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issue 5.3


Ping! Zine Magazine


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.

www.pingzine.com 5

issue 5.3


Ping! Zine Magazine









Jean C., North Vancouver, BC, Canada:

Alternative Hosting

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


Sincerely, Jean

[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

bright idea.

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!

Thanks Amy!

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.”]

www.pingzine.com 7

issue 5.3


Ping! Zine Magazine

Intersurge 2.3

Intermedia 5

Bocacom 7

Host4Yourself.com 55

Host PC 9

TechPad Agency 56

1&1 10.11

Lunar Pages 59

Hosting Panama 13

Psoft 62

Top Web Hosts 15

Host Careers 67

WingSix 17

Righteous Software 68

First Vox 19

SCInterface 20

Biz Hosting Network 20

CDG Commerce 21

SWsoft Hosting Summit 25

One Avenue 27

Touch Support 29

HostingCon 33

Data Hosts 36

ModernBill 38

Host Gator 43

Relio 45

Host Buyout 46

SWsoft 49.50.51

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

Advisory Board

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

Editorial Staff

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

Contributing Writers

Joe Whyte

Danielle Wallace

Evan Kamlet

R. K. Selman

Contact Information

PingZine LLC

1814 S. Range Ave, Suite D

Denham Springs, LA 70726

(225) 791-6140

Website www.pingzine.com

General Info info@pingzine.com

Sales sales@pingzine.com

Editor editor@pingzine.com

Design design@pingzine.com

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 info@pingzine.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

www.pingzine.com 11




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

Comodo Backup.

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

visit http://www.comodo.com



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


www.pingzine.com 13



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).




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



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


www.pingzine.com 15



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.



Reserve June 20th-22nd for this hot LAS VEGAS

hosting event.

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

stay late!

“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! 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

worldwide agreement.

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


www.pingzine.com 17

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

newspaper content.

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,






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

providers. [continued]

22 Ping! Zine Magazine

www.pingzine.com 23

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.



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,

uncomplicated process.

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

VoIP arena.

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,

graphical interface.

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

configurations. [continued]

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.


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

large companies.

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

rapidly growing


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

their services.

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

less mechanical.

- 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


www.pingzine.com 29

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]!

u know

its time to

leave your

web host

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

a woman.

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

information AGAIN!

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

your ISP.”

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

you.” SUUUUCKS!!!!

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.


www.pingzine.com 31

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

on it.

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

your competition.]

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

be funny).

56. When immediately after you sign up

with them, they offer this great deal on

more space/bandwidth/whatever…but

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

forum!!! P!

July 23-25, 2007

Navy Pier, Chicago


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

the conference.

Aend the largest gathering of hosted services

professionals in the world.


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!

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using discount code PINGZINE

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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 :

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100% Uptime. Is It Really Possible?

By Rollie Hawk<


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.


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.


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.


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








Uptime %







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.



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

hardware around.

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


www.pingzine.com 35


3 Days

7 Hours

42 Minutes

4 Minutes

½ Minute

2.5 Seconds

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.


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

Uptime %




1 Server




2 Servers




3 Servers



4 Servers



99.9999999% 99.9999999999%

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.


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,

Sorry kids,

there’s just no

such thing as

100% uptime.

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

utility providers.


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%

Uptime Solution?

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.

www.pingzine.com 37

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,

intelligent-yet-sassy Aussie

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

yourself, Brian?

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

gullible, huh?

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


www.pingzine.com 39

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

passionately forward.

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

did there?

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

this process?

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

you posted.

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

general headings?

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

Snowboarding tour...

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


www.pingzine.com 41

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

personal stylist?

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?

Lead Guitar

Inhale or exhale?

Both :)

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

submission process:

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!

Thanks, Brian!

My pleasure – thanks for the opportunity,

spotlight and creative questions... P!

42 Ping! Zine Magazine




Five practical

steps to

becoming a



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

save money.

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 rachel@event-management.com.

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

Rock Out

with Rails

on Windows

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.


www.pingzine.com 47

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: www.mycookbook.com typo

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

OK again.

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

rock out

with Rails on

Windows! Its

easy and

its free.

www.pingzine.com 49

50 Ping! Zine Magazine

www.pingzine.com 51

[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.


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

at SWsoft.

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

Serguei Beloussov

f SWsoft


By Rollie Hawk

www.pingzine.com 57

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

profitable offerings.

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


www.pingzine.com 61

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

different than

the thousands of

other companies

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.

www.pingzine.com 63




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www.pingzine.com 65

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

www.pingzine.com 67

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R1Soft is a trademark of Righteous Software Inc. Other names may be trademarks of their respective owners.

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