Not a Mirage: HostingCon 2006 - Panels
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The schedule of panels was divided into four tracks: Business, Shared Services Hosting, Enterprise and Data Center, and Application Hosting. Given the number of sessions and the importance of the topics, many attendees (and those of us who didn't attend) will be glad to hear that the conference sessions were recorded on CDs, which were made available at the conference. One hopes that the organizers will at least make the CDs available for purchase through HostingCon's web site, or possibly post downloadable files of the recordings. With a total of 32 sessions over the course of three days, at best I can only mention some of the ones that looked most interesting.
Monday's sessions included some excellent looks at the business itself. Aside from the one about mergers and acquisitions mentioned earlier, another session asked "Are Dedicated Hosting Services the Next Dinosaur?" and pointed out how newer, easier-to-manage services are making dedicated hosting almost obsolete. The session titled "High-Quality Customer Service for Hosting" attempted to destroy the myth that it is impossible to offer high quality customer service and survive. Another panel, particularly timely given that we're well into hurricane season, covered "The Elephant in the Room: Offering Business Continuity Services to your Small Business Customers." The session was specifically geared to helping web hosts offer services that will protect their small business customers' critical data from disaster.
Tuesday's sessions included two more that dealt with backups and disaster recovery. There was also a focus on marketing your web hosting business, with a panel that covered the "Secrets of Marketing Your Hosting Company" and another one that discussed "Marketing your Hosting Services with Effective Search Engine Optimized Press Releases." That one was a PowerPoint presentation by Candice Rodriguez, director of marketing and business development for the Web Host Industry Review, and the presentation itself was available at HostingCon's web site at the time of this writing.
While there were 12 sessions on both Monday and Tuesday, the conference wound down on Wednesday with only eight. These included one on search engine optimization titled "What it Takes to Rank High in Google." Again, this one included a PowerPoint presentation. A session by Elliot Ness, CEO of Tucows, covered why "It's All About the User Experience." In particular, he talked about why "user experience" is an important competitive advantage, rather than prices and features. One session that was probably of interest to many web hosts covered "Hosting E-Commerce: Why You Need It and What To Look For." It focused on e-commerce trends and discussed the profit margin potential of providing e-commerce hosting to your customers, complete with case studies.
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