Win at all cost!!

There are three things I have definitely learned in my 35 years on this earth. A bird in hand is safer than one above, never eat yellow snow, and kick your competition when they are down and never let them get back up! The hosting industry is a VERY cutthroat business. There isn’t room to let your competition share market space with you, and there certainly isn’t an unlimited amount of advertising avenues to pursue. This being the case you should do anything and everything you can to forcibly take business from your competitors.

I certainly am not suggesting anything immoral or illegal to obtain your goals, but I am here to tell you that business is a war for customers and you better have a very good battle plan if you expect to win (Achieve your growth goals). This may seem strange from someone who has written in the past that many of my fiercest competitors are also my friends. We talk often, share ideas, and if they are really struggling with an issue I am glad to help out where I can. I do this because I respect these people in the industry and that respect translates into help and information if they require it.

Having said that, my goal is to take ALL of their customers. They aren’t stupid. They know that is my goal and I have even mentioned it to them on several occasions, and if they were smart they would be plotting to take my customers as well. I can think of several occasions where we have gone above and beyond what any sane company would do to get an affiliate relationship with a large advertiser. We try to know as much as possible about our customers and especially our affiliates so that we can use that knowledge to give them what they want to do business with us.

Not everyone wants the same thing, especially when it comes to affiliates. We work HARD to know our affiliates needs and address them in such a way that they don’t have any desire to promote someone else ahead of us if we work hard and give them what they want.

In short if your support isn’t as good as ours you ARE going to lose customers to us. If we convert higher for affiliates you WILL lose positions to Bluehost and Hostmonster. If our service is better over the long time, we WILL have a higher renewal rate and word of mouth signup rate. If we pay less for servers and bandwidth we WILL use that money to pay higher affiliates commissions and kill other companies growth. If you don’t hire great admins and programmers then your product WILL be inferior to ours and over the long term it will show in our signup and renewal rate.

Be in business to have fun and make money, but WIN! WIN! WIN! :)

Thanks,
Matt Heaton / President Bluehost.com

40 Responses to “Win at all cost!!”

  1. Jewelz says:

    Hey Matt-
    Want Bluehost to be cutting edge? you need to get Instant messenger customer service.

  2. Rick says:

    I applaud your enthusiasm to be the top webhost. Just don’t forget those of us already on your books in your thirst for new customers.

    Your support team are good and knowledgeable – so well done on this score.

    If you want to be number one I will reiterate my request to keep your installed software up-to-date. PHP5.2.x has been out for over a year and you still haven’t upgraded your servers. There are functionality and security reasons why this should be attended to. Not forgetting that php4 will have it’s support cut next year. I know updating software across many servers is a mammoth undertaking, but hope this is on the agenda.

  3. Jennifer says:

    I think instant messenger customer service would be good too. The online chat room version is good though but it is very slow.

    Anyways, this article is true. You have to be aggressive, but generous at the same time in any business. I don’t think it is just hosting.

  4. cd says:

    I’m considering switching to Bluehost, but cannot find a clear chart of pricing plans anywhere. I cannot log into the CP because my current (physical) host has that port blocked, so maybe it’s in there.

    Would appreciate a link to a page that has your pricing plans detailed.

    Thank you,
    cd

  5. Dang, I thought this post was gonna be about steroids or something…

    I realize these probably aren’t exactly “trade secrets” that you’re spitting out here, and this is your personal blog, and you have a right to say whatever you want, et cetera and so forth, however… From the perspective of a customer who pretty much just uses this webspace I rent from you for online storage and presentation, I’m not entirely comfortable with the supervillain-esque monologuing. Assuming what you say is painfully obvious to you business-y types, there’s really no reason to ruin my image of Bluehost as a friendly, helpful company, more than deserving of my money and always there if I need a hand.

    I suppose, if I stopped to think about it, then yeah, I would assume you’re in it to be financially successful and to crush your competition… But I DON’T stop to think of that. Nobody goes into a Wal-Mart thinking, “These guys are using every little dirty trick in the book, running thousands of people out of business, and pushing the corporate envelope right to the very edge, all for the sake of making more money than their competitors,” they’re just looking to save a few bucks on paper towels and blue jeans.

    Mr. Heaton, I’m a Bluehost customer through and through, your service has been nothing short of spectacular, and I have no intention of canceling it. Which is why I feel that I at least owe you the honest perspective of a customer. Please consider my comments with that in mind, and keep up the great work.

  6. Its my first visit here… i guess.

    and quit supprised by this post. So i would like to post here as well.
    Its true with the point of hosting quality, and the better it is, the customer will stay for more years and thus the customer base grow bigger.

    Not just affiliate system, but what is selling, quality of product/services.

    keep it up. you guys are doing great!

  7. kristen says:

    ha… i found you too! very insightful sight! it’s amazing what you can learn about someone by reading their thoughts and opinions! it’s been nice getting to know you better! talk to ya later!

  8. Rodjer says:

    Lol nice post! Do your best or die like the rest, sort of summary quote ;-)

    Keep up the good work Matt!

  9. Thanks for an EXCELLENT product & Services. I’ve started migrating all of my customers off another hosting service and will not support any that don’t move to HostMonster with me….there are too many advantages to mention. Thanks Matt !

  10. Ray says:

    What happened to a kinder, gentle, more compassionate, world? I believe that you can win through superior customer service, attention to detail, and putting your customers above all else. Competition is good and when competition is stiff you must differentiate yourself from your competitors by providing a superior product. The cream will rise to the top and you will be noted for your contributions to your customers and the business community. the marketplace is expanding at an ever increasing rate. A company can become successful merely by acquiring new business and not have to take it from any of your competitors. The adage that it is 10 times more expensive to acquire new customers than it is to retain an existing one is true. your comment “kick them while they’re down and never let them up” makes me wonder if I have selected the proper hosting service with the value that I respect the most, integrity. as I have said previously, your blogs sound as if they’re made for shock value. save your win, win, win, philosophy for pep talks to your employees, not for distribution to your customers.

  11. Eirik says:

    Hey!

    Well and good, but the front page of your blog look really weird. I’m using Explorer 6.0. Some CSS problems I tihink.

    Should be fixed to meet your goals stated in your post:)

  12. Robert says:

    I followed a link in your latest HostMonster announcement email to this blog and was floored to see that the President of HostMonster is only 35 years young. Please note that I have nothing against older business executives.

    Btw, even though I am not currently using it, I am so happy that you added support for RoR.

  13. Mike M says:

    My experience with Hostmonster has been excellent. Your support is great, and I expect to be your customer for some time.

    I do wish, however, you could provide dedicated and/or managed hosting packages. One of my sites is expected to quickly outgrow a shared hosting environment, and I’d rather give you the business than pay Rackspace.

  14. I’m stoked to be a new Hostmonster.com member! I was with Ipower.com for years and all my respect for them went down the tube as my site and email went down for a couple of weeks as a result of their migration to a new Cpanel platform.

    It’s refreshing to do business with a business that appreciates its clients for what they are: its life-blood!

    Thanks and keep the innovation flowin’.

    MM

  15. Manoj says:

    I appreciate your personalized emails. I had nothing to do thats why I came here:)

  16. Tim says:

    A wise man once posited this rhetorical question,
    What shall it profit a man if he shall gain the whole world, yet lose his own soul?

  17. chaoskaizer says:

    hi matt,
    that was a good read i enjoy it, I rarely see people who said thing in straight way right on the face.

    I’m saving this line “my goal is to take ALL of their customers”

  18. Chuck says:

    If there is one thing that I would like to see in your crusade for more customers, is a change on Box Trapper. With over 15 email addresses on multiple domains and subdomains, visiting each individually to release trapped mail is OK.

    However, it would be REALLY, REALLY convenient to be able to see all the daily blocking logs for one domain summarized in one screen, and be able to select multiple days/messages at one time for action. Currently one has to laboriously scroll back and forth, select and delete/allow, then go back and forth again using Go Back for each day to summarily dismiss or allow blocked mail.

    Cpanel has been much improved in the past year. If Box Trapper could be fashioned like an email account with all blocks for xx days or just existing blocks listed on one page for desired actions, I would be one happy customer.

  19. Hello Matt. I received your email about your blog today and i decided to read it. I really liked what i read. Never thought that Bluehost’s owner can be that close to normal customers like me.
    I read several articles you posted and overall i think you are right all the time.
    I do think that bussines is bussines but you can try to create a well balanced “harmony” with your competition.
    I really like bluehost. I am happy with it. Off course some times ive had problems but everything went well at last.
    Matt, sorry to bother you here but i want to ask you for some support besides bluehost.
    I read some of your first articles about bluehost and how you started.
    I want to start a hosting company here in Chile. I want to start “small”. I do not have enough money to create a datacenter and my geography location doesnt help either. Costs of broadband here is very high, so i cannot even think about it yet.
    But i found that maybe i can start buying hosting to a quality reseller hosting company. I’d love if bluehost offers some quality reseller plan but i know you dont, and i also know your reasons why you wouldnt (costumer car?).
    So, finally, can you give me some advice about a good company that offers reliable, quality reseller plans?.
    Well Matt, thanks for your Blog. I’ll keep reading it.
    Bye

  20. Brian says:

    I’ve had a great time using you guys. I’ve never had another host…well, I did back in the old days, I guess, if you consider Geocities or Tripod a host, but you guys have been above and beyond what I expected. Thanks!

  21. Jason says:

    Bluehost is by far the most reliable and stable provider I’ve had in the last 6 years. The evolution of your Cpanel and your 24×7 support is outstanding.

    In addition to other user comments, I would highly encourage your company to address one major shortcoming:

    -> Accessing Cpanel requires use of port 2082 (instead of 80, 8080, 443 etc.). This prevents people from accessing Cpanel through 90% of corporate firewalls. A real hassle.

  22. wes says:

    Its true you have to be better than your competitors all the time and stay in front to win but I like the reference that you also need to get great admins and programmers etc to get things done properly.

    Its a point a few companies miss unfortunately.

  23. Matt,

    In my experience, Bluehost has been the absolute best hosting company in terms of products, pricing and especially customer service! With that being echoed by so many of your customers, you naturally stand out from the rest and literally rise to the top. Don’t worry so much about taking others’ customers, there’s enough to go around for all and your slice of the pie is getting bigger every instant. I understand about cutthroat business, worked in IT for large corporations for a decade before dropping out. Since then, it has become very clear that if you forget about how MANY customers you want to have but instead focus on the QUALITY you provide, the numbers follow naturally. You’re already there. :-)
    Thank you for all that you do!!!
    Damaris

  24. Ivan says:

    Why don’t you use renewable energy like these companies?

    http://search.yahoo.com/search;_ylt=A0geu9iTK1BHhWoBm1hXNyoA?p=wind+powered+web+hosting&y=Search&fr=yfp-t-501&ei=UTF-8

    They are buying energy credits from companies like this, I believe.

    http://www.3phases.com/products/faqs.php

    You are already buying energy. hy not buy it from renewable resources. MY WEBMASTER IS PLEADING WITH ME TO USE HOSTMONSTER. This is the only reason why I’m not signing a multi year contract with you. Can you PLEASE contact me directly? I’m only on here one time to ask you this one question. I want to know if there is a valid reason that you don’t buy these energy credits.

    Check out what your competition is doing. http://www.sustainablehosting.com/content/view/17/31/

    And the worst part is that these eco-friendly web hosting companies are horrible at customer service. I’d much rather work with YOU if you were green. So, WHY AREN’T YOU??

  25. Hi Matt –

    Thanks for the update. I just wanted to let you know that I’ve been consistently impress with the service and reliability of BlueHost. I have friends that like a certain host who uses voluptuous models to endorse their product, and I just want to say that I’ll never go back. Your company and its commitment to service and customers is unparalleled.

    Keep doin’ what you’re doin’… I’ll keep sending referrals your way.

    :) Jennifer

  26. Notdisclosed says:

    So, pretty soon I will leave your hosting to find one that offers .ASP, cause until now I was able to use FrontPage, but with the new version of Microsoft Expression Web replacing FrontPage and your site not supporting .ASP, it is easier to find another hosting company than abondoning the software that I have already learn. Does Microsoft matters now ?

  27. I’m not selling anything, on my site or here. I am just telling my story at my main site and blogging in a subdirectory. BlueHost has the best in person customer service that I have EVER come across, helpful, to the point, and correct. Even for those of us who are not doing ecommerce. Your service is unparalleled. Your services are wonderful – though your traffic counts aren’t quite right, everything else you do is. You make maintaining a site a breeze compared to other places. I have a feeling we will be together a long time. Thanks! :^) gene

  28. vache says:

    frank zappa would be proud of you

  29. Mike says:

    To the poster on energy..the credits are crap. Doesn’t that involve not actually using green energy but paying to offset what you use in green energy? Anyway, I can appreciate the tone here because I want to know that you are vigilant about providing the best service so that I stick around. This helped convince me to a be customer (which will happen soon) because my current host is just fine as long as I don’t have a problem. Knowledgeable people who understand what I want to do or what the problem is and can fix it is really important.

  30. “We work HARD to know our affiliates needs and address them in such a way that they don’t have any desire to promote someone else ahead of us if we work hard and give them what they want.”

    Matt, I’m sorry but I have to disagree. Your affiliate staff won’t give me the time of day. Please don’t forget the little guy who is busting his ass to get into the market. I’ve made HUGE leaps in just three months, but still, any of my requests are met with silence or refusals.

    Can you email me sometime using the email from this post? Thanks.

  31. jason says:

    Matt, you do not have a very ethical viewpoint. It is about earning your customers business and making them want to stay and refer you. You might as well just break into a competitors DC and take their servers. With an attitude like yours you will always finish 2nd, no matter how hard you try.

  32. […] this article from Matt Heaton, who is the CEO of Bluehost and Hostmonster. It is called “Win at all Costs!!” It is about the competition of business, particularly the web hosting business. In case you […]

  33. Hypotheek says:

    Dear Matt, I like your blog and especially this old post. Surely you play to win! I was always thinking this was typically Dutch, just like our new http://www.hypotheekindex.nl site we play to win but… also to share our knowledge.

    A lesson I learned that with sharing stuff (knowledge) you come further, quicker! So yeah, we earn and we share ideas, hints and tips to let others earn more. With shame, guilt or whatsoever, play to win. That’s the spirit ;-)

  34. Hypotheek says:

    HI,

    Nice post. I wish you all the best with reaching your goals.

  35. bedrijfspand says:

    Just as in the games, in business is the most important thing to win. When you don’t feel the competition it is difficult to stay sharp. Do exactly the same as the bests in the market…and improve them, more and more and become King! regards, J

  36. Hypotheek says:

    I will say that Bluehost is one of the most reliable and stable provider I’ve ever had. Fast and good. Regards, Bram

  37. Haha, that was a very nice article, I really enjoy it, I rarely see people who said thing in straight way right on the face, keep up this good work, Jasper

  38. Russ says:

    I am thouroughly impressed with the speed and reliability of Bluehost and their servers. I guess having just one plan with alot of features allow you to concentrate on excellence…

  39. Thanks for the great article. I hope you will reach all your goals. I think Bluehost is absolutely the best hosting company.

  40. bob says:

    Amazing … to hear someone in your position spit that “kick em when they’re down” crap out like it was something to be proud of!

    Good luck with that philosophy when on your deathbed! I’ll bet you anything, you have a change of heart. lol

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