myself for Verizon and I can tell you, some customers were really "dumb" and "stupid" and can't even follow a simple instruction. Verizon provides DSL but most are complaining about broken computers. See? Before I complain against a company, I always check everything on how and why the problem started. Sometimes, the problem starts with us - customers and we are not always right.

    I'm a happy HG customer for more than 3 years now. I split my sites with HG and and both provides best services after I lost my whole business with registerfly years ago....

    Moderator's Note: You're only allowed to put your own products or sites in your signature.

    Signature edited.
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  • Profile picture of the author Akibahoward
    I'll chime in here, because I get both the OP, and Jay here below. I've been with HG for MANY years. Since the beginning as the OP discusses. And he is right. Customer service SUCKED!

    And that wasn't all. Oh my. The original billing system. HA! A joke! Wouldn't process payments for sometimes 10 days after the charge was due and 'paid'. CRAZY. That is now fixed and works well. As does their support most times.

    But, I can say this UNEQUIVOCALLY, HG has been very very good to me. From a USER perspective. And I think the big issue here is about the experience level of the user.

    Not AT ALL for the OP. His issue was clearly being irritated about the bait and switch and other issues. And again, I AGREE! But I actually don't deal with that stuff because I am already signed up (1) and second, I am a very experienced user. As such, most problems that crop up, I can solve. And when I get on the line with the HG support, I have a tactic that lets them know 'I'm one of THEM, so dispense with all the APPLE'esque GENIUS' crap!

    The 'set of instructions' comment above...OH MY! Say it AGAIN! But I'm not just going to lay that on the shoulders of the users. A lot of times, the 'teacher' is at fault. Again...enter the APPLE GENIUS example.

    I LOVE apple products. LOVE THEM! But, the ONE thing that leads me to just about be ready to leave them, is that every time I go into the Apple store, I have to first walk up to a 'bar' that is called The Genius Bar. Right out of the gate, if you are new to MAC, you feel like a 'nobody, know NOTHING'. that is intimidating for many.

    Then, you get to talk to a GREEN shirted (or maybe it's BLUE) person who is clearly DIFFERENT from the other colored shirted people. They know MORE. And they usually, are not very pleasant...when you push them.

    Anyways, not the point. I digress. (had to get my Apple rant in....sorry)

    HG for me has been good. I am sure that if I were JUST purchasing a first account, it would not be nice. I can see how that will disturb ANYONE. I haven't seen the front 'sales' page of HG in over 3 years. So I have no idea what deals they may have. AND, I don't do the 'affiliate' thing so I have missed the whole payout deal. (might want to get on that though)

    I'm just sayin, my experience has been very good. And I think, having sold products online over the years, having to provide customer support, it can be a mixed bag of fun when sometimes, users want to do things 'their own way' and be bothered by processes.

    (again...OP, that last sentence was NOT about you...I swear)

    thanks for the post!

    Joining the Amazon Affiliate Family....!

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  • Profile picture of the author misterkailo
    None of these hosts are reliable.. even GoDaddy got hacked recently lol
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  • Profile picture of the author Mark Singletary
    Thanks for all the comments. A few clarifications:

    1. I'm not necessarily "anti-HG". It's just interesting that 10 years or so apart I have a similar bad experience/feeling with the same company. They've never really done anything to hurt me (except being royal jerks many years ago which could be forgiven under the right circumstances). Just the irony of it all prompted the post.

    2. I completely understand the can't follow instructions thing. As a mostly lifelong IT guy the ID-10-T errors were always the worse. You know is the computer plugged in kind of things.

    3. After flailing and floundering all over the place in the beginning and having many, many awful webhosts, I am 100% satisfied and have been for 7-8 years with ASP.NET Hosting, Windows Hosting, Reseller Hosting by I don't need or want a new host. I only was going to check out HG just for fun as part of an upcoming project because my host doesn't use CPanel they use HSphere. and I know that many people assume CP is better.

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  • Profile picture of the author Mark Singletary
    Every time I want to vent a little bit, I always try to add in a tidbit people can learn or some kind of positive takeaway that may help someone.

    @Othellotech who mentioned the high payouts brings up a good point. Apparently HG made a wise decision to take a risk. Think about it - there are a lot of people who host hop and maybe only stay with a host a month before looking for something cheaper.

    Yet HG would still pay (and lose) high affiliate commission as part of their growth strategy. And apparently it works like a charm.

    They obviously have enough confidence (despite those that don't don't agree) that they can win over the customers and that the gamble (the potential for big losses in affiliate payouts) is worth it.

    Hmmm - up to $125 a signup. Maybe they aren't so bad after all...:rolleyes:

    I wonder what we could accomplish in our business and our lives if we had that kind of confidence in our abilities to get the job done and were willing to put it all on the line for the sake of our goals?

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    • Profile picture of the author Marakatapolis
      I haven't had any problems with HostGator, except for one, but they fixed it. I cancelled my hosting/domain renew with HG a couple years ago and hadn't logged into HG until a couple weeks ago. I found that one of my domains I had been charged a monthly hosting fee every month for the past two years, so I had a balance due of around $250.00.

      I contacted them and explained that when I quit HG I had cancelled my account, so it must be a mistake they kept adding up hosting fees all this time, and even though they kept billing me while I was gone an account manager wiped out my balance and I owe nothing now.

      They could have been jerks and made me pay for a mistake, but they chose to do me a solid and that's pretty cool of them.
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  • Profile picture of the author David Keith
    I have worked with HG (not an employee) for many years. The coupon thing is a tough one. They often have a 20% off coupon and a $9.94 off coupon. obviously on 1 month of $10 hosting the 9.94 coupon is the better one. but on 6 months of $10 hosting the 20% coupon works out to be better. So that is kinda on them and kinda just a bit of misunderstanding. Maybe they didn't communicate it well, but its not quite black and white when you have the options for customers to pay 1 month to several years at a time and some coupon are percents and some are flat $xx off.

    As for you choosing not to deal with their customer support years latter after a jaded experience. I guess thats one you can't really complain about. They offered you a potential solution and you felt without giving it a chance they were not going to be able to help you. Maybe you were right. In fact, i will go one step further and say that you probably were right. Most people who enter into a conversation with hard preconceived notions don't change their mind. No matter the facts, people look to validate their opinion rather than seek the truth.

    I certainly hope you don't take my response has an attack on you. Its not meant that way at all. I am merely pointing out some things in your experience that while relative to you, very well may not be the way other peoples experiences would have happened.

    I am certain HG as well as all of us can improve the integration and senselessness of our businesses. But having had the pleasure of dealing with Brent numerous times over the years, I can tell you they run a pretty solid business.

    You can't run the volume they run and not have a few people not pleased with your service/offers/products.

    I have forwarded this thread (via personal emails) to a few folks at HG that can do more with these suggestions. If you want I can get one of their higher ups to get in touch with you personally. If not, I am sure you and HG will be fine without each other. PM me if want Mark.
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  • Profile picture of the author Mark Singletary
    Thanks David. You are right - I'm prejudiced. Because of the experience before I have my mind made up.

    Maybe that's wrong and it is very much against my nature which is to be forgiving, give the other guy a second (or 3rd or 4th) chance, give people the benefit of the doubt, be balanced in my judgments, etc.

    It's like someone else pointed out - they can see my frustration, understand it, accept it, know that I'm probably right, know that HG has done this/that/the other but is still a happy customer.

    I don't need anyone to contact me. It's not a big deal - like I said I'm very happy where I'm at and would not move my main domains. I just wanted to take the almost free (.01 for 6 months) tour to see if they've changed and if there was something to all the glowing reports you read almost every day. And also to research things because of an upcoming project.

    I only posted because of the lessons I learned. Thank you David for bringing up the jaded, not being willing to give them a chance thing too. There surely is a marketing lesson in there too.

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  • Profile picture of the author David Keith
    BTW, I love the way you went about the thread. You were clearly not happy with some good reason and you expressed that while being rational. More importantly as others have mentioned you took the opportunity to make this a learning experience for lots of people. I wish every unhappy customer of mine acted in a similar manner. Some make some very outlandish and down right scary threats.
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  • Profile picture of the author Akibahoward
    ...And David brings it home!

    That's the bottom line. I know personally, I didn't think trying to contact Mr. S was of necessity. As I read it, he was pointing out his situation, experience and decision. I found it to be VERY informative and as you can see above, I am a supporter of HG.

    But as David said, it's...THIS FORUM, is about discussion. MS's experience wil save some some GREAT hassle, while others comments will send folks right to HG. And that is the talk and interact and allow everyone here to form their own judgement about a product, service, host or idea.

    (throwing down mic FOR David....)


    Joining the Amazon Affiliate Family....!

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    • Profile picture of the author TheSpokesman
      Just my two cents, and you certainly get what you pay for ...

      I use HG. All of my sites are hosted there. I can honestly say that I have had nothing but a positive experience. In particular, my own support issues have been handled quickly and thoroughly. Then again, I have only been using them for roughly one year so I certainly understand there are those here who have done business with them longer than I have and may have a different perspective.
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  • Profile picture of the author IsabelDaGuerra
    Hey! No problem with HG for me too!!

    Customer support has been excellent and I will recommend them above others I use and used!!
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    • Profile picture of the author GlenH
      I have dedicated servers with HG, and as far as support is concerned, they are spectacularly brilliant .

      When I went from my other hosting service across to them, they migrated all my sites quickly and efficiently and everything work as it should the first time.

      Sure, I pay a hell of a lot more than $6.00 a month, but for the last 4 years, I can't fault them.
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  • Profile picture of the author JabMonkey
    I don't have a link to the site anymore, but I read an interview with an ex HG csr, who was obviously disgruntled (maybe he was fired, I can't remember), but he did say the best HG package to get was the Reseller and not the Shared or VPS or Dedicated.

    He made the point that with the Reseller account, each Control Panel is given the full 25 processes and so on, so it's better for customers with several websites to use that instead of a VPS, which he claimed was inferior to the Reseller account.

    I've never had problems with HostGator - almost 8 years now, and I've had Shared, VPS and Reseller. I've also had accounts at the same time with Namecheap, Arvixe, Servint and Liquid Web. Had downtime issues continually with Namecheap and Arvixe and Liquid Web. Servint was good, but I no longer needed them and they are kind of expensive.

    But if you look at reviews of web hosts on different forums, you'll soon see that ALL web hosts get some negative reviews, and the bigger they are, the more negative reviews they have. None of them are perfect, but for my money, I'll stick with the reptile.
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  • Profile picture of the author Surminga
    I've never had any issues with HostGator. I've been with them 4/5 years now and whenever I have an issue with downtime, payments, transferring and so on they are more than obliged to lend a hand.
    I must say I have only ventured out of hostgator and tried GoDaddy hosting a while back and much preferred HostGator for some reason, but thats not to say GoDaddy weren't good, its personal preference with everybody and every company. You unfortunately have had a bad experience but I don't reckon you are one of many when it comes to HostGator
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  • Profile picture of the author nmoppa01
    Many People have different opinions about hosting providers and domain name registrars, What many people told me is to use GD for domain registration and HG for hosting services. I use HG for hosting and Namecheap for domains registration. I am very happy with both of them. Just my two cents in this discussion


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