Monday, November 11, 2019

Hostgator Affiliate Scam

April 16, 2010 by · 32 Comments 

Hostgator Affiliate Scam
It came to my attention about a year ago when hosting giant Hostgator started extending sales through Commission Junction. Later we would discover that over 50% of extended sales would be reversed. Commission Junction, a leading affiliate network provides tracking and management of Hostgator’s affiliate program. Typically when a CPA has occurred the affiliate would receive payment for their commission after 30 days. An extended sale allows for merchants to extend the commissioned sale for 60 days. This is useful for merchants that offer a 30 day return policy.

For three months we logged all activity through Commission Junction tracking sales/commission. By the third month we decided to test and see if Hostgator was truly scamming its affiliates. Luckily for me I knew someone who was looking for a hosting provider. I sent them over to my site to sign up and the next day I saw the commission posted to my affiliate account.

One week later the commission was extended. So after 37 days I was shocked to see that the sale had been reversed. I immediately contacted the person who I knew signed up for Hostgator and asked if they where still hosting with Hostgator and his reply, “Yes”.

So taking this information in account, I went back to my data and discovered an odd pattern. Within the past five months Hostgator has been reversing over 50% of my sales. Within this past month I have had 100% reversals…yes EVERY sale was reversed. I had 27 sales amounting to over $3,375.

Now most of you are thinking this could be a result of my site and the traffic I send them, however I do not use PPC and all traffic is organic. My site ranks #1 in every search engine for a popular hosting keyword related to Hostgator. I have read through Hostgator’s affiliate terms and conditions and have not violated anything.

I know the economy is down and companies are making cuts to reduce cost but when you sink low and start scamming people who are bringing you business, you reached a new low. Even though Hostgator as a hosting company is great, sadly as an affiliate program they are terrible.

As I am writing this I am still waiting for a response from Commission Junction and Hostgator. It has been a week and I have not received anything from either of them. I will post an update once I receive it.

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32 Responses to “Hostgator Affiliate Scam”
  1. Alan says:

    The same has been happening to me. Hostgator used to reverse ANY signup if they could not reach the signup on the phone they provided upon signing up for their hosting. Let me ask you – how many people input their real phone number into the form when they sign up? Very few, who wants to get spammed by annoying sales calls? It is their convenient excuse to not pay you a dime, even though the signups are STILL hosting with Hostgator, even for many years. Hostgator is a complete scam as affiliate program goes – promise high payouts to attract suckers to send you free traffic and money, then screw them on a technicality that you KNOW in advance happens in 80% of cases. Someone should really take these scammers to court – all the affiliates that got screwed by them should find each other band together and pool funds to get a good law firm after these Hostgator scammers.

  2. Daniel says:

    Yes, same here. Stopped promoting Hostgator 5 months ago, because there were months where 70% of the sales were reversed. They scam their affiliate clients really hard. Why not drop the freaking commission instead to 50$ and stop scamming ???

  3. Trazx says:

    Thats a shame, I am part of their affiliate program and have referred a few people but I am weary of scammers :( hostgator better improve their game

  4. Sean Whitley says:

    HostGator should just use Phone Verification so that when someone signs up for an account, they have to put their working number in the application. This would reduce the amount of bogus numbers and increase their conversion rates. All together its a win win win situation! Host Gator wins, affiliate wins, and real potential buyers get real attention rather than some sales guy who has just had 20 invalid numbers in a row and is overly ambitious when a number actually reaches a person.

  5. Bjorn says:

    This is terrible. I am about to reach the 30 days period and at this moment I have 14 commissions. There will be hell to raise if they branch out of their terms and agreement.

    If anyone has any stories to share, please send me an e-mail:

    Maybe some legal actions should be sought.

  6. Ahmad says:

    Hostgator is a scam. And their president is a shill.

  7. Karl says:

    Same here!!! 100% reversed to duplicate status but I promise not one person even had hosting because they didn’t have a website before I made them one.

  8. Willy says:

    Same here… every time I get a commission it is first “extended” on exactly the day it should be locked.. then at 60 days it is reversed. Hostgator sucks!

  9. Amit says:

    Hostgator affiliate they are commission theft ,please don’t promote that ..I am also going to remove that know what I got after three months they replaced all my active commissions to duplicate after three months at the time of payment when I was waiting for three months ,how one guy after three months change his account to another same hostgator account or why he opens another account if he had one account..these are all questions at the time of payment ,This directly signifies that hostgator is taking our commission and this program is turning into big better try another ,Now the Hostgator turned into scam


  10. Danielle says:

    What Hostgator does is to find any reason to find a new hosting account invalid, and returns the money.

    By this time, the hapless person has already started building a website or two through their Hostgator account.

    So then they try to rectify things with Hostgator – and they pay again – only this time, the affiliate publisher is cheated out of a commission.

    And I’ve heard publishers saying that commissions they definitely knew should have been coming to them (because they knew the people signing up and knew that these people had valid Hostgator accounts) – But Hostgator still reverses the payments.

    In the end, Hostgator’s commissions are only worth maybe 10% – because of all the fake reversals.

    It’s all a big cheat. For all that effort, you may as well be selling your own product. As least you know you won’t reverse the payments!

  11. hostgator says:

    I also do, too. Hostgator canceled 90% of my commissions collected legally. Many commissions are canceled by activity and I can comporbar is not true. Anyone know any e-mail where to complain?

  12. Emory says:

    I have had 5 commissions for hostgator sitting extended for over a month now and i will be rather pissed if i dont see payment. I was using hostgator themselves for commissions before this and was only getting half what CJ pays but atleast they seemed to be paying me.

  13. Mike says:

    Signing up to promote HostGator instead of another program is a mistake.
    They have knowingly put a 3-4 sec delay on the affiliate code. To screw you out of commission. Plus 30% of all sales is not valid. Due to “Inactive/cancelled/overdue/” etc. Plus you have to make at least 11 active sales to get $100/sale. Or 15 “gross sales”. Other programs you can get $100/sale by referring at least 2 sales.

    Hostgator is trying to SCREW you, promote someone else!

  14. Alien Bob says:

    I cloaked my affiliate link and tracked. I clocked over 70 hits and when I looked at my Hostgator account they had my cloaked link as a referrer but only 7 clicks….. Something’s not right so I’ve deleted the link which will now lead to a 404 on my site. I think their it’s rigged in their favour, as I suspect many systems are, Including Google Adsense.

  15. KT says:

    Hostgator Affiliate is the biggest scam next to (another time to discuss that one). I have sent them three referrals, one five months ago, another one four months ago, then the last one three months ago. The first one they claimed it was a duplicate. Duplicate? WTF? My client has never hosted any domain or data on Hostgator prior. That’s one tricky way for them not to pay. The other two still say pending three months later? You can’t even reverse the charges after two months, WTF. 1and1 would never pull this kind of bull crap with its affiliates. I have always been a fan of 1and1 until they try to do too much with their control panel and make everything slow. It’s a shame, now I’m stuck with crapgator. I think it’s time we all file complain with the BBB:

  16. Mike says:

    Yes, 6 to 7 comissions of mine became INVALID, CANCELLED OR DUBLICATE over past few weeks and it’s about 80 to 90 % of the comissions becoming invalid and void. It’s just very bad if Hostgator are trying to screw affiliates.

  17. So far, it’s 50/50 for me. 50% credited, 50% no pay. Fingers crossed it’s not a ripoff, because I like their hosting service for my main sites.

  18. NB says:


    I am only being paid out 1 in 5 on mine. CJ will not intervene, and all I get from Hostgator is a blunt 3 lines with a ‘have a nice day!’ tagged to the end. I have tested this with clients who have never had a web site, let alone a hosting account and they are all getting reversed for apparently being duplicates.

    Frankly, I have had enough. I am taking mine, and the 80+ clients that I have recommended to HG over the years and moving to a different host. Shame, but I cannot work with people I do not trust.

    I suggest you all inform them that you will be reporting them to the BBB and taking your clients elsewhere.

    I’m reaching out to other hosting providers to see who will assist me in the move, and will report back.

  19. Mike says:

    Hostgator is a good hosting, but they are scamming its affiliates for sure. I sent them over 4000 visitors thru my affiliate link with no sales! It is traffic from Slovakia, but it is targeted-visitors that are looking for webhosting. I am going to quit promoting them. BS. We should do something about it.

  20. Mike says:

    Actually I have made one sale in very first week promoting them, but person that purchased hosting plan did not use it(I dont know why), but also didnt refund it, so the commission was valid after three months. But after three months hostgator told me, that they will not pay me my commission, because the domain name which was used with purchase has not pointed DNS to them. What a rules…Since then I had no other sales but sent them over 4000 visitors…Scam

  21. Tiffany says:

    I did get paid (a few hundred short). Funny stuff happens like sales everyday, then no sales for 30 days. The more time and effort, the less you get, I guess. smh

  22. Matthew says:

    I too have had every commission from HostGator reversed at CJ since Nov. 2011. Didn’t even realize it until I wasn’t getting any commission checks from CJ. I’m now going to start referring all our customers to hostmonster and bluehost and stop using hostgator all together. They might have good hosting, but their affiliate program is a scam. Lost too much money on referrals already at this point.

  23. Joshua says:

    I went through Hostgator direct. I promoted it for 3 months then stopped because I was only credited for about 20% of sales. It’s easy to get sales there but you have to fight to get your money. It shouldn’t be that way!

  24. Web says:

    Matthew wrote on Sept. 20, 2012: “I’m now going to start referring all our customers to hostmonster and bluehost and stop using hostgator all together.”

    You don’t seem to be aware that Endurance International Group (EIG) owns HostGator, HostMonster, and BlueHost. You would just be moving from one brand to another brand inside the same company and really not going anywhere.

  25. JR says:

    I had the exact same experience, and I too caught them reversing a commission that was for an active and paid account.

    They have reversed most of my commissions in the last 2 years.

    I’m done with them now and sent a nasty letter to Brent Oxley about how his company is ripping people off.

  26. Sarah says:

    I tried working with them ,they just tell me they got someone more qualified. I long to work in a hosting firm

    I guess they are dubious

  27. Dino says:

    I just had a commission reversed for no reason what so ever. My client is current with their payment. Hostgator is a scam. I will not promote them again.

  28. vibhor says:

    Every time I get a commission it is first “extended” on exactly the day it should be locked.. then at 60 days it is reversed. Hostgator sucks! PLEASE tell me some other option

  29. Daladi says:

    Which i had read this post many months ago, i would have stopped promoting hostgator. They have been scamming me for months but recently 2 of the sales from my site were my friends so i could see their hosting still live with hostgator. I had emailed them several times but they refused to reply. saying my sales were cancelled whereas they are not.It is been 4 months now and i have not been paid BEWARE OF HOSTGATOR AFFILIATES.They are scammers

  30. Jay says:

    Interesting, thanks for sharing.
    Dig this. Hostgator had a deal on yesterday, domains for $2.95 usd. So a client we are designing a website for used our link to sign up. They attempted 3 different credit cards and none could be authorized meaning the client had to sign up manually. This was acheived by Hostgator sending an invoice into their ‘newly created’ account, since of course the first registration, the one attached to my affiliate link, had failed also!
    Daylight robbery! Needless to say we shall not be selling their products any longer.


  31. Bob says:

    I had the same issue. Very bad experience with Hostgator affiliate program. I have took screenshot of all my reversed commission with them and more info here. Very long story.


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