HostingCon 2007 Draws Biggest Crowd Yet - Sessions
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The presentations and workshops were divided into four tracks: Marketing, Growing, Technology, and Leaders. Under Marketing there were two sessions on search engine optimization; both of these were held in the morning, one on Monday and one on Tuesday. Interestingly, Google and Microsoft got mentioned in another context in the Marketing track: as competitors. “Small Steps You Can Take to Compete with the Giants” discussed these companies, their recent entry into the web hosting space, and what that means for everyone else.
Another interesting session on the Marketing track covered “The Future of Web Hosting Marketing;” presenter Derek Vaughan, chief marketing officer of TechPad Agency urged marketers to think about their offerings in terms of media properties. He used the example of “willitblend.com,” a simple, even silly video idea that generated millions of impressions for a blender maker.
The Growing track must have been devoted both to ways of growing your own company and looking at the growth that the industry as a whole has been experiencing. The first presentation was a panel on “Metrics That Mean Money and How to Track Them.” It featured a number of industry veterans who explained which operating and financial metrics to watch and how to track them, with a focus on how it’s done in the real world. Other sessions on this track covered mergers and acquisitions in the web hosting industry, increasing profit margins with software-as-a-service security, and other topics. Microsoft even got into the act with a panel on “Delivering Applications with Windows SharePoint Services.”
The Technology track started with a mini-workshop on load balancing, and proceeded to whet every techie’s appetite with a panel that discussed the architectural and performance enhancements of IIS 7.0 (another Microsoft session, naturally). Other topics considered on this track included hosted VoIP, collocation and data center trends for hosting providers, application hosting with Terminal Services and SoftGrid (yet another Microsoft session), and how to migrate your customers without making them leave you.
The Leaders track started off with a (perhaps counterintuitive) panel on “Turning Customer Abandonment and Loss into a New Source of Revenue.” It focused on the opportunities available in the secondary marketplace for domain names. There was also a panel on the software as a service business; indeed, SaaS seemed to be one of the important themes of the conference. One of the panels that was probably very well-attended was the one that covered “The Future of Hosted Services.” It was based on a survey conducted by Web Hosting Talk of consumers and providers of hosted services, with the goal of getting a solid idea of what’s really happening in the industry.
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