Pubcon today announced that Internet entrepreneur and active angel investor Jason Calacanis, Chief executive and founder, Inside.com will present a major keynote address at Pubcon Las Vegas 2013, a social media and optimization conference, which will take place on October 21 – 25, 2013 at the Las Vegas Convention Center.
Pubcon Las Vegas 2013 attendees are in for a real treat as Jason starts off our biggest week ever of search and social media marketing, also featuring keynotes by Google’s Matt Cutts and UnMarketing president and popular digital marketing personality Scott Stratten.
– Brett Tabke, CEO, Pubcon.
“We’re delighted to present Jason Calacanis — one of the world’s most successful social media and technology entrepreneurs and angel investors — as our kick-off keynote speaker during October’s Pubcon Las Vegas 2013 conference,” said Brett Tabke, CEO, Pubcon.
“Pubcon Las Vegas 2013 attendees are in for a real treat as Jason starts off our biggest week ever of search and social media marketing, also featuring keynotes by Google’s Matt Cutts and UnMarketing president and popular digital marketing personality Scott Stratten,” he added.
As a founder of founder of ThisWeekIn.com, Calacanis has hosted the popular podcast “This Week in Startups” since 2009.
After three years of hosting TechCrunch50, he founded the LAUNCH conference to spotlight unannounced start-ups, with the first event held in 2011 and featuring 140 start-ups.
In 2007 he also founded Mahalo.com, the “human-powered search engine.”
Calacanis is also well known as a co-founder of Weblogs, Inc., founder of Rising Tide Studios, founder of Open Angel Forum and General Manager of Netscape.com.
He joined Board of Directors of Dyn in late 2012. Calacanis’ Inside.com is expected to launch in the fall of 2013.
Pubcon Las Vegas 2013 – named a Forbes magazine must-attend conference – will offer 130 + conference panel sessions with a week-long exploration of the future of technology and latest online marketing studies presented by industry experts in Internet marketing, search engines, and online advertising.
The event will also see Pubcon Masters Group training program and workshops, a day-long group of intensive educational training programs led by some of the industry’s most respected search and social media professionals, as well as a new networking badge option.
Web hosting provider 1&1 Internet today launched a Social Media Center, which has two elements – 1&1 Social Page Manager and 1&1 Social Share.
Our new Social Media Center can be a powerful eBusiness tool, in not only allowing the rapid creation of social media material, but also the centralized and timely management of multiple channels.
– Robert Hoffmann, CEO Hosting, 1&1 Internet.
In an interview with Daily Host News earlier this year, Kelly Meeneghan, Manager, 1&1 Internet,Inc. did emphasize on 1&1’s focus on providing users with everything they need to get online and manage their online presence.
The Social Media Center will help 1&1 MyWebsite customers enhance their social media activities and enable them to grow awareness and engage with end customers via Facebook and Twitter.
1&1 MyWebsite customers can now create a Facebook page easily by replicating MyWebsite content into a Facebook page.
Business owners can update and schedule their posts simultaneously across different social media platforms directly within 1&1’s Social Share management tool, thereby significantly increasing customer interactions.
1&1 MyWebsite customers can add the 1&1 Social Media Center to their MyWebsite package with 1 month free and currently a special offer price of $4.99/month thereafter – with no minimum contract term.
1&1 Social Page Manager
1&1 Social Page Manager creates a business page similar to that of a business’s website by quickly synchronizing Business name, website headers, logos, contact details and additional site content.
SMBs can also leverage the tool to create customized Facebook tabs specific to individual pages of the website using a simple on/off slider which enables any subpage to sync with Facebook and create unique, custom tabs.
All elements of Social Page Manager can be edited directly within the 1&1 MyWebsite editor tool, thereby eliminating the need for multiple logins.
Post Facebook page creation, all MyWebsite updates are automatically revised on the social media page as well.
1&1 Social Share
1&1 Social Share tool enables companies to make Facebook posts, comments and tweets via one, centralized dashboard and login.
All previous posts and messages are organized and tracked within the manager tool.
SMBs can use the Post Scheduler to plan an unlimited amount of posts at times when they are not able to do so manually.
“Social media has comprised a paradigm shift in the way businesses communicate. It represents a new level of transparency as consumers now expect real engagement with their issues. In fact, a recent study by 1&1 finds that nearly half of consumers feel that even the smallest businesses should be active on social media in order to remain relevant to them”, said Robert Hoffmann, CEO Hosting, 1&1 Internet.
“Our new Social Media Center can be a powerful eBusiness tool, in not only allowing the rapid creation of social media material, but also the centralized and timely management of multiple channels,” he added.
Things go awry often for web hosting providers. Server crashes, down times, security issues, network problems are frequent, and there is only so much a provider can do to preempt such issues. With so many things potentially going astray, irate customers are rife, and things can get nasty behind keyboards easily. If not proactively handled, such instances can irreversibly damage a company’s reputation.
Media Temple (mt) is one organization that handles such mishaps with great aplomb. One of the rare web-hosting providers that can boast of a passionate fan following, Media Temple stands out from the crowd with its top-shelf customer support.
With its product lineup comprehensive and broad enough to appeal from a web designer to an enterprise, Media Temple has really grown by word of mouth to establish itself as a forward thinking and customer-focused organization.
In light of the recently launched DV Managed and CloudTech Premium Support at HostingCon 2013, we had a conversation with Russell P Reeder, President and COO, (mt) Media Temple. Read away as he talks about Media Temple’s work culture, new products and services, the much known Grid-service, team (mt), and of course, the future plans.
Q: Let’s begin with a brief overview of Media Temple.
A: Media Temple focuses on the SMB Cloud Hosting market, especially the more tech savvy segment of it, for instance web designers and web developers, who’re the key influencers in the online industry.
We have over 125,000 customers hosting almost 2 million websites in over 100 countries. At Media Temple, we’ve always differentiated our services on premium technical support. We’ve got almost 100 system administrators here in Los Angeles for 24×7 technical support that help our customers via phone, online chat, twitter and various other support channels.
Q: Since you speak of support, I personally am a big fan of how Media Temple uses social media not only to respond to its customers’ needs (via Twitter and Facebook), but also to invite them inside its offices and project its human side (via Instagram). What is your philosophy behind using social media?
A: Yes, thank you. I think it comes from our culture. We have a very transparent, open culture and care about people, our employees and customers.
Social media is just another channel for us to communicate and we don’t go there to market our services, but to expand this culture of ours where we really put our customers first.
We think that in order to hire and retain the best employees, a company has to create a fun atmosphere, and we are very proud that we’ve been able to do so. We have a great culture, it’s almost like a college dorm atmosphere where people come to work and have a lot of fun.
– Russell P Reeder, President and COO, (mt) Media Temple.
Q: What are some of the key features that set the recently launched DV Managed apart from other managed VPS platforms out there? What additional value can SMBs expect to derive from it?
A: First of all, we have 3 different levels of our VPS platform. We have full managed platforms with root access enabled, one click application installs, managed uptime, security, 24X7 access to support etc.
We have our VPS developer if you are a Linux ninja and just want to go right to the command line and have at it. It’s still managed because we manage everything from the electricity own up to the Ubuntu and all the different versions, but you handle everything that you install on it. So it’s a little bit less managed.
And then we have DV Enterprise Dedicated VPS Hosting, formerly known as (dpv) Nitro, for the more heavy lifting, and that starts at 2000$ a month.
So as an old software developer, I would say that the one feature that I’m most excited about is the re-bootless updates for future proofing our solutions. We will never leave behind our customers on an old version and launch a new version. This is the version that will have re-bootless updates as we continue to innovate on our technology in the future. That is exciting.
We also have all leading edge technology for the latest 2013 hardware specs. The software that we now have running our full DV Managed, DV Developer and DV Enterprise platform, is 25 times faster than our older versions, which allows you to do the backups, recoveries and run your applications faster on our platform.
Q: How do DV Developer and DV Enterprise complement your entire DV lineup?
A: If you don’t need a control panel and you just want to go right into a VPS server, we feel that DV Developer is the most up-to-date VPS platform that you can go for. It starts at 30$ a month and you can take that all the way up to 2500$ a month.
But if you want the DV Developer on your own dedicated box, you can have your own DV Enterprise with 64GB Fully Buffered DDR3 RAM from 2000$ a month.
Q: Where are your data centres located?
A: We have invested a tremendous amount into our infrastructure. We have two core Tier IV data centres located in Virginia and Los Angeles, with multiple redundancy throughout the system, 24×7 staffed teams, tens of thousands of servers and a great capacity to scale.
Q: What are some of the significant improvements and upgrades in the newly launched CloudTech Premium support? Also, what are various one-time services that CloudTech On-Demand provides?
A: We at Media Temple have always differentiated on our technical support and we will continue to do so.
We did eight months of due diligence on when we had to scope out customers and say ‘No sorry! That’s out of scope’, and looked at what we could automate in the back-end to say yes to these customers.
So with CloudTech premium, we can provide a lot of extra support. We have taken our technical system administrators and our Red Hat certified engineers and opened them up for our customers. We can do the installation of your apps for you, monitor your system 24X7 so you don’t have to, handle traffic spikes, do performance analysis of your database, website and your WordPress.
Our customers can access our CloudTech services in two ways. One is through an On-Demand service, where you can go to the website, log into your AccountCenter, choose from a menu of more than 20 on-demand services and put on what service you need at that specific time.
If you want to have a 24X7 premium support package with a dedicated team of IT experts, you can try Cloud Tech Always-On and pay for that in the subscription model as well.
Q: This one is regarding Media Temple’s Grid Hosting service. How does it handle traffic spikes better than other shared hosting services?
A: We are very proud of our Grid Technology. It is proprietary and it’s our secret sauce. It handles infinite scalability, from the MySQL to all the way through the entire infrastructure. And we figured out how to have this cloud scalability in a shared hosting environment six years back. So not only does our Grid Technology scale at the database level, it can immediately eliminate that noisy neighbour issue too.
Most of our customers are web designers and web developers that have hundreds of sites. With our one grid account, you can have anything from 1 website to 100 websites at just 20$ a month. And it is very scalable, so when you have an Oprah moment, you don’t have to call Media Temple and warn us. The system has scalability throughout the infrastructure and is constantly watching for the increased traffic, you wouldn’t even know when we move instances around to make sure that you are on the proper infrastructure to scale as needed.
We even allow customers to double-up, so if you have got your 15 minutes of fame and for one week you are just killing it, blowing the numbers out of the water, it’s very exciting to you and then it starts to go back down, in such cases you aren’t going to need to upgrade to a VPS, our grid containers can handle that increased traffic for you from a database level, from an application level all the way to the web server.
Q: And how does your charging system work during these traffic spikes? How do you charge for the additional bandwidth consumed?
A: We don’t charge for spikes on the grid. We have a grace period for customers that can spike up, but after several days of constant traffic, we would separate that container, move the customer over to a certain level of our infrastructure and then notify the customer via email and also a technical customer support representative would call them to figure out the reason for the increased traffic. Is it because of some changes you made to your site? Is it because your PHP is broken? Is something currently going wrong in your database? Or is it just that you’ve recently launched a new product and people around the world are coming to your website to see it?
So we have customized solutions for our customers to make sure that they’re using the right product with the Media Temple.
A: Sure! We have done very little marketing in the past. Media Temple has really grown into a strong brand that it is today through the word of mouth and the support of our customers.
So just recently we started to put a little bit of more muscle into our affiliate program to give back to people who have sent us new leads and new customers in the past.
We have two programs: One is the referral program for our existing customers, which credits their account when they send us new customers. Another one is the traditional affiliate program which has been getting much more traction lately. We compete on our brand, not just on how much we pay our affiliates.
Q: What is the Media Temple Corporate Culture? What is a typical day at your office like?
A: A typical day in our office is fun. We have a great culture, it’s almost like a college dorm atmosphere where people come to work and have a lot of fun. We think that in order to hire and retain the best employees, a company has to create a fun atmosphere, and we are very proud that we’ve been able to do so.
We have yoga, physical fitness training classes, happy hours, free breakfast on Mondays, free lunch every other Friday etc. We also have a very generous PTO policy for exempt and non-exempt employees, our maternity leaves are 3 months long, paternity leaves 1 month long, and every three years you can take a sabbatical which we call the (mt) refresh where you can take a paid one month off.
So we’re very proud of the fact that we take good care of our employees in the office.
Q: And how big is your team?
A: We have over 220 employees based primarily in Los Angeles and New York.
Q: Wrapping up, any big developments coming from the Media Temple is the coming few months?
A: We’ve been working on a number of products and additional services that will help the SMBs run their businesses better. At the back-end, we are planning to launch some very interesting cloud storage solutions beginning in the 2014 that will continue our tradition of innovation and giving back to our customers.
I remember being very apathetical when the new generic top level domain (gTLD) application system opened on January 12, 2012. With the exception of .CO, new gTLD launches of the past like Biz, Info, Travel, Mobi, etc. had failed to marginalize .COM’s dominant position and there was no reason to think otherwise for the forthcoming ones.
I’ve been proven wrong overtime. The industry has shown great interest in the new gTLDs. With as many as 1930 applications received by the ICANN, the new gTLDs are touted to be the next big thing in the domain arena. Their journey once they hit the market will be a very interesting one to watch; some of them’ll be successful and some won’t. But I genuinely doubt if any one of them will be able to have as big an impact as .CO has.
The only extension to have carved out a market niche for itself, .CO is not just a very interesting product, but it is a success story. It is an epitome of innovation, of breaking existing norms, of setting new standards and most importantly, of having faith in your own ideas. It would be hyperbolic, but totally justified, I think, to say that .CO is apposite for great ideas building online.
Now before this begins to look like a paid prologue written by the folks at .CO themselves, over to Lori Anne Wardi, Vice President, .CO Internet, whom we recently had an opportunity to interact with. Read away as she speaks about the genesis of .CO, .CO Membership program, .CO Scholarship program, new gTLDs, plans for Q3 and Q4 and much more. Its a long read, but definitely worth it.
Our vision was to make .CO a global brand, one that was synonymous with innovation, entrepreneurship, big ideas coming to life and people fulfilling their business aspirations online.
– Lori Anne Wardi, Vice President,.CO Internet.
Q: Let’s begin with a brief introduction of yours and a broad overview of .CO Internet.
A: I am Lori Anne Wardi and I am the Vice President of .CO Internet.
I am also one of the co-founders of the company. When we launched .CO 3 years ago, our intention was to disrupt the status-quo that existed in the domain industry.
Because when we looked around the internet landscape, we noticed that disruption was everywhere, especially in the area of internet infrastructure. Everyone was doing interesting and innovating things and everything online was shifting and morphing.
But for some reason, in the world of domain names, it was a stagnant scenario. Everybody assumed that with .com exhausted, they had to pay billions of dollars to get a domain name of their choice. There was a sense of scarcity and everybody kind of accepted the status-quo.
Also, there was not a single domain extension that created a brand around itself. They were just viewed like a commodity to get on the internet; there was no brand association, affiliation or sense of identity to any of them. It didn’t seem right.
Therefore, we thought why can’t there be a change in the domain industry and why does .com have to be the only game in the town with other TLDs just lingering without adding any value!
When we had the opportunity to launch .CO, we decided to do things differently and shake up the industry a little bit.
We wanted to de-commoditize the domains. Our vision was to make .CO a global brand, one that was synonymous with innovation, entrepreneurship, big ideas coming to life and people fulfilling their business aspirations online.
And we’ve been able to do it successfully. We have grown really fast since we launched. We have more than 1.5 million domain names registered by people in over 200 countries, the US being the largest percentage, closely followed by the UK and a lot of other English speaking countries like Canada, Australia and India.
Q: .CO is probably the only TLD that has been able to marginalize .COM’s dominant position significantly, that too in a very small period of time. What according to you are some of the key factors that made .CO a relatively bigger success than .info, .mobi or .tel?
A: Well, I think there are a few things. One of them is branding. As I said, we started to create a brand around the domain. Other domains until now had only competed on the price and placement in the drop down box at the registrar. Those were the only few ways in which a customer could decide between one domain or another. We decided early on that we wanted to market directly to the consumers so when they showed up at the registrar ready to buy a domain, they came looking for .CO, they didn’t just find it on the list and then try to figure out whether or not they should get it.
Also, when we tried to find businesses on some of the domain extensions that had sold a lot of names, we came across only parked pages, phishing and link farms. We didn’t want that. It’s one thing to sell a lot of domain names, but if you sell a lot of names and know that no one is building anything of substance on your extension, then its kind of a hollow victory. We didn’t want to be a domain name ghetto. We wanted to have a thriving community of entrepreneurs building really cool things so that we would have the next Facebook or Instagram or Twitter building on .CO.
So we tried to get to know who the people and companies were who were using .CO and to support, encourage and promote them in their efforts and give them access to opportunities. In fact this was one of the primary reasons why we started our membership program.
Q: Please throw some light on .CO’s Membership Program. What value can bootstrapped entrepreneurs expect to derive from it?
A: We realize that most entrepreneurs and small businesses don’t buy a domain name because they want a domain name (unless they’re domainers who’re buying domains to buy and sell them), it’s because they have a business dream or an aspiration that they want to fulfil or something else that they are trying to build. So we thought, let’s get to the heart of why people buy a domain name and try to get to know who these people are and what they are trying to do, so that we can help them. And if we can help them succeed, then we can sustain our mission, which is to create a really exciting community of innovation and entrepreneurship.
Our membership program lets us do this by giving startups access to educational and networking events, where they can meet with people who would give them opportunities like pitching their business, fund raising etc.
Q: Do you provide some sort of financial backing too?
A: No, we don’t invest in the companies. What we do is that we invest in their success by finding opportunities to promote them and showcase what they do to our network, and since we end up supporting a lot of startups and innovators that are like minded, they all start to support and help each other.
For instance, when there is a really interesting story about a new .CO business, we contact a couple of blogs that’re built on .CO and say ‘hey, you should check out this story you might want to write about’, and every once in a while they will.
So it is a community where everybody is vested in the success of .CO. The early adopters took a bet to go with a new domain extension and build their business or blog on .CO, and now that it has started to pay off, they want the new businesses that pop up every day on .CO to succeed too.
Q: .CO has gained huge traction among small businesses. Were SMBs your primary target from the word Go?
A: I would like to say yes, but, in the very very beginning, we were going for everybody, because .CO is such a broad word, it could mean company, community, contact, commerce etc.
As soon as we started, we realized that the world is a pretty big place and we can’t effectively go for everybody. We are a small business and a startup ourselves and we have to hone in on our target market.
Now even the SMB market is really big. So instead of going straight to SMBs, which are our target market and always will be, right now we have honed in on the ecosystem of tech savvy entrepreneurs and startups that may have an idea that can easily work online and that’re interested in taking risks and destructing the status quo in their own industries.
So yes, we are going for the SMB market, but we are taking the path of first targeting entrepreneurs and innovators in the tech savvy community.
Q: And recently you also met with success on enterprise level too with twitter registering Vine.co.
A: Yes, that was a huge win for us. Wallmart also just launched a new business on the .CO called goodies.CO and I think that only happened because of the traction we have gained during these 3 years. I don’t think that they’d have done this when we first launched because we needed a little time to prove that we really were going to build a space where companies like Twitter and Wallmart can build their new products.
To get a pat on the back and passive endorsements from companies like Vine.CO and goodies.CO is really exciting for us and we work hard to make sure that we live up to the faith they put in us. We do everything to keep this faith as clean as possible and make sure that there are no real security threats like phishing, farming, cybersquatting etc.
Q: Any more examples of big enterprises who’ve recently adopted .CO?
A: There is a big insurance company called Aspen Group who is using Aspen.co. Some companies such as CISCO (CS.CO), American Express (amex.co), Virgin America (virg.co) and Starbucks (sbux.co) are using .CO for URL shortening in social media.
It is really exciting for us because to be honest, when we launched we didn’t expect to have a lot of big brands that needed branded URL shorteners using .CO to complement their existing URL. We never intended to get people to switch their domain; our intention was just to get new businesses to launch on .CO.
I guess the recent happenings are a sign of evolving internet landscape and we happen to be a great URL for that.
Q: Please give our readers a brief overview of the recent .CO Survey conducted by Wakefield Research.
A: We conducted this survey because we wanted to get into the minds of the consumer and try to understand what is it that they are thinking about when they come to buy a domain name and why do most people have a pervasive feeling that .com is synonymous with the internet.
We wanted to know whether they are even aware that there are other domain extensions out there, do they think about them and do they understand the distinction between one and the other.
The results were very interesting as we learnt that not only do they lack knowledge about different domain extensions, but nearly half of them don’t have even a web presence at all. Which is kind of shocking and also an interesting opportunity for anyone in the domain business, website building or website hosting business to identify all these people who don’t even have a website.
Also, we found that among the ones that do have a web presence, there is a lot of dissatisfaction with the website they have. I think that this is due to the fact that until now, there has been a sense of scarcity around domain names., so people thought they had to settle for really long silly sounding names with hyphens, weird spellings and numbers just because they couldn’t get the name that they wanted.
One of my favourite stats from the survey is that 46 % of small businesses say that they are more likely to find a 100 dollar bill on the street than find a .com name that hasn’t been taken.
So it’s a common frustration among small business owners who don’t understand the Internet well, don’t know about other domain extensions and think that if they can’t get their first choice .com, they’ve to settle for something on the lines of bobsbagelsnewyorkcity11297.com.
Q: 63% of business owners revealed that they don’t pay attention to the TLDs while choosing a domain name. Does .CO have any roadmap in place to educate these SMBs and public in general about the importance of the right side of the dot?
A: Definitely, because we found that the main reason that prohibits people from buying a .CO is the lack of awareness that exists. They don’t even know that we’re a credible option besides .com.
So we do have plans to educate them. In fact, the key reason behind our partnership with GoDaddy for the last few years over the super bowl commercials is just to create a global awareness that .CO exists. And we worked really hard on the messaging on this year’s YourBigIdea.co super bowl commercial in particular, because we wanted to let the average persons sitting and watching the super bowl realize that their own ideas are meaningful and they shouldn’t sweep them under the rug, and to inspire them to get off the couch, take their idea seriously and put it online before someone else does.
Q: How has the response to YourBigIdea.co commercial been so far?
A: It’s very hard to identify the benefits and value that we receive from doing the ads, because the main reason we do an ad is not for immediate sale on that day or that week, but to create an awareness and to get the world to know that .CO exists .
Since the time we did our 1st super bowl ad in 2011, the number of .CO names under the management has more than doubled. There has been a considerable growth in the revenue, market share and most importantly, brand awareness.
That said, we think that this year’s ad was by far the best we did. It met with a huge amount of critical acclaim, which is exciting because the last two ones were panned by the critics. It also set a record for the highest internet traffic on the website and we know that it engaged the community in terms of conversations on social media.
And while we definitely got a surge in the number of registrations throughout the whole week the ad ran and on the weekend, the real value of the ad, for us, is going to be seen over the course of the whole year because it will be re-broadcast frequently. It was never intended just for the week of the super bowl. It was an investment for building awareness among the global audience and potential business owners.
Q: The 52% of SMBs who’re willing to change their current web address will have a plethora of options with the new gTLDs that’re going to hit the market soon. What according to you makes .CO a better choice for them than the generic TLDs?
A: To be honest with you, there is a lot of uncertainly in the industry in general about the forthcoming change in the internet landscape. No one knows exactly how is it going to look.
But, we have looked at the list of every name domain string that has been applied for, and one thing I know for sure is that there is not a single domain extension that even comes close to the perfection of .CO. Everyone around the world recognizes domain.CO as a company. It’s already used in a lot of different domain extensions around the world already, like .co.uk, .co.jp etc. You don’t have to define, explain or educate people about what it means. That’s the first thing.
Second, In the age of social media we live in, CO is a prefix for communicate, collaborate, connect etc., so it has a very rich social media meaning.
Third, .CO is shorter than all other domain extensions. A lot of the new ones will be 3 characters long and some even longer but none of them will be 2 characters. So .CO is shorter, memorable and meaningful.
But the one most important thing that I think would help us stand out and be ahead of the pack is that we have a 3 year head start, in which we have been able to demonstrate that we are building a community and are vested in the success of people building on .CO.
And lastly, I’ve to say that our team is really excited about new gTLDs coming in the market. The reason being that until now everybody thinks of the domain arena as a .com world and that nothing is legitimate unless its on .com.
So when they suddenly start seeing billboards for cars like .bmw and sneakers like .nike, they’ll realize that everything isn’t .com after all and that they can choose to go for other extensions as well.
Q: You mentioned how .CO is more recognizable than the new gTLDs coming out and that it is going to benefit from the 3 year head start it has. Isn’t this picture somewhat same to the one in 2009 when .CO launched, as in .com then had a head start of 27 years, was more renowned and people didn’t know about .CO?
A: That’s exactly right. It was not easy in the beginning. There were a lot of loud naysayers up front that said things like ‘oh! It would never work’, ‘no one needs another domain extension’, ‘.info and other TLDs have failed and this is going to be another one’, ‘it’s just a typo of .com and it’s going to confuse everybody’ etc.
All of this was hard to cope up with but we decided to block all the naysayers out and prove everybody wrong. We had a really big vision and a clear goal that we’d never allow .CO to be construed as a typo of .com.
We worked very hard early on to find the right kind of companies that would use .CO and then to further showcase them to other people so that they would want to build on .CO. This helped us gain traction in the very beginning. We are still obviously tiny compared to .com, it has a 27 year head start and 100 million plus people using it, but I think we are probably the first domain that .com has paid attention to.
Q: Any specific measures you’re taking in the wake of the new gTLD wave?
A: I wouldn’t say that there will be a significant change in the measures we take. We’ve always been focused on not just selling domain names but on building value for .CO users too, and we’re going to continue to do that.
We plan to double down on our community and being a value and up service to them, so that people don’t think of .CO as just another name in the dropdown list. We want to be the one and only name that people would consider building their businesses on.
We also have an internal think-lab where we try to come up with innovative products and services that would support our members. This year we launched our membership program which we discussed earlier. We are also the only registry to have an affiliate program.
Q: What is the rationale behind .CO having a higher registration fee than some other TLDs?
A: That’s a good question and I think you will understand and appreciate the answer as a person in this industry.
When we launched our company 3 years back, we looked at the landscape and tried to analyse the steps taken by other registries in the past, as in which ones of them had worked and which ones didn’t. One of the things we noticed was that in some of the better registries, a lot of the good domain names were sat on by people squatting, not using the name, but just having parked pages on them.
So we thought that we could either price .CO at 7 or 8 dollars like the rest of the domain extensions, generate the maximum amount of sales with people who’d buy hundreds or maybe even thousands of them early on just to hoard them and not to build anything on them, or, we could charge a relatively higher wholesale price (around 20$ on average) to disincentivize people from buying names in mass quantities and hoarding them.
We want people to think long and hard if they plan to buy more than 5 or 10 domains. Since .CO costs more, they can’t buy hundreds of them and then just sit on them.
However, that’s not to say that we’ve anything against people reselling them. We’re capitalists too and we think that it’s fine for people to resell, but we also know that the fastest way to kill the excitement of a great space would be to have nothing on it but parked pages.
Q: That’s a good point, but if you look at it from a different perspective, doesn’t the high price of .CO deter the 63% of the business owners bracket that doesn’t pay attention to the TLDs from choosing it over .com?
A: Yes, definitely. I wish I had a better answer for this as we don’t want to lose these customers because they’re really building something but we do miss out on them
I wish we could capture them all but it’s sort of a trade-off that we decided to make early on. As I said, it’s not about the short term money, but the long term development of .CO space.
Right now, we’re trying to educate people about the kind of value that we provide.
One of the things we have is the .CO scholarship program under which we give free .CO domains for a year every week to people who attend Startup weekends all around the world.
Wherever there are students getting together to start businesses in a structured way over a course of either weekends or a few days, we provide them with free .COs. We don’t want them to pay us anything, we’re just happy that they’re building on .CO because then they’ll stick around for 10 years as their company gets off the ground.
Also, the value of our membership program is much higher than that of a domain name. There are people who get tickets to 1000$ events for free just because they have a 25$ domain name.
So the example you gave me definitely falls through the cracks but I think that over time, as these customers start to learn that we offer them more than just a domain name, we’ll stop losing them.
Q: Tell our readers a bit about the team .CO?
A: Sure! We have an amazing team. At the core of every great company is a great leader and we have an amazing CEO in Juan Diego Calle.
He is a young man who is very wise beyond his years. His best skill as a leader is being able to identify the right people for the right role. He sets a really great vision and then gets out of the way. He is there when you need him but he doesn’t micro manage, he just inspires employees to do great things and then lets them do it.
There are four co-founders of the company. The whole concept for .CO was started by Juan himself and he pulled together a team of three others of us early on.
Our COO is a gentleman by the name of Nicolai Bezsonoff. Nicolai was working at Citi group earlier and had worked in various consulting firms before that. Juan had known him for long and thought that he would be a great COO. So he talked to him about the vision of .CO and inspired him to take risk on a startup and leave his job at the Citi group.
Eduardo Santoyo is our Corporate Vice president and he has a lot of experience running domain extensions. He used to run the domain extension for the country of Peru and he is currently the president of the Latin American and Caribbean Association of ccTLDs. He is very active in the ICANN policy making and makes sure that everything that we do at .CO is aligned with the best business practices.
And then there is me. I have a little bit of an odd background for the domain industry. I began my career as an attorney at Proskauer LLP and left to start a business of my own, which went under as a lot of sartups do, so then I had to start thinking about what I was going to do next.
I started having many ideas for businesses I could start and for every idea I would have, I would buy a domain name. So before I knew it I had a whole bunch of domain names but no business.
I was then contacted by someone who wanted to buy one of my domains and that’s when I realized that domain names have a value. So I started to study domain names and get to understand the marketplace and over time I got to know the industry very well.
Through the years, I had gotten introduced with Juan and when this opportunity came up, I couldn’t have been more excited . We all came together, won the bid and made .CO happen.
Since then we’ve grown and now have a small but an incredible team of 22 full time employees. We are passionate about what we do and think that every day when we wake up we sort of change the world a little bit.
Q: What are some significant changes that you expect to see in the domain industry in the coming years?
A: We already have a lot of new players that have never been in the domain space before but have now just flooded in. With Google and Amazon applying for around 100 and 70 new TLDs respectively, you know that there are going to be significant changes.
I think that companies that are starting new domain extensions are going to feel the need to offer more value than just a domain. There are also going to be a lot more new business models around domains in the coming years. For instance who knows what interesting business model .music might have around it or what interesting applications community domains like.nyc or .berlin might see.
But as of now, it’s anybody’s guess what that would look like. It only depends on how creative people are in choosing their new extensions and I think that it’s really exciting that there are going to be a whole lot of new opportunities that weren’t there before.
Q: Wrapping up, do you have any plans in the pipeline for Q3 and Q4 of 2013?
A: Yes, we do. We’ve got our 3rd anniversary coming up in July so we’re gearing up to do major look back on the past 3 years. We also have an upcoming product launch in the next couple of months.
We plan to keep pushing the industry forward by doing unexpected things and to inspire the world to go .CO.
The conference will have multiple sessions by top technology speakers from Austin and around the country, who’ll cover the latest local social media and search-related researches.
Pubcon plans to release the registration details and the event agenda in the coming days.
“Pubcon Regional Austin 2014 is a fantastic opportunity for area attendees and local marketing agencies to learn from leading Pubcon speakers at a dynamic event with tracks dedicated to social media, search engine optimization, and search engine marketing, supported by local search and social media groups,” said Brett Tabke, founder and chief executive, Pubcon.
“The AT&T Conference Center conveniently offers hotel accommodations on-site, making Pubcon Regional Austin 2014 an easy event to attend,” he added.
For more details on Pubcon regional conferences and Pubcon at large, click here.
Known for coming up with innovative campaigns to drive customer interaction, Hivelocity has launched a new social media campaign targeting new and existing customers. Earlier this year, Hivelocity also held First Annual Parade of Racks Beauty Contest at it’s data center.
Titled “Check Out My Server,” the new social media campaign has an interesting premise. Via their Twitter, Facebook and G+ accounts, Hivelocity’s customers can request a personalized picture be taken of their dedicated server or even direct a 6 second Vine video at the server’s rack.
“It recently dawned on me that in our business the customers rarely get to see the product they are paying for. This didn’t seem right to me. For all the customer knows they are getting some dingy white box held together with duct tape,” said Steve Eschweiler, General Manager, Hivelocity in an email conversation with DailyHostNews.
“So we are offering to send our customers pictures of their servers or even a quick Vine video of their server. We have had some customers tell us they have framed the pics and put them on their walls in the office,” he added.
Hivelocity has so far had customer requesting a simple picture of the server with the owner’s logo to more elaborate requests for Vine videos with Hivelocity employees posing at the server.
“We are very proud of our data center and the systems we deploy every day for customers. This campaign is really a win win in our eyes. We get to show off our data center and hardware and our customers finally have a way to see the dedicated servers they are paying for,” said Drew Adams, Sales Manager, Hivelocity.
In a recent interview with DailyHostNews, Steve did talk about Hivelocity’s commitment to provide customers with exceptional, unique and gratifying experience with every interaction they have with the company.
“We don’t want to simply be a monthly bill and faceless company to our customers. We will continue to be innovative with how we connect with our customers and the service we provide our customers today is just the tip of the iceberg, ” he said.
Currently, Hivelocity is competing at the Social Madness competition organized by The Business Journal. You can vote for Hivelocity here under the “Large Business category.”
For more information on the“Check Out My Server” campaign, click here.
Indian e-commerce is growing at an incredibly frantic pace. There are tons of new e-commerce sites mushrooming in variety of verticals spanning electronics, books, gift items, vitamin supplements, foreign importers etc.
Unfortunately the awareness among Indian customers and e-commerce site owners regarding the risks of online scam, phishing and what not remains concerningly low.
SSL Security is one basic step that every e-commerce site must take at the very minimum. Doing so will at least ensure that transactions between an e-commerce site and its customers remain private. This is critically important in India, especially because a large portion of the population there uses shared internet (i.e. cyber cafes).
It has come to our attention that a very famous site known as SnapDeal.com which is essentially India’s Amazon, has not been using SSL properly at all. Just imagine one of the largest shopping sites in the entire country with over 1.2 billion customers transferring confidential details such as address, email, phone number, credit card, and online banking details in just plain text! To say that we were shocked would be a vast understatement. Just take a look at the screenshots to follow as proof :
Why is SnapDeal.com non-trusted with their security?
They don’t have “HTTPS” or a “SSL Certificate” installed on their website.
They use a text to gain trust of security, “100% secure shopping guarantee”. A website simply cannot be secured without any “HTTPS” or “SSL certificate” security installed, anything else is an indication of an online scam or fraud.
Even visitors know they should only enter credit card information on a secure page, something that can easily be identified by the LOCK Symbol located with the frame, status or address bar of a trusted browser. Just by gathering user credit card information on their unsecure payment processing pages, SnapDeal.com is putting their users’ private information at extreme risk. How could they say they are secure and don’t store credit card details without using ““HTTPS” or “SSL Certificate” security?
Finally, we confirm without a single doubt that Snapdeal.com, one of India’s largest e-commerce platforms, simply doesn’t care about user safety on the web. They have been displaying a logo of Trust Pay everywhere on their website, however, Trust Pay is not a Security Authority. It’s actually what is known as a Financial Conduct Authority which only deals with payment processing and has no responsibility whatsoever for web page security.
As you can see this is one giant disaster waiting to happen. Just imagine what could happen if a fraudulent site called “SnopDeal.com” pops up, perfectly imitating the website design and all their products in order to lure customers into a huge phishing SCAM!
In today’s world where sensitive information so routinely traverses what is known as the internet superhighway, SSL Certificates have become an increasingly crucial part of e-commerce. It is for that very reason that one should never hesitate to make the online business experience a much safer and secure one for users on the web with an SSL certificate.
Update: This write-up has been edited following SnapDeal’s official response, which goes as:
We totally understand the concern that a customer would have in making a purchase online. As we promise, we ensure secure shopping for all our customers. No financial data is gathered without a secure layer transaction. The iframe that gathers financial data is completely secure and is posted through a HTTPS url as you can notice in the screenshot here: http://bit.ly/Secureshopping
Also, please note that Trustpay has always been a promise to protect customers with 100% moneyback guarantee if there is an issue with product quality, size or delivery.
Once again, we would like to highlight that 100% secure shopping is being ensured through secure payment gateways implementing SSL for all financial transactions. Hope this clarifies your concern and we would be glad to answer any further queries you might have.
Update 2: Mr. Jim Armstrong, Founder and CEO, RapidSSLonline responds:
Snapdeal: Certainly, if you gather data through HTTPS iframe within a page served over HTTP, then it will not assure users that they are dealing with secure page. The following iframe can be hijacked or altered in a simple attack such as an iframe injection. And the following attacks can be implementing through a virus, a Trojan, visiting a malicious websites.
Registrations for Pubcon Las Vegas 2013, a social media and optimization conference, which will take place on October 21 – 25, 2013 at the Las Vegas Convention Center, are now open.
With hundreds of the world’s top technology and online marketing visionaries speaking, Pubcon Las Vegas 2013 offers an unrivaled technology conference experience, and we’re confident that every attendee will take away more valuable new search and social media ideas, business solutions and actionable take-aways than ever before, all at surprisingly cost-effective rates.
– Brett Tabke, CEO, Pubcon.
“Pubcon Las Vegas 2013, including our double Platinum sponsor Internet Marketing Ninjas, is going to be the biggest and most exciting gathering of new media and optimization trailblazers that we’ve ever put together, and we’re delighted to open registration today for the largest PubCon ever at some of the fairest early-bird discount rates available,” said Mr. Brett Tabke, CEO, Pubcon.
Pubcon has had keynotes from following industry veterans in the past:
Matt Cutts, Webspam team, Google.
Jon Von Tetzchne, Founder, Opera software.
Craig Newmark, Founder, Craiglist.
Amit Singhal, SVP, Google.
Richard Rosenblatt, co-founder, Demand Media.
David Pogue, New York Times technology writer.
Tony Hsieh, Chief Executive, Zappos.
Bob Brisco, Chief Executive, Internet Brands.
Leo Laporte, Emmy award-winning technology broadcaster.
Best-selling authors like Malcolm Gladwell, Guy Kawasaki and Robert X. Cringely.
Pubcon Las Vegas 2013 will offer 130 + conference panel sessions with a week-long exploration of the future of technology and latest online marketing studies presented by industry experts in Internet marketing, search engines, and online advertising.
The event will also see Pubcon Masters Group training program and workshops, a day-long group of intensive educational training programs led by some of the industry’s most respected search and social media professionals, as well as a new networking badge option.
“With hundreds of the world’s top technology and online marketing visionaries speaking, Pubcon Las Vegas 2013 offers an unrivaled technology conference experience, and we’re confident that every attendee will take away more valuable new search and social media ideas, business solutions and actionable take-aways than ever before, all at surprisingly cost-effective rates,” said Mr. Tabke.
Registration for Pubcon Las Vegas 2013 is now open and available at special early-bird rates. To register, click here.
The House of Representatives have passed Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act on Thursday by a heavy margin of 288 to 127 after two days of intensive debate on whether the threat of “cyberattacks” was grave enough to justify the over-lingering privacy concerns. The bill which was moved to the House after a closed-door 18 to 2 vote, received support from 92 Democrats and will now move to the Senate and then to the president Obama, whose advisers recently threatened a veto of the bill as it overrides the digital privacy of American Citizens.
“In the case of Boston they were real bombs, in this case they’re digital bombs. And these digital bombs are on their way.”- said Rep. Mike McCaul (R-TX), a vehement CISPA supporter to hard-press the need of passing it.
“We have a constitutional obligation to defend this nation.This is the answer to empower cyber information sharing to protect this nation, to allow those companies to protect themselves and move on to economic prosperity. If you want to take a shot across China’s bow, this is the answer. ” said Mr. Mike Rogers on the House floor. Rogers, the Chairman of Intelligence committee and a Republican from Michigan is co-author of CISPA.
FINAL VOTE RESULTS FOR ROLL CALL 117
On the other hand, Nancy Pelosi, the House Minority leader, said “I’m disappointed that we did not address some of the concerns mentioned by the White House about personal information. Unfortunately, it offers no policies and did not allow any amendments or real solution that upholds Americans’ right to privacy.”
“It would have been so easy to fix this bill and require sites to strip out personal information before passing them to the government,” said Mr. Holmes Wilson, co-founder, Fight For the Future, promising that he will continue to lobby against the bill.
“Right now if the government wants users’ information, the company can say no because it opens them up to being sued. If CISPA passes, there will be no legal restraint,” added Mr. Wilson, commenting on tech-giants like IBM who have voiced their support for CISPA.
What Now? The bill now moves to Democratic-controlled Senate who thrashed it last year. In case they do the same now and choose to make any changes to current state the bill; it will return back to the house after which both the chambers must then agree on a final version in a conference. And if they do agree, the bill moves to President Obama’s Desk, whose administration recently threatened to veto it. It remains to be seen whether the amendments made after the said threat satisfy the administration’s concerns of privacy.
For those who wish to know their representatives’ votes, here is a complete list:
Asia’s leading web hosting provider ZNet today announced that Mr. Pradeep Chopra, CEO, Digital Vidya, will be speaking at ZNet Partners’ Summit ’13; a conference exclusively for it’s customers and partners on 6th of April at Peppermint Hotels, Gurgaon. Mr. Pradeep will share his views on “Customer Acquisition through Social Media Marketing” in a session at 11:15 A.M.
Digital Vidya is India’s largest Digital Marketing training company and the first to launch Social Media Marketing Workshop Series in India. Since January 2010, over 2000 professionals from over 500 brands such as Nokia, Google, eBay, Reliance, Star TV, Cisco, MakeMyTrip, Naukri, Citibank, Toyota, Intel, ITC, CNBC, Madison and CII have participated in more than 95 Social Media Workshops by Digital Vidya across India, Singapore, Malaysia and Oman.
Given there are over 80 Million people who spend ever increasing time on Social Media, it offers a huge opportunity for any business who’s looking at leveraging it to fulfill various business objectives ranging from Market Research to Product Development to Customer Acquisition.
– Pradeep Chopra, CEO, Digital Vidya.
A graduate from IIT Delhi, Mr. Pradeep is one of the most sought after speakers in Digital Marketing and his speaking assignments include Search Engine Strategies (USA), World Social Media Summit at Kuala Lumpur, Social Media Workshops in Singapore, Click Asia Summit, Global Youth Marketing Forum and NASSCOM India Leadership Forum in India. He writes on Entrepreneurship and Digital Marketing for Wall Street Journal, Inc & Entrepreneur Magazines.
“I am looking forward to sharing my views on ‘”Customer Acquisition through Social Media Marketing’ t ZNet Partners’ Summit. It’s going to be interesting as the audience over there will be different from typical marketing folks I usually address at other Digital Marketing conferences,” said Mr. Pradeep Chopra. “Given there are over 80 Million people who spend ever increasing time on Social Media, it offers a huge opportunity for any business who’s looking at leveraging it to fulfill various business objectives ranging from Market Research to Product Development to Customer Acquisition,” he added.
ZNet describes Partners’ Summit ’13 as an effort to reinvent the wheel of partnership. “For us , partnerships aren’t about the machinery, the bits and bytes of software and the hardware in between. Or about the whizzing streams of data that pass between emails and websites; but about the relationships forged and the people and businesses we can support,”- said Mr. Munesh Jadoun, CEO, ZNet. ”We believe that its of paramount importance to collate all our partners , their core skills and competences and present to each other real opportunity and access to the resources we have in store for each other. We aim to ensure that from now on the working relationship we seek and develop is a two-way process and that we deliver what is required to all parties concerned. The ultimate aim is to create business opportunity for everyone, build stronger bonds and enhance our skills and knowledge.”
“This is the first of the many partner summits to be held throughout the year in major cities of India. We wish to reach out to every single customer we have and get to server him better.” added Mr. Jadoun.
Scheduled for April 6th, the summit’ll be held at PepperMint Hotel, Gurgaon. Registration is Free and on the First come first server basis. Updates related to the event can be found at the official FB and Twitter account. More details can be found here.