HOSTSEARCH: How did Michelonia get started? What was your inspiration for starting a web hosting business?
MICHAEL GLATZ: A friend of mine went through a nasty court battle in Italy and after having won in the halls of justice, he found that only a domain name, a database and a backup of his site remained. He had no clue. I had prepared the backup a month earlier, as I saw the trouble brewing and was able to have him back up and running within a day. He funded the start of Michelonia and asked me to help others, as I had helped him. His customer never noticed and he recovered financially, faster and better than even he expected.
HOSTSEARCH: Where is Michelonia based and approximately how many employees do you currently have?
MICHAEL GLATZ: Michelonia itself is based out of Washington state. We have no employees, but, rather affiliates in Slovenia, Poland, and Italy. My wife handles sales and operations in Thailand. We are still negotiating with a person in Greece and a company in Germany. We envision an affiliate joining us in Romania later in the year.
HOSTSEARCH: You have an interesting take on reseller hosting in the international market where you maintain the same branding and trademark. Can you tell us a bit about it and where you've had success with the program already?
MICHAEL GLATZ: The name Michelonia is a brand that to me spells quality. My rule is that if an affiliate cannot deliver, the others must get involved and help. While an ISP in the early 1990's, I learned that customers want to be able to deal with someone in their own language and someone that is aware of the culture and the everyday problems of running a business from within that particular country. They do not want to deal with outsourced customer service reps from another nation. I like to tell people that I marry my customers, for a good business relationship is similar to a good marriage.
HOSTSEARCH: In this franchise-like hosting model how can you ensure that each overseas partner who takes on the Michelonia name will give good service? Do you train franchisees to be web hosts?
MICHAEL GLATZ: They are not franchisers but, rather affiliates, selling and promoting a line of products that is made available to them through me. Yes training is the magic word. A successful firm will have that on the top of their agenda. All the people at all of locations are self starters and capable of being a spark plug in any business environment.
HOSTSEARCH: What advantages do you see in running Red Hat Linux and Apache as opposed to Windows and is there a reason you don't offer Windows hosting?
MICHAEL GLATZ: Two words - costs and quality!
HOSTSEARCH: You are running a web master services site (hire-a-webmaster). Can you tell us a bit about your services?
MICHAEL GLATZ: This is a service that is just starting but whose time has come. A regular webmaster in full time employment will cost a firm up to $50,000 per annum. We will offer you those same services for substantially less. We have found that many companies who have established a web presence have failed to maintain their Internet design, post updates or simply just forgot about the sites. Sometimes valuable links are lost, allowing information to expire and causing more damage to their business than if they had never had a website to begin with. Many Managers forget that a website is a company's business card. It should reflect the efficiency and professionalism that many customers seek when the look for business contacts on the net.
HOSTSEARCH: Can you please describe your customer support services?
MICHAEL GLATZ: Back to what I mentioned earlier in the interview. We marry our customers! Nothing else needs to be said.
HOSTSEARCH: With so many web hosts offering low cost shared web hosting how do you compete with them all?
MICHAEL GLATZ: I do not compete with other services but, rather look ahead, provide the best products and services. I tell all my affiliates, forget about the money, look ahead, talk the talk and walk the walk. Believe in what you do, do not be afraid to show your enthusiasm and do the best possible job you can. If you follow these rules, the money will come by itself. Many businesses forget that money is merely a tool and nothing more.
HOSTSEARCH: What is the best selling product/service?
MICHAEL GLATZ: The sale of Domain names and our Starter packages. People generally want to check us out in small steps. The big customer will come when they are ready. Then again it is the small customers that put us into business and it is they that will keep us there.
HOSTSEARCH: How do you see the web hosting business evolving in the future?
MICHAEL GLATZ: Prices will continue to drop in regular increments and companies will offer more and more for less. Michelonia will continue to concentrate on quality. We know that if our customers succeed then we will also succeed.