2005 in Review

January 6, 2006
2005 was a splendid year for web hosting. More than ever before, web hosting became an industry in its own right, a fact underscored by the inauguration of HostingCon – the industry’s new convention and conference. 2005 was a year of controversy, of natural disaster, and mergers and acquisitions. It was also the year Bill Gates received an Honorary Knighthood from the United Kingdom’s Queen Elizabeth (which although we reported that it did, does not make him ‘Sir Bill Gates’ – Honorary Knighthood holders who are not from the UK are entitled to place the initials OBE (Order of the British Empire) behind their name, but not be referred to as "Sir"). It was also a year Bill became Times Magazine’s ‘Man-of-Year’ alongside U2’s Bono and own wife. But we digress… seriously digress…

An industry that many assume safe and predictable started the year with the edge of controversy – GoDaddy.com spent $2.3 million for a Super Bowl commercial which was censored after pressure from the NFL. The subject matter of the commercial was, ironically, a spoof on censorship!

World affairs had an impact on the industry in 2005. Texas-based host The Planet pulled the plug on the Iranian Student News web site they were hosting and Iranians called for the Middle East to develop their own satellites in to avoid dependence on the West. At the same time, Canadian web host RackForce removed supporters of the Shareeah site from their servers after they were made aware of a connection with Al Qaeda. More politics – George Bush took on the UN over the administration of the Internet and the future of ICANN… the US won by a touchdown – at least for now.
Good news earlier in the year - AOL reported a 75% decline in spam as reported by users. In addition, MCI was recognized as a prime host for spammers and forced to remove malware distributor Send-Safe.com from their servers. In addition, British hacker Gary McKinnon was extradited for hacking the Department of Defense, NASA, and other top level secure computers in a quest to find information on UFOs! The spammers fought back though - Internet watchdog Ben Edelman saw his Globat hosted site go down for several days in a DDoS attack after posting an article to his site about spammers! In addition, the mutant virus Bagle shut down anti-virus software leaving hosts open to attacks by a malicious PERL script.

Later in the year Phishing and security issues took precedence with a number of initiatives and products designed to counter fraudsters. The Anti-Phishing Working Group (APWG) claimed over 70 companies around the world were victims of attacks in July 2005. A number of organizations fought back with ‘Anti-Scam Toolbars’ and ‘Scam Blockers’. Like the spammers, the phisers fought back. 2005 saw "Secured Phishing" – a technique which leverages the average Internet user’s lack of knowledge of web security issues by utilizing SSL certificates to make sites look genuine! What will they think of next? We dread to think… The fight goes on…

Aside from the Super Bowl commercial, Go Daddy made a lot of news in 2005, thrusting web hosting and domain registration into the limelight - free SSL certificates for open source projects, Free Web hosting, Bob Parsons' blog, giveaways for Go Daddy staff, the list goes on... and with it Go Daddy continues to raise awareness of hosting as an industry.

Some of the news that filtered through (related to development more than hosting) painted a worrisome picture of what the future installs. In 2005 Hewlett-Packard created a crossbar latch system at a molecular level which will shrink the size of a standard computer to as small as 2 nanometers (while current transistors are spaced at 60 nanometers apart). "We are re-inventing the computer at the molecular scale,” said Stan Williams, HP Senior Fellow and QSR director. Again in 2005, PlayStation maker Sony Corp. has been granted a patent for beaming sensory information directly into the brain. The natural extension of these developments could prove alarming – perhaps “The Matrix” is more prophetic than we thought! In addition, Google signed a memorandum of agreement with – give you three guesses – 1, 2, 3… NASA! What is that all about? Hopefully we’ll find out in my lifetime!

Web hosting got bigger and bolder in 2005, companies expanded Data Center capacity, Verizon opened up a $25 million call center – one host even got into sponsoring a racing driver. To top it all, many of the new centers and initiatives started were powered by ‘green’ sustainable energy. Amazing! In fact web hosting started to show its teeth in 2005 - AIT announced it was seeking a class action against Google questioning the company’s commitment to eradicating click fraud – they know about it, but don’t do anything about it, says AIT!

2005 was also a year we saw some of the big players getting more into web hosting (Microsoft, Yahoo and Google) raising a level of speculation about the emergence of a hosting superpower – unlikely, that’s our guess! Whether or not the big boys get control could be a redundant question though at some stage in the future… Orion introduced its Multisystems desktop supercomputer DC-96 which contains a "cluster" of 96 interconnected low-voltage microprocessors, each of which is capable of running at 1.2 Gigahertz, or 1.2 billion cycles per second. That could spell web hosting direct from the PC… Yikes!

The latter end of the year was dominated by Hurricane Katrina and Hurricane Rita and how hosting and Internet companies helped out. They did well… Websites were set up to help the homeless and to reunite people. Freebies were given out to companies that needed hosting as well. 1PlanHost.com, BulkRegister, AmericaUnited, HurricaneHousingSearch.com, Intermedia.NET , HurricaneHousingSearch.com, KatrinaHousing.org, Aplus.Net , KatrinaHousing.org, Weblinkhosting.com, and Globat.com were among the companies and web sites offering donations and assistance.

In 2005 blogs continued their quest for world domination – countless hosts introduced blogging as part of packages, while the advent of ASP.NET 2.0 prompted a number of companies to upgrade services and packages in that direction. Hosting plans got bigger, and bigger, and… Thousands of email addresses, oceans of disk space, masses of data – in fact short of matter transfer, there’s little your average hosting package doesn’t offer these days… Surely a trend that simply can’t be maintained in 2006!

2005 was fun – we here at HostSearch enjoyed it anyway. It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was… it was all right… yeah, it was really good!

Let’s hope 2006 is equally as good!

If you want a more detailed view of the news in 2005, visit our news section

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