2 Ping! Zine Magazine
Ping! Zine Magazine
22 FEATURED ARTICLE
New A Opportunity
for Web Hosts?
VoIP remains a powerful technology for hosting providers to use, but what about
hosting VoIP applications? Ping! Zine explores these possibilities.
28 Customer Service Q&A
Douglas Hanna is back with his Customer Service Q&A, delivering answers for
those tough Customer Service Questions.
30 You Know It’s Time To Leave Your Web Host When...
Here’s a light hearted but rather jaded list of reasons for why it is time
to leave your web host.
34 100% Uptime. Is It Really Possible?
When it comes to hosting websites, data, or applications for clients, one of the
toughest questions we face relates to what kind of uptime guarantees we can give.
39 The Best Guy On The Web
Brian Prince is a digital marketing visionary, and he has been intimately involved
with shaping the landscape of the internet revolution since 1994.
44 Want To Keep Your Business Afloat?
GE, Allstate, Yahoo! What do leaders at these companies know that you don’t?
They know what it takes to build a sustainable business that will be around for years.
47 Rock Out With Rails On Windows
Subsequent to a prior article, Running Multiple Ruby on Rails Applications on One
Domain, this new Rails article involves setting up Rails on your Windows system.
52 Raid Combo Number Five: Supersized!
It is apparent that the web hosting industry these days is all about reliability, speed,
and price. Your potential clientèle will probably seek out the best of all three factors.
57 An Interview With Serguei Beloussov of SWsoft
Using his management skills,Serguei Beloussov builds businesses from the
ground up, creating enterprises with multi-million dollar profits in very little time.
60 Be Unique, Be Successful
With so many would-be entrepreneurs trying to build a hosting company these days,
the competition has certainly become fierce. What does it take to be successful?
64 Service Directory
Find the services you need from some of the best companies in the industry
right here in our Service Directory.
66 Ping! Byting Back
No good issue of Ping! would be complete without a gut-splittingly hilarious back page. Of
course, this isn’t necessarily a good issue of Ping!, so the following will simply have to do.
BITS & BYTES
Ping! Zine Magazine
12 COMODO RELEASES BOCLEAN 4.23
12 GOOGLE PARTNERS WITH DOUBLECLICK DIGITAL MARKETING
14 HOSTWAY APPOINTS NEW DOMAIN NAME REGISTRY PRESIDENT
14 HOSTINGCON 2007 TO FEATURE CRUISE
16 BECOME A HOSTING GLADIATOR AT CAESARS PALACE!
17 YAHOO! EXPANDS NEWSPAPER CONSORTIUM FOR UNIQUE LOCAL CONTENT
20 MODERNBILL WORKSHOP V3.0
LETTERS TO THE EDITOR
Jean C., North Vancouver, BC, Canada:
Just wanted to thank Ping for an excellent article on alternative
hosting platforms. As a long-time Macintosh user and a long-time
Macintosh hosting user, it is refreshing to see a major hosting
magazine not ignoring these systems and their customers. Great
[Editor’s Note: Thank you for your kind words, Jean!]
[Publisher’s Note: I believe Jean is only praising Reece because
Reece is a fellow Canuck!]
Aaron G., Las Vegas, NV:
Using The Sun is a Bright Idea
It was totally great to read a review of three different classifications
of hosting that most of us probably don’t think much about. I
certainly didn’t before reading the article. I was amazed that there
is even a webhoster that actually uses solar power! Talk about a
Yours Truly, Aaron G.
[Editor’s Note: We’re sure Aaron meant to also add “pardon the
Joshua D., Houston, TX:
Eric Meyer Interview
The very “personal” nature of the questions by Ms. Amy Armitage
in her interview with Eric Meyer was as educational as it was
entertaining. It’s not everyday that you get to read something
about webmasters and then feel as if you almost know the person!
Regards, Joshua D.
Jeremy H., Miami, FL
Article Made Sure I Kept My Job
A huge THANK YOU to David Dunlap -- MAN, DO I OWE YOU
A BEER OR WHAT! Dave’s article gave me the encouragement
and techniques I needed to keep my job. I had never thought
of making my code so hard to understand that I could not ever
possibly have my bosses even consider firing me. I’m now moving
very very quickly to make sure all my code resembles the flying
spaghetti monster. Thank you again!
One of David’s greatest fans, Jeremy H., Miami, FL
[Editor’s Note: Just to be certain, we wish to remind readers that
back page articles tend to be satirical, and are not meant to be
applied to real-world situations. Really. (And, even if they *do*
Rick G., Omaha, NE
Other Alternative Web Hosting Systems
Even though I really did enjoy Reece Sellin’s article on
“alternative” hosting, I was a bit disappointed that some other
alternative hosting platforms were not talked about. I know of at
least a handful of web hosts that are using operating systems
such as BSD, Solaris, and other Unixes and Unix-like systems for
hosting. Just because Microsoft, Apple and Linux are dominating
hosting does not mean that these other systems are not just as
good or reliable or secure.
Just my two cents, Rick G., Omaha, NE
[Editor’s Note: Unfortunately, due to space considerations, I
could not exhaustively cover the full range of platforms currently
available in the hosting marketplace. That said, I definitely agree
with you, Rick -- there are certainly excellent, reliable, secure
hosting options available that use none of Windows, Linux or
MacOS, with FreeBSD likely being the one most commonly
encountered “in the wild.”]
Ping! Zine Magazine
Host PC 9
TechPad Agency 56
Lunar Pages 59
Hosting Panama 13
Top Web Hosts 15
Host Careers 67
Righteous Software 68
First Vox 19
Biz Hosting Network 20
CDG Commerce 21
SWsoft Hosting Summit 25
One Avenue 27
Touch Support 29
Data Hosts 36
Host Gator 43
Host Buyout 46
Press Advance 53
Web Host Magazine 53
Publisher Keith A. Duncan
Managing Editor/Designer Derek Morris
Corporate Manager Devin White
Senior Editor Reece Sellin
Accounts Manager Jeremy Smith
Isabel Wang, CEO, IsabelWang.com
Deborah A. Discenza, Publisher, Preemie Magazine
Ben Fisher, VP TechPad Agency LLC
Ron Dunlap, ME, Web Host Magazine & Buyer’s Guide
Frank Feingold, Owner, Doreo Hosting
Aaron Phillips, VP Sales/Marketing, FastServers.Net
David Kathiramalai, Director, WebWorldNetwork
Carlos Regos, Owner, Relio.com
Features Editor Amy Armitage
Technical Editor John Burmeister
Commentary Editor David Dunlap
Marketing Editor Trey Gardner
Service Editor Douglas Hanna
Corresponding Editor Rollie Hawk
Headlines Editor Derek Vaughan
Business Editor Dave Young
R. K. Selman
1814 S. Range Ave, Suite D
Denham Springs, LA 70726
General Info firstname.lastname@example.org
Ping! Zine Web Hosting Magazine © April/May 2007,
Published and Copyrighted 2007 by Ping! Zine, LLC,
P.O. Box 516, Denham Springs, LA 70726. All rights
Permission to reproduce with or all or parts of this
magazine must be secured in writing from the
publisher, although we don’t recommend it. For more
information email email@example.com.
Disclaimer: Ping! Zine assumes no responsibility
or liability for the content of this magazine or the
stupid things we say or do. All points and ideas are
strictly that of the writers involved and not that of the
publisher, publishing company, printing company or
anyone involved with the same. If you want to blame
someone however, blame the new guy. All materials
in this magazine were produced by free labor,
drunkin monkeys. Printed in China. We needed to
save some money this issue.
10 Ping! Zine Magazine
GET THIS NEWS & MORE ON THE WEB AT WWW.PINGZINE.COM
COMODO RELEASES BOCLEAN 4.23
Comodo releases BOClean 4.23, formerly by Privacy
Software Corporation (PSC)
New version provides robust malware protection as part of
Comodo’s strategic initiative to secure the desktop for free
Comodo, a global Certification Authority and leading provider
of Identity and Trust Assurance (ITA) Management solutions,
announced the launch of Comodo BOClean 4.23. Building on
Comodo’s recent acquisition of the assets of Privacy Software
Corporation (PSC), the release coincides with the re-launch
of the PSC website under the Comodo brand. Like all of Comodo’s
desktop security software, BOClean 4.23 is free of
charge to end-users.
BOClean can be deployed on single computer or over a network
and can be customized for any network or institutional
situation. The application is designed to complement traditional
anti-virus solutions by checking executable files just before
they run. BOClean then consults its database of 278,000 malware
signatures (which equates to nearly 2 million malware
variants) and instantly kills the process if malware is detected.
In this way, BOClean delivers an extra layer of protection by
catching any virus, Trojan, or malware that has already eluded
the other active guards a user has installed on their system.
BOClean was originally developed by Privacy Software Corporation
(PSC) - a privately-owned company that develops
malware, trojans, spyware and rootkit detection technology.
Comodo also plans to release re-branded and upgraded versions
of the entire PSC product family in the near future -
which includes IEClean, NSClean, VacPac and FileVac.
“We are delighted with the release of Comodo BOClean
4.23”, said Nancy McAleavey, former CEO and founder of Privacy
Software Corporation, “Comodo has demonstrated that
they have the resources and commitment necessary to ensure
the continuity of protection for existing BOClean license
holders. We can move into the future with great confidence in
Comodo’s ability to further develop and improve the already
highly regarded PSC product line.”
Comodo BOClean strengthens the Comodo’s commitment to
securing the desktop for free. Other free-of-charge solutions
include Comodo Firewall Pro; Comodo Antivirus; Comodo
iVault (a secure password manager); Comodo Anti-Spam and
All previous versions of PSC products will continue to be supported
and updated with the latest signature databases. Existing
BOClean customers are strongly encouraged to upgrade
to the latest version. Users can download Comodo BOClean
4.23 for free from the Comodo website at: http://www.comodo.
For additional information on Comodo - Creating Trust Online
GOOGLE PARTNERS WITH
DOUBLECLICK DIGITAL MARKETING
Search engine, Google, along with digital marketing technology
and services firm, DoubleClick Inc., have inked an agreement
whereby Google will acquire DoubleClick, for an estimated
$3.1 billion in cash.
Eric Schmidt, Chief Executive Officer of Google added, ‘’DoubleClick’s
technology is widely adopted by leading advertisers,
publishers and agencies, and the combination of the two companies
will accelerate the adoption of Google’s innovative advances
in display advertising.’’
Both companies have approved the transaction, which is
subject to customary closing conditions, and is expected to
close by the end of the year. Through San Francisco-based
private equity firm Hellman and Friedman, along with JMI Equity
and management, the acquisition is anticipated to combine
Google’s leading advertising platform and publisher monetization
services, with DoubleClick’s expertise in ad management
technology for media buyers and sellers.
Sergey Brin, Co-Founder and President of Google Technology
remarked, ‘’It has been our vision to make Internet advertising
better - less intrusive, more effective, and more useful.
Together with DoubleClick, Google will make the Internet more
efficient for end users, advertisers, and publishers.’’
The combination of Google and DoubleClick is hoped to offer
superior tools for targeting, serving and analyzing online ads of
all types, significantly benefiting customers and consumers:
For users, the combined company will deliver an improved experience
on the web, by increasing the relevancy and the quality
of the ads they see.
For online publishers, the combination provides access to new
advertisers, which creates a powerful opportunity to monetize
their inventory more efficiently.
For agencies and advertisers, Google and DoubleClick will
provide an easy and efficient way to manage both search and
display ads in one place. They will be able to optimize their ad
spending across different online media using a common set of
12 Ping! Zine Magazine
Tim Armstrong, President, Advertising and Commerce,
North America, Google commented, ‘’This
transaction will strengthen our advertising network
by expanding our access to publisher inventory
and enabling us to serve the needs of a broader
set of advertisers and ad agencies.’’
David Rosenblatt, Chief Executive Officer of
DoubleClick added, ‘’Google is the absolute perfect
partner for us. Combining DoubleClick’s cutting
edge digital solutions for both media buyers
and sellers with Google’s scale and innovative
resources will bring tremendous value to both our
employees and clients.’’
Philip Hammarskjold, Managing Director of Hellman
and Friedman offered, ‘’When we acquired
DoubleClick in July 2005, we saw an opportunity
to partner with a great management team to
further enhance the company’s capabilities and
growth trajectory. This transaction affirms the successful
transformation of DoubleClick, positions
the firm for the future, and greatly benefits our
DoubleClick is a provider of digital marketing
technology and services. The world’s top marketers,
publishers and agencies utilize DoubleClick’s
expertise in ad serving, rich media, video, search
and affiliate marketing to help them make the
most of the digital medium. From its position at
the nerve center of digital marketing, DoubleClick
provides superior insights and insider knowledge
to its customers. Headquartered in New York, and
with 17 offices and development hubs and 15 data
centers worldwide, the company employs more
than 1200 people and delivers billions of digital
communications every day.
With the largest index of websites available on
the World Wide Web and the industry’s most
advanced search technology, Google Inc. delivers
the fastest and easiest way to find relevant
information on the Internet. Google’s technological
innovations have earned the company numerous
industry awards and citations, including
two Webby Awards; two WIRED magazine Readers
Raves Awards; Best Internet Innovation and
Technical Excellence Award from PC Magazine;
Best Search Engine on the Internet from Yahoo!
Internet Life; Top Ten Best Cybertech from TIME
magazine; and Editor’s Pick from CNET. A growing
number of companies worldwide, including Yahoo!
and its international properties, Sony Corporation
and its global affiliates, AOL/Netscape, and
Cisco Systems, rely on Google to power search
on their websites. A privately held company based
in Mountain View, Calif., Google’s investors include
Kleiner Perkins Caufield Byers and Sequoia
GET THIS NEWS & MORE ON THE WEB AT WWW.PINGZINE.COM
the UK’s Invensys Plc, Baan Company. Ms. Sigmar
had prior experience in legal and consulting roles
with System Software Associates and Price Waterhouse.
Ms. Sigmar holds a J.D. degree from the Illinois
Institute of Technology, a Bachelor of Law from
University of Western Ontario (Canada) and a B.A
from Queens University (Canada).
Lucas Roh, CEO of Hostway Corporation, the parent
company of RegistryPro, remarked, ‘’In Catherine,
we have a colleague of depth, perspective,
and global experience who also possesses the necessary
leadership skills. Her international corporate
experience as well as her background in the legal
field will help enormously as we bring the benefits of
.Pro domain names to professionals everywhere.’’
Ms. Sigmar commented, ‘’.Pro will represent for
Internet users a trusted source for access to professionals
and professional service firms. The .Pro
extension will be the vehicle that professionals and
professional service firms rely on to establish credibility
as they continue to take advantage of the
RegistryPro operates the .Pro top-level domain
(TLD), an Internet registry exclusively for professionals
who meet specific eligibility requirements
and undergo a verification process. All .Pro names
are issued with a digital certificate, an online passport
that facilitates secure communications and
transactions. RegistryPro provides a new way for
professionals to distinguish themselves on the Internet
by using the .Pro extension. Initially offered to
doctors, lawyers, accountants, and engineers, the
.Pro domain name provides a solution for professionals
who require heightened confidentiality and
security in their online communications.
Hostway has been recognized as a leading web
hosting provider by online hosting resources.
TopHosts has ranked Hostway as the number one
hosting provider from 2000-2006. Hostway has also
been rated the number one E-commerce Hosting
Provider by Web Host Directory, the most reliable
web hosting provider web site by Netcraft and the
best web hosting company by HostReview. Hostway
Corporation provides domain registration, web
hosting, web design and online marketing services
to more than 400,000 customers worldwide. Hostway
helps individuals, small businesses and large
enterprises achieve more value from web-based
technologies by reducing their complexity and cost.
Founded in 1998, Hostway is one of the five largest
web hosting companies in the world with offices in
North America (Chicago (HQ), Austin, Tampa and
Vancouver), Europe (Belgium, France, Frankfurt,
Hannover, London and Netherlands), Asia (Korea)
and Australia (Sydney).
NEW DOMAIN NAME
14 Ping! Zine Magazine
Hostway Corporation, a web hosting and managed
technology services company, has recently appointed
Catherine Sigmar, to the position of President of
RegistryPro, the exclusive operator of the .Pro top
level domain (TLD) for professionals.
Ms. Sigmar will lead in the registry’s relationship
with ICANN, as well as all aspects of the registry’s
operations including strategy, marketing and sales,
registrar support, legal affairs, and policy. In addition,
she will contribute to setting policies for the
promotion of the growth of the .Pro domain name
as well as manage the general environment of the
.Pro domain name.
Prior to joining RegistryPro, Ms. Sigmar held a
number of international senior executive positions.
Most recently she successfully led the strategic
consulting group for the Americas at Intel Corporation.
Before joining Intel, Ms. Sigmar held several
senior sales, legal and operations positions with
TO FEATURE CRUISE
Hosting resource TopHosts.com, along with managed
dedicated server firm FastServers.Net, will host a business
networking cruise for representatives of leading
businesses, at this year’s premiere web hosting industry
event, HostingCon 2007.
HostingCon 2007 will be held July 23-25, 2007 at the
historic Navy Pier in Chicago, Illinois, set in the heart of
downtown Chicago, just a short distance from Michigan
Avenue shopping and many other Chicago features.
Scheduled to take place on the evening of July 24th,
the business networking cruise participants will begin
boarding at 6:00 p.m., at the Navy Pier. Participants
in the cruise can combine business with pleasure,
mingling with hosting executives, technical managers,
sales managers, marketing managers, systems administrators,
investors, and press representatives, while
enjoying a panoramic view of the Chicago skyline.
As sponsors, FastServers.net and TopHosts.com
have arranged to subsidize cruise tickets, so participants
may purchase them for a minimal fee. The cruise
will be a serious business event, offering the opportunity
to network with top level executives, as well as
media outlets and a wide range of hosting based companies.
Aaron Phillips, Vice President of FastServers.Net,
said, “This cruise will be one of the major networking
GET THIS NEWS & MORE ON THE WEB AT WWW.PINGZINE.COM
events at HostingCon 2007. We are delighted to be teaming up
with TopHosts.com to provide such a great business opportunity
in such an enjoyable setting.”
The cruise line for this event is Mystic Blue Cruises, known for
providing a delightful cruise experience on Lake Michigan. The
Mystic Blue Cruise vessel offers three enclosed climate-controlled
decks plus a relaxing open-air deck. The ship sports newly remodeled,
sleek, silvery-blue interiors and provides breathtaking views
of the Chicago skyline. The cruise will include light appetizers, and
an open bar will be available for three hours while cruising Lake
Tickets may be reserved at www.hostingconcruise.com, or by
directly contacting either FastServers.Net or TopHosts.com. Because
the cruise can accommodate a maximum of 400 persons,
early registration is strongly recommended. Once maximum capacity
has been reached, no further reservations will be made.
FastServers, Inc is a dedicated server and managed hosting provider
with over 3,000 servers in production. It operates enterprise
level data centers that allow organizations to reduce IT expenditures
and rely on their team of hosting experts for managed hosting
services. Founded in 1996, FastServers.Net is considered one of
the Top 10 Leading managed hosting providers in the world. Fast-
Servers.Net maintains a primary data center in Chicago, IL with
secondary Data Centers in Cedar Falls, IA and Fremont, CA.
Toronto, Canada-based VerticalScope Inc., the parent of
TopHosts.Com and HostCompare.com, is an international media
company that creates authoritative industry portals, directories
and content services, covering a wide array of vertical industries.
The firm’s verticals offer the latest news, articles, and analysis.
BECOME A HOSTING
GLADIATOR AT CAESARS PALACE!
Reserve June 20th-22nd for this hot LAS VEGAS
Ping! Zine and Layered Technologies (LT) invite all hosting industry
players to LT PACT 2007:::LAS VEGAS. This 2nd annual
event will be in Las Vegas, Nevada from June 20th to June 22nd.
Hosting customers, resellers, vendors, media and industry players
will converge on Caesars Palace once again for the event that
will take everyone to the next level. Come early to Las Vegas and
“What is this LT PACT all about?”
LT PACT 2007 will provide “street” information that really works,
will advise industry stakeholders on what others in hosting won’t
tell them, and will guide all players into hosting’s future. Andy
Schroefper, Founder of the respected Tier 1 Research, will kick
off the event with new fresh insight into hosting’s future. Register
Now (links to www.ltpact.com).
“Prove it!” “What street information is so valuable that I
need to attend?”
For example, marketing is one of the top three issues facing every
hosting company in this highly competitive arena. Your business
will not grow unless you are doing more than managing your
client’s infrastructure needs. You need a business development
effort, which requires marketing insight. No one is born with keen
marketing power in and of themselves. Yes, you know about and
are probably applying various marketing techniques including
Search Engine Optimization (SEO), Pay Per Click Search Listings
(PPC), Email Marketing and Forum Marketing. However, are you
really getting the maximum results you want? Only two ways exist
to increase your marketing knowledge: learning daily through
trial and error attempts, and tapping information from experts. At
LT PACT, Alchemist, one of the top five SEO and PPC firms in
16 Ping! Zine Magazine
the country, will present you with quick insights on how to outwit
your competitors, especially those who do not attend. Since any
industry player will be able to tap the marketing power taught,
three players who register before May 4th will receive a Website
Marketing Make Over from our experts during their live presentations.
Register Now (links to www.ltpact.com).
“What are the other hot top issues being addressed at LT
Cutting edge topics include: “Understanding Grid Computing and
the Utility Hosting Model.” “SaaS and Your Revenue Future.” “Is
Your Business Web 2.0 Ready? Web 3.0 Ready?” “Permission
Based Messaging as Part of Your Marketing Communications.”
“Blogging and the Marketing Potential.” “Managed Services vs.
Hardware-as-a-Service: what is the difference?” Many of our
Industry sponsors (Microsoft, HP, AMD, Savvis, SWsoft, 3Tera,
cPanel and others) as well as Ping! Zine are currently preparing
insightful information for you to learn, implement and turn into
Fight your way out of the coliseum of hosting competitors with
real industry power: Gain industry insight to use at your command!
Register Now (links to www.ltpact.com).
YAHOO! EXPANDS NEWSPAPER
CONSORTIUM FOR UNIQUE LOCAL CONTENT
Yahoo! search engine and Internet destination is expanding its
growth alignments with twelve leading U.S. newspaper company
partnerships for local news and advertising, by inking a definitive
Robert W. Decherd, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of
Belo Corp. remarked, ‘’This ground-breaking partnership creates
the newspaper industry’s first full-fledged integrated online advertising
network and significantly expands consortium members
Internet presence. The consortium continues to gain momentum
and will play a central role in the emerging media landscape.’’
With the addition of The McClatchy Company and four other
new members since November 2006, the newspaper group now
stands at 12 newspaper publishing companies. This represents
a critical mass of more than 264 newspapers across 44 states,
along with multiple distribution channels that will benefit advertisers,
readers and the participating companies.
Sue Decker, Executive Vice President; Head of Advertiser and
Publisher Group, and acting Chief Financial Officer at Yahoo! Inc.
commented, ‘’The continued expansion of our relationship with
the newspapers will deliver a best-of-breed local experience for
advertisers and audiences. By working with top-notch, well-respected
media companies, this relationship represents another
step forward in our strategy to build the most robust ad network
on the Internet.’’
The strategic partnership revolves around four key opportunities:
Enhancing newspaper online advertising revenue using
Yahoo!’s graphical advertising technology. For more than a decade,
Yahoo! has been a leader in online graphical advertising.
Advertisers and newspapers will be using Yahoo!’s sophisticated
ad-serving, targeting and inventory management capabilities.
This strategic alliance creates the newspaper industry’s most
comprehensive and integrated online advertising network.
Leveraging leading local and national online sales forces. This
relationship creates an all-in-one buying opportunity for local advertisers,
allowing newspaper sales representatives to offer the
combined aggregated reach of local newspaper and local Yahoo!
online audiences. Yahoo!’s sales force may sell newspaper
inventory to their portfolio of national advertisers and newspapers’
sales forces can sell Yahoo!’s local online inventory to local
Integrating Yahoo!’s paid search technology across newspaper
At WingSix, we believe there’s more to being a leading web hosting provider than just
offering reliable high performance servers. What really sets WingSix apart is our focus on
the network connection between our company and our customer base. That’s why WingSix web
hosting and reseller plans include features that aren’t available on even the best carrier grade
servers—like our commitment to providing outstanding levels of customer support and experience.
WingSix: Hosting plans engineered for individuals, small businesses and resellers—complete with
dedicated people. Welcome to the WingSix network.
Toll Free 888.WINGSIX • International 312.698.5800
sites. Yahoo!’s search functionality will be deployed across
hundreds of newspaper web sites and exposed to more than
50 million users on a monthly basis. Additionally, users will
benefit from having access to a customized Yahoo! toolbar
which will be distributed on local newspaper web sites, providing
newspaper web site users with easy access to the most
comprehensive Internet search.
Distributing high-quality newspaper content broadly across
the Yahoo! Network. Newspaper content will be fully integrated
within local news modules and delivered to Yahoo!
users interested in local news, sports, finance and other content
in Yahoo! vertical areas. This will give readers superior
local content developed by credible news professionals and
community contributors across the country. Additionally, this
strategic partnership paves the way for mobile distribution of
The number of members working with Yahoo! in the group
has nearly doubled since its formation in November 2006
when it announced an agreement to enable the newspapers
to post their jobs on Yahoo! HotJobs. The consortium includes
more than 264 papers across 44 states. The consortium members
newspapers have a combined Sunday circulation of 18.5
million, and their web sites attract a combined total of more
than 50 million monthly unique visitors.
Gary Pruitt, Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer
of McClatchy added, ‘’This milestone deal represents far more
than an advantageous, win-win business deal for Yahoo! and
participating newspapers -- although it certainly is that. The
consortium also demonstrates that our members recognize
this plan delivers significant benefits to our advertisers and
readers, starting almost at once. We expect other newspaper
companies will be joining in the near future, and they will be
welcomed as allies whose participation will increase the benefits
we can deliver.’’
The McClatchy Company is among the latest newspaper
groups to join the consortium, currently participating in all aspects
except the HotJobs component. Other new members
since November 2006 include Calkins Media, Inc.; Media
General, Inc.; Morris Communications Company, LLC; and
Paddock Publications, Inc.
Consortium members announced last November include:
Belo Corp.; Cox Newspapers; The E.W. Scripps Company;
Hearst Newspapers; Journal Register Company; Lee Enterprises;
and MediaNews Group, Inc. The newspapers in this
consortium include major market dailies such as the Atlanta
Journal-Constitution, The Commercial Appeal (Memphis),
The Dallas Morning News, The Denver Post, The Florida
Times-Union, Houston Chronicle, The Miami Herald, New Haven
Register, Rocky Mountain News, St. Louis Post-Dispatch,
The Sacramento Bee, San Francisco Chronicle, San Jose
Mercury-News and The Tampa Tribune.
Yahoo! Inc. is a global Internet brand, as one of the most trafficked
Internet destinations worldwide. Yahoo!’s mission is to
connect people to their passions, their communities, and the
world’s knowledge. Yahoo! is headquartered in Sunnyvale,
GET THIS NEWS & MORE ON THE WEB AT WWW.PINGZINE.COM
On April 5-6, 2007, ModernGigabyte held their 3rd annual
ModernBill Hosting Workshop at the Marriott Hotel in downtown
Louisville, Kentucky. The Workshop was another success following
in the footsteps of the two previous years. A great deal
of focus this year was in the areas of New Revenue Generation,
Domains, Reseller Hosting, Reselling ModernBill, Exchange
Hosting, and Windows Hosting. Over 100 attendees flocked
from all parts to participate in the workshop.
The sessions this year were split into two tracks, which at
times were combined, allowing attendees the ability to choose
the sessions based on in depth technical information, or support
with other software companies and integration. Track One
started with Customizing the Look and Feel of ModernBill followed
by a session on Modern Accounting. ModernGigabyte’s
own Sean Stafford, Jon McCarrick, and Kris Bailey covered
Installs and Configurations in depth. This Track also featured
coding and working with MBAPI, and migrating from previous
versions as well as other billing applications. A session was
also in place presented by Dan Kimball and David Stadler covering
new developments and the future of the reseller program.
Track One was concluded with a Developer Roundtable where
future features were discussed with the entire development staff
through input by the attendees toward their own needs in the future.
Track Two consisted of sessions by Dave Koston of cPanel,
Dennis Hopp of Ensim, Todd Crumpler of SWsoft, Michael
Johnson of Microsoft, and Domain Sponsor by Jothan Frakes
of Oversee.net. Both tracks were combined in special sessions
to cover Exchange Panel by William Toll of Intermedia.net, Domains
of a web host by Jude Augusta, the Executive Director
of The Internet Commerce Association, as well as Tom Murphy
of BuyDomains speaking on names, revenue, and customer
satisfaction in the domain aftermarket. David Snead spoke on
legal issues surrounding the Web Hosting industry, followed by
Jon McCarrick, VP of Operations for ModernGigabyte, covering
chargebacks in the Dark Side of Fraud. The sessions also
featured a reseller panel moderated by Isabel Wang with voices
from some of ModernBill’s top resellers including HostNine and
A social session sponsored by BuyDomains was held at The
Pub on beautiful 4th Street Live in Downtown Louisville. Here,
attendees and company personnel alike were able to converse
in a wonderful laid-back environment. This was a definitive
chance for old colleagues as well as for new faces to break the
ice and integrate with one another. Many discussions on the
future were had, along with many a business card exchanged.
If you are a current or potential ModernBill user, the workshop
should be first priority in order to get the most out of the package
as well as to keep in the know on the issues involved with and
surrounding the industry to date.
20 Ping! Zine Magazine
New A Opportunity
for Web Hosts?
By Reece Sellin
Several months ago, in an article here in Ping!, I explored
some of the technical aspects of VoIP (Voice Over
IP) technology, and reviewed some ways in which VoIP
could be used as a supportive technology for web hosting
companies. Areas explored included click-to-call
technology and virtual call centers, items easily supported
and implemented using current and often very inexpensive
VoIP technologies. In that area, not much has
changed – VoIP remains a powerful technology category
that can (sometimes dramatically) increase the quality
and scope of customer service offered by web hosting
22 Ping! Zine Magazine
In that article, I also suggested
that there was a
growing range of opportunities
for those wishing to
enter the VoIP marketplace.
In the few months since
that article was published, it
appears that these opportunities
continued to develop.
It is this topic that I will
explore in this article.
VOIP VS. TRADITIONAL
The benefits of VoIP over Traditional
Telephony are numerous, and largely beyond
the scope of this article. However,
VoIP empowers an extremely wide range
of features normally unavailable (or very
difficult or expensive to implement) using
traditional telephony. Moreover, issues of
the past, such as lower call quality on VoIP
calls have largely been eliminated through
improved technologies. Further, substantial
cost savings for traditional services
such as long-distance and 1-800 calling
have added to VoIP’s appeal. Finally, VoIP
hardware and software has progressively
become easier to use – making most conversions
to VoIP technology an efficient,
More interesting from a business perspective,
however, is the seemingly excellent
alignment between rapidly growing
VoIP markets and traditional web hosting
markets. For example, a range of studies
were cited in a recent whitepaper from
Rack-Soft, LLC (www.4psa.com):
According to Forrester, small and medium
businesses are “2.5 to 3 times” more interested
in a hosted VoIP solution than large
According to IDC, “39.1% of corporate
home offices and 23.7% of home-based
businesses are interested in or using
Also according to IDC, individual consumers
also represent substantial opportunities;
they project 62% of broadband users
will also use VoIP services by 2010.
And, perhaps most significantly, a Yankee
Group study indicated that Hosted
VoIP solutions “will continue to experience
growth and fuel the industry by offering a
solution for enterprises to save on capital
many web hosting
providers also have
the infrastructure and
type of client base to
be competitive in the
Although full-fledged ISPs are the most
commonly mentioned type of business in
terms of having the capabilities of entering
the VoIP market, it appears, on the surface
at least, that many web hosting providers
also have the infrastructure and type of client
base to be competitive in the VoIP arena.
The main reason for this is a result of
VoIP now being a relatively simple technology
to implement from a hosting perspective.
I will explore a few of the possibilities
in terms of offering VoIP services.
With a bit of technical “elbow grease,” it is
not difficult for a technically-inclined hosting
provider to combine technologies into
full-fledged VoIP solutions integrated with
the PSTN (public switched telephone network).
For example, a full corporate solution
complete with custom extensions,
voicemail, local and 1-800 numbers, and
a variety of advanced phone features can
be rapidly implemented using a combination
of (freely-downloadable) “softphones”
(software-based VoIP telephones, often
utilized with a basic headset) as clients,
open-source Asterisk PBX software (www.
asterisk.org) as the underlying “server,”
and an inexpensive SIP trunking service
(available from a wide range of vendors,
sometimes referred to as “VoIP carriers” or
“media gateway providers”) as the “glue”
that connects all of this to the PSTN. All of
this can have a foundation on conventional
dedicated servers, and in some cases,
even on VPS platforms. Clearly, it is thus
possible for many hosting providers who
already offer dedicated hosting solutions to
offer VoIP as a value-added service using
the above configuration.
Dedicated hosting providers looking to
enter the VoIP market may not have to wait
long for an easier solution, however. At
press time, Digium, the primary developers
of Asterisk, released the 5th Beta version
of their new AsteriskNow product – a software
appliance that integrates Asterisk, a
Linux installation, and an “Asterisk GUI,”
making it possible for end-users to configure
their VoIP platform in an easy-to-use,
According to Mark Spencer, creator of
Asterisk and founder and chief technology
officer of Digium, “Our objective with AsteriskNOW
is to bring the power and flexibility
of Asterisk to a far broader group of
customers. Companies that want a real alternative
to phone systems that cost thousands
of dollars can download and use
AsteriskNOW—without any knowledge of
Linux or programming skills.” And, given
the flexible (GNU Public License) licensing
terms of AsteriskNOW, there is little doubt
that many dedicated hosting providers will
be able to provide stable, affordable AsteriskNOW-based
VoIP solutions upon the
product’s final release, expected later this
Beyond the realm of software appliances
are hardware appliances for implementing
VoIP solutions. One of the most promising
seems to be the trixbox Appliance (www.
trixbox.org/appliance), a dedicated server
that comes preloaded with the popular
trixbox telephone application (itself an extremely
popular application that makes it
easy to configure even advanced Asterisk
features). Planned for release in June,
pricing will range from $999 for a base
model through to $3199.00 for advanced
24 Ping! Zine Magazine
A perhaps obvious question is if there are simpler options
available – in other words, is there anything in the VoIP world
akin to web hosting reselling, that doesn’t involve having to operate
and maintain a dedicated server? In a growing number of
cases, it appears that the answer is yes – with a few caveats.
First, something along the lines of a reseller “control panel”
tend to be proprietary; the VoIP reseller industry simply isn’t
developed enough to have “mature” technologies of the type
we’re used to seeing in the web hosting market.
That said, a few companies are now enabling individuals and
businesses to resell various technologies, such as Hosted PBX
technologies. For example, Pennsylvania-based Junction Networks
(www.junctionnetworks.com) offers a reseller solution
that is in many respects similar to what is seen in reseller web
hosting. For example, akin to private-label nameservers and
control panels, Junction Networks offers a “white label web
site.” PBX package customization is also possible, as is utilizing
a Web Services API.
Interestingly, despite the seemingly rapid growth of the VoIP
industry, reseller solutions such as those offered by Junction
Networks remain relatively uncommon. Although the main reason
for this appears to be a combination of reseller VoIP solutions
being a relatively new niche in a relatively new industry,
there may be more factors at play. I will now discuss a couple
of these possibilities.
A MATTER OF TRUST?
Despite the inherent flexibility of VoIP solutions, virtually all of
the companies involved in the VoIP industry have one common
disadvantage – they are dwarfed in size, financial resources,
and history by telcos and other firms with a long history of
providing non-VoIP services to their customers. The gap, of
course, can be even wider when one is discussing those who
are reselling the services of VoIP providers. This disadvantage
may affect the VoIP services industry in two significant ways:
First, for most people, the companies they are most familiar
with in terms of providing telephone services are those they
use as their landline and mobile/cellular providers. Considering
that, for many, their experiences with a given telephone company
have been practically life-long, it is perhaps only natural
to conclude that these same individuals are likely to explore
their telco’s options whenever a specific solution is needed.
And, although many of these individuals have likely heard of
VoIP technology, there is a good probability they do not sufficiently
understand how it works, or they may simply have other
concerns with VoIP (such as worries over 9-1-1 emergency
services) or dependence on broadband internet connectivity.
Moreover, it’s tough to deny that familiarity is often comforting,
particularly when making important decisions. Thus, it would
seem that in both the case of residential and business telephone
service, decisionmakers may tend towards going with
the status quo – their telco – rather than an upstart VoIP provider
or one of those upstarts’ resellers.
Second, companies with strong histories in other services are
also well-leveraged to enter the VoIP market. For example,
Shaw Communications Inc. (www.shaw.ca), a Canadian firm
that has been a long-established force in cable television and
later cable-based broadband internet access, continues to expand
into the arena of telephone service. Shaw Digital Phone,
their premier product in this space, is now offered in most major
communities in which Shaw provides cable television and
internet service, and is extremely competitively priced when
compared to traditional telco services. It is thus possible that
as the VoIP industry grows, companies like Shaw, who have
established client bases and hefty resources, will possibly lead
expansion in both residential and business VoIP services.
In other words, in both of these cases, the entities who ultimately
score the most VoIP business may be those who are
most trusted in other areas by current clients, or who at least
have strong market recognition among possible clients. Thus,
it is entirely possible that conventional web hosting companies
looking to expand into wide-scale VoIP offerings may need to
extremely carefully consider their business strategies, and be
prepared for difficult market battles with very experienced, resourceful
All may not be lost, however, for the small-to-medium-sized
hosting company looking to take advantage of VoIP as a valueadded
service for their clients. Although the business environment
remains precarious regardless of the situation, a few
relatively obvious approaches seem advisable:
As with conventional hosting, VoIP may be another area where
distinguishing service offerings from the competition may be viable.
For example, many of the points raised in Dave Young’s
article in this issue may be directly applicable to this industry
as well. In other words, niche markets may ultimately prove to
be the “bread and butter” of hosting companies moving into the
VoIP arena. To take Dave’s example, a VoIP solution designed
for chiropractors may be something immensely profitable but
something totally untouched by larger firms.
Directly offering VoIP as a value-added service with conventional
shared hosting may also provide some significant oppormany
will be able
to find their
place in this
26 Ping! Zine Magazine
tunities. For example, although broadband ISP companies
have the advantage of being able to piggyback VoIP offerings
on top of existing infrastructure, and offering services
directly to clients who have already committed to the
companies in question (often in the form of service “bundles),
many hosting providers may be able to take a similar
approach. This is one approach that may very well be
strengthened by the fact that things like click-to-call functionality
are directly integrated into websites – potentially
giving the hosting provider, not the large ISP, an advantage.
-- Substantial VoIP opportunities that also do not require
marketing directly to end-users may very well be available
to hosting providers. What I mean by this is that with the
advent of technologies such as AsteriskNow, it is becoming
much easier for hosting companies to sell and market solutions
that easily and affordably extend conventional VPS
and Dedicated server platforms, turning those platforms
into full-fledged VoIP-based telephone solutions suitable
for resale. Companies engaged in dedicated server and/or
VPS hosting may wish to carefully consider these options.
-- Lastly, it is entirely possible that still more companies
will begin to offer reseller VoIP solutions, marketed in a
similar fashion to reseller web hosting solutions as the industry
continues to mature, and as items such as reseller
control panels for VoIP become available.
In this article, I have discussed some recent developments
in implementing VoIP technology from the perspective of
those seeking to market VoIP solutions. I have also provided
some analysis on how provisioning VoIP may prove
challenging for hosting providers, while also discussing
some possible ways in which hosting providers can effectively
leverage VoIP to expand their enterprises.
At the end of the day, the future for VoIP vis a vis the conventional
web hosting provider appears somewhat unclear.
In reality, the situation is perhaps very similar to that facing
many web hosting providers in their conventional service
offerings. The type of consolidation that some indicate may
occur in the hosting industry (i.e. a move towards a few
larger players rather than many smaller firms) may already
be at play in the VoIP industry. Just as is the case in the
web hosting industry debate on that front, when it comes
to VoIP, there are a huge range of factors at play that turn
it into a situation where truly only “time will tell.” What is
obvious, however, is that VoIP is here to stay. And, even
in industries that are dominated by large entities, there are
almost always opportunities to be found. Assuredly, many
web hosting providers will be able to find their place in this
rapidly growing industry. P!
Writer’s Bio: Reece Sellin is Senior Editor of Ping! Magazine
and a freelance web hosting industry consultant. He
lives in the Great White North known as Canada along with
his yellow Labrador Retriever dog, Jill.
By Douglas Hanna
Q: What’s the best way to say no to customers?
A: Saying no to customers can be tough.
Customers rarely want to hear the word “no” and in
an ideal world, everything they want can become a
reality. In competitive industries like web hosting,
many companies want to bend over backwards for
their customers. However, some requests simply
can’t be met. When such requests are made, what is
the best way to say “no”?
First, you don’t want to use the word “no” directly.
You can sugarcoat it with words or phrases like
“unfortunately, I don’t believe that is possible”, “I don’t
think that is feasible”, etc. This helps get rid of the
immediate problem – the word “no”. The sentence
may mean the same thing, but the simple wording change can
make a big difference.
Next, you want to offer some alternative solutions. Saying
something like “Unfortunately, we don’t offer Microsoft SQL Server.
However, we do offer MySQL, which in many cases, allows you
to do the same thing.” helps ease the “no”. Alternative solutions
make it better for the customer and have the possibility to generate
sales, upgrades, etc. Be sure to outline any relevant costs, though
– customers will not appreciate being charged down the road.
The last step is to offer to help. Including a phrase at the end of
your message like “Let me know if you’d like to proceed getting
your account setup with MySQL.” shows the customer that you are
willing to help. An offer to help will usually comfort the customer.
Here’s a good example of a “no” question and answer:
Customer Question: Do you support Ruby on Rails?
Company Answer: Hi – (name) -,
Thanks for your interest in –(company)-. We’re glad you took the
time to email us.
Unfortunately, at this time, we don’t support Ruby on Rails.
However, we’re looking to start offering it within the next couple
of months. In the mean time, though, you may want to consider
some alternative programming languages like PHP or Perl, both
of which we support. They are automatically installed on your
28 Ping! Zine Magazine
You can also consider a dedicated server. We are more than
happy to install Ruby on Rails on dedicated servers. In fact, we
have several customers successfully running Ruby on Rails on
If you’d like me to send you an email when we start to offer Ruby
on Rails on our shared hosting accounts, I would be more than
happy to do so. Thanks again for your interest in our company and
please don’t hesitate to let me know if I can be of service.
Q: Our company has some outsourced support staff members.
What are some good ways to deal with language barriers?
A: Language and communication barriers are among the biggest
complaints relating to outsourced customer service. Fortunately, it
isn’t impossible to try and reduce some of those barriers and make
communication easier for both the customer and the company.
Here are some tips:
- Use operating procedures. Don’t use scripts, but instead, have
operating procedures outlining what to do in certain situations.
Operating procedures still provide the representative with an
outline of what to do, while at the same time making them seem
- Teach them English. This only works if you hire the people
yourself or deal with the same people on a day to day basis. If
you do, though, it helps to teach the outsourced representatives
English. Go over which words or phrases they may get wrong and
how to improve. Record some calls or go over email logs and pick
them apart. There is almost always a better way to say something
and the outsourced representatives are usually happy to receive
tips on how to improve their English.
- Make elevations easy. If customers are getting frustrated,
make elevating the call to someone who speaks better English
easy. If you only have to elevate a small percentage of calls, it
shouldn’t be too taxing on resources, and will make for happier
- Use outsourced staff appropriately. In my experience, a
majority of outsourced technical support representatives do know
their stuff. Make use of their skills and consider having outsourced
staff do backend things like server upgrades and account moves,
installations, etc. This almost eliminates the language and
communication barriers (these tasks usually don’t involve much
customer interaction) and still allows you to effectively utilize their
- Ask for feedback. Ask your customers to send you their
feedback. You may be surprised at what you hear and customer
feedback is almost always useful. If you want to clarify something
or ask a question, contact the customer and ask for some more
If you start with those, in time, it’ll be quite clear what you need
to do to improve your customer service. P!
Writer’s Bio: Douglas Hanna is the Customer Service Editor
for Ping! Zine. You can send your customer service questions to
By Amy Armitage & Joe Whyte
With our combined experience over the years,
we have seen the best and worst of web hosting
companies. Here’s a light hearted but rather jaded
list of reasons for when it’s time to leave your web
host [present company excluded, of course]!
its time to
30 Ping! Zine Magazine
1. Calling into customer support and
waiting on hold for 40 minutes... and the
hold music is Marilyn Manson!
2. You ask for RoR (Ruby on Rails) and
the tech on the phone assures you he can
provide that and yells “RWAAAAR!”
3. Your hosting company just got bought
out by the web hosting company you just
transferred away from.
4. They claim to be a member of the BBB
but later you find out their BBB is The
Birmingham Bizarre Bazaar (quality fetish
5. You call in tech support and the
gentleman on the other end says “Sir, is
your computer plugged in?” .. but you’re
6. You sign up for domain privacy and
later do a WHOIS and see your credit
card information and Social Security
Number. “I was told I would get domain
privacy!” “Miss, we thought you requested
domain piracy” ... and you’re a man.
7. You ask the tech if he has a TOS and
he says yes. You later find out he meant
totally offensive smells. And, when your
site has been suspended unexpectedly,
you have no leg to stand on. And the
tech’s response is “Oh, THAT TOS!”
8. The same tech who told you he has
backups on your pre-sales call turns
out to be a wannabee singer and his
“backups” are his twelve-year-old twin
sisters who “doo-wop” when he busts a
move in the bathroom.
9. You ask him how big his file size
limit is and he responds “That’s kinda
personal... but what I can tell you is I
leave the ladies smiling”.
10. The same tech (let’s call him Hubert
since there’s a whole theme happening
here) answers yes to your questions
regarding shared server offerings. You
later find out that Hubert is a very giving
and generous guy and he “shares” your
server space, bandwidth allocation and
esources with all the clients hosting on
the same server as you… along with your
personal information and e-mail address!
11. When you ask Hubert how long they
have been in business his response of 15
years reassures you that they are a legit
and solid company. When you phone in
to challenge this (as the WHOIS on their
domain says 2006) he replies “Ohhhh, I
thought we were talking DOG years!”
12. When your server goes down right
before a big marketing campaign goes
13. Calling into support to ask a question
and the rep cannot find your account
because somehow it got deleted -- OOPS!
14. Your host asks you to verify your
account by repeating your password over
the phone. Every time you say it, you
hear a stifled giggle and they say “I’m
sorry sir can you please repeat that?”
Your password is IamTheBe$tLOVER
15. Your web host has automated
support. After 23 minutes of keying in
your SS number, last 6 digits of your
credit card and your domain name (37
characters) you finally speak with a
real person who requests the SAME
16. After canceling your hosting account
you are continually getting billed, but now
for two dedicated servers instead of your
$100-a-year hosting account.
17. After 36 straight hours of working
on your new sites, web design, and
meticulously putting every image in
its place you find out that your server
crashed and there is no backup.
18. Getting a deal on your first year and
then having to renew at a more expensive
19. You have never been on the internet
before and you decide to buy a hosting
account and set up an e-mail account
through them. And, within 20 minutes you
already have spam!
20. Your host experiences power failure
and they have no backup generators!
21. When you call your hosting company
and ask why your servers went down.
They respond with “No they didn’t. It must
be a propagation issue or something with
22. You call support because your site is
down and they say “We are going through
an upgrade”. That works once but when it
happens every week sporadically during
the middle of the day and they keep
saying “it’s an update to help better serve
23. Your hosting company has a problem
with spam and the filter score is up so
high that no mail is getting through, but
when you are in a meeting and check
your mail, all there is in your inbox is porn
spam and everyone is looking at you like
you’re a sicko.
24. Every time you go to your website,
it’s down but when other people go to it,
it’s fine. Sometimes you will sit your friend
down at his computer and you at yours
and you phone conference each other
to see if it comes up and it does for him
but not for you. You decide to go to his
house and he to yours and see if it’s just
your home computer but wherever you
go your website will not be displayed.
25. You call your web host support team
because something is wrong with your
site and they tell you that a widget 2.0
socket 5 cloud storm hit their data center
and that’s why a page got deleted. IDIOT
26. After many attempts at being patient
with your web hosting provider’s customer
support techs’ inability to fix any problem,
you get frustrated and a little upset. Later
that day you find the following things
wrong with your site.
• Your real estate site is unexpectedly
not selling real estate anymore. You are
selling liquor stores now.
• You just put up a very professional
picture of yourself on your site and
the next thing you know someone
photoshopped your photo with a
mustache, a black eye and teeth missing.
27. When you bought your website and
domain name through a sales rep at
your first hosting company, the hosting
company used the CEO’s name to
register your domain name. Now you want
to leave but they own your domain name.
TRICKY WEB HOSTY!!! [Editor’s Note:
Any connection between the above and
a web hosting company who has recently
faced action by ICANN is completely
coincidental. No, really.]
28. You bought a hosting account
through a template hosting agency
because you don’t know HTML and their
backend admin area looks cool. After you
purchase this you find out that they don’t
support their templates!
29. You are talking to smooth salesman
Timmy over at a hosting company and
he promises you four add-on’s, forum
management, bulletin management,
free e-mail marketing and a 200 Google
adwords credit. After you sign up for their
premier account for $5,000 a year, you
notice that the freebies are not included
in your package. You call back for Timmy
but no one knows who Timmy is and a
“Timmy” has not worked for them... EVER!
30. You do not have log files!
31. Your log files are never accurate.
32. You started a lead generation site
where people fill out forms for products/
servers/newsletters and in return you get
there e-mail addresses. Someone decides
to give your site a virus and take over your
mailing list and your web host cannot do
anything about it.
33. Your built-in traffic stats never work.
34. Your built-in traffic stats are always
35. You purchase a large hosting
account with a lot of extras but when you
need small things done, you are nickeland-dimed
until you are broke.
36. Your hosting company charges you
to park domains.
37. You buy a hosting account with a ton
of space but cannot put up multiple sites
38. The only way you can put up multiple
sites on your account is via your .htaccess
file, but you have no freaking clue how
to do that and your web host does not
support that anyhow. GREAT -- that’s
awesome -- good work!!!!
39. You actually love your hosting
company because it’s a smaller no name
company but the service is great. You
tell all of your five friends to join and they
do... and then the company’s servers are
40. You sign up for a web host by doing
a Google search, and after you sign up
you call their support line, and ONLY
THEN find out they are a foreign hosting
company in Techcadia, and all their
support techs speak Techcadian. Foreign
41. You sign up with your web host
but you only get one MySQL database.
[Editor’s Note: And it’s limited to 50
kilobytes in total size.]
42. Your web hosting company is in
charge of sending you notification on
domain name expiration, but you never
get yours. Your domain expires.
43. A cybersquatter picked up your
domain name and is holding it hostage.
You find out it’s the guy from your web
hosting company’s support team... who
you previously screamed at and called “a
stupid [expletive] moron.”
44. You utilize a free web hosting
32 Ping! Zine Magazine
service, but they place ads all over your
page. [Editor’s Note: Including ads for
45. Your hosting company has backup
servers but they are in the same
geographical location, so when the power
goes off, the original servers go down
AND the backups go down, too.
46. Your hosting company cannot
automate its billing and invoices, as its all
done by hand. Sadly, the accounts guy
was recently paralyzed in a freak server
accident, and types by blowing into a
47. Your web host goes “down” for 24
hour periods at a time.
48. Your user control panel consists of 2
options. On and Off!
49. You forgot to check “(web hosting
name here) sucks” in Google before
you bought your hosting account. Only
after you buy the account, to your great
surprise do you discover over 1,000,000
pages indexed for that “(company name)
50. They offer SSH on shared servers,
but the next day you find out it’s not
really secure at all. And, and your site
is constantly OWNED by 12-year-old
51. They advertise domains for under
$2 but when you complete the purchase,
your charge says $98?!
52. You request support and they advise
you support costs extra!
53. You request a cPanel change and
they escalate your request to a System
54. They don’t tell the truth. They claim
to offer a lot of services, than when you
host with them, you find out they don’t
offer that... Like bandwidth: they claim to
provide x amount of bandwidth, then you
find out they have a daily cap for using
it and when you multiply the daily cap x
30 or 31, it is about 1/10th the size of the
bandwidth they claim to provide monthly.
55. Canceling - they’ll claim they let you
cancel anytime within the contract, but it
turns out you can’t ever get a refund (you
have to write a letter in your own blood
to prove you are who you say you are,
then send it to their office in Nome, Alaska
that reads mail only once a year during
the famous dog sled race). Of course,
when you complain about these points,
they point you to their TOS where it spells
out the whole Nome and dog sled stuff,
although it doesn’t mention the writing the
letter in your own blood (apparently the
person on the phone just made that up to
56. When immediately after you sign up
with them, they offer this great deal on
you can’t get it because you are already a
57. EVERYTHING is an extra charge,
and you feel like you are getting nickleand-dimed
to death. [Editor’s Note: You
thought you read that one already? Keep
reading.] Then, when you refuse to pay,
they really do (try to) nickle-and-dime you
to death. He who casts the first... coin...
[Editor’s Note: Ping! Zine in no way
advocates or bears responsibility for any
damage or injuries caused by throwing
coins at humans, animals, inanimate
objects or ICANN.]
58. You get treated like you just won the
“Imbecile of the Year” award. (Even if you
do deserve that award, being treated that
way is not nice.)
59. They pretend to help, but can’t speak
English….only geekspeak. And they
refuse to repeat or explain any further. Or
so it seems, since you’re really not sure
what they’re saying.
60. They don’t have a community
July 23-25, 2007
Navy Pier, Chicago
T H E F U T U R E O F H O S T E D S E R V I C E S
Are you ready?
Are you ready for the future of hosted services?
Hosted messaging, soware as a service, voice
over IP ... they’re all here. Are you providing
Aend HosngCon 2007 to learn about the latest
trends in hosted services technologies, business
processes and markeng techniques.
Network with the best and brightest in the
industry at fun and excing events surrounding
Aend the largest gathering of hosted services
professionals in the world.
LEARN. NETWORK. GROW.
Promote your product or service to the largest
gathering of hosted services professionals in the
world at HosngCon 2007.
Hurry! Exhibit space and Sponsorships are going fast!
Register today to save up to 40%
using discount code PINGZINE
Early discount pricing ends June 15th
P L A T I N U M S P O N S O R S : M E D I A S P O N S O R S :
w w w . h o s t i n g c o n . c o m / g o / p i n g z i n e
P R O D U C E D B Y
100% Uptime. Is It Really Possible?
By Rollie Hawk<
ONE OF THE TOUGHEST THINGS about
consulting one’s clients is answering important
questions. It’s not tough so much because the
answers are hard to find—after all, we’re all experts in
our professional fields—but rather because answers
are complex. Most of us are constantly working to
be forthright and honest in our answers while at the
same time starting each and every one with that
huge sellout of a qualifier, “well, it depends.”
34 Ping! Zine Magazine
When it comes to hosting websites, data, or
applications for clients, one of the toughest
questions we face relates to what kind of
uptime guarantees we can give. Obviously,
fifty, seventy-five, and even ninety percent
aren’t good enough for any clients, but how
many nines can we realistically provide?
Even more importantly, if we can—as so
many hosts do—assert guarantees of 99%,
99.9%, and 99.99%, why not 100% uptime?
So is 100% uptime really possible?
In the interest of being forthright and honest with you the reader,
well, it indeed depends.
THE REAL ANSWER
Before going any further, let’s examine the real answer. At the
risk of giving away the conclusion to our main question, if we
know what our realistic goal can be, it’s easier to get there.
The main thing that “depends” in this case comes down to
a definition. When we say “100%” uptime, what do we really
mean? That may sound like an absurd notion, as most people
look at 100% as a specific concept with an exact value. But when
arithmetical math gives way to statistics, numbers mean different
things; and make no mistake about it, we’re dealing with statistics
when it comes to any guarantee in the business world.
In normal conversation, 100% means exactly, completely, totally,
and entirely 100%. But in business, we’re looking at statistics.
Unfortunately, when it comes to statistics there is no such thing
as a guarantee. It follows that with the complex set of variables
determining uptime, there is no such thing as a true 100%. Sorry,
but that’s a fact.
That said, the other side of the statistical coin is that guarantees
(in the statistical sense) are not necessary. Rather, it’s a matter
of making the calculations and adjustments required to get the
probability of the desired result where we want it with as small a
margin of error as possible.
THE LIGHT-SPEED ANALOGY
If you hate math and statistics, here’s another way of looking
at this. If you are a fan of science fiction or ever thought about
the possibility of mankind colonizing other solar systems, you
eventually learned a disappointing reality: the universe comes
with a built-in speed limit.
Wormholes, warp drive, and string theory not withstanding,
nothing in this universe can travel faster than the speed of light.
Even worse, because of the effects of relativity, we can never
reach that top speed in any vessel. We can, however, get as
close to that speed as we want.
Now as “out there” as that example may sound, it leads to an
important analogy. Even though we can never literally achieve
100% uptime, we can get as close as we want. So if you need
99.9%, 99.99%, or even 99.9999% and on, it can theoretically be
done. You can extend those nines as far as your infrastructure,
budget, and other factors can possibly go. Eventually, the
difference between your actual uptime and 100% gets so small
that there is no real way to measure it effectively.
ABOUT THOSE “NINES”
Before considering any sort of uptime guarantee, it’s important
to examine exactly what those percentages work out to in terms
of actual minutes and seconds. There are a lot of hosts out
there making promises that they haven’t really analyzed and a
lot of hosting clients who have never considered how long that
downtime can actually be, so let’s look at the actual amounts
If we take our target uptime as a percent and subtract it from
100%, the result is the maximum downtime we are willing to
accept in terms of percentages. For example, 99.9% uptime
leaves 0.1% downtime.
An average month is approximately 2.5 million seconds long.
Once we have our maximum downtime percentage, we can
multiply that by the number of seconds in a month to get our
maximum downtime in seconds. For example, 0.1% of downtime
multiplied by 2.5 million seconds works out to 2500 seconds or
approximately 42 minutes.
Table 1 – Conversions of “Nines” to Approximate Downtime
Downtime % Downtime (Sec) Approx. Downtime
In looking at what our uptimes work out to in terms of possible
downtime (see Table 1), it comes clear that uptime percentage
becomes much less arbitrary. In fact, if you look at the resulting
downtimes, you’ll find that adding just one “nine” to your uptime
guarantee results in magnitudes of difference in the practical
measurement of downtime.
WHAT CAN REASONABLY BE
ACCOMPLISHED IN THAT TIME?
Now that we know what we are looking at in terms of actual
downtime, let’s perform a mental exercise. Considering the
downtime we have available, let’s think about what can really be
accomplished in those increasingly small windows of time.
While nobody today would guarantee only 90% uptime, let’s
start there. That works out to around three days of downtime. In
three days, a web host could overnight ship a new server, install
the operating system and software, configure everything, and
restore from a tape. Though this is an extreme case, it gives
one an idea of how much time can be saved just by having extra
Moving up to 99% uptime, we are giving ourselves around 7
hours. That’s reasonably enough time to replace a failing drive
and restore from a backup tape.
With 99.9% uptime, things start to get a lot tighter. Now that we
are down to around 42 minutes, response time starts to play a big
role. If you are a hosting company with a two- or three-person
staff, you’d better be making sure someone is answering the
phones and checking the email and support tickets at all times
because in 42 minutes there’s no time for anyone to be away
from the desk for lunch or a nap and still have time to get back
and respond in the allotted time. Assuming you are on the ball,
in 42 minutes you can reasonably troubleshoot a hardware issue
and either replace a bad part or move a drive to another machine.
You also may—and I say “may” very loosely—be able to make a
change to DNS records and have the change propagated before
too many people notice.
Moving to 99.99% from 99.9% uptime is probably the most
drastic jump in terms of how it affects a web host. In a timeframe
of four minutes, there’s not much that can be done in terms of
troubleshooting and repairs. At this point, any web host had
better have some heavy-duty network management software in
place that will page or e-mail techs as soon as there is a problem.
About the most anyone can do in four minutes is reboot a server
or router, and that’s assuming the problem is found in less than
a minute or so.
Once your guarantee moves above 99.99%, you are essentially
moving from manned to primarily unmanned management
of server and network issues. With only seconds to operate,
management software could possibly edit a routing table or restart
a single service on a server. This is where redundancy in terms
of connections, load balancing, and clustering are absolutely
essential; after all, it takes a human being several seconds just
to mentally process a problem.
The point of this mental exercise was to convert times into more
“tangible” measurements, which may be a surprise to those who
haven’t thought about it before. If you found that frightening, the
situation is even worse than presented above. Most of those
problems presented above are the kind that the web host has
some measure of control over. In real life, you have to worry
about datacenters, communications lines, electricity, and a variety
of other things that the host has little to no ability to manage.
Even when conditions are ideal, there will always be the
possibility of something catastrophic. All the preparation in the
world can’t totally protect a single datacenter from something
as rare and drastic as a hurricane, a terrorist attack, or a large
meteorite hitting your servers. To the individual host, those
events probably lend themselves to greater concerns than
uptime, but that isn’t going to keep your clients from taking you
to court over losses.
So what’s the moral of the story? If you seriously want
to approach 100% uptime, you’d better have redundancy,
monitoring, and automation in place, with hosting infrastructure
spread out across large areas of the country or planet.
THE PROBABILITIES OF INDEPENDENT EVENTS
Now that we’ve looked at some of the math and practical
considerations of uptime percentages, most of what we’ve
examined has been a bit of a downer. It’s time to turn the tables
and make the math start working for the good guys, the hosts.
Revisiting statistics, there is an important property in probabilities
that is going to help more to achieve huge uptimes without being
subject to the things that web hosts have no control over. That
property is the statistical fact that the probability of independent
events occurring is the product of their individual probabilities.
To translate that into English, let’s say we have two servers
with each having a 1% probability of being down. Assuming that
downtime is independent, then we multiply the probabilities of
each going down to get the odds of both being down. This works
out to 1% times 1%, or 0.01%. To describe it another way, two
servers may only be able to handle 99% uptime, but the odds
that at least one of them are up is now 99.99% (assuming these
events are independent).
Incidentally, don’t try figuring this up by multiplying the uptimes.
That leaves you with the probability of both being up and running,
but we want to calculate the odds of at least one being up.
Table 2 – Impacts of Redundancy on Uptime
If you examine the results of these probabilities (Table 2), there
are some striking results. While a particular server may only
provide 99.9% uptime, four independent servers working in
tandem increase that uptime to 99.9999999999%. That’s going
from three to twelve “nines,” which works out to going from 42
minutes of downtime to mere milliseconds.
The word that can’t be emphasized enough in this case is
independent. That’s the only way this works.
HOW DO WE GET THERE?
If you are sold on the idea of using the probabilities of independent
events in your favor, you’re probably wondering how that’s done.
It’s actually not that hard in terms of skill to pull this off, it’s more a
matter of resource allocation.
To demonstrate independence, let’s first look at statistically
dependent events. This doesn’t mean that one necessarily causes
the other, but just that they are affected by common factors. Load
balancing and clustering servers in the same datacenter are
helpful, but probably aren’t going to result in independent servers.
If they share the same internet connection, power provider, router,
there’s just no
such thing as
dedicated database server, or anything else that could cause a
general failure, then they are statistically dependent.
To create statistically independent servers that will improve your
uptimes, there are two categories of issues that must be tackled.
The first includes technical issues, such as getting load balancing,
clustering, and overall redundancy in place. This can be handled
at the operating system level by most modern server OSes like
Linux, Windows, and BSD and even at the control panel level with
software like the Interworx-CP.
The second includes more practical matters, such as telecom
providers, climate control, and electricity. Unless you can get
independent, redundant systems for providing internet connectivity,
electricity, and the like, there’s probably not going to be a safe way
to have everything hosted at one datacenter. Even then, those
catastrophic events mentioned above could come into play. If you
want to play things as safely as possible, you are probably going
to need to have multiple datacenters with different internet and
Sorry kids, there’s just no such thing as 100% uptime. But
with planning, preparation, and investment in your network
infrastructure, it’s possible to get downtime as low as you need
it to be! P!
Writer’s Bio: Rollie Hawk is a consultant, writer, husband and
father living and working in southern Illinois.
A Few Words on Grid
Hosting – A 100%
As is pointed out in the adjacent article, although a 100%
uptime solution is theoretically impossible, it is possible
to get extremely close to 100% uptime through the use
of multiple, independent servers. (In other words, if the
hosting situation is based on combined servers configured
in such a way that they can tolerate the outage of certain
servers and still effectively maintain hosting capabilities,
then it is possible to get very close to 100% uptime).
Of course, many things are well and good in theory,
but not very good at all in practice. Unfortunately, this
is sometimes the situation when trying to create a highuptime
hosting solution. Although things like clustering
and load-balancing are well-developed and available,
implementing them into a hosting solution tends to be
complex and expensive.
A relatively recent introduction to the web hosting industry
is a concept that aims to make high-uptime, enterprisegrade
hosting solutions extremely cost-effective and easyto-implement.
Perhaps the most salient example of this
are so-called grid computing hosting solutions (although
perhaps more accurately described as distributed
computing). One of the leading examples is Rackspace’s
venture, Mosso (located at www.mosso.com; and known
by the tagline “the hosting system”).
Essentially, the main difference between a system such
as Mosso and conventional hosting is that a cluster of
servers, combined with enterprise-grade, redundant
storage technologies such as NAS (Network Attached
Storage) are mated to an extremely high-quality, redundant
network. Because of the multiple levels of redundancy
in terms of drives, actual machines serving pages, and
network uplinks, it is possible to obtain an extremely high
uptime. In other words, such solutions come quite close to
satisfying the independence requirement that can ensure
uptimes in the very “high nines” -- effectively creating a
virtually 100% uptime solution.
Such solutions can be affordably provided largely as a
result of economies of scale. In other words, companies
like Rackspace have the ability to invest significant
amounts of capital and other resources into things like
giant server clusters, high-redundancy NAS configurations,
and specialized software to make it all work together. By
enabling a large number of clients to use these resources
via a fairly conventional web hosting model (i.e. buying x
amount of space and y amount of bandwidth for z dollars),
initial capital costs are spread across a broad range of
users. Moreover, such solutions tend to be designed to
allow easy scalability. It is likely the situation that as Mosso
grows, Rackspace will simply need to add additional
servers and drives to their existing architectures to provide
the same level of service to their Mosso customers.
In sum then, although developing one’s own distributed/
grid hosting solution is certainly not for the faint-hearted
(nor those without deep pockets), it is rapidly becoming
possible to utilize extremely redundant, distributed/grid
architectures in much the same way as a conventional
web hosting solution, with costs that are very competitive
compared to other enterprise-grade hosting services.
38 Ping! Zine Magazine
The Best Guy
On The Web
By Amy Armitage
BRIAN PRINCE is a digital marketing visionary, and
he has been intimately involved with shaping the landscape
of the internet revolution since 1994. For some of us, that’s
almost the olden days!
As CEO of Best of the Web, Brian Prince relaunched the
original web awards portal as a best-of-class, humanedited
web directory and search engine. Keeping up with
the internet’s dynamic growth, Mr. Prince orchestrated the
creation of the Best of the Web Blog Directory, a robust,
tag-driven, searchable directory of the best blogs available
on-line. He also recently spearheaded the launch of Best
of the Web Media, a proprietary collection of more than 20
niche subject matter blogs on topics including politics, food,
health and activism. He is also co-founder and president of
Hotel Hotline.com LLC, and a heck of a nice guy!
Brian, thanks for being so brave
and agreeing to an interview. Past
interviewees like Eric Meyer CSS Guru
and Craig from Craig’s List are still
recovering so I’ll try and be gentle, but
let’s face it... We love controversy and
public humiliation here at Ping Zine!
We should start with those dreamy
blue eyes. Meeting you in Vegas last
year I can remember two things. Your
eyes and Brandy commenting that my
makeup was still looking good after
eight hours of conferencing. But what
do YOU remember about me?
Good question. Although I was a bit
banged up from the Vegas nightlife and
not in top conference form when we met
(sadly I rarely am), I vividly recall a jolt of
energy from meeting and speaking with
you -- something akin to human caffeine.
You came across to me as this sincere,
engaging, fun-loving, to-the-point, speakyour-mind,
from down under -- with just a twinkle of
mischief in your eyes. My kind of gal...
Yes it’s all about me
Tell me some interesting stuff about
I am a left-handed Capricorn, which,
from what little I know about horoscopes
and cerebral analytics suggests that as
a result of this rare combination I am
at a significantly higher risk of suffering
Spontaneous Human Combustion (SHC
for the medical crowd). So with that
possibility ever-present, I try live every
day to it’s fullest...
I actually Googled that... totally
I ride a Harley and have a private pilot’s
license. It is alleged that I once flew under
a bridge at night (a very unintelligent thing
to try) but I don’t talk about those days
When I was twenty-nine and just
married, I was diagnosed with colon
cancer and given a 70% chance of
survival. I had great support from friends
and family, beat the disease down, and
today [I] am a successful cancer survivor
with a great wife, two awe-inspiring
young sons, and two successful business
ventures. Life is good. The greatest things
I learned from this experience were the
importance of friends, family, and health;
and that a fighting spirit and perseverance
to endure (both good and bad times) are
a must to achieve your goals in life and
I have two full-time executive roles:
I serve as the President of a hotel
reservations network called Hotel Hotline
as well as the CEO of Best of the Web.
It’s a pretty exhausting task, but I dig the
on-line industry, the great people that I get
to interact with daily, and the energy of
internet marketing so it keeps me driving
This is a picture my oldest son and I
after his first ride on my Harley – notice
the stunned look of disbelief after just
experiencing sheer, raw, hair-raising
horsepower for the first time...
I was too busy looking at the bike.. really
So Vegas... Give us the down and
dirty – what was the craziest thing you
Hmmm – Vegas. Fortunately for my
ego, I have a pretty poor memory and
I typically don’t remember most of the
truly “stupid” things I do (in Vegas or
elsewhere). Nevertheless, during the
Affiliate Summit show in January, I woke
up one morning with no money left and
thought I was pick-pocketed or lost my
money outright walking around the night
before. I was quickly informed by my
friends that I had indeed “lost” all my
money – but not due to a pickpocket.
Rather, it seems that I was playing Texas
Hold ’em Poker at the Palms at 5am in
the morning with my eyes closed and my
head on the table. Not a good recipe for
gambling success, and justice was swift
and efficient. A fool and his money are
quickly parted, as they say...
How old were you when you first
ventured on-line? At this point, were
you immediately enamored with the
internet, or a bit “weirded-out” by it?
And, can you tell us a little about your
first website creation? Is it still on-line?
In 1994, I was working for AT&T as a
Director of Training for the Manhattan
business sales force, and I was tasked
with rolling out AT&T’s first business ISP
and web hosting product called Easy-
World-Wide-Web (EW3). It was anything
but easy, and proved to be a monumental
task to introduce, as the internet was
so new for commercial purposes that
businesses saw very little benefit in going
through all the trouble to create and
set-up a website that was nothing more
than a costly digital brochure or business
card. So, the first few sites I was involved
with were helping these early adopters
create and set-up these very exciting
static brochure pages that did pretty much
nothing. Good stuff. Fortunately, we’ve
come a long way from those days and I
would like to think that none of my early
creations are still on-line today - in a
perfect world they would have been taken
out back and beaten down long, long
Lunarpages was inspired by a Star
Trek episode. What other names did
you pick through before choosing Best
of the Web? What about The Very Best
Things You Could Ever Want to Search
For and then Find On the World Wide
Web? That one’s pretty snazzy.
Wow – talk about marketing prowess...
Where were you 15 years ago when we
needed you Amy?!?
I was only 6 years old ;)
Actually, we did not have the honor of
originally choosing the name Best of the
Web as the project was first founded by a
group of University of Buffalo professors
in 1994 who were trying to create a social
media site where the web community at
large voted on the best sites on the web
within a variety of categories. After 5 years
as a ‘web awards’ portal in this model, the
project was abandoned and we swooped
in and purchased the business.
I do have to commend the founders’
marketing foresight though – “Best of
the Web” has turned out to be a very
marketable and memorable brand for us
– and for that I thank them. I think we’ll
pass on your suggestion Amy (albeit a
great one!) and stick with what’s working
for us :)
Since you’re going to pass I’ll admit that
was Tiara’s suggestion
For many web hosting newcomers,
it’s a daunting task to design a website,
put it up on the internet, and then get
it to show up in the search engines
so people can find it. What do you
recommend for these fledgling web
entrepreneurs? How did BOTW begin
I agree that it is a daunting task just to
create and design a quality website, let
alone trying to get the site ranked and
visible in the major search engines. If I’ve
learned anything through the years, it’s
that there truly aren’t any “shortcuts” in life
that tend to work out. I’m a believer in the
long-haul – meaning that new site owners
and fledgling entrepreneurs can’t expect
instant gratification. It’s a long process
that takes time, attention to detail, and
In terms of driving traffic in today’s
on-line environment, a webmaster has 3
basic channels to consider: social media,
pay-per-click, or organic search engine
marketing. Each marketing initiative
has advantages, disadvantages, and
timelines, so my advice would be to
consider a blend of all three and vary your
expectations according to each particular
channel. PPC marketing can bring instant
site exposure, traffic and sales, but can
be costly and onerous to maintain. Social
media generation takes imagination and
a bit of luck, but can be very effective for
driving traffic and links, but typically not for
sales conversions. And my favorite of the
three, organic search engine marketing,
can take years to pay dividends, but once
your site starts showing in the organic
search engine results, there is no sweeter
tonic for low-cost customer acquisition.
So, new entrepreneurs need to take
the plunge, try different approaches, and
create quality content that appeals to their
target users. Without a good product,
all the marketing in the world won’t help
you in the long term, so make sure that
both your product and business model is
Who is your stylist?
Ha. If you only saw my “traditional” garb
you would realize that the word ‘stylist’ is
not really in my vocabulary. Outside of the
occasional TV interview or two, you will
rarely see me dressed in anything that
doesn’t strongly conform to my rule of the
“Three C’s” – Comfort, Convenience, and
Cleanliness. And the third “C” is optional
based upon circumstances ;-)
My rule is the three J’s - Jeans, Jammies
(PJs) and Jay my hubby
I’m sure you’ve answered your fair
share of support or trouble tickets.
We receive approximately 30k tickets
per month and we have our regulars
who send in their conspiracy theories.
My favorite is Tin Foil Man and his
perception that the FBI continually
40 Ping! Zine Magazine
wipes his site content. What’s the
worst or most creative or delusional
one you’ve ever received?
We receive some beauties – particularly
in the travel business. One of my all
time favorites was a lady who booked a
reservation but apparently did not realize
that it was a pre-paid reservation and that
she would be charged for the room at the
time of booking, so she wrote to us and
accused us of coming into her computer
and taking her money. She claimed that
she unplugged the computer to stop us,
but somehow we still got in and took her
money. I believe she also wanted to bring
in the FBI to investigate...
I feel sorry for the FBI sometimes
In your experienced webmaster
opinion, what is the most important
factor in choosing a web host?
As a business owner with hundreds of
websites to monitor and maintain, the
most important factor to me in choosing
a web host is uptime reliability. If my sites
aren’t up 100% of the time, everything
else we do is for naught. To me – uptime
reliability is the most important aspect for
on-line business success. That would be
closely followed by hosting support – both
in means of having a robust hosting
control panel that gives you freedom to
customize your hosting needs on-line,
as well as having well-trained support
technicians available when you need it.
Does BOTW have local, regional, and/
or international sections for various
kinds of categories and businesses?
Yes – we have all of the above. Best of
the Web‘s mission from the beginning has
been to create a comprehensive general
web directory that is constantly growing
and evolving; currently there are more
than 100,000 categories in the directory.
The largest branch in the directory is
the regional branch, which gives us
the opportunity to list sites not only in
a relevant topical category like ‘health
food’, but also in a regional category
that matches the business’s physical
location. This is a great plus for site
owners interested in Local Search, as the
search engines who spider our directory
are able to glean physical location details
from our regional site placement and this
can help the engines rank a site for georelated
searches like ‘Uniondale Italian
Within the regional branch are specific
sub-categories that cater to various
international markets as well, like the UK
branch, Europe, and Canada. Each of
these areas of the directory is regional
in nature and helps us assist with
categorizing sites worldwide.
We are also working hard on a new
BOTW Local offering that will provide
small business owners an opportunity
to create a free business profile page
on Best of the Web that includes lots of
interesting local-specific information like
hours of operation, credit cards accepted,
driving directions, zip codes and regional
areas served, return policies, phone
numbers, etc. We’re pretty excited about
the local product and opportunity and
expect to launch it by mid-year – I’ll keep
Is there a greater advantage to listing
your service/company deeper into the
site, under more and more specific
categories? Or are there times when
companies should list under more
The best place for a site is in the most
relevant topical and regional category that
matches the sites content and physical
location (if applicable). With that said, we
do list some ‘deep content’ pages if the
content is relevant, deep, and unique. For
example CNN.com offers a wide variety
of deep content, and as such, they have
several hundred listings in the directory
where the content relates to the topical
In my opinion, site owners should
consider both approaches – marketing
their site as a business entity, but also
building good content and links internally
to create deep content pages that rank
for specific content-related queries. The
more pathways into your site for visitors
to find you, the better your odds will be
to show in the search engines, which
leads to traffic growth and ultimately the
potential for a successful enterprise. We
have a motto around the office that goes
something like this: “More More More
Imagine overnight the internet is
gone. OMG, what would you do?!
This one got me to thinking a bit
– it’s something I really take for granted
today, but I surely would miss it should
it disappear. When I think back to life
before the internet, I vaguely recall that
it was fun, but I can’t seem to recall
specifically what was fun about it... It
just seems kind of empty without the
internet. Nonetheless, should the internet
disappear overnight, I think I would fire up
the Harley, throw my trusty snowboard on
my back, and ride off to the Mountains in
a nostalgic haze. From there, I envision
a glorious career in the Senior Semi-Pro
On your “BOTW Blog Directory” site,
you have editors and the description
reads: “the Blog Directory is an open
project, where public editors can help
in building the most comprehensive
collection of blogs online.” Tell us
a little bit about this offspring, what
inspired it, and why editors are
important to its success?
We launched the BOTW blog directory
in mid-2005 when it became apparent
that people were searching for ‘fresh’ blog
content, and we were serving back a mix
of static web sites and blog index pages.
We realized that people wanted to retrieve
specific blog posts and content, not just
blog topics or index pages.
By creating a separate and distinct
directory just for blogs, we were able
to create a variety of blog search
options, allowing users to search bestof-breed
blog content multiple ways
– by post content, by blog content, or
by using specific ‘tags’ or keywords.
This is a powerful combination of search
technology that allows users to fine tune
their search in a variety of different ways
to find current and timely posts from the
best blogs online on almost any subject
available. Additionally, all blogs listed in
the BOTW blog directory must have at
least six months of posting history and
show passion and expertise towards the
subject matter. This helps eliminate many
of the blog spam issues and MFA (Made
for Adsense) blogs that clutter up many of
the major blog search engines today.
Editors power everything we do at
Best of the Web, and in regards to the
blog directory, there is an even more
synergistic connection between editors
and blog content. Most bloggers are
typically very niche-oriented and plugged
into their particular topical community.
They participate, they now each other,
they share comments. Most blogs today
also contain a ‘blogroll’ that is really just a
list of similar web-related resources and
blogs. This blogroll is in essence the same
as a blog directory category, so there
is clear synergy between bloggers and
subject-matter expertise. These people
know their topical categories, their peers
in the space, and the best resources
available on that particular subject - so
who would be better to task with helping
us to build a quality resource of the best
blogs on the web then bloggers and
volunteer subject matter experts?
What did you do before BOTW?
I attended University of Maryland,
graduated with a degree in Business,
moved to New York City, and started
working for AT&T. From there I worked for
WorldCom (before they imploded), and
then Valueweb Hosting. After believing
that I had enough management training
to start my own business (I didn’t – but
experience is the best teacher), I founded
Hotel Hotline with my business partner,
Greg Hartnett. Once we got Hotel Hotline
off the ground and into profitability, we
looked to diversify our business and
came across BOTW and purchased the
business from the founders. From there,
we rebuilt Best of the Web from its roots
as a pioneering, social media award
site into a human-reviewed general web
directory, and the rest, as they say, is
Comment, clarify.. or simply choose one
of the following [you have to… It is part of
the “Interview with Amy game”]:
Working for BOTW for the rest of your
life or getting paid $1000/day to do
Working for BOTW for the rest of my life.
$1000 a day for doing nothing sounds
nice, but I have a bit of an affinity for the
finer things in life and I’m afraid the $1000
a day wouldn’t cut it for too long….
Lamborghini or Volkswagen (hippie
style with rainbows and flowers)?
Easy – Lamborghini. Although I dig
hippies, I like fast cars even more :)
Dinner with Brandy from WMR or
Shopping with Joan Rivers as your
Another softball – dinner with Brandy
of course. The beautiful Brandy will
introduce me to at least 10 potential
business partners during a typical meal,
while Joan Rivers would just annoy me.
Lead Guitar or Bass?
Inhale or exhale?
Social Media or Google?
Google (I know where my bread is
Spiderman or Cat Woman?
If by Cat Woman, you mean Halle Berry
dressed in a skin-tight leather cat suit
– then definitely Cat Woman.
Disco or Break dancing?
Break dancing. The Best of the Web
crew is decidedly biased to break dancing,
so much so that last year we had to have
a dance off in order to crown the BOTW
break dancing champion once and for all.
WOW the guy in the red shirt is
Spam or Pop ups?
I suffer from such an intense overload of
spam on an hourly basis and despise it
so much that I would welcome a pop-up
bonanza circa 1999 as a welcome tradeoff,
if I could eliminate spam from my
inbox for good.
Family Guy or The Simpsons?
I love Family Guy, but am an even more
fervent Simpsons fan – 18 years and
going strong. I consider The Simpsons to
be the most culturally influencing show to
air during my lifetime. Who can’t relate to
Homer, Bart, Maggie, or Mr. Burns from
time to time?
Lionel Richie or Barry Manilow?
Lionel Richie, reluctantly. I would have
preferred ‘Peter Tosh or Jim Morrison’
– but that would be too difficult of a choice
I think. My mind might explode...
What’s your fave made up word? Use
it in a sentence.
Kajillion. Wow – we had over a kajillion
hits to Best of the Web yesterday – great
We had Eleventy Billion so pfffft ;)
Best undeveloped domain name you
Bestoftheweb.com We have been
operating since 1994 as BOTW.org – the
acronym for Best of the Web. Last fall,
we were fortunate to finally purchase
BestoftheWeb.com for a small fortune.
The thinking was to grab the .com
and add a memorable brand url to the
company, but at current, we are operating
a bi-polar existence and simply have the
Bestoftheweb.com domain forwarding to
BOTW.org. It’s on the list of development
projects for 2007, so hopefully that will
be changing shortly and BestoftheWeb.
com will become a showcase portal for all
things Best of the Web.
If you could offer all Ping Zine!
Readers 40% off directory listings on
BOTW.org would you?
40% huh? That’s a pretty tall order that
will most likely get me into some hot water
with our CFO, but for the good folks at PZ,
why the heck not?
We hereby welcome any and all
PingZine Subscribers to submit their web
sites to the Best of the Web web directory
or blog directory and save 40% instantly
using the following promo code during the
Promo Code = PINGZINE
You will receive an immediate 40%
discount on all BOTW directory
submissions, blog submissions, or
category advertising sponsorships.
Sheesh I would have settled for 15% ….
Why should our community list
their sites on BOTW? Tell us the
A listing in Best of the Web has a variety
of advantages. For one, we operate a
proprietary database of human-reviewed
sites, so by being included in the directory
your site is exposed to millions of targeted
users allowing a site owner to expand
their audience and reach more visitors.
Additionally, site owners have the option
to choose from over 100,000 unique
categories in the directory to precisely
target their most relevant category and
Lastly, a listing in Best of the Web
can help your organic search engine
marketing efforts. As a trusted source
of human-reviewed web sites (our
editors work off a set of quality-indicator
guidelines), the major search engines
value the links from the BOTW directory
and use them to help evaluate and rank
your site in their respective indexes.
OMG, where is my BOTW t-shirt?
Check the mail – BOTW swag care
package in route to Lunarpages as
we speak. For any other site owners
interested in scoring some free BOTW
swag, please come visit us at an
upcoming search conference and we
will be happy to spread the wealth.
Our 2007 conference tour includes the
upcoming Search Engine Strategies
NYC conference, AdTech San Francisco,
Hostingcon, SES San Jose, and
Webmasterworld’s Las Vegas Pubcon in
November. We hope to see you at one or
more of these great events!
We’ll take pics and post them!
My pleasure – thanks for the opportunity,
spotlight and creative questions... P!
42 Ping! Zine Magazine
GE. Allstate. Yahoo! These companies share some enviable
traits—they’re all household names and they’ve all been in business
for years. Not easy to achieve in today’s frenetic marketplace.
What do leaders at these companies know that you don’t? They
know what it takes to build a sustainable business; a business
that will be around for years. According to USA Today, every year,
nearly 1.5 million Americans start their own business. If they
survive the first three years, chances are they’ll stay afloat.
So how do you create an enduring business? For starters, put
a ‘sustainable’ leader at the helm. That means having a leader
who improves employee morale, workplace environment and the
community. Forget about boosting profits with a no holds barred,
pillage and plunder approach. Sustainable leaders strengthen the
bottom line by creating loyalty with employees, clients and the
community— the result of showing they value their staff and taking
civic responsibility according to acclaimed executive coach and
author Karlin Sloan.
“Sustainable leaders leave the people around them, their
company, clients and the greater community all better off from
their service,” says Sloan. “They build organizations that are
sustainable and can thrive for years to come beyond their individual
In her coaching seminars and her book SMARTER, FASTER,
BETTER: Strategies for Effective, Enduring, and Fulfilled
Leadership, Sloan encourages casting aside the old notions of
leadership and take five practical steps to building a sustainable
1. Measure more than the bottom line
Think about the big picture and the impact your business has on
the community and the environment. Then take action to improve
in weak areas.
2. Practice sustainable working styles
Happy, healthy employees are more productive. Many
companies offer employees perks such as ‘movie days’ or free
car washes. They also advocate a balance between work and
home life. Remember, lower absenteeism and job turnover also
44 Ping! Zine Magazine
3. Get everyone working together
Collaborate as a company to improve sustainability and generate
a sense of teamwork, excitement and ownership. Plus it enhances
your ability to attract the best people.
4. Give back to the community
Create employee matching programs, encourage community
involvement and corporate philanthropy. People in your community
help keep you in business—return the favor!
5. Reduce your carbon footprint
Take stock of your energy usage and invest in alternative ways to
power your operation or reduce your consumption. ‘Think green’
and incorporate simple changes such as reducing paper usage,
recycling and switching to energy saving light bulbs.
While those are just five simple steps that will help anyone
improve their work performance, SMARTER, FASTER, BETTER
provides leaders with even more insight that they can readily
apply on a daily basis. Sloan uses real-life business scenarios
to demonstrate how the paradox of actually slowing down, taking
time to reflect and focusing on the greater good can create a
leader who is smarter, faster and better.
“All leaders are unique and there is no secret formula for
success, no step-by-step prescription for greatness,” says Sloan.
“However, any leader’s greatness can be measured by how well
they serve the groups whose trust they hold.” Sloan’s message
resonates loudly in an age when customers are demanding more
accountability from companies. Leaders at some of the nation’s
most recognizable brands, including Yahoo!, Allstate and Rodale
Press are taking notice and implementing Sloan’s principles in
leadership development. By asking questions, slowing down
and searching for better solutions for the workplace, customers
and beyond, business leaders can develop more than just their
careers; they can carve out an enduring legacy. And it can all start
with just five simple steps. P!
For a review copy of SMARTER,
FASTER, BETTER: Strategies for
Effective, Enduring, and Fulfilled
Leadership, by Karlin Sloan (Jossey-Bass/
a Wiley Imprint, 2006; 256 pp. hardcover,
$24.95), or to interview the author, contact
Rachel Damien at 727-443-7115, ext. 206
or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Please include your name, publication,
and mailing address with your request.
Hardcover: 256 pages
Publisher: Jossey-Bass/a Wiley Imprint,
Available at: www.amazon.com, www.
karlinsloan.com, Borders, Barnes & Noble
Author’s Bio: Karlin Sloan is the founder
and president of Karlin Sloan & Company.
A certified executive coach with a master’s
degree in clinical psychology, Ms. Sloan’s
expertise in organization development
consulting, leadership development
programs and executive coaching has
served clients throughout the U.S.,
Europe, South America and Asia. She is
a founding member of the International
Consortium for Coaching in Organizations
and has been featured in numerous
publications as an expert in workplace
46 Ping! Zine Magazine
By Danielle Wallace
Subsequent to a prior article, “Running Multiple
Ruby on Rails Applications on One Domain”,
this new Rails article involves setting up Rails
on your Windows system. This type of setup can
allow you to either test your rails applications
prior to deploying them to a Linux-based Rails
host, or alternatively can allow you to serve Rails
applications from your Windows server.
Baseline Installation of InstantRails
Installing Ruby and RoR on Windows is relatively seamless.
Unlike Ruby and Rails on the Linux platform, there is a popular
and frequently updated, fast-install, Instant Rails solution at http://
This package contains not only Ruby, Ruby gems and Rails
packages, but it also includes Apache, MySQL and even mongrel.
Additionally, the package is self-contained and doesn’t modify
your system variables.
This tutorial will go over the quick steps needed to add Ruby and
RoR onto your Windows system using this Instant Rails package.
1. Go to http://instantrails.rubyforge.org/wiki/wiki.pl and click
[Download], then select the most recent zip file. Opt to save it to
your Windows system.
2. Unzip the saved file, either using Windows’ own unzipping
tool, or your favorite zip utility, such as WinZip. Extract all the
files into your main location (such as C:\).
Please ensure the location you have placed the rails files does
not contain any spaces. An example acceptable path would
An example poor path selection would be:
C:\Documents and Settings\Owner\Desktop\InstantRails
Please note that the InstantRails directory will auto create as
the files extract, so you do not need to create this folder.
3. Double click to open the InstantRails folder, then double click
on the InstantRails.exe file to begin installation.
4. During setup, you will be prompted about changing the
configuration path. Accept the suggested change.
Please note that if Apache or MySQL do not start upon
installation, you should first try to kill whichever service is not
running by clicking on the service button (Apache or MySQL) in
the Instant Rails dialog box, then select kill in the list of options.
You can then restart or start the service.
Setting up the two included applications (cookbook and Typo)
There are two applications included with InstantRails: cookbook
and Typo. The instructions to set these up are as follows:
1. To run the cookbook and Typo applications, simply click the
“I” button to the left of the Apache button in the Instant Rails
dialog box. Then select Rails Applications > Manage Rails
2. Check the box to the left of cookbook and Typo, then select
Configure Startup Mode. Determine what Runtime mode
(development, test, or production) and what port (default is
3001) you wish to use. You may want to choose port 80 if you’ll
be using Rails for all your production and development, since
port 80 is the default port for http sites. This area provides
instructions and links to files you will need to edit if you choose
to use a port besides 3001 for development.
In our example, we will keep the default values, but select to
Edit Windows HOSTS file. Once you select that option, add the
following 2 lines to the bottom of it:
Select to save the file, then exit it by choosing X at the upper
right corner of the file.
At this point, you will receive another prompt for production and
it will show port 3002 as the default port instead. Simply select
3. Select the Start with Mongrel button back in the Rails
48 Ping! Zine Magazine
Applications prompt. Since you have selected both cookbook
and Typo, you will receive two command prompt windows that
indicate mongrel and Rails are starting.
4. Open your browser and go to http://www.mycookbook.com
to view the cookbook application. This is a pseudo site on
your local system that you created when editing the Windows
HOSTS file earlier. It doesn’t exist on the on-line world at this
juncture; it is only a local site on the system.
5. To view the typo application, go to http://typo which will
provide a signup page. Once you have signed up, this first user
will be the administrator of the Typo application. Again, this is a
site only available initially on your local system.
If you would like to serve the pages to the whole world, simply
set it up to use any domain you already have serving pages
on-line on your system. If you do not have this setup on your
Windows computer, please ask your hosting provider on how
to set this up if you do not already know how to do so. Most
dedicated Windows hosting providers set up your primary
domain for you, and will assist in configuring your new Rails
environment to work with that domain upon request.
Please review documentation at http://instantrails.rubyforge.
org/wiki/wiki.pl?Getting_Started for other details on what
options are available for InstantRails installation. P!
Writer’s Bio: Danielle Wallace works for Lunarpages Web
Hosting and runs RubyAsylum.com in her spare time. She
normally lives in Coralville, Iowa, although she travels to Las
Vegas from time to time for her job.
Now, you can
with Rails on
50 Ping! Zine Magazine
[raid combo number five]
By Evan Kamlet
52 Ping! Zine Magazine
It is apparent that the web hosting industry
these days is all about reliability, speed, and
price. Your potential clientèle will probably
seek out the best of all three factors. RAID, or
“Redundant Array of Independent/Inexpensive
Disks”, is a technology that has existed for
decades. In fact, IBM took out a patent for
a storage system in 1978 that went on to
be known as RAID in its adulthood. Today,
most IT professionals in the hosting industry
are familiar with it, but may not be aware
of precisely how RAID can help reliability,
enhance I/O speed, and even reduce costs
when compared with more extravagant
systems. Is RAID for you? There are an
almost endless number of RAID levels,
combinations, and options. Which should you
At its core, RAID works exactly as its acronym
suggests -- it establishes a redundant array of
(inexpensive) disks. With RAID, you create
an array of two or more hard disk drives to add
data redundancy (although it can also be used
simply for I/O performance gains alone, but
that’s no fun). And, with certain configurations,
you can expect increased performance when
the operating system reads from or writes to
the array when compared with a single disk.
It is critical to note that RAID should not be
your only backup system. Daily, weekly, and
monthly backups are essential components in
addition to RAID. In some cases, when server
uptime is not a huge factor, regular backups
may be all that you need. When we have a
client sign up for a self-managed server and
request two drives in a RAID mirror, we will
always recommend our network backup service, or at least come up with some alternative
backup system. Personally, I would rather see them backup from one drive to another
than rely solely on RAID 1. And, RAID 1 will happily mirror your newly root-compromised
data right from one drive to the other, just as it will happily mirror certain kinds of file
corruption, and even corruption caused by a physical problem on one of the drives! And,
a RAID mirror does not care if you accidentally delete the wrong file and need it restored
from yesterday. In summary:
·A simple and inexpensive way to add redundancy to your data;
·Certain setups will allow for higher disk read and write performance;
·Many setups allow for the hot-swapping of a bad drive;
·There are many options to choose from that may suit your needs;
·Reduced server downtime in the event of a single, or multiple drive failure.
·RAID should not be considered a full backup system in ANY configuration;
·RAID is more expensive than using standalone drives;
·“Bare metal” data recovery from an array failure is more complicated than recovery from
a standalone drive failure, although it is much less likely for the whole array to fail.
HARDWARE OR SOFTWARE?
The first option to consider is whether one wishes to use hardware or software RAID.
Are you concerned about performance? If so, use hardware RAID. Software RAID is
often acceptable for a simple RAID 1 mirror of two or more drives. Both Windows and
Linux have software RAID capabilities. The difference between hardware and software
is that your CPU will be handling the array synchronization on software RAID, which
can reduce overall performance. In addition, if you try to install or use other operating
systems with software RAID, they may not recognize the array. A hardware RAID add-on
card typically runs from $150 to $400+ and can offload the data synchronization duties to
itself rather than your CPU.
Although RAID setups can vary widely, generally they are based on some core “building
blocks,” in the form of basic RAID setups. The following methods are generally used
on their own for basic RAID configurations, or combined to create
more extravagant RAID setups:
RAID Level 0 – Striping
Requires: 2+ drives
With only a RAID 0 setup, you have no redundancy. Striping is
generally used in combination with mirroring to increase I/O write
performance along with redundancy. In fact, the more disks you
add to a RAID 0 array, the more likely it is that you will lose your
data. All it takes is one failed drive to destroy the array and your
data; data is segmented and written across multiple drives. A new
write on one drive can occur before an existing write on another drive
can seek to a new sector. The next write will go to the next drive,
etc. If your CPU is faster than your drives, this will cause a decent
performance gain when data is written. (If you are wondering, your
CPU is generally much quicker than your HDDs).
RAID Level 1 – Mirrored
Requires: 2+ drives
The concept of RAID 1 couldn’t be simpler. Data from one
drive is synchronized with all of the other drives in the array. In
both hardware and software forms, you can generally remove
all but one drive out of the array and have the exact same set of
data. Operating systems can generally enjoy improved disk read
performance because they can seek to either drive at any moment
in time or multiple drives simultaneously.
RAID Level 3,4 – Striped with Dedicated Parity
Requires: 3+ drives
Now we introduce the concept of parity. No data is actually
mirrored in this implementation of RAID. Instead, at least two drives
are striped, and a 3rd drive is added to store parity information.
When data is written to the array, a simple math/logic operation is
performed to create “parity”. If there is data corruption, the parity
information can be used to recreate the proper data. A RAID 3
setup allows for the failure of the parity drive. Write performance
is improved with striping across the other drives in the array. This
implementation is not extremely popular and in most forms is not as
redundant as a mirrored setup.
RAID Level 5 – Striped with Distributed Parity
Requires: 3+ Drives
Similar to RAID 3, but in this implementation, multiple drives in
the array contain parity information. One drive will take down the
functioning array, but the array will rebuild if the drive is replaced.
Rebuilding from parity can be quite slow and will expose your array
to complete failure with the loss of an additional drive. Loss of two
drives means loss of your data. RAID 5 is generally preferred to
RAID 3 and is a decent choice if your limit is three drives.
RAID Level 6 – Striped with Dual Distributed Parity
Requires: 4+ Drives
Similar to RAID 5, but loss of up to 2 drives can occur with the
array continuing to function.
If we take the basic building blocks of striping, mirroring, and
parity, we can create funky and exciting new combos. Yay! If your
chassis has room for the drives, and your RAID card allows for this,
which most do, you may find the perfect fit for a redundant, high
performance array if you read on.
RAID Level 1+0 or 0+1 (RAID 10)
Requires: 4+ Drives
My favorite implementation of RAID is RAID 10. The idea is that
you create two or more mirrored sets and then stripe data across the
RAID 1 sets to improve performance. This practice is considered
1+0 (mirrored, then striped). 0 + 1 is less commonly used and
involves mirroring striped sets. It is less redundant than the 1+0
implementation, which can allow for one drive failure in EACH of
the mirrored sets, while each drive failure in 0+1 will take down the
entire striped set.
RAID Levels 50 and 51
Requires: 6+ drives
Not supported as much by hardware RAID cards, RAID 50 and 51
include RAID 5 striped parity sets nested with mirrored or striped
sets. A RAID 50 includes 2 or more RAID 5 sets as the base for
a larger striped set for improved performance. RAID 51, which is
more popular, includes 2 or more RAID 5 sets as the base for a
larger mirrored set for improved redundancy.
Hardware RAID is set up by installing a RAID add-on card available
in PCI, PCI-x, and other bus types, or using an on-motherboard
RAID controller. After your machine powers on and runs the POST,
your RAID card should allow you to hit a key or key combination
to enter the RAID setup utility. From here, you can generally add
drives to sets, and even sets to larger sets, to create nested/combo
RAID levels. Once the array is set up, it will build itself in the
background, even as you install your operating system. Assuming
the OS has the proper drivers to recognize your RAID card, it will
see each RAID array as a single drive.
Software RAID is configured in Linux or Windows by using fdisk or
the disk management utility in Device Manager, respectively. This
can also be accomplished during OS installation (or afterwards
depending on your partitioning choices). You will create a partition
with the software RAID filesystem type on one drive and then again
on the other drives. Full step-by-step tutorials are available online
(search Google for “software raid”). Once the arrays are initialized,
they function similarly to hardware RAID in that the operating system
sees only the whole array rather than each individual drive. Behind
the scenes, the OS will keep the array synchronized and rebuild it
after failures. Your CPU has to deal with the upkeep of the RAID
array in place of a hardware RAID controller.
RAID controllers exist for almost any machine and hard drive
technology available for servers today. From slower and cheaper
7200rpm SATA drives to faster and more expensive SCSI, SAS, or
10K RPM SATA drives, hardware or software RAID is an almost
essential option to consider for web servers in a high-availability
production environment. Pick the RAID level that suites your budget
and redundancy requirements, but don’t be fooled into thinking it is
the only technology needed to implement a solid backup system! P!
Writer’s Bio: Evan Kamlet was employed by a local computer firm
in 1999 and 2000 and went on to own and operate Host4Yourself
Internet Services (H4Y Technologies LLC and formerly Host for
Yourself LLC) since it was founded in 2001. He has more than a
decade of experience in all aspects of the hosting industry including
marketing, business operation, and technology.
54 Ping! Zine Magazine
56 Ping! Zine Magazine
wWhen it comes to talent, some people paint pictures, some people give speeches, and some
people entertain audiences. The great ones do it with such skill and grace that they make it look
easier than we know it could be. When it comes to high-tech businesses, Serguei Beloussov is one
of those people.
In the last ten years, Mr. Beloussov has an undeniable track record. Using his management skills,
he builds businesses from the ground up, creating enterprises with multi-million dollar profits in very
little time. Currently, he’s focusing his talents on virtualization and automation giant SWsoft.
Working with businesses on three continents, Mr. Beloussov is almost always headed somewhere.
We were fortunate enough to recently interview Mr. Beloussov. He shares his thoughts on family,
technology, and business in the following interview:
Thank you for joining us, Mr. Beloussov. As chairman and
CEO, how would you describe your role at SWsoft? I mean,
other than the obvious, to what degree are you able to keep
involved with both the development and business sides of
Every somewhat successful technology company has a leader
who can serve in both roles: product development and business
development, including sales, marketing and alliances. I’m
continuing to be involved in both. Effectively, I serve as CEO and
CTO of the company at this point. I don’t believe this is different
from many other fast-growth software companies.
You must really enjoy both the CTO and CEO sides of things
I like my job. It’s fun and besides, I don’t know what else to do.
So far, things have been going well. I enjoy the fact that the work
is challenging and it’s been fun that we are able to overcome the
challenges we’ve met.
Spending one’s days in the board room or in front of a
computer can take a toll on anyone. When you have those
days that you have to “escape” the worlds of business and
technology, where do you go or what do you do to just get
away from things?
I enjoy nature and going into the mountains in different parts of
the world -- whether that is in the Alps or Colorado or Siberia. Or,
going out to eat and enjoying some nice red wine.
SWsoft is best known for its automation and virtualization
products, but what virtualization offerings would you say are
of particular interest in the hosting community?
Virtualized infrastructure is important for service providers to
help increase productivity and reduce costs, so Virtuozzo is most
How about in terms of automation software?
I would encourage hosts to look at our PEM offering, which we
are turning into a software-as-a-service automation and delivery
platform. We are getting significant traction with a number of
Microsoft and non-Microsoft applications running with PEM, such
as Hosted Exchange, Hosted Sharepoint, and hosted streaming
So I take it you are continued expansion by hosts into the
area of software-as-a-service?
We believe software-as-a-service is a major trend that hosts can
benefit from. Plesk is also headed in the direction of softwareas-a-service
with our OPEN FUSION initiative. So, that is a third
offering that is of particular interest to service providers.
SWsoft offers both open and closed source software
packages. How would you characterize the current balance
between open and closed?
We comply with licensing requirements for both open source
and proprietary software models. When it makes more sense, we
maintain proprietary software such as, for example, our software
that runs on Windows or in high-end automation systems. We
don’t have a specific affinity to one or the other, except that we
started on Linux.
Speaking of licensing, in my research I ran across your
editorial “Rethinking Software Licensing” on CNet last
year. In that, you described the way virtualization is causing
more even more blurring in terms of licensing issues. While
you offered some alternatives to conventional software
licensing, do really you think that it’s even possible that
software licensing can survive in an increasingly virtualized
Software licensing will adapt. As an example, a large percentage
of software used by enterprises comes from Microsoft, which
is relatively quick in adapting its licensing to accommodate
virtualization. Over time, we’ve seen other paradigm shifts that
have had significant impact on how software is delivered and
licensed; such as the Internet and the PC. Licensing will adapt. I
don’t think that’s a problem and I’m confident that Microsoft,
which is always listening to its customers, is not done yet.
A lot of people are still baffled by the notion of making money
An Interview with
By Rollie Hawk
using free software but there are too many success stories to
deny the potential. Would you say that even closed source,
proprietary software will eventually adopt a business model
more like many open source publishers, where service and
support is the emphasis rather than licensing fees?
I believe we’ll continue to see licensing as a way to receive
compensation for the intellectual property represented in software.
We’ll also see compensation for services and support, which
represent other forms of value delivered to customers.
I remember reading that your academic background was
in physics and electrical engineering. How would you say
that background led you to become such a successful
When I grew up in the Soviet Union, people had a choice
between a technical profession or going into politics. I went into
science and physics, which I feel prepares you well because
you understand how things work. In physics, you learn to create
models, which translates well to business because you naturally
are very analytical in your approach.
Your track record includes starting successful companies
in North America, Europe, and Asia. I’m sure there are many
variations in doing business in all those places in terms of the
business-friendliness of some governments, the educational
level of the workforce and consumers, and the subtleties of
each local culture. What sorts of notable differences are there
in doing business in so many different regions of the world?
By doing work in each region, have you learned things you
can apply to your work in others?
I’ve learned two things. First of all, doing business in different
regions is really not so different. The terminology might be different,
but the underlying principles are very similar. You just need to
have a flexible enough model for doing things. Quite often, when
starting a business in a new country, you expect things be very
different, but most of the time, there are just differences in the
terminology. The key is to find the differences and then follow the
same model. Expanding for the first time is hard, but after the first
country, it’s not as difficult.
On the other hand, surprisingly, cultures that may look somewhat
similar to people—like the U.S. and U.K., for example—are
actually quite different. That was a revelation to me. If you want to
do business globally, you need to commit a lot of time to traveling,
because understanding those subtle differences is impossible to
accomplish by email or phone.
When I was first exposed to virtualization, it seemed like it
was primarily a novelty for enthusiasts and a useful tool for
developers and software testers. Then I didn’t mess with it
for a few years and suddenly I found virtualization software
being used all over the place, even in use on production
servers. What innovations and necessities do you feel led to
the prevalence of virtualization?
There are very basic needs that virtualization fulfills, such as
utilizing and managing the computing infrastructure much more
efficiently. The need for such technology is so high that I believe
eventually it will be running on every desktop and every server.
There are cost savings because less hardware is required, less
space is required in the data center, and less power is consumed,
which is increasingly important in today’s world.
So would you say it’s mostly a benefit in terms of costs?
Not only are there cost savings, it also improves service levels
and manageability. The first wave of virtualization technology had
some benefits, but it wasn’t until Virtuozzo delivered the critical
efficiency and density levels that hosts were able to deliver
Chief among the concerns of hosts are server uptime,
backing up and restoring, scalability, and security. In what
ways can virtualization be used to address these concerns?
You can do all of those things with greater ease with a virtualized
infrastructure. Backup and restore the server, ensure uptime and
even perform maintenance without interrupting service to users
through our Virtuozzo live migration function. With virtualization,
security can actually be significantly higher, which is very important
to service providers. In the virtualized data center, customers can
be sealed off in separate “rooms” so to speak. It’s different when
customers have access to the physical infrastructure, which is
naturally less secure and can potentially impact other customers
should something go wrong.
It seems like it’s increasingly difficult to talk about these
things as we all bounce between virtual and physical
environments. Do you feel there is a need to adopt new
terminology to start describing these things?
Drawing mental images is very important to help people
understand concepts, but I don’t believe the answer is necessarily
creating new terminology. Interestingly, the meanings may
You mean like the way that thanks to technologies like
clustering and virtualization, it seems that the concept of a
“server” is becoming more of a human abstraction than an
actual physical object?
I could argue that the term “server” was always an abstraction.
You could have an application server or web server, so in general
“servers” by definition were providing services to a client.
In the last few years, we’ve seen virtualization rapidly
influence the way software—particularly operating systems—
is developed. Without some level of built-in support, it’s
almost impossible to compete at the enterprise level. But in
terms of hardware, what sorts of changes have we seen as a
result of virtualization and what would you say is coming in
the near future?
There are different types of virtualization, such as hardware
virtualization from VMware and Parallels, and operating system
virtualization, such as Virtuozzo. In the next couple years, we’ll
see devices, memory and CPUs become more optimized for
virtualization. This innovation will continue for the foreseeable
future for three to five years. Optimizing the hardware will increase
speed and virtualization performance.
As a result of the release of free virtualization software
from Microsoft and VMWare, I’ve been working with many
of my clients on consolidating servers. All of the sudden
it’s possible, for example, to run a light-weight Linux-native
MySQL server in a virtual machine on a Windows server, rather
than using Windows binaries or purchasing an additional
server. But despite the benefits, there’s something that
still makes me uncomfortable: the fact that all these virtual
network interfaces are sharing the same physical network
port on each such server. How do you feel about that?
You could actually argue that the virtual network connections are
more secure because the interface is done through software and
not with a physical connection. A physical connection actually has
more potential to be harmful.
So outside of your business life, what are some of your
interests and passions?
It’s all about having fun and business is my fun, along with my
family of course. I really don’t have any hobbies, so my hobby is
starting and managing businesses.
It’s funny you mention family because I remember hearing
in an interview that you enjoyed the family atmosphere of
the first HostingCon back in 2005. I was really impressed to
hear that comment, as the tech industry really can tend to
be antiseptic and cold. Would you say that the our industry
could benefit overall from more of a focus on families and
Relationships are important. In any business it is important to
think in terms of the short-, medium- and long-term. It’s important
to keep good relationships because people’s careers are pretty
long and the technology industry is pretty small, especially when
you look at hosting. You tend to cross paths with the same people
fairly often. Not everyone appreciates that.
Well, we certainly look forward to crossing paths with you
more in the future. Thank you again, for your time.. P!
58 Ping! Zine Magazine
60 Ping! Zine Magazine
What does it take to be successful in the hosting industry
these days? With thousands upon thousands of wouldbe
entrepreneurs trying to build a hosting company, the
competition has certainly become fierce. Acquiring new
customers becomes more difficult each day, as people publish
websites and utilize the technology of fast-growing reseller
hosting providers. Basically, anyone with a few hundred
dollars (or less), can start a hosting company within a few
days. But will they be successful?
By Dave Young
62 Ping! Zine Magazine
Not to dissuade those of you who think you’ve got what it takes
to make it in the hosting industry, but if you lack one primary
characteristic – namely, uniqueness – your chances of succeeding
are dismal. Before you distress about the concept of shelling
out a few hundred dollars (or more depending on your budget)
only to throw it out the window, read this article in its entirety and
then proceed with your dreams of becoming the next big entity in
Sure, it takes more than guts and glory to become a prominent
leader in the hosting industry. In fact, it takes a lot of hard work and
dedication. Moreover, if you have bags of money lying around,
you will certainly need it. But, there are ways around needing
excessive bags of money to be successful with your own hosting
business. One path to success is being unique. Everyone on
this planet who goes into business should first start by asking
themselves this simple question – “Does my business do anything
unique compared to my competitors?” If you answer “no” to that
what makes you
the thousands of
question, step back and rethink your business objectives. Consider
what it will take for your business to be unique in a market where
thousands of people just like you are trying to compete for the
same thing – a paying customer who stays with you.
One way to stand out from the crowd is to pick a niche, or
distinct segment of a market. If you decide today that you want
to start a shared hosting business, what makes you different
than the thousands of other companies providing shared hosting
services? If your answer is that you offer Bronze, Silver, and Gold
packages, think again. If your answer is that you cater exclusively
to chiropractors, you are definitely on the right track. To prove this
point, visit your favorite hosting directory and find a shared hosting
business that caters exclusively to chiropractors. Better yet, find a
hosting business anywhere that caters exclusively to accountants,
lawyers, or veterinarians. Get the picture yet? These are all niche
markets. And, you’re not limited to just these examples. Travel
around your city and look for businesses that you could cater to
Next, when you create the name of your company and your
products and services (yes, this has to do with good branding
efforts too), utilize concepts, terminology, or keywords that
your niche market will relate to when they view your company’s
image, website, and company literature. For example, if you cater
exclusively to chiropractors, you could name your packages Atlas
1, Atlas 2, and Atlas 3, to represent the topmost part of the neck.
And, make sure you describe each package to educate your
audience regardless of how exclusive your market. Chiropractors
will understand the concept of your business more if you are
willing to sync with their mindset. For your company name,
consider something like “HostChiro” (this may already be taken)
and utilize “Hosting for Chiropractors” for your tagline. These are
just examples without putting much thought into it, but you get the
idea. And don’t forget to include an image of the human spine on
your website (it can be an outline or cartoon drawing), or even
better, use an image of the Atlas (cartoon figure, of course).
Before you go and build your hosting business that caters
exclusively to a niche market, go out and talk to your niche
audience. Learn what they do, how they do it, and talk about
building them an on-line presence to complement your Atlas 1,
Atlas 2, and Atlas 3 packages. In fact, you should be willing to
give a free consultation and an exclusive pricing structure specific
to chiropractors when they sign up. With each package, increase
the benefits, features, and opportunities that help the chiropractor
succeed. For example, Atlas 3 should have more features and
benefits than Atlas 1 and Atlas 2, and the price should be higher.
You can do this with any of your niche markets.
Now, think about a shared hosting company that targets
everyone and not a niche market. Imagine your niche audience
contacting you versus the shared hosting company that caters to
everyone. If you are the subject matter expert and know how to
cater exclusively to your niche audience, which company will your
niche audience feel most comfortable with when building an online
presence? If you answered, “my company that caters to a
niche market,” you answered correctly. Besides, it’s much easier
to become a subject matter expert on a niche market than it is on
“everyone,” don’t you think?
Make sure you do some homework before proceeding. Find out
how many potential customers are in your niche market. Then
develop your packages and pricing based on the potential number
of customers you think you can acquire in your niche market.
Once you do your research, find your niche, and build your brand
around your niche audience, find out where you can advertise to
your niche market. Figure out what sites or places they like to visit
and advertise using mediums that cater to your audience. The first
and obvious answer, as stated previously, is to travel around your
city, town, or community and talk to them in person. If you are a
natural born salesperson, it’s up to you on how you approach your
audience. If sales does not come naturally to you, don’t go in and
solicit your services. Instead, tell your niche audience that you are
interested in what they do and find out what you can do to help
make them more successful. Approach it as a personal, thoughtprovoking
methodology for acquiring new customers.
If you have been following the hosting industry for the last several
years, you probably know that most hosting companies compete
by offering the lowest prices and jacking up disk space and
bandwidth. All they are doing is cheapening the hosting market
and making it more difficult to compete. That’s really not the best
way to build a business. Instead, when you cater to a niche market,
you have less competition and you can charge more for your
services. Why? Because you are the expert on your niche market,
therefore you can offer more to your niche audience. You are the
subject matter expert, so people will pay more for your services.
And, when you find a niche market, you are no longer competing
with thousands of shared hosting companies. Instead, you are
competing with a handful of companies, if they even exist.
You can get really creative and build a website that caters to
multiple niche markets. However, before you do that, make it work
for one niche market first. Establish your business model and
figure out the formula that works best for you. Once you build up
a solid customer base exclusive to your niche market, take your
experience, knowledge, and expertise and go find a second, third,
and fourth niche market. Then build a portal that showcases each
of your niche businesses and run with it.
Find your niche market and you will crush the competition.
When you find your niche market, you cater to an exclusive target
audience, and that gives you a chance to be more successful than
you can ever imagine! Even if you are established and want to
open a new revenue channel, find one that’s exclusive -- find one
that’s unique. P!
Writer’s Bio: Dave Young plays a vital role in the web hosting
industry as Marketing and Public Relations Specialist for
FastServers.Net, Lead Technical Writer for cPanel, Professional
Writer and founder of Young Copy (www.youngcopy.com), and a
Staff Writer for Ping! Zine Magazine.
Specializing in Windows Hosting
Basic Hosting to Dedicated & Beyond!
50% off first 3 Months web hosting, all
plans. Coupon Code: 50percentoff
CONTROL PANEL SOLUTIONS
Control Your Game Servers!
h-Sphere Control Panel
Proven Automation & Virtualization
Great Servers & Hosting @ Great Price
Professional, Affordable Dedicated
Smarter, Cheaper, Faster!
Secure Offshore Data Center
E-COMMERCE SOLUTIONS DOMAINS
$6.95 .com domain names at GoDaddy.com!
Free Domain Name Registration!
E-Business You Can Trust
Sell or Buy a Hosting Company
Web Host Billing: Create,
Reseller and Shared Hosting Solutions
H-Sphere Hosting & Reseller Plans
World-Class Hosting, Free 24/7 Phone
Affordable, Proffesional Web Hosting
FREE Domain name included
in all plans
Secure Offshore Data Center
Basic Hosting to Dedicated & Beyond!
Leading Provider of Managed Hosting
64 Ping! Zine Magazine
cPanel Shared & Reseller Hosting
Revolutionary Tool that
Monitors Your Ad Campaigns
Powerful tool for websites.
More money & Loyalty for hosts!
Double Disk Space When
You Mention Ping!
World-Class Hosting Starting at $5.95
50% off first 3 Months web hosting, all
plans. Coupon Code: 50percentoff
20% off hosting at GoDaddy.com!
HOST THE BEST
Pioneers in Flash Tutorials Since 2002
WEB TOOLS & SERVICES
Options for business messaging,
security & virtual office systems
Continuous Data Protection Solutions
Coming Soon in 2007!
Expert Server Administration
Why settle for a Job, when you can
have a career!
Web Hosting Press Releases & More!
WEB TOOLS & SERVICES
High-impact branding and design
The Final Authority!
A technical solution for all your hosting
VISIT WWW.PINGZINE.COM TO
SIGN-UP YOUR BUSINESS
By R. K. Selman
No good issue of Ping! would be
complete without a gut-splittingly
hilarious back page. Of course, this
isn’t necessarily a good issue of
Ping!, so the following will simply
have to do.
Byteback #3 - A Nibble of Cheapness
We all know at least one person of the sort--they’re so cheap they
refuse to buy a wallet, and instead regularly steal ATM deposit
envelopes to hold their money. (If you do this yourself, yes, I do
think you’re cheap.) Of course, the best treatment for people like
this is one-up-personship. With the following URL, you will not
need an ATM envelope, because you’ll be able to make a wallet
with, yes, you guessed it, a single piece of paper! Visit: http://www.
Byteback #1 - A Byte of Cynicism
Now, pardon me for not being an expert on the matter of rodents,
but “car-eating rats” seems a little over the top. Car-eating rats
that “terrorize” a city? Nice theme for a really crappy B-Movie,
methinks (or a dastardly terrorist plot). Unfortunately for residents
of Cambridge (the one in MA, not the one in England), it doesn’t
seem city bureaucrats can agree on whose responsibility the rats
are, either, but they blame that not on themselves--it’s apparently
a problem of the rats not having nametags. You think I’ve made
this up? Proof I haven’t: http://www.townonline.com/cambridge/
Byteback #2 - A Bit of Coolness
As we all know, cool car concepts are released all the time.
But, for those among us who are environmentally friendly, anything
that actually does make it to the market and still retains its
concept coolness is usually a pollution-spewing smog machine.
Toyota may just be changing that, with an awesome looking, awesomely
fast, truly bloody awesome (sorry, the Cambridge reference
caused me to turn British for a moment) new sports car, the
FT-HS. Check it out: http://www.edmunds.com/insideline/do/Features/articleId=118933
Byteback #4 - A Flash of the Past
Ever stuck your foot in your mouth? Metaphorically, that is? Probably,
but I suspect few of us could come anywhere near such
blockbuster statements as “Heavier-than-air flying machines are
impossible,” “There is no reason anyone would want a computer
in their home,” or “Airplanes are interesting toys but of no military
value.” You can read these and far more predictions gone really,
really wrong at http://www.thoughtmechanics.com/2007/04/21/
Now, some of you may ask, what does any of this have to do with
web hosting? Those who do so clearly can’t see the obvious:
1.) If rats and cars don’t mix, rats and datacenters don’t mix. Keep
rats away from your servers. You’ve been warned.
2.) Concept cars are always cool. Cool hosts drive cool cars. `Nuff
3.) DUH! Paper wallets are a competitive advantage for reducing
business costs. A wallet less a year translates into savings to pass
onto your hosting customers!
4.) And, finally, it really does pay to think before you speak, particularly
if someone is actually writing down what you say. This
includes ticket replies. Saying “Absolutely nobody would ever host
anything on Linux” may, therefore, be a bad idea.
66 64 Ping! Zine Magazine
Continuous Data Protection
The Future of Data Centers
Standards of your Host?
Open File Backups
Continuous Data Protection
Restore Linux LVM
Restore Linux Software RAID
Easy To Use Web Interface
Manage Thousands of Servers
Control Panel Integration
$80 - $100 /server
You Can’t Afford It
Data Centers serious about uptime and performance use R1Soft.
For more information visit: www.r1soft.com or call us at 800-956-6198
Continuous Data Protection
For LINUX & WINDOWS
Copyright 2007 Righteous Software Inc All Rights Reserved.
R1Soft is a trademark of Righteous Software Inc. Other names may be trademarks of their respective owners.