Web Hosting Interview - Interland, Inc. November 2004

Web Hosting Interview - Interland, Inc. November 2004

John Lally, Area Vice President of Marketing at Interland.com

HostSearch's exclusive interview with John Lally, Area Vice President of Marketing at Interland.com, one of the leading companies in web hosting industry.

  • HOSTSEARCH: Could you please reveal a little about yourself and your day-to-day role with Interland.com
    JOHN: As area vice president day in and day out I am involved in actively marketing Interland's services to our current and prospective customers. The nature of our business, delivering online services and web hosting, make our website vital to our success. Interland.com is one of the strongest assets I have in my marketing toolbox.

    One thing that many may not know about me is that I have worked in nearly every department within Interland. Having been an Interlander for more than 5 years there is not one area of the business I have not touched. I started as member of our outbound telesales force.
  • HOSTSEARCH: Can you give us a brief historical run through of Interland.com's development since establishment, and explain the role the company plays in the industry.
    JOHN: Nearly three years ago Interland announced and started executing on a three part strategy: scale, integrate and grow.  Over the last two and a half years we've followed our plan - we've scaled successfully, and in fiscal year 2003 we've completed our integration of 14 acquisitions. As a result, Interland is the recognized market leader in Web hosting solutions for small and medium-sized companies.

    Now, as we have started to execute on our growth strategy, we are focusing our energy on making this the year of the customer. As we trek towards the 1 million Web sites hosted mark, we know that our success hinges on making our customers successful online.

    We succeeded and as result Interland is now in a better position than any other hosting company to deliver reliable, business-class hosting and online services to small and medium-sized businesses. We have scale, and that is going to be key as this industry grows and inevitably consolidates. We did something no one else has done, build an integrated, scale hosting business.
  • HOSTSEARCH: Can you explain Interland.com's relationship with Google.com and Paypal.com? Do they get their hand on managing Interland.com, etc.?
    JOHN: We offer a number of products and service that leverage the technology behind both Google and Paypal. These are a few of our leading industry partners; others include Amazon, eBay and Overture. For example, our E-Store Builder leverages Paypal's "Buy Now" button, our Amazon Store Connector enables users to expand their product catalog by selling related items from Amazon.com, and our Auction Connector powered by eBay automates the display of a user's eBay auctions on their website.
  • HOSTSEARCH: How does Interland.com's process in localizing its services for international market?
    JOHN: A substantive part of our revenue comes from International clients today. And although our current marketing focus is primarily on the U.S. today, that will evolve to include many other markets over the next few years.
  • HOSTSEARCH: In your opinion, who or which company(s) that you considered as your major competitor(s)? And how do you compete with them?
    JOHN: Today we compete with many of the standard providers of hosting services, but as we continue to deliver on helping businesses grow through the use of online tools and applications that competitive mix is drastically change.

    For example, today our MyEzClicks suite of paid search advertising packages for small businesses competes with traditional marketing tools such as the Yellow Pages.
  • HOSTSEARCH: What characteristics do you see as Interland.com's main strength?
    JOHN: Comparing the hosting industry to the human life cycle, I would have to say the industry is in its "junior high school" years.  The market is still very immature and consequently is still highly fragmented with only a few large players owning any substantive level of market share. That will change. It always does! The big get bigger. The small fall by the wayside.

    The reason is simple. Over time, the customer's expectations grow and evolve. So do their needs. The provider has to make investments to meet those evolving needs. Small players won't be able to make those critical investments in new products and service delivery. This is just one of those rules of the technology industry. It happens in every single technology market lifecycle.

    Because we are in a maturing market and simply put size matters.

    With more than 200,000 small and medium-sized businesses as our customers, Interland is now able to influence best practices that benefit our customers. In the coming year the standards for what customers are going to expect from companies like Interland is going to quickly elevate.

    Reliability, customer service and security are going to reach new levels and will be a minimal expectation.  Those with a real competitive edge will be companies that can deliver real online success to their customers. Being able to meet the growing need for additional web applications and services that generate website traffic and help convert those leads to sales is our main strength. The launch of our "do it yourself" and "do it with you" Web site offerings a year ago started to re-defined what hosting companies need to deliver.
    Interland's recent launch of MyEzClicks, (www.MyEzClicks.com) the first national suite of paid search advertising packages for small businesses that spans across multiple search sites, is another example of how we continue to be at the forefront of maturing the hosting industry into providers of true online solutions.
  • HOSTSEARCH: Where do you see yourself, Interland.com and the industry as a whole in five years time? As software industry becomes more and more competitive, how do you plan to cope with this challenge?
    JOHN: I'm not sure it's wise to make a five-year prediction in the technology world. However, one thing I do know is that Interland will be leading the way in developing the market five years from now just as we are today.

    We're pursuing the estimated 12 to 14 million U.S. small businesses that want to use their Web presence to generate leads and sales. Research study after research study shows that U.S. consumers expect businesses of all types to be online. This consumer force is going to push nearly every business to seek an effective Web presence that generates tangible results. Someone has to develop, host, maintain and promote these sites, and we know small businesses don't have the ability, time or money to do this so we want to do it for them.

    For that reason we have gone to market with a model that provides small businesses with a custom online presence, one-on-one coaching and access to a suite of easy-to-use tools and application to market their business, perform online transactions, and interact with customers and prospects. This offering is going to be central to our ability to execute on our strategy of helping small businesses grow though online success.

    And frankly, we think this is the future for what was once called the hosting industry.
  • HOSTSEARCH: What is the first website you visit when you turn on your computer and why?
    JOHN: www.ESPN.com without a question.
  • HOSTSEARCH: Thank you so much, John. It has been our pleasure interviewing you!

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