Site5 Internet Solutions, Inc. – Matt Lightner
My business partner and I founded Site5 in late 1998. We had been working together on a personal site for a year or so, and just had a terrible experience with our web host. Not only was the service sub-par, the people at the company were unhelpful and rude. I realized that despite the fact that there were already thousands of hosts out there, it was difficult to find a provider that offered reasonable prices coupled with truly impressive customer service.
While these two goals may seem at first incompatible, with some hard work and careful planning I think we have been very successful at achieving them both.
2) What is the current state of the web hosting industry from your point of view?
I think that the hosting industry as a whole is becoming increasingly standardized, causing prices to fall into line with reasonable profit margins. No longer can a hosting company charge $20+ per month for a basic hosting account under the pretense of superior service. In fact, some of the best customer service these days is provided by companies who offer very competitive pricing. The clear reason is that economies of scale allow companies to increase their incremental profit per account by spreading relatively fixed costs over a larger customer base—something that they wouldn’t be able to accomplish if they were doing less volume. This leads more efficient operations and less waste. The end result is that customers get more bang for their buck, and providers see happy customers and more referrals in return.
3) What separates Site5.com from its competitors?
Well I would like to think that our technology is in all ways superior, however I am aware that many of our competitors are run by highly intelligent people, a few of which have employed systems that rivals ours in complexity and functionality. I think that in reality, very few of the tens of thousands of hosting companies out there can actually differentiate on technology alone (although Site5 has always strived to do so). But ultimately companies are going to need to find other ways to differentiate themselves.
Aside from our impressive and exclusive control panel system, NetAdmin, Site5’s primary claim to fame is our unbelievably fast support response time and server reliability. Just the other day we received the following “complaint” from one of our customers:
Complaint: Service too reliable
Since moving all my sites to Site5 I’ve had to take up a new hobby. Servers are always up, support requests answered in like 30 seconds, everything works the first time. Very nice, but I’ve had to find a way to spend my time instead of hitting my head against the computer, like visiting with my family, building models, etc.
It’s this kind of feedback that shows just how serious we take our jobs over here. When we say we have fast support and reliable services, we really mean it!
4) According to Site5.com’s newsletter your business has experienced above average growth in 2004. What’s the ‘secret’ behind this success? It’s not just the new website design, is it?!
Well, the new site design has really represented a new paradigm for our company. With the release of the new site, we also established a revised marketing strategy and business plan based around offering services that were much more competitively priced than before. The goal was to do all of this without sacrificing the “high-quality” connotation that the Site5 brand carries. As a result, we have established ourselves as an inexpensive (however not “cheap”) high-end service provider. Armed with this new image, we were confident enough to invest in a considerably large advertising blitz over the past four or five months. Needless to say our results have not been in vain.
We have some other surprises planned for the next few months, however I don’t want to discuss details just yet…
5) What advice would you give someone just starting out in the web hosting industry?
My main point of advice is that it’s never too late. When Site5 was started nearly six years ago, we got the feeling that we were too late of an entrant into the market to be wildly successful and become a large company. That couldn’t have been further from the truth. If you’re willing to put in the time and effort, it’s very likely that you will be successful. But don’t think that all you need to do it setup a website and magic will happen overnight. Even the best-looking website is useless without a proper approach to marketing. Do some research on branding and positioning and establish in advance what you want your company’s “image” to be. Then base your efforts around developing that image in a coherent manner—otherwise it’s very easy to get lost in the crowd of 10,000 hosts offering similar services.
About Site5 (http://www.site5.com)
To people who know web hosting, Site5 means quality. We pride ourselves on our hard-earned reputation for reliability, both in customer service and support. Our management is comprised of individuals of the utmost integrity who realize the importance of customer satisfaction in a service industry. The web hosting market is highly-saturated with fly-by-night organizations offering unreasonable and unreliable services in order to quickly gain market share. However this kind of company cannot survive in an industry where customers expect quality. Site5 is and has always been committed, first and foremost, to high-level service and support. We have been operating profitably for five years, and have survived the rise and fall of many “hosts of the month.” The future will only see us improving upon our already stellar offerings and continuing to operate in a responsible manner so as to ensure future success.
Site5 is a privately-owned California corporation founded in 1998 by Matt Lightner and Rod Armstrong. With only personal financial investment, Matt and Rod grew Site5 from a small company reselling single hosting accounts into an industry icon operating nearly 100 servers and its own network. Site5 was one of the first four licensed Cpanel distributors, and has always served as a leader in hosting software innovation. Matt and Rod worked countless hours with little compensation to ensure the success of the company, and the impact of their vision is manifested in every facet of Site5’s operations today.
Site5’s long term goals are truly aggressive. We are presently in the process of re-engineering our entire hosting operation from the ground up. We have decided to focus primarily on high-quality, managed shared hosting services, as this has been our specialty from day one. Additionally, we are in the process of developing an extremely powerful backend hosting operation management software suite. We plan to eventually license this software commercially, as it fills a growing need for operations automation in the hosting sector.
Thanks to Matt Lightner for taking the time asnwering our interview questions. I have to admit – I am impressed with what I see about Site5.com. I have been a customer there for quite some time, too – before I moved to my own reseller account (and own server later on). Service has always been excellent. Good luck for all the future endeavors to Matt Lightner and the team at Site5.