A couple of months ago I described here my experiences with the web hosting affiliate programs of FatCow, BlueHost and HostGator. Those were unpleasant experiences on their own but unfortunately there was a continuation and it was even more objectionable. This time only HostGator staff were involved but their actions were practically more fraudulent than before. So, here is a brief follow-up to the case with HostGator.
About 50 days after HostGator (non-automatically) credited the commission for a particular referral to my Commission Junction account they decided to revert it. Of course, an explanation was not provided so I asked them about the reason for this action. The answer I received was quite surprising (although whatever explanation would be surprising having in mind there should not be any good reason for cancelling this commission). They stated that the guy I had referred had been their existing customer and old customers were not able to generate commissions. This attempt would be a good one if I hadn't known the guy.
But actually, I had known my referral for tens of years and I knew that if he had a HostGator account he would tell me (not to mention that if he had a shared web hosting account, he wouldn't pay for a new one at all). He was not an old customer. He had paid for a couple of years in advance. He had an active website in this account and everything was as it should be per HostGator's terms of service. This time, it was pretty obvious that HostGator just tried to cheat me with a plain lie.
I wrote them back stating their explanation is simply not true cause I knew the guy. I expressed my dissatisfaction of their second try to avoid paying this particular commission as well as the lack of response to some of my previous emails. Well, apparently after seeing their scam attempt was not successful and I was in position to easily prove I was right, they did not continue in the "fraud" direction. Without any excuse they asked for my PayPal account in order to send my commission there. My subsequent question concerning the reason of using PayPal instead of the usual process via Commission Junction was not answered (as I expected). In fact, they did not reply with anything after receiving my PayPal address so I had to remind them once again before finally the payment was issued.
After this case, even if I had had any suspicions that the previous unpleasant events could be due to HostGator affiliate team's lack of professionalism rather than some bad intentions, I would be stupid to continue excusing them. The last action was just a plain fraudulent attempt and it's hard to see any realistic explanation excusing their behavior. I was determined to avoid using HostGator affiliate program anymore even before this final case and it just strengthened my decision. It isn't normal to expect I know personally everyone I refer to HostGator in order to be able to defend my commissions from getting "stolen" by what is supposed to be my business partner. HostGator affiliate people are unprofessional, they do not answer any inconvenient questions and they try to cheat their affiliates. Neither of this is a good reason for using them.