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      Interview: American Data Technology Inc.
    Mike Salim, Founder and CEO   

     American Data Technology, Inc. started its web hosting operation in 1995. But founder Mike Salim has been around the web hosting industry and the Internet much longer that that. In fact, Salim helped build part of the current Internet.

    In the late 1980's, Salim was part of a team of engineers at IBM that was working on routers to speed information along the Internet, as part of a National Science Foundation project. When Salim learned a group of scientists at CERN in Switzerland had invented the World Wide Web, he never looked back.

       HostIndex.com had an opportunity to conduct an interview with Mike Salim, the founder of American Data Technology, Inc. Here's what we learned....  


    Mike Salim: I saw that and said, "Wow". I knew this was what was going to drive the Internet. I started getting more and more interested in the web and thought of setting up a website. I realized I would need to have a web hosting server somewhere. I finally came across a company that offered web hosting. Then I realized I knew exactly what needed to be done, and I could do the same thing.

    This was in 1994. At that time I only knew of 10 companies that were doing web hosting, so I literally set up a web server in my basement.

    HostIndex.com: What kind of market was there back in 1995?

    Mike Salim: It was interesting. I started up my web hosting company and entered my information into some search engines. That was the only advertising that I did. And literally, within days, I would come home from working at IBM and there would be orders on my fax machine. So there was definitely a demand, even at that time. The orders were coming from all over.

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    HostIndex.com: So, you built your world wide base right from the beginning…

    Mike Salim: Yes, I had international clients virtually from day one.

    HostIndex.com: Do you still have some of those clients?

    Mike Salim: Yes. Most of the clients who signed up back in '95 are still with us.

    HostIndex.com: Do you target a specific segment of the industry now?

    Mike Salim: No, we serve any one who needs a web site. It turns out it is mostly small to medium businesses. The larger businesses have their own in-house IT infrastructure, so they host their own web sites, but the smaller companies just don't have that. They need to host their web sites somewhere, whether it is a simple website, or a complicated web site or even dedicated servers. They also need someone to manage them. We seem to be getting more dedicated and complex hosting clients lately.

    HostIndex.com: How large is your customer base?

    Mike Salim: Right now, we have between 1500 and 2000 customers. It is big but we would like it to grow.

    HostIndex.com: Your partnerships include companies such as VeriSign and Miva. How important are those partnerships to your success?

    Mike Salim: Certainly, Miva is very important. We are very strong in eCommerce and we like to have a good eCommerce offering. Miva is one of the best shopping carts out there. Coupled with a shopping cart for eCommerce, you need secure certificates, and VeriSign is a good provider of secure certificates, so that is an important partnership. VeriSign also does domain registration. It used to be Network Solutions of course, but we don't use Network Solutions so much as OpenSRS for domain registration.

    HostIndex.com: Why do you believe your company offers the best alternative to anyone looking for a web hosting provider?

    Mike Salim: Right now, there are many alternatives. There are a lot of good companies out there, and a lot of not-so-good companies. But we have several things going for us. One is that we have been in this industry for some time, and so we have a track record. We didn't just come and go. Only the good companies can survive the businesses climate of the last couple of years.

    Quite a few companies are offering very low prices for hosting. That is great for attracting a lot of clients, but you had better do that quickly or you'll soon run out of money. We have our pricing structure set so it is not too high, and not too low. That way we can stay in business and continue to provide excellent service to our customers.

    We offer excellent tech support. When a customer calls, they don't talk to a first level person who just takes their phone number and message. They talk with a real system administrator - probably the same one who is administering the very server they have a question about. They get immediate, instant, good technical support. And we offer that 7/24, by phone or email. My own background in helping found the company is also a strong point for us. Very few companies can claim that.

    HostIndex.com: What is your vision of the future of the web hosting industry?

    Mike Salim: It is an evolving industry, and only time will tell. I think the eCommerce part will certainly grow. Right now, we are seeing a downturn in the industry - not just in our industry, but in general. Many companies who were considering web sites might be thinking they should hold off. But actually, now is the time to take a good look at your web hosting requirements. When there is an industry downturn, that is when your marketing efforts should pick up.

    We are seeing more and more people migrate to dedicated hosting. Customers who have had a web site for some years and are becoming quite successful, have now taken their web sites to the level where they really can't be on a shared server anymore. They need more horsepower. They are getting more hits. They need more space.

    Our Class A data center in Research Triangle Park in North Carolina is capable of handling those needs.

    HostIndex.com:  Thanks for taking some time to speak with us here at HostIndex.com, Mike.  



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