HostingCon 2007 Draws Biggest Crowd Yet - Major Keynote
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The opening keynote by Richard Rosenblatt attracted a fair amount of buzz and a huge number of attendees. Currently CEO and chairman of Demand Media, Rosenblatt is the former CEO of MySpace. His acquisition of eNom and Bulkregister last year created the second largest domain registrar in the world.
The title of the keynote was “Next Generation Web: What Lies Ahead for Hosting.” The 20-minute presentation focused on how web hosting customers are changing. Certainly there are many customers that are interested in the technical side of things, and need to know all about how much bandwidth and storage space they are getting. But these aren’t the only kinds of customers that web hosts are seeing anymore.
There are now people who use free or inexpensive sites such as MySpace, Flickr and YouTube and never consider matters such as domain names or many of the other things that web hosts are used to telling their customers about. They’re hardly conscious of the fact that they’re using “hosting” at all. These are the customers, Rosenblatt is convinced, which web hosts must be prepared to serve if they want to ride the wave of the future.
Rosenblatt explained how Demand Media is catering to this customer through the site ChannelMe.tv. For $25 a year, users get a .tv domain and a template-based package that lets them construct a personal video channel with social networking tools; they can even “grab” video content from other sources. The site bills it as creating your own social network.
So how is Demand Media going to make money off of this? One attendee noted that “The company’s plan for profiting from these channels involves directing traffic to Demand Media-owned properties featuring particularly targeted user-generated content (a gardening-oriented social network was one example).”
If you as a web host want to profit from this new wave of customers, not only do you need to have a good business plan in place; you also need to remember that marketing to these customers is totally different from selling a dedicated server to someone. Rosenblatt illustrated this point by playing the Channelme.tv video. In that video, the product is described with terms such as “naming your channel” and “grabbing video;” never once is it mentioned that you’re buying a domain name.
Does this different approach work? Consider that in the past three months, Demand Media has sold more .tv domain names than VeriSign did all of last year. Those kinds of results speak for themselves.
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