When it comes to people being taken advantage of by the web security company SiteLock, their web hosting partners seem to play a critical role, as it looks like a lot of their business comes through them instead of people going directly to SiteLock. What seemed to us to be the likely explanation of why the web hosts would partner with SiteLock despite them being quite bad at being a security company and their sales practices, was the web hosts getting paid to push their services.
What was surprising to us when we ran across it is how much money they are getting, one of SiteLock’s web hosting partners, the Endurance International Group, disclosed to investors that they get 55% of the revenue from the SiteLock partnership (it also turns out that the web hosting company is also run by one SiteLock’s majority owners). So people that get pushed to their service end up paying at least twice as much as the service they are really getting costs.
That obviously raises some serious questions about the arrangement, but what seems of more concern is that from what we have seen their web hosting partners don’t disclose the financial arrangement. (What they will sometimes say instead is that SiteLock is a trusted partner, which doesn’t point to the web host being someone you can trust.)
When a web host tells their customer that should hire a certain company to clean up your website, we don’t think it is unreasonable that they should be told the truth about why that recommendation is being made.
With one of the web hosts owned by the Endurance International Group, HostGator, we found that the wouldn’t even acknowledge that they are getting any money out of the partnership when it was pointed out their parent company has already disclosed this fact to investors.
While the web hosts are not upfront about this, when SiteLock is promoting the partnerships program to web host they are. Here is the list of the “Top Three Reasons to Partner with SiteLock” from the page about their program:
The first two items listed are revenue related:
Million in Partner
Support on Sales and
So that gives a pretty good idea of what these partnerships are really about, if it wasn’t clear already.
What the third one is supposed to refer isn’t entirely clear, SiteLock does refer to itself as the Global Leader in Website Security (which is far from the truth):
Partner with the
Global Leaders Across
We think that web hosts getting involved in this is a good sign that you should avoid them (you can check out our list of web hosts who partnered with SiteLock if you want to to that).
If you are unfortunately at the point where your web host is pushing you to SiteLock, you should take a look at our post on what you should know in that situation before doing anything else.
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