And there's the rub - especially with relatively anonymous screen names, you never know who has an ulterior motive. Sure, you can usually spot blatant marketing pitches just by the vapid tone of the language, but the best forum spamming [webmasterworld.com] can be nearly impossible to tell from an honest testimonial. Or an honest complaint, for that matter.
So I really appreciate that this thread has taken the direction it has -- what to look for in a host -- rather than just naming names for good or bad.
I really love nativenewyorker's idea of calling up at 3am on a weekend. Like many good ideas, it's pretty obvious once someone has done the favor of sharing it.