When I began alpha testing what would eventually become the technology behind VikingVPN, I had no idea what marketing on the internet was like. I only knew network security and speeds, and I strongly disliked the performance of the VPN services that I had tried out. I saw an opportunity to create a service for people like me who were fed up with slow, unreliable, and shoddy networks. Before joining up with my partners and actually starting a serious company, all I knew about internet marketing was that you paid for ads on ad networks and users clicked those ads to hopefully sign up for your service.
Now, two years later, I have a much greater understanding of how this business works. It is dirty, it is shady, and it is cutthroat. Competitors will pay black-hat parties to DDoS your website or services, they will pay script kiddies with botnets to commit massive click-fraud on your ads, they will pay individuals huge sums of money to spam websites with praise for their product, and they will pay people to praise themselves and denounce others en-masse in "review" websites.
The VPN market is not one of healthy competition, and it does not operate in the best interests of the privacy minded consumer. Unless you are talking to someone you personally know and trust, it is hard to get an honest review about any service.
The biggest evidence for this is with a little research, you can find out who is paying the most affiliate cash, and compare that to who "wins" the VPN reviews. Invariably, the ones that pay the most tend to show up at the top of the lists, and the ones that don't pay affiliate cash either don't even get a review, or get shoved down to the bottom of the site in obscurity.
Let me be frank. These sites are nothing more than "linkfarming" sites in disguise. They put up as many affiliate links as they can, then give the highest paying ones praise to rake in money. There is no other motivation.
These are the actual affiliate pages for three of the VPN services that win a lot of favorable reviews and also get a lot of spam / suspicious praise on various websites.
How to tell the reviews are a joke
If you see praise for a company that is known to have sold out its members, that is probably a dead giveaway. So if you see a "review" site praising HideMyAss, you should probably dismiss everything they say from that point forward.
If you see the same company mentioned over and over again on the same site, it is probably affiliate spam.
If a major site does a review about one specific VPN company, they were likely handsomely paid to do so.
If the article you're reading sounds like an ad, it's an ad.
Do not trust a single review to tell you the whole story. Find someone reputable or someone you personally know and ask them about their experience with the company. Almost no one on the internet is impartial.