I'm still an active member on WHT with thousands of posts, but don't spend a lot of time there anymore - private messages more than anything. I also used to be a moderator on WHT, so what I saw is from both sides of the aisle, and I didn't personally see the type of favoritism like what you're talking about. I found HD when WHT got hacked and went down for a while years ago. I do agree that HD has a different flavor and style that is appealing, but we've had a few members here too that had to be banned, some just straight up spammers and others who had their feathers ruffled and couldn't contain their temper.
I believe every web hosting forum has experienced some downsizing in popularity and that's a shame because the hosting industry has so much to share.
I do think members who only post offers are missing the boat. There are so many providers out there, sometimes the one thing that separates their hosting from all the rest is how they represent themselves in these forums. Price is certainly a strong factor, but you lose business you could have otherwise won, if only you took the effort to brand yourself on these forums as an expert, such that prospects would be drawn to your firm - trusting YOU as a provider because of how you've presented yourself.
The selling mantra has always been know, like and trust. Prospects might like a price, but without knowing what's on the back end of that offer, how else can they possibly select one host over another? It's not reviews, because most of those are sour grapes, shills or are years old and not reflective of their current infrastructure.
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