HOSTSEARCH: Thank you for an interview opportunity. Will, can you please tell HostSearch readers about yourself and your day-to-day role with Webstrike.com.
WILL: Sure, I am the technical support manager with Webstrike Solutions. I work mainly overseeing and evaluating our staff performances, training and help out with any technical issues that need major investigation. This includes for example working with Microsoft on various server issues, one we solved with Microsoft recently affected FrontPage extensions on Windows 2003, whereby, FP Extensions would attempt to change file permissions when being installed on a site, of the directory below where the actual site was located. This was discovered by Webstrike staff and I worked closely with the FrontPage development team at Microsoft to produce and evaluate a patch for this.
HOSTSEARCH: How do you differentiate your company and products in a highly competitive industry?
WILL: At Webstrike we have always offered great value, but there are a number of things that we feel we manage better than our competitors. We always move to new technologies very quickly, within a month of the release of Windows 2003 we were upgrading our machines. We have a stringent server maintenance policy and keep our machines up to date with the latest security patches.
Our network is one of the best connected in the world, in fact the data centre houses another hosting company which charges more than 5 times our prices.
Obviously our pricing structure is unusual in that we offer $30 setup and nothing else for 12 months, this plan means clients can quite cheaply get a website started. After the 12 month period the cost is $84 per year, or $66 if you host more than one website with us.
Our support staff are also evaluated regularly and although we offer email only support, we answer all questions well within 24 hours and as accurately as possible. Our control panel allows for all the general maintenance procedures for our clients sites, and our support site is quite comprehensive on setting up the general services. Most technical support questions tend to be from clients who need further customization to their site setup. By offering email only support it has allowed us to provide the competitive prices we currently offer without endangering the company financially.
HOSTSEARCH: Your pricing strategy is quite unique. Have you found it successful?
WILL: Yes, certainly this has helped us build a good client base to work from. Our pricing coupled with our features has certainly been the trademark of our success.
HOSTSEARCH: What are the reactions of your customers when they have to pay for the hosting in the second year at the price higher than the set up fee in the first year?
WILL: Obviously it depends on the customer. We do get quite a few people leaving our service towards the end of the 12 month period, however, the main reason for leaving is people simply disbanding their websites. We don't lock people in for two years, so they are free to leave if they wish before paying the ongoing yearly fee, however, we work very hard to ensure our uptime and support are such that most clients would not have any reason to leave.
HOSTSEARCH: Who do you see as your major competitors?
WILL: At the moment the hosting market is saturated. Practically every other host is a competitor, we hope we can stand out from the rest with our features and pricing. We are not trying to be the cheapest host in the world, but we firmly believe we are the best value host.
HOSTSEARCH: In your opinion, what make great hosting services?
WILL: Great hosting services are certainly determined by a few areas: Communication to clients, good range of features, value for money, and an excellent network.
HOSTSEARCH: What do you see as Webstrike's main strength?
WILL: Certainly the value we offer. Having a single fully featured plan and a choice of platforms (linux or windows 2003) means that every client has the ability to use the technologies available without being limited unreasonably. Couple that with our price and it really is a good package we are offering.
HOSTSEARCH: After years of success in the low cost market, what's next for Webstrike?
WILL: We really have decided to concentrate on the low cost market. Over the last 12 months we have improved our hardware and have an excellent retention rate in support staff, which means they are not only knowledgeable in the technologies but also our specific systems. We have also implemented a new custom account management system written in house, this has features including automatic account setup, AutoCharge, account balance. We don't intend to change our direction in the near future as we want to continue to work on the base we have setup in the low cost market. We believe we are changing the 'cheap' low cost market to a real 'value' low cost market, offering services superior to hosts which charge substantially more.
HOSTSEARCH: Thanks again for the interview opportunity.
WILL: Thank you very much for allowing us to speak in this forum.