HOSTSEARCH: Mitch, you are certainly one of THE characters in the web hosting world. What's your background and how did you get into the business?
MITCH KEELER: I broke into the Web hosting world as your average customer support guy for TotalChoice Hosting. I was answering help desk tickets and taking client questions just like a lot of folks are doing out there right now. Later on I moved up to Customer Support Manager then Customer Support Director for TotalChoice Hosting. After leaving TotalChoice, I worked for a few more hosting companies just to make a few dollars here and there, while doing some article writing on the side. The article writing led into an eBook deal with Lockergnome, and shortly after that I started up the Web Hosting Show. I would have to give TotalChoice Hosting the most credit though for teaching me the ropes and the best way to handle both the good and the bad situations that the Web hosting world has to offer.
HOSTSEARCH: Right now you are probably best known for The Web Hosting Show. For people who might not be familiar with the show, can you tell us what it is and how people can access it?
MITCH KEELER: The Web Hosting Show an Online radio show, or what some might call a podcast. There are many different ways to get each and every episode that is uploaded. You can go to the Web page directly to download it or listen to it. You can subscribe to the
RSS feed in your favorite news reader or podcast catching client. We are also available in Apple's iTunes as well.
On each and every episode of the Web Hosting Show, I try to give both Web hosting clients and Web hosts what they want to hear. We cover some of the past week's hosting headlines. I go into some topical conversation about big topics in the Web hosting world. I try to answer as many questions as I can about how the Web hosting industry works as well. Unlike some other folks out there though, I want you to have both fun and information delivered to you week after week.
HOSTSEARCH: How do you see The Web Hosting Show developing? If your wildest dreams were permitted, where would you like to take it?
MITCH KEELER: Well I don't really see things changing too much from the basic outline that we have right now. The only battle I face with the Web Hosting Show right now is getting more people to download it and tune in week after week. Every week it seems we have a new supporter for the show. I have been totally amazed by how many people just want to help me out and see the show turn into a success.
The idea of adding a few videos to the Web site has been tossed around a few times. That might be the next big innovation for me to tackle with the Web Hosting Show's content.
HOSTSEARCH: What are your plans (immediate and long-term) now you have done The Web Hosting Show? Do you have any other projects in the pipeline?
MITCH KEELER: Right now the Web Hosting Show is the biggest thing on my plate. With the addition of video segments by the end of the year and a few more segments, interviews and shows a week, I think we will be delivering more original content than anybody else out there right now.
HOSTSEARCH: You have obviously exploited podcasting to what is currently its full potential. What do you think "the next big thing" will be and how could it impact people's lives?
MITCH KEELER: I think that "video casting" or "video blogs" will be the next big thing to hit. Just about anybody can take video and deliver it to their own computers these days. Editing programs are becoming cheaper by the day. You might not get as many eyeballs as you would with regular television, but there is a market out there for unique downloadable content. The Web Hosting Show and other podcasts out there have proven that point.
HOSTSEARCH: What direction do you see the web hosting industry taking? How will it be different in say 10 years?
MITCH KEELER: I think more companies will break off into doing more specialized hosting solutions. Right now you have some Web hosts for only blog hosting, some for only podcast hosting, some for only photo
hosting. I see big companies breaking services off to those smaller type setups. That way it is easier for folks to get Online, and in turn delivers more sales to the industry.
HOSTSEARCH: To some extent web hosting is geared towards new people coming into the industry through reselling, etc. What advice would you give someone new to the business? What will they need to do to be successful?
MITCH KEELER: The number one topic that should be on a Web host's mind is the customers. Web hosts shouldn't treat customers like income, they should treat them like friends. I would much more be willing to do my Web hosting with a guy who I could see myself having a few beers with rather than the guy I don't know and who only think of me as a dollar sign.
I would also tell any new Web hosts out there to not be afraid to think outside the box. To make your mark in the Web hosting world, you have to try new things. You have to almost reinvent the Web hosting experience. Come up with new and exciting ways you can draw attention to yourself. The more attention you get, the more customers will find you.
HOSTSEARCH: Will you be doing anything at HostingCon 2006? If so, what will it be?
MITCH KEELER: Well right now I don't really have any plans for HostingCon 2006. I would really like to be at the event this year. I talked with the folks behind it before it started, and gave them a few plugs via the Web Hosting Show. Hopefully by the time HostingCon 2006 rolls around we can get a few more folks on the show to talk about it and what it means to the Web hosting industry.
HOSTSEARCH: What would you change about the web hosting industry if you could?
MITCH KEELER: The world of Web hosting is very cut throat and competitive. Being a person in the middle of it all, it is almost like being a neutral country during a world war. Some companies won't do business with other companies. These forums don't like those forums. If I could change anything, I'd like to bring more of those folks together. Not so they could fight, but come together and discuss how we can make this great industry we are in even better.
HOSTSEARCH: You are obviously extremely enthusiastic about what you do and throw 150% into your work. How do you balance that out?
MITCH KEELER: It is definitely not an easy task to keep things balanced. Many of my weekends are spent putting together each week's content and shows. If I'm not doing that, then I am trying to talk with folks in the industry to see how I can make the product I am putting out there even better. The world of Web hosting might get a bad reputation from outside forces of being dull and boring to folks outside of the industry. My job, as I see it, is to prove those folks wrong. Web hosting is truly the backbone of the Internet today. It is behind every innovation you see Online, and it is the one industry you can say has its fingers in just about everything imaginable. If that isn't enough to get you excited, I don't know what is.