Web Hosting Interview - eDataRack.com September 2003

Web Hosting Interview - eDataRack.com September 2003

Sean Shehan - President, CEO of Data Serve Technologies, Inc., - eDataRack.com

Finding five characteristics that turn a good hosting site into a great one from EdataRack's Sean.

  • HOSTSEARCH: Hi Sean. Can you reveal a little about yourself and your day-to-day role with edatarack.com
    SEAN: Hello and thank you for your time. Yes, my name is Sean Shehan and I am President, CEO of Data Serve Technologies, Inc., which is the parent company of our global web hosting division eDataRack.com. I hold a B.S. in Telecommunications Management from DeVry University as well as have accrued over 10 solid years of Information Technology experience in the global data communications industry. My role within the company is extremely diverse. Believe me when I say there are no ivory towers here. When it comes to supporting our infrastructure, back office productivity, and the changing needs of our customers everyone pulls their weight in every direction imaginable. On any given day I may be helping to provide technical support to our direct hosting customers and resellers and the next I may be working on installing and setting up a new server to be put on-line.

    However, if I really had to define my primary role within this organization it would sum up as making sure we keep moving forward. It sounds simple and corny but moving forward as a company means building relationships with our customers and service providers, learning from our mistakes, keeping up with and implementing new technologies into our infrastructure, as well as bringing on and nurturing qualified personnel to support these goals on a daily basis.
  • HOSTSEARCH: Can you give us a brief historical run through of eDataRack.Com's development since establishment?
    SEAN: Data Serve Technologies began in 1998 under Sole Proprietorship set up in Arlington, TX. Our primary goal at that time was to service the local metro area with business-to-business IT consulting, hardware / software sales and installation combined with on-site repair service. As the company grew we found it necessary to bring on additional IT consultants to support our fast growing customer base. During this time we began to recognize the growing need and desire for small businesses to begin venturing out onto the Internet in order explore more opportunities with web site e-commerce and email services.

    We also found that these same businesses were paying a small fortune for these services through their local ISP. This sparked our desire and determination to offer a core Internet web hosting and email service product for our local customers as a value added resale at an outstanding price. We put our first server on-line in summer of 2000 and after building a solid foundation in the hosting business within our local market decided to Incorporate in spring of 2002 and launch eDataRack.com our global web hosting division that is in place today.
  • HOSTSEARCH: How do you differentiate your company and products in a highly competitive industry?
    SEAN: Very simple. Price, value, and service. eDataRack.com offers the most competitive pricing and service offerings in the industry and is quickly becoming a name to be reckoned with amongst our competitors. Our flag ship product the Business Starter hosting plan starts at only $2.95/month and includes a plethora of features like 300MB of web space, 6GB of data transfer, POP email, and advanced features like PHP, and MySQL for developers as well. We also include with select plans free web site design software to assist our beginner customers.

    Our hosting reseller plans are extremely affordable for consultants and designers to offer their customers a robust portfolio of hosting services utilizing our state of the art facilities and management team. Reseller plans start at $24.95/month for a fully managed solution. Bottom line if our customers succeed we succeed! Our pricing and service offerings have been designed to match this philosophy and it has proven to be a winning formula for our customers and us.
  • HOSTSEARCH: What is your main target market?
    SEAN: Our primary market focus is on the small and medium sized business owners and entrepreneurs on a tight budget. However, in and industry that is so diverse and reaches out to a global market place such as web hosting we welcome individual and personal web site developers and owners. Our plan pricing and services are extremely popular among web design firms looking for inexpensive reliable hosting to bundle with their service offerings. We are affordable enough for beginners and robust enough for the seasoned Internet professional thus once again creating a unique and broad niche for eDataRack.com in the hosting community.
  • HOSTSEARCH: What marketing strategies do you employ to reach this target?
    SEAN: We currently combine a mix of traditional on-line hosting directory listings our favorite of course being hostsearch.com along with link exchanges and value added partnerships with on-line companies that provide products and services, which compliment our core service. We have recently contracted with one of the leading SEO (Search Engine Optimization) firms in order to work towards top 10 key word ranking relevance within the major search engines.

    However, the most powerful and perhaps the most successful marketing strategies that we have in our arsenal and ones that we have worked extremely hard to achieve as a service oriented company are word of mouth and repeat business referrals. Our customers recognize the value and reliability of our service and feel confident in recommending us to their friends, family and business associates. We have a 96% renewal rate which is almost unheard of in this industry and almost 50% of our customer base have at least two accounts and or have referred business accounts to us by word of mouth alone.
  • HOSTSEARCH: In your view, which five characteristics turn a good hosting site into a great one?
    SEAN: First and for most is customer service. We are all humans and the majority of people understand that mistakes can and will be made. If you provide timely and honest accurate customer support you will earn the respect and loyalty of your customers in times of crisis. Respect given is respect received. The true measure of a company is not based upon the mistakes that it makes but how it responds in crisis and its efforts in correcting those mistakes and making things right for its customers.

    Second in this industry is reliability of service. Web sites and email service must be available 24/7/365 no matter how large or small the customer is and our 99.9% hosting uptime guarantee is the strongest in the industry. We work very hard to ensure network and infrastructure reliability by partnering with industry leaders such as Cisco, Dell, and Uunet just to name a few. We also employee experienced staff to recognize and correct potential network issues in order to prevent them before they become problematic.

    Third is security. Network security is fast becoming increasingly more important as our network grows. We have implemented measures to deter and prevent server exploits as well as outgoing and incoming network abuse. Our server administration software vendor of choice has received numerous awards for innovation and security within the web hosting community and we are continuously moving forward towards more stable and secure hosting platforms as standards within the industry change.

    Fourth would be leadership. We have a key group of individuals with over 50 years of combined experience in their respective field of expertise in the business and technology industry. Without good solid leadership and decision making a company has no direction and will very quickly fall behind in its responsibility to its customers.

    Fifth and last but not least are our internal staff members. A company is as only as good as the people behind it. Our staff handle all aspects of the day-to-day operations of the company and are absolutely one of the most important resources of our business. Our staff work hard to insure fast reliable technical support and other various customer service issues. We have full time staff experienced in server administration, programming, technical support, and customer service.
  • HOSTSEARCH: Which of these characteristics do you see as eDataRack.com's main strength?
    SEAN: I really tend to lean towards our staff as being the most important characteristic. Hardware, software and other network and security elements can always be improved and upgraded but if you do not have the people with the experience and expertise to support your network and customer base soon it will not matter because your customers will realize that you do not have the human resources to support their needs. I will say it again your company is only as good as the people running it.
  • HOSTSEARCH: Where do you see yourself, edatarack.com and the industry as a whole in five years time?
    SEAN: Within the next five years eDataRack.com will be positioned as a one-stop shop for a total hosting solutions source. Simply put, eDataRack.com will encompass and support every element of web hosting including dedicated servers, virtual private servers, collocation, and enterprise level mission critical hosting. We will continue to always be a top competitor when it comes to pricing and service offerings with each new product we introduce into the market.

    I see the hosting industry changing dramatically over the next five years. Some of these changes we can expect to see are major players being forced to continually lower their prices and become more flexible and creative with their product offerings to stay competitive and appeal to the masses in order to encourage more individuals and small businesses to reach out to on-line markets. I believe business-to-business customers will most definitely expect and demand more services and better pricing form hosting companies to help cut their overhead and make it profitable for them to do business on-line.
  • HOSTSEARCH: What is the first website you visit when you turn on your computer?
    SEAN: http://slashdot.org This site has an enormous following in the IT industry and is the place to go if you are interested in keeping up with the ever changing world of IT and Internet news.
  • HOSTSEARCH: Sean thanks for your time.

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