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I'm building a website for a consulting firm that creates websites for its customers. In the website there is a small section that mentions a few hosting services as well as their prices (just for the customers to have a place where they can see examples of places where they can put their websites - just informative).

Now, the consulting firm has no deal with any of the hosting services and its irrelevant which service a client uses to host its website.

Should the hosting services be presented with concrete prices or as a price range?

In the enterprise segment many customers can make special hosting deals with the hosting services and actually get prices lower/higher than what is presented to them in the website... Should this be a concern?

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I wouldn't show prices at all. If you really want to, price ranges should be the choice. If you were to go with concrete prices, you are letting yourself in for having to keep them up-to-date at the very least and possible "mis-representation" claims from your customers or the hosting providers when you don't keep them up-to-date. –  Marjan Venema Sep 1 '12 at 13:00
    
@Marjan Venema: I agree with your points. But this also helps people having a notion of what to expect in terms of pricing. But I agree there's no point in having the exact price as the objective is to only give a notion of the price. –  John Assymptoth Sep 1 '12 at 14:26
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up vote 1 down vote accepted

Now, the consulting firm has no deal with any of the hosting services and its irrelevant which service a client uses to host its website.

It isn't irrelevant.

If the client has a bad experience with a hosting company that they pick from your client's site who are they going to blame? Themselves or your client?

If the client picks a hosting company and finds out that they're paying twice as much as somebody they know with a comparable site who are they going to blame? Themselves or your client?

Recommendations are a social construct that runs both ways. Be careful with 'em.

Some options:

  • Consider just deleting the page. Is it performing a useful function? Are people visiting it? Is the labour & risk of keeping the page accurate and relevant worth the value it provides?
  • Break it down in terms that the clients customer understands - rather than in terms that hosting providers use (if you're a one-page portfolio site you should be paying between A-B, if you're a popular ecommerce site with 20k products you should be paying between X-Y, etc.)
  • If you are going to make recommendations - be very, very certain that they're good ones. Consider entering a relationship with the hosting companies. It can help your client ensure better service for their customers, as well as providing possible income.
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"If the client has a bad experience who are they going to blame?" - Never had thought of that. Thanks. –  John Assymptoth Sep 2 '12 at 8:31
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As other commenters mentioned, if you show an exact price it will be difficult to maintain. If you break prices into "Low", "Average", "High", you could use a simple bar or meter visualization to represent them. However, I don't think it is accurate to show price alone...

Generally, a vendor will charge a "Higher" price because they either offer more services or they have a relatively better reputation than other providers (and generally a better reputation is due to a track record of quality or customer service). With this in mind, I suggest you also show some relative metrics/scores for the provider on other categories in addition to price such as Up Time, Customer Service, customer reviews.

Maybe add some metrics about a few of the most important features for your target audience such as FTP or email addresses. You could almost certainly find such metrics from one of the sites that rate and track the various hosting providers out there.

A rough idea of a mockup might be something like the following:

mockup

download bmml source – Wireframes created with Balsamiq Mockups

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