<%@ LANGUAGE="VBSCRIPT" %> [an error occurred while processing this directive] HostIndex.com Web Hosting Directory - Interview with Daniel Garcia, Marketing Director, HostPro
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    Interview with Daniel Garcia

    Marketing Director, HostPro

    HostIndex.com.com recently spoke with Daniel Garcia who helps manage HostPro's reseller program, NetPlanet. Here's the dialogue:

    It is widely acknowledged that resellers have different and extended needs from those of standard hosting customers. How has HostPro and your NetPlanet program attempted to deal with these needs, and which components are you trying to assist resellers with?

    The needs of the reseller are definitely extended, but I am not convinced that they are so very different from the needs of any other customer. A reseller still needs his site to be available 24 hours a day, still needs his scripts to run, still needs to receive his email. In that sense the reseller has the same needs of any other client. BUT the reseller is also responsible for the administration of any number of other sites as well, and that is where they have "extended needs." We have attempted to meet these needs by creating an extranet where resellers have access to all billing records, our knowledge base, marketing tools, and instant order forms. (An example of this functionality can be seen at http://www.netplanet.net/reseller/demo). Recently we created a package called PlanetNOW, based purely on client requests, that gives even more control over to the reseller in terms of password changes and space allocation. Our Dealer Locator allows consumers to search for resellers by area or services provided. We made our control panel so it can be privately labeled. We provide DNS servers to our resellers that qualify. In fact, we are continually updating the Net Planet site in this way as we attempt to strike the perfect balance between our reseller's needs and internal security. That can be a difficult line to tread, but as technology expands we are able to fulfill the demands of our resellers more and more.

    There is a significant consolidation of the web-hosting sector including those companies who offer reseller solutions. Is this trend beneficial to those who wish to become resellers, or does it present a narrowing of potential options?

    The options are definitely being narrowed. It seems that everyday we hear of a large company that has gobbled yet another web host, and the problems that can (and do) arise from this are staggering to think about. Path issues, billing foul-ups, elimination of features and programs, these all are results of recent "mergers" and that can be scary to a reseller who has 50 clients. It boils down to the difference between organic growth and forced acquisition. A reseller chooses a company because of the solutions that it provides. If that company is bought out, there is no assurance that those solutions will still be available. On the plus side, mergers provide smaller companies with much needed funds, more experienced personnel and greater marketing capabilities for their resellers. If they don't get lost in the shuffle. We are still independently owned and plan on remaining so. Our growth has occurred because people have chosen us over our competitors and we respect that decision.

    Hosting companies are increasingly recognizing the need to grow their "down-stream" channel programs such as reseller options however, weighed against the potential of lost sales to their resellers. How does HostPro balance these two potentially conflicting sales avenues?


    HostPro has defined itself as a web hosting company. That is what we do best. Our resellers have other areas of expertise: design, marketing, etc. We think that the marriage of our services to those of our resellers is a perfect symbiotic relationship. This way we are allowed to keep our focus and still refer clients to our value added service providers.

    Your NetPlanet program offers a virtual ISP option that allows for a reseller to create a privately branded hosting solution for their clients. Can all sizes of resellers take advantage of this program or is it limited to large resellers? What advantages does the virtual ISP program offer over traditional reselling?

    This program is designed for anyone to take advantage of, large or small, but is particularly suited to those larger resellers. There are no extra services that are required for them to provide so anyone with a basic understanding of what we do can offer this service. In that way this plan is almost more of a traditional reseller program. It is truly just reselling our product to an expanded audience that the reseller brings to their site. Many beginning resellers do better with the NetPlanet Authorized dealer program, only because they can outsource the support to the NetPlanet support staff and also get leads through our site. VirtualISP customers usually already have their sales channels in place and do not need NetPlanet's help in signing up customers. A real estate agent may resell sites to other real estate agents. In this way we are indirectly able to reach vertical markets while the reseller grows their business.

    HostIndex.com users are geographically diverse in their origins. Traditionally, a large reseller in a particular country has handled expansions by North American hosting companies into foreign markets. How are industry-wide reseller programs adapting to face the increasing needs of international resellers?

    By now, most of the major players in Web Hosting have 24-hour support available. This is not only to service night owls, but also to fulfill the needs of International customers in different time zones. We have also begun hiring multi-lingual support personnel to aid in communicating with overseas customers. NETPLANET is currently developing its new version 2 of its control panel, which will allow for the panel to be translated to different languages. We are also working on solutions for the Euro and other foreign currencies, but currently our automated extranet allows a reseller anywhere to order new sites or change passwords wherever and whenever they are.

    One more question if you don't mind. When trying to find a hosting company whose services you intend to resell there are a large number of factors to consider. What advice can you offer to individuals with respect to what to look for and what to avoid when choosing a web-hosting provider for reselling purposes?

    The first step in choosing a web host is the same for everyone. You want a provider that is reliable, fast, solutions oriented and that comes recommended by third parties that you respect and trust. Resellers also need to keep a keen eye on the availability of support. If there are not tech support representatives available 24 hours a day, then most likely there is no one else there either. That means no administrators and no one to keep the servers going should anything happen. Beyond these initial basic requirements, look for the features that you use in design or MAY use in design and see if they are available and at what cost. Call and ask questions. This may be the single most important thing that a potential reseller can do. Are there answers for your questions either via the web or by phone?



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