Web Hosting Interview - Catalog.Com, Inc. August 2004

Web Hosting Interview - Catalog.Com, Inc. August 2004

Bob Crull, President and CEO of Catalog.com

Special interview with Mr. Bob Crull, President and CEO of Catalog.com, one of the major leaders in web hosting & domain registration services. You can see how Bob dedicates himself to his business and leads catalog.com to become "world-class" company in this industry.

  • HOSTSEARCH: Could you please briefly describe yourself and your role for Catalog.com?
    BOB: I am the CEO and President of Catalog.com.  I keep up with customer relations on a daily basis, plan and setup partnerships, and try to keep Catalog.com heading in the direction we want to take it.  
  • HOSTSEARCH: Could you please share with us when was Catalog.com founded? How did the company get started? What was inspiration for doing web hosting business and domain registration service?
    BOB: I originally co-founded Dallas Internet with Bill Miller and Rod Phillips in early 1995.  I then purchased Catalog.com in 1998.  Before that, I spent 9 years working as a systems engineer and manager for EDS, Perot Systems and Oracle so I had a solid understanding of the technology that makes up the internet.  In 1999, we were the first provider to combine domain registration with web hosting, thus, free hosting with a domain name emerged.  From there we have continued to grow as a registrar and web hosting provider, upgrading our current products and services and providing new services as the need arises.
  • HOSTSEARCH: What's your best selling products/service of your company?
    BOB: If you just look at our statistics, the most popular service is the domain name registration which includes free web hosting.  For only $35 a year, you can get your web site up and running.  There is no risk at all.  If it takes off, you can upgrade to our Everything Unlimited plan.
  • HOSTSEARCH: Since Catalog.com provides full complete web hosting solution for online presence, which services is considered as the most important business for the company?  
    BOB: All of our products and services are equally important with how we operate as a whole.  If one service drops off or doesn't meet the quality customers are demanding, something has to be done to repair or replace the failing service.  We can't let part of the company drop off, because that takes a toll on how Catalog.com is perceived as a whole.
  • HOSTSEARCH: How do you promote your business/website?  
    BOB: We promote through many different online review and directory websites.  We also use other sites that might reach the targeted audience we are looking for.  For example we are going to be offering a new version of ColdFusion as a hosting upgrade, so we may advertise on different websites directed at the ColdFusion audience.  As for the search engine placement game, it's a constant battle to stay on top.  We like to think of the search engine being the main entrance door to Catalog.com, but we have thousands of back doors linked from relevant sites that help increase the quality traffic.
  • HOSTSEARCH: Please define your marketing strategies. What do you think that is your strength for Catalog.com, compare to your major competitors?  
    BOB: I think our major strength compared to our competitors is that we are self contained and can make changes as they need to be made.  We own and operate are own data centers, so if a server is having an issue our administrators can be there within minutes to bring everything back online.  If something needs to be replaced or an area of our company needs improvement, we are on top of it right then.  Some of the smaller players in the web hosting industry are leasing servers at other data centers, so they don't have the freedom to just walk over to the server and take care of business.  We have never had to go through a middle man to get something taken care of with our equipment.  We also listen to our customers.  If we aren't living up to their demands, then we make the change and improve our service.
  • HOSTSEARCH: As Catalog.com is considered as "world-class" company, how has Catalog.com market locally and expand your products& service globally?
    BOB: We have many international customers currently using us for hosting.  I think that marketing globally comes from the same base of marketing locally.  Customer satisfaction plays a major role in both.  We do have future plans to direct more marketing to target the global environment.
  • HOSTSEARCH: By hosting over 50,000 websites and providing e-mail services to 500,000 businesses, can you please share your secret that makes Catalog.com become one of the leaders in this industry? How does your company plan to control quality as well as maintaining your reputation?  
    BOB: We can't give away all our secrets, but we have product managers constantly trying to maintain the products and services we provide on a daily basis.  Catalog.com spends a large amount of time on maintaining the satisfaction of our customers as well as planning for future offerings.  I think it is a big mistake for companies to put their current customers on the back burner while pushing new sales.  If you don't keep your current customers happy you loose the customer as well as the marketing source they were providing.  Many of the sales we make come from word of mouth advertising, so we understand we must keep up with our current customers to maintain the reputation we have.
  • HOSTSEARCH: What is your marketing goal/plan for Catalog.com now? How do you see yourself and your company in the next 5 years?  
    BOB: 5 years seems like an eternity when it comes to online marketing strategies.  We have many different goals with Catalog.com.  A company goal for Catalog.com as a whole is to act as a portal for not only our customers, but for visitors in general.  For example, if a visitor came to Catalog.com looking to find a certain product or service, if we couldn't provide them with the service or product directly we would provide them with the resources they need to get what they want.  As far as the hosting area of the company, we would like to become a one stop shop for building your web presence.  We want to provide you with everything you need whether you're a local neighborhood setting up your first website or a multi-million dollar business trying to setup or improve your online performance.
  • HOSTSEARCH: What is your first advice for the newbie web hosting & domain registration business to become successful like Catalog.com?  
    BOB: It takes total dedication to make any business a success.  If you give it 110% and put in the extra hours and work it takes to get off the ground you'll eventually see that it all paid off.  Just remember that once you get to the top you will need to maintain your business on a regular basis which can sometimes be more work than initially getting started.

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