After two full days of seminars, keynote speeches, product demonstrations, exhibit floor activities, parties, and networking within the web hosting community ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â‚¬Å“ HostingCon 2005 has concluded. Below is a brief overview of some of the highlights and seminar information delivered during the show.
The event saw an excellent informational seminar developed and presented by Mr. Ben Trenda, Manager of Category Development for Yahoo! Search Marketing. Among the many points of interest to everyone in attendance were his advice regarding the top web hosting search terms, and his excellent slides on a companyÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢s paid search rank versus the expected clicks to be garnered. For example, it was stated that the number 3 spot in the Yahoo! paid search rankings is expected to receive 229 more clicks than the number 4 spot. Also mentioned were click fraud, local search, and algorithmic search.
A particularly interesting panel discussed the price wars in web hosting as well. Mr. Ben Fisher, Vice President of TechPad Agency and Webmaster911.com was paired with two magazine editors, Mr. Keith Duncan of PingZine, and Mr. Liam Eagle
editor of The Web Host Industry Review Magazine in front of a packed room. The panelists had a lively talk about the state of web hosting pricing and how customer support and add on features and upsells can create value for web hosting companies.
The luncheon keynote on day 1 was delivered by Mr. Peter Hopper, Managing Partner and President of DH Capital, LLC. Mr. Hopper delivered a fact filled look at how web hosting companies are currently being valued by Wall Street and the investment community. Key metrics that can contribute to increased valuation included: customer concentration, ARPU, cash flow, growth rates, churn, and special factors such as a great strategic fit with another firm. Things mentioned to look out for were debt, deferred revenue, working capital, and long term obligations.
Google was represented by Mr. Scott Crosby, Head of the Urchin Web Analitics Vertical at Google. He delivered a deeply knowledgable demonstration of the newest release of the Urchin package which includes some new geotargeting and keyword features not found on previous versions. He also stumped the audience with his encyclopedic trivia questions in a wrap up giveaway at the conclusion.
The later day keynote was delivered by industry veteran and founder of EV1 Servers, Mr. Robert Marsh. Mr. MarshÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢s key learnings and advice for how to grow a hosting company from nothing to $70 million in a few short years included nuggets to numerous to fully mention ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â‚¬Å“ what folloews are but a few.
“If itÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢s important ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â‚¬Å“ do it face-to-face or by phone; not by email.”
“Banking relationships are very important”.
“Banks donÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢t respect jeans and tee shirts”.
“You need auditors and quality financial statements”.
“Be client oriented”.
“Under promise ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â‚¬Å“ over deliver”.
“Find a team more talented than yourself and set them free”.
Day 2 included more insiteful talks including sw-soft on the current state of web hosting automation ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â‚¬Å“ which delved into a review of the current international web hosting landscape.
Microsoft sent Mr. John Zanni a Director in the Web Platform and Tools Division. Mr. Zanni explained how a web host can significantly grow their existing hosting business with Windows-based hosting. The talk included a detailed demonstration of the latest DotNetNuke software, and examples of hosting companies that are excelling in the Windows hosting arena.
There are many more details, demonstrations and seminars which were delivered through the two day event which are too numerous to be covered here.
Mr. George Roberts, President and CEO of Interjuncture and the organizer of the HostingCon 2005 event summed things up this way: “The event was really great and went off really well. As with any first time event we had our share of issues, but the exhibitors and visitors have concluded a lot of business”.
Mr. Roberts expects to be planning over the next two to three months on the details for next yearÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢s HostingCon show. He expects similar timing for the show, and stated that the show will most likely remain in Chicago for 2006. According to Mr. Roberts, turnout for the HostingCon 2005 event was about as expected with over 600 attendees.