JASON: Hi Trey, can you reveal a little about yourself and your day-to-day role with IPOWERWEB?
TREY: Morning Jason. Yes well I actually hold duel roles within IPOWERWEB, while my main duty is to head up the marketing department; I also fill the post of Special Programs Manager, overseeing referrals, reseller accounts and affiliate programs.
As far as my day-to-day duties are concerned, I am always on hand to respond to issues raised by our affiliates or resellers on behalf of their clients. Essentially my marketing role is taken up with monitoring our competitors and implementing marketing plans to ensure IPOWERWEB is always in the forefront of people's minds. I also seem to spend a great deal of time checking our placements for accuracy and clarity of message.
JASON: Can you give us a brief historical run though of IPOWERWEB's development since establishment, and explain the role the company plays in the industry?
TREY: IPOWERWEB was established in the fall of 2001 with an initial workforce of just three people. The growth of the company over the ensuing two years has been nothing short of phenomenal. Just six months after signing our first client we became the world's choice for web hosting with new accounts dwarfing those of our competitors. IPOWERWEB currently employs more than 60 people and is continuously expanding to meet rapid growth.
IPOWERWEB has 'raised the industry bar' in a number of areas. The first is in customer service. Over 80% of our workforce is 'customer facing', which basically means that whenever there is a customer related problem the vast majority of our staff are trained to 'switch hats' and react to it at a moments notice. I am in the marketing department I will sometimes be called on to handle sales calls or technical support problems if call volumes are high.
We have bucked the industry trend by introducing a package that offers more than a simple hosting solution. Extensive market research told us that once hosted many website developers spent large amounts of time and money on content development, e-commerce solutions and web site promotion. So we decided to combine all the facets into one value packed solution offering free marketing, content, shopping carts, and design assistance.
JASON: Is such a plan unique in the hosting industry?
TREY: Well yes and no. Many of our competitors have tried to incorporate similar features into their packages but I have yet to find one that can match our after sales support or our price. The vast majority of likeminded plans retail in the $20-40/month price bracket, while ours is available at $7.95. They also tend to sell customers on the hosting only, the extras aren't value added, rather they are up sold at a later date.
JASON: What makes IPOWERWEB Business Pro the #1 selling worldwide hosting solution?
TREY: Well it's right up there simply because of its reliability and value-added features. When we set out to formulate a hosting plan one of our aims was to produce a product with ability to host 90% of the web sites online using the UNIX platform. Once we had satisfied that goal we decided to build in a number of value-added features that would take away our customer's reliance on other product or service providers. Two shopping carts - supported by IPOWERWEB, a promotional package that submits the hosted site to 100 top search engines, and free content feeds.
JASON: What strategies do you employ to market IPOWERWEB.com?
TREY: Well we have been very fortunate. At the outset we were able to keep marketing outlays to a minimum by riding along on the publicity that was generated out of the uniqueness of our new product. Even today, such is the success of our commission based affiliate program that the site basically markets itself. We have a huge number of web designers and developers signed up as affiliates and just as many selling on our product through our reseller program. The old fashioned technique of word of mouth marketing has also served us extremely well over the past two years, indeed the volume of referrals has forced us to employ a member of staff whose sole responsibility it is to manage word of mouth enquiries. Of course we still place a heavy emphasis on the more tradition forms of online marketing, such as positioning the site in search engines and other directories.
JASON: In your view what characteristics turn a good hosting site into a great one?
TREY: First and foremost is reliability, if your site - or the service provided though it - lacks reliability then you are going to incur the wrath of dissatisfied customers. That's why our primary focus at IPOWERWEB is to keep the site and our server in good working order. Then there is customer attention. Having 80% of your staff mobilized ready to address any unforeseen problem which may arise during the course of a day - or night - instills confidence among users. The product is key to the success or failure of the site. A stable hosting solution with value added bonuses will encourage customers to part with their hard earned money. Finally, there's the workforce. Without the right people you're not going to have the reliability, or be able to build the product, and you're certainly not going to have the customer attention. In one sense we have been very fortunate here at IPOWERWEB because we have been able to choose from a job market - that due to the recent economic downturn is flooded with high quality talent.
JASON: Has such rapid growth caused you problems?
TREY: The only real growth problem we have encountered is finding enough office space to seat our constantly growing workforce!
JASON: Your current focus is on the SME market, do you foresee a move to target the enterprise level customer?
TREY: Yes I am sure that we will make this step sometime in the future, but at the moment we are more concerned with building everything we can into the current program. We have a number of new features in the final stages of development, all of which will add even more value to the product. Looking mid-term, the introduction of a Windows platform is also something that we are considering. Dedicated server hosting is definitely in our long-term thoughts.
JASON: Where do you see IPOWERWEB.com and the industry as a whole in five years time?
TREY: IPOWERWEB is currently the number one choice within the first-time hosting and host transfer markets but we are still only the seventh largest web host provider on the net today so there is still plenty of room for improvement. We aim to be at the top of the pile sometime during the first half of 2004.
With regard to the industry, I honestly feel that the hosting industry has not come close to reaching even a fraction of its growth potential. While it may not harbour the same kind of potential as say the cell phone industry, it's still going to show rapid growth during the next 5 years.
Increasing numbers of budding web developers are discovering how easy it is to build a website, and as the years go one and technology develops it's only going to get easier and indeed less expensive.
JASON: What is the first website you visit when you turn on your computer?
TREY: Well my homepage is set to IPOWERWEB.com!
JASON: Thought you would say that! Thanks for your time Trey.
TREY: You're more than welcome Jason, nice to chat with you.