Hostgator Turns Up the Heat; Tucows Make News - Tucows Today
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As you can see, Tucows has come a long way from its humble beginnings. It now bills itself as “an internet services company that provides back office solutions and wholesale internet services to a global network of more than 6,000 web hosting companies, internet service providers (ISPs) and other service providers worldwide.” While the company is clearly proud of being the largest ICANN accredited wholesale domain registrar (with more than four million domain names under management by March 2004), domain name registration is only one aspect of its business.
Indeed, it is almost as if selling domain names is Tucows’ version of “giving away the razors and making money on the blades.” Its complementary internet services include domain name management, digital certificates, email services and website publishing tools. The company also offers customer relationship management solutions, allowing other service providers to automate their own businesses, thus increasing their ability to grow.
Tucows has grown strategically to meet the needs of its customers, in some cases purchasing other companies with the products and expertise to help web hosting resellers, ISPs, and others. For instance, April 2004 saw the addition of the Email Defense service, which includes anti-spam functionality. Tucows also purchased Boardtown Corporation that month, thus acquiring the Platypus Billing System for ISPs. In May 2004, with web logs making big news, Tucows launched Blogware, which it billed as “the first wholesale weblogging service for ISPs and webhosting providers.” In June 2004, it improved and expanded its software tools, including the Platypus Billing Service, Wombat Help Desk, and Tucows Website Builder.
As Tucows has grown, it has also found the need to speak out on certain issues. Elliot Noss, president and CEO of Tucows, wrote an essay published by ZDNet explaining why ICANN should continue to control domain names, rather than the United Nations and/or the International Communications Union. He presents compelling arguments as to why the current situation is the most beneficial to all users of the internet, citing some of the benefits we have seen (such as a 50 to 75 percent drop in the price of domain names over the last five years) and the risks of change (possible Balkanization of the internet).
What Hostgator and Tucows may turn into in a few years is hard to predict, since both businesses draw their bread and butter from the internet, where the speed and unpredictability of change is practically axiomatic. But the histories of both provide some useful lessons to those who wish to emulate their success.
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