HOSTSEARCH: Mr. Avramov, thank you for giving us an opportunity to talk with you today. Would you please give us some information about yourself?
ALEX AVRAMOV: Well, I think that the name Host Color is more popular and more important than myself or any other individuals who work for the company. However anyone who wants to meet me or others part of Host Color's leadership can visit our "Team" page (http://www.hostcolor.com/about/team). You can see Stan and Stoyan there as well. We are all Bulgarians by nationality. We've created a web hosting provider in Europe in 2000, and 3 years later in 2003 changed the brand to Host Color and incorporated the company in United States. The reason for this was that we wanted to establish a strong brand in a highly competitive market. European market is not liberalized enough and most web hosts operate behind the national borders.
HOSTSEARCH: What's your role at Host Color?
ALEX AVRAMOV: Until 2006 I have been involved in Host Color's customers' account management. After that I took in charge of our marketing operations. Today I'm responsible for the business development of the company. It is a good job and I'm happy with it.
HOSTSEARCH: Host Color offers hosting services for blogs, CMS and social networking applications. Would you please tell us more about this? How did you become a provider concentrating in this area?
ALEX AVRAMOV: Well. Most shared hosting providers offer just one standardized web hosting service, usually a plan that claim to provide site owners with "Unlimited" resources. This is the opposite of everything Host Color does. We believe that web hosts are out there to provide web services to different people, involved in very fields of human activity. You know that there are dot-com businesses who are a virtual copy of the traditional offline businesses. There are others that wouldn't exist at all without World Wide Web. We try to organize our services just like entrepreneurs think when they organize their business. Let me give you an example. We know that if someone wants to create an online flower shop, or book store they need a very well organized CMS that allows them to create, manage and visualize products and to make the shopping very very easy and secure. So we do not focus in providing "unlimited bandwidth" and "unlimited disc space", because these are exactly the things that the owner of a flower shop or book store doesn't need. We try to provide a choice of software applications and to give more opportunities to our customers to build a good website and to make it successful.
HOSTSEARCH: Totally agreed. Can you tell us more about your business concept for shared hosting and other products?
ALEX AVRAMOV: We call our approach to Shared Hosting "Quality Web Hosting". It is a concept which refers to website hosting services and plans made to serve different fields of activity. The term "Quality Shared Web Hosting" outlines a service application with a highest level of customization possible in shared hosting environment.
A part from Shared Hosting we are quite successful in VPS Hosting market and in Dedicated and Managed Hosting. VPS is a priority market for us. We're a well-established provider of quality and low cost Virtual Private Servers powered by Parallels Virtuozzo Containers, the world's leading OS virtualization technology.
HOSTSEARCH: What is your best selling service?
ALEX AVRAMOV: It is "Content", our CMS Hosting plan, followed by "Social Web" and VPS hosting services. We also have many customers that use our service to power blogs or photo galleries, but most of them need more resources and that's why upgrade from "Blogan" to other hosting plans. VPS Start our entry-level virtual private server is about to become the most popular service plan of Host Color. We expect this to happen at the end of the year.
HOSTSEARCH: What trends do you see in VPS hosting business?
ALEX AVRAMOV: It is still in-matured market, but more and more consumers and small dot-com's switch to VPS in order to grow their business in custom web hosting environment. I would make 2 projections. The first one is that the VPS Hosting market would go the same place where Shared Hosting gone - to cheap services, overselling, poor quality and low profit margins. However the hosting market transformation and Cloud hosting would save the VPS Hosting industry. Those who need more resources would be able to receive them from virtualized and scalable computer systems and infrastructures. This means that highly availability VPS Hosting and dynamically scalable virtual environments. However this is very far from cheap, and consumers must understand that VPS Hosting is totally different from Shared Hosting.
HOSTSEARCH: What do you think of Parallels became the main player who dominates Virtualization Technology?
ALEX AVRAMOV: They are very aggressive in the web hosting market and I appreciate their business. As I said above we use Virtuozzo Containers and I do not see a better alternative. Host Color also provides Plesk as a primary web hosting control panel to Virtual Private Servers. We also have our own proprietary web hosting control panel. It is very good, but of course no one can expect that it is better than Plesk. There are a number of software products of Parallels that allow provider to fully automate their web services. We like Parallels and we will continue using their software. Of course we will continue to develop and use our own proprietary software as well. Host Color dares to produce hosting technologies, not just to be a consumer.
HOSTSEARCH: Do you have a plan to expand your product lines? Is something such as Cloud Hosting interest you?
ALEX AVRAMOV: We have signed a contract with SingleOS, a company that produces Fuscan Linux Cloud. We plan to launch Cloud hosting services in December 2009 in our U.S. data center in Indiana. In January we will be debuting Cloud Hosting services in Europe.
HOSTSEARCH: What do you plan for the future of Host Color?
ALEX AVRAMOV: As you can see, the web hosting market is changing. The old, standard model of providing web hosting will be gone within a year or two. We cannot continue producing IT hosting using the same business philosophy and the same hardware and software architectures. It is time for moving forward, to the clouds. Our leadership is focused to secure Host Color's future and to make the company one of the trusted brands in the emerging Cloud Hosting market. I'm proud to play a role in this change.
HOSTSEARCH: And for web hosting in general what is the long-term strategy for people involved in the industry? Where should they be going? What type of services should they be offering to secure the future?
ALEX AVRAMOV: I can speak for myself only. Hosting market is very competitive today, and I think that the industry leaders will increase their share in the process of moving to the clouds. Smaller companies cannot compete. They don't have an infrastructures or platforms to provide the same quality that corporations do. But I'm confident of Host Color's future, because we spent year in exploring the new opportunities and in developing hosting software. We have customers in 62 countries and enjoy growth. But this is not granted. Anyone who is involved in web hosting industry must work hard and to invest a lot and constantly to improve services and products.
I think that the Asian markets are becoming very important in Shared Hosting and this changes the priorities of smaller web hosts and start-ups. Asian markets drive the Shared Hosting industry to growth. However the VPS and Dedicated Hosting markets are continue to grow thanks to Americans, Europeans and Australians. But, you know, if anyone wants to create successful shared hosting provider, they need to move to India, Malaysia or China or at least to incorporate there.
HOSTSEARCH: Mr. Avramov - thanks very much indeed for your time.
ALEX AVRAMOV: It's been a pleasure. Thank you for your time and to talking to us. Wish you to continue being a trustful web hosting resource. Keep going.