HOSTSEARCH: Galina, thanks for agreeing to speak to us like this. First of all, could you tell us a little about FastNext and the history of the company?
GALINA LADYKA: First, I'd like to thank HostSearch for the invitation and interest in our company. FastNext was launched 2006, not really that long ago, however, we've already received some awards and industry experts recognize us as being a web hosting company with potential. The name "FastNext" came from the company concept - web hosting services should be "Fast" and they require something a little extra; something "Next". For us, that "something" - or "next" - includes our MultiManager control panel, which allows our shared hosting users to create full-featured sites. In addition, our resellers can select one of our 2-Stage Reselling plans to their liking.
HOSTSEARCH: For those who might think all there is in the UK is London, can you tell us a little about Jersey? How did you choose Jersey as the center of your operations?
GALINA LADYKA: It is funny to hear that the UK might only be associated with London. The UK is not just one "big island", it has many small islands and Jersey is one of the Channel Islands. Jersey has a special status that is sometimes not so clear. The state of Jersey has its own government and acts like an independent state as far as internal affairs are concerned. However, when external relations are the issue, it is a part of the UK. As our founders originate from Jersey, they decided to register the company in St. Heiler the island's capital.
HOSTSEARCH: 1. You are located smack bang between the UK and France. In fact I think you are closer to France than to the UK. What benefits are there for a company like yours that's not based on the UK mainland? Do you have many customers from France or other European countries? Are you a British or European company?
GALINA LADYKA: As I mentioned, Jersey is a part of the UK, so we are a 100% British company with servers located in New Jersey. We serve many clients worldwide, and we naturally have many customers from the UK and some from France. To our surprise, we also have a lot of customers from Spain.
HOSTSEARCH: Despite the global nature of web hosting, if you discuss the industry with people sometimes they are predisposed to think only about the US and North America. A difficult job, but could you give us an overview of the European hosting scene - how many players, strengths, etc.?
GALINA LADYKA: Many people believe they should purchase hosting from companies located in their native countries. We let people in France or Spain know about the benefits of hosting on servers located outside their countries. The situation with connections and DCs in Europe is getting better from year to year and people discovering the Internet realize the need to have a website either as a hobby or for business purposes.
We currently have most customers from Western Europe, but as time goes by and more people become familiar with the Internet in Eastern Europe, I think we'll be getting more customers from there - that's why we plan to open offices in Eastern Europe in future.
HOSTSEARCH: Your servers are based in New Jersey. Any plans to develop further datacenters? Any thoughts on further expansion? What sort of direction do you expect FastNext to take in the coming years?
GALINA LADYKA: As I said before, we are planning to open offices in Eastern Europe. The market is growing there and the area presents a lot of opportunities.
HOSTSEARCH: 1. Your website suggests, We are completely dedicated to the work we love. I am sure this has been the basis of your success, and indeed anyone's success in any field. But you cater for resellers, and this is not directed at you, but in some parts of the industry web hosting is being promoted as an easy route to a solid income. Is it so? What should people genuinely expect out of web hosting? What sort of headaches can they expect?
GALINA LADYKA: Frankly, web hosting has never been a fast way to big dollars. Those who used to think this way are already out of the business. I believe the main benefit of web hosting is that it's a rather stable business. Hosts build their customer base on a day-to-day basis. You don't wake up one day and suddenly you are a multimillionaire. If you have a loyal customer base that means a lot in the long run. Building a loyal customer base is a challenge in the web hosting business and the main reason why so many web hosting startups fail.
HOSTSEARCH: How many of your resellers have become full-time hosts? To what extent are companies catering for resellers setting up potential competitors with the skills they need to flourish in the industry and knock them out of the water?
GALINA LADYKA: We can't tell you the exact number of our resellers who became full-time hosts - it's a bit early to talk about that. I know we have some very successful resellers who have grown very quickly. They have already upgraded to VPS and even dedicated servers after just 4 or 5 months.
Most of our resellers will never compete with us. Actually, I prefer to call our resellers partners, because they allow us to provide web hosting services to customers that might have never found us directly. Resellers usually sell web hosting locally, or earn extra cash selling web hosting as a complementary service for design or web development or similar services.
HOSTSEARCH: Here's a big one - if you could change any aspect of web hosting, what would it be, and why?
GALINA LADYKA: The problem at the moment is performance and what the web hosting industry suffers from is the low I/O rate of low-cost storage systems. New hard disks based on flash memory will change the web hosting industry, especially in terms of performance and stability of the average web hosting account.
HOSTSEARCH: OK - our de facto question. What's the next big thing to hit the Internet and how will it impact people's lives?
GALINA LADYKA: I think the Internet will actually be hit by lots of new things. A good example is Apple's iPhone. Things like this bring new opportunities to the web hosting market. We shouldn't forget innovation.
HOSTSEARCH: Finally, what does Jersey offer the web hosting executive in terms of relaxation? I suppose being located where you are, you are probably just as likely to hop on a ferry and spend time in France as you are in Jersey?
GALINA LADYKA: I love the rollerblading! It's perfect way to keep healthy and keep your mind fresh. You know, frankly, the best place for me to relax is my bathroom, and I think that's the case for the majority of females!