1) Why do you think Browsehosts.com is so successful as it is?
I think BrowseHosts.com has become as successful as it is today because we have set ourselves apart in an industry where there are over 100 hosting directories. We have done this on several fronts, thereby ensuring success. By securing large partnerships, such as the one with PingZine Web Hosting Magazine, as well as with countless webmaster-related sites, we have been able to grow at one of the fastest rates for a hosting directory in recent memory. I like to think that we have also taken out a lot of corruption in the hosting directory industry. We provide our advertising hosts with full stat reporting – something every other pay per click site is afraid to offer. We are very confident in our traffic’s quality and have nothing to hide. Therefore, we give our hosts the time, keyword, country, IP address, referrer, and cost of each click. We have also been able to capture a reputation as a “niche Overture” in our field.
We provide XML feed listings to many related sites in the webmaster and web hosting world, much in the way Overture spreads their results across a wide network.
2) What are your long term goals with Browsehosts.com?
Well, as with any hardworking founder, I am hoping to see BrowseHosts.com reach the top in the host services industry. In my industry, I find that it is often a distraction to look into the future, since the internet is evolving all the time, and to remain relevant we need to keep up with the “here and now”. For example, a current topic that we are looking to improve is the Pay Per Click System. Specifically, I think our control panel can be improved, and we work closely with the over 500 hosts in our system to perfect it for them. As far as a numerical goal, I am hoping to see BrowseHosts.com’s web hosting leads system go from the current 70,000 lifetime hosting leads all the way to 1,000,000.
3) Do you have a mission statement?
BrowseHosts.com was founded on the belief that most hosting directories are not doing their duty of connecting hosts and webmasters in a fraud-free environment. In line with that, we make every effort to ensure that the hosts represented are upstanding companies. We also seek to get our advertising hosts the best targeted leads that are possible, at a fraction of the cost of other directories.
4) How do you define customer service – especially in the hosting industry?
I’m glad you asked about that. BrowseHosts.com operates on the belief that without us putting in 110% effort to our customer service ( we call it BrowseHosts Account Services ), we wouldn’t succeed at all. Customer service isn’t one of those things that you can go 50% into. Fifty-percent customer service is no customer service. We usually have any issues resolved within 2 hours and I can’t recall ever losing an advertiser due to bad customer service. For the hosting industry at large, they must understand that customer service and reliability are all that can separate them from other hosts. Someone will always beat you on price and on features – that is out of the host’s hands; but good customer service, people find it hard to beat that because it takes more effort than simply lowering a price. As more and more hosts enter the field, it will become increasingly important to provide superior customer service.
5) What do you expect for the hosting industry in the future (near or medium term)? What will change? Which direction will it go?
I’ve been doing quite a bit of research in the last few years on the hosting industry. I’ve visited literally over 10,000 hosting companies’ sites, read pages and pages of marketing reports, and feel confident in my ability to take on this question. I believe the hosting industry’s current exceptional growth is immune until at least the end of 2005. The reason behind this is due to the large hosting companies who went bankrupt a few years ago. The massive amounts of customers who had to find new hosts as a result of that still have not necessarily found the host that they will choose to stay with for the long term. They are still testing the waters with their hosts and one needs only to visit their local hosting forum to see how many complaints about hosting webmasters have.
The emergence of a more “webmaster literate” generation also means that thousands upon thousand of new sites will need to be hosted, expanding the hosting industry as a whole. I foresee the hosting industry becoming a major industry within ten years.
Many thanks to Pinny Cohen for spending the time answering our questions. Good luck for your future ventures from WebHostingreport.net -> This interview was done in March of 2004.