Aug
10

Hostingcon 2009 – Day 1: Something Gained

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While others were getting ready for the first official day of HostingCon, I unfortunately was in an airport boarding my last flight. After being bounced from airport to airport trying to get around the storm front that battered the MidWest I was finally going to arrive at the con. Unfortunately, when I landed in DC my bag did not come with me and so I decided to skip settling into the hotel and just get on with the morning festivities.

Many of the attendees were having difficulties figuring out which tracks to choose from. The sad thing is a lot of really good sessions where in the same time slots making choosing difficult. Still, in a conference this is the sort of complaint that organizers want to hear.

The first 12 sessions covered a wide range of topics, but a lot of it was general information. This is the type of information you should know about the Web Hosting industry, however not everyone has the chance to learn all the basics and the sessions served as a good refresher and filled a few holes. Basic points for the day include:

  • Augment your hosting with 3rd party services and software to move customers up “the chain”
  • Target a specific audience with your hosting plans
  • Give customers reasons to purchase your plans
  • Motivate your employees to work a set standard increasing efficiency
  • Look into outsource opportunities for areas that you cannot cover without spending a huge amount of money
  • If subpoenaed for information you can object on the basis of costs
  • Litigation costs a ton, weigh the risks before going to court
  • “No provider or user of an interactive computer service shall be treated as a publisher or speaker for any information from another information content provider”  ie if you don’t edit it, touch it, or review it, you are not liable.
  • Big difference between criminal and civil cases
  • Leverage the big “talking heads” of the blogosphere to increase traffic and brand awareness
  • Ensure your books are in proper order
  • Track your customers, their needs, their plans, and their support tickets and keep them on file
  • Go through and determine the metrics that are right for you in tracking customers, services that sell, services that stagnant, customer type, etc. and use that to grow your business

By top three from this group of sessions are:

  • Double your Revenue without Getting One New Customer – Sharon Koifman (Applicure)
  • How to Respond to Legal Threats to Your Business – W. David Snead and Jeff K. Gordon (W. David Snead P.C. and Andrews Kurth LLP respectively)
  • Alternatives to Search: Leveraging Local, Mobile, and Social Media Marketing – Gillian Muessig (SEOmoz)

After lunch, conference goers were giving three keynote speeches. Iain Grant’s (SeaBoard Group) Keynote, Walking a Mile in Your Shoes, was particular rousing and I hope he will be speaking next year. Serguei Beloussov, CEO of Parallels, was back again for another Day 1 keynote. Attendees complained about the apparent use of the keynote to sell Parallels products. However, in fairness, I must point out that the key points of the speech should be the cornerstone in any new Web hosting business and current Web Hosts should see if they fit into their own corporate plan. Virtualize, optimize, automate, and partner up are essential to taking a successful company to the next level and until more companies do this than I will assume we will keep hearing variations of this speech.

Something new at this year’s HostingCon attracted my eye. The inclusion of a Twitter feed for the keyword #Hostingcon, viewable on every large LCD screen. Last year various speakers were utilizing Twitter in their conference sessions. I know our marketing roundtable included a twitter feed and we even answered a few questions from it, this year’s twitter board was attached to all the main monitors found throughout the conference. What was great about this was the fact that everyone at the conference was able to start dialogues discuss sessions and the like.

The day ended with a networking event and attendees going to various bars in an attempt to “network,” or at least that’s what the official line was. As I walked back to my room I decided to visit the bell hops and see if my luggage just happened to show up. I was greeted with a smile and my missing bag. A good conference as any I have had, but we still have two more to go….

Categories : Conferences

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