Archive for April, 2007

Utah Jazz!!

Tuesday, April 24th, 2007

I am ANGRY!!!!!!!!!!!! Did anyone else see the Utah Jazz have their 2nd playoff game STOLEN by horrible refs!! The incompetent bumbling fools that let the Houston Rockets beat the crap out of our players over and over for 17 minutes of the 2nd half with NO FOULS should be fired!! Wheres Trump? Tracy McGrady was celebrated by the Houston Rockets for his outstanding play tonight?? He shot 9/29?? Thats 31%? That blows in anyones book!!!

Go Utah Jazz!!!!! Blah…

Matt Heaton / Frustrated President of Bluehost.com

Can you pay the price?

Sunday, April 15th, 2007

A friend of mine was asking me some questions about what it would take to start up a hosting company. He asked about the software we use, bandwidth connections, other costs, etc. Later it really got me thinking about the giant pile of puzzle pieces that we have cobbled together to make Bluehost. It certainly didn’t happen overnight and looking back over the last 10 years (My time in the hosting market) I get tired just thinking of everything we did to make Bluehost and our other hosting ventures successful :)

We were able to grow Bluehost into one of the largest hosting companies in the world for one reason and one reason alone. We were willing to pay the price. Whats the price you ask? In our case specifically it has been countless hours of research and coding, a commitment to the customer, and a desire to win in the marketplace.

It doesn’t matter what you are trying to accomplish. If you are going to succeed at it you must be willing to pay the price. Society often teaches us to skip the work and go right to the front of the line. If you want to be great at work put in the time and effort to be great! If you want to be the best Dad in the world then pay the price to do that. Don’t skip out on the job and wonder why your kids are in the trouble. If you want to get ahead then get the education that is needed to pass up the competition.
Will you pay the price? When your answer is yes then you are ready to move forward. Until then mediocrity will be your constant companion.

Matt Heaton / Bluehost.com

Google’s little secret…

Friday, April 13th, 2007

While anyone in their right mind respects google for their technical advancements, they are FAR from being the golden child in the tech search sector and it is all for one reaon. Customer service and COMMON SENSE when dealing with customers on their adwords program. Their adwords offering has brought the oppurtunity to many small/medium business to get direct visitors. While this is a good thing, the envinonment which google compeltely controls has CRITICAL pieces missing that just happen to benefit themselves greatly and hurt the same advertisers at the same time. Many companies put up with this because they “have to” and literally have no other choice but to do so. Let me emmerate a few points that cause the higher ups in google to cry out in consternation that anyway would dare bad mouth their methods!!

1) Google REFUSES to allow an advertiser to block another advertiser from clicking on your link. Basically if I buy the #1 spot for $10 a click, I don’t want the #2 clicking on my ad everyday to see if anything has changed. #2 isn’t a client, but they cost me a lot of money everyday! PLEASE PLEASE give you users the ability to create and block people clicking on their ads that are just their competitors eating up their add dollars (That go right into Googles pocket by the way). Doing a simply IP check coupled with cookies would eliminate 99% of this people in 3 days. I am not talking about a 24 hour ban on multiple clicks. WE THE PEOPLE need something to block a range of ip – 209.68.55.0/24 (A full class C etc) . I don’t run campaigns with Google anymore for this reason. I was spending about $200,000 a month and about 35K of that went to our competitors (Checking us out) . LET US CONTROL WHO CAN AND CAN’T VISIT OUR PAID ADS!!!! Why can’t/won’t they get this – Because its lost $$$$$ for Google if they do this. Nevermind that the customer will love them and want to advertise more instead of getting pissed off because Google doesn’t think/believe that the customer themselves can resolve any of these problems. We are all a bunch of idiots that need their help to manage our campaign?!?!?! Come on google… Quick forcing us to pay for our competitors clicking on our sites. Let US pick and choose ip ranges to be blocked. How hard is that? Thats what I thought…. Piece of cake… Go on… Jump off your little googleplex chair and do the right thing!!!!

2) Trademarked names problem. Google does the least work in enforcing trademark violation marketing in their index. I owe Bluehost.com and Hostmonster.com (Both Federally trademarked I might add). Because google allows others to buy my trademarked names and preset it as ourselves we literally have to pay out 30-40K a month in “afffiliate” fees just to protect our brand. What does google say/do about this? What do they do when you have ANY problem of any kind at google when you are a customer – Nothing. They explain how their system works, and why it is so much better and then invite you to join their brainless borge cluster of same thinking robots that are adept at doing nothing to help the customer out.

In essense, Google doesn’t care about the customer AT ALL. They only care about their revenue stream and it shows. Even if there are HUGE flaws in the system, if it brings in extra revenue then so be it. We are all being pitted against each other on adwords with no way to put limits on our ads for who sees what ad. Google laughs all the way to the bank. Next time you see one of the adwords google “execs” at a trade show go punch him as hard as you can in the stomach and tell him Matt Heaton said “HI!” That might not work, but I sure would feel a lot better about the whole thing. What say you?

Thanks,

Matt Heaton / President Bluehost.com

The American Flag…

Tuesday, April 10th, 2007

I am an avid NBA fan. I have 4 seats on the 3rd row for the Utah Jazz games. My wife is an even bigger fan. She almost never misses a game and always knows the stats of all the players and other teams we play. Its one of those things I do with my wife that is actually a “MAN” thing to do :) I am not saying that I don’t like to watch “The Bachelor” with my wife (Ok, I hate it and want to jab an icepick into my head when I watch it with her), its just not as good as a Jazz game.

I have to comment on something really quick just to make sure I am not off base. Every game they bring out someone new to sing the National Anthem. They have a giant flag hanging in one corner of the building and when it starts everyone in the arena turns, puts their hands over their heart, and looks at the flag out of respect for the enormous sacrifice others have made to put our country where it is today. Everyone does this except 90% of the NBA players. The 10% that do put their hand over their hearts are usually the older ones (Just an observation).

Now maybe there is some reason they don’t do this and not all players are American citizens as a decent amount of players are foreign Nationals, but to me this is the height of disrespect. If you are an American citizen then you damn well should show some respect for our flag and country. If 25,000 people coming to watch you play basketball show respect at every game then the players can and should as well. If I am wrong please tell me where? It makes me angry!
Matt Heaton / Bluehost.com

Don’t call out #1 until your ready…

Sunday, April 8th, 2007

A long time back (About a year ago) on my blog, I put out a note that said that anyone who came to our office and beat me in ping pong would get a free hosting account. I actually had a few people take me up on the offer. There are not that many things that I am actually good at, but ping pong is one of them. One of the people who contacted me to play was named Ryan. He is actually a good friend of mine now, but at the time I had never met him. I was talking with a few of my other ping pong buddies about this “Ryan guy” that was coming over and they asked if he was Ryan that is the number #1 rated player in Utah. At this point I started getting worried.

Long story short, I wont the first game and then it started to go downhill in a hurry. It was clear that Ryan wasn’t just better, but he was a LOT better. Sometimes you think you are the best and maybe you are in your little pond, but there is ALWAYS somebody somewhere that is better. Ryan and I play almost every week now. I am much better than I was a year ago, but alas he is still better and wins everytime. The difference now is that I know what to expect and what to work on. The gap is narrowing and sometimes I give him a close run for his money.
Dont’ be afraid to call out #1 on anything you are doing whether it is work related or a simple sports competition, but be ready! Otherwise you might just get killed like I did :(

Thanks,
Matt Heaton

Microsoft, the good, the bad, and the ugly…

Saturday, April 7th, 2007

Ok, I can almost feel Deven (My buddy at Microsoft) cringing as this blog entry starts. Lets get to the point. Bluehost is big enough now and has enough medium sized businesses that use Microsoft Exchange that we are considering adding it to our list of services. Bluehost has made its mark in the hosting industry by offering low cost hosting with an emphasis on customer service. This isn’t exactly the market Exchange is going after, but we have had enough customers come to us asking after Exchange that it is something we are looking at offering. Here is the problem…

Microsoft is a lot of things, but stupid isn’t one of them, or is it? Microsoft exists in its current form by having mediocre software (In my not so humble opinion) that has always started off at ridiculously low prices. As the customer base grows and competition diminishes the prices go up and the quality of the software goes down (Internet Explorer is a PERFECT example of this). The quandary that Microsoft is in is how to make more money from a product that almost everyone already has (Office, and Windows OS). The answer is services. I don’t think Microsoft likes the answer, but it doesn’t change the fact that everything in our massively networked world is going online and most of the apps we use today will be run on or over the web sometime in the not so distant future.

So what to do, what to do? Microsoft needs users of its services for a lasting and recurring revenue stream and so of course the first thing they decided to do was shoot itself in the foot. Hear my out on this one – Microsoft is competing in a world where it will NEVER be the low price leader again. Linux is an incredible server operating system, but in my opinion still has a way to go to be viable on the desktop (Start the email flames now please). However, in applications running over the web Linux is the best option out there. The best part is that everyone using Windows at home would never know they were even using a Linux server. Our customers don’t care if they are on Linux or Windows for our hosting, they just want it to work. Exchange hosting is the same, or very close. This doesn’t mean I think open source Exchange solutions are better. In fact I don’t believe that at all, what I KNOW is that Microsoft still acts as if they are the only game in town, which clearly isn’t the case anymore. Let me give you some examples that make me scratch my head at what the “brains” at Microsoft have come up with to “dazzle” the potential client.

1 – Microsoft refuses to give you any price guarantee on server licenses or Msql licenses. The price is “x” today and in 12 months it could be “y”. It could stay the same or it could double. I was “assured” that they were working for “us” the clients to make sure costs were kept down. Thats like asking a Lion to guard a pile of steaks for you. Come on?!?!?!?

2 – Microsoft has decided their “partners” are idiots and so are building their own Exchange Hosting solution that comes out in less than a year. What does this mean? Lets look at this logically for a minute (Not my strong point :) ). The company that builds and licenses Windows Server (Not cheap), and Msql, and Exchange is going to to sell/license all that software to me and then promote their own product to compete with me for the business that I just gave a ton of money to license. I don’t think so! And many Exchange providers will agree with me, much to the chagrin of Microsoft. My costs are only a little bit higher right?

3 – Its expensive. Its really expensive for what you get. The alternatives provide almost all the same functionality for literally 1/20th the cost. That isn’t a recipe for success in anyones book and Microsoft knows it. Again, how to respond? As fast as possible. I would do the same. I would get as many clients as I could as fast as I could and give them a quality product with service like no other to keep them on board. Unfortunately for Microsoft they don’t excel (Good pun huh??) at either of those and their marketing doesn’t suggest they are cognisant of any of the issues I have mentioned above.

Clearly we are just another fish in the Microsoft pond. I would love to offer Exchange services to our clients in one form or another. I am just having trouble giving my money and clients over to a company that I think has a COMPLETELY different vision and direction from how I run my own business. In the end its what our customers want and demand from us, but that may or may not be the Microsoft solution…

Thanks,
Matt Heaton / President Bluehost.com