Now is the time…

The past year Bluehost and Hostmonster have had tremendous growth. Over the last 15 months we doubled our paying subscriber base. We now host more than 1.1 million domains, and are one of the fastest growing and largest hosting companies in the world. While I am very excited about this, I am actually disappointed in myself because personally I haven’t done everything that I could over the last 12 months to really increase our growth at a faster rate. Many months past where I let marketing opportunities go by that I didn’t seize on. It was easy to rest on my laurels and let things flow without giving my 100%. I am embarrassed to admit that.

Having said that, the last couple of weeks I have been working overtime to get us back into “fighting shape”. Now is the time to push forward and push hard. We are going to take substantial market share from our competitors over the next year. In the short term we are going to increase our signup rate through affiliate and direct marketing efforts. I have already set up many marketing partnerships that are going live in the next few days. The goal is to increase our renewal rate by 5% and add 25,000 new paying customers each month. We have never set a subscriber goal that we didn’t exceed. Goals are meant to be achieved not set.

Past successes are no guarantee of future success. Bluehost and Hostmonster have been a leader in the small and medium sized hosting market for a long time. Now is the time to break away from the pack and blaze our own trail. I no longer want to compare our company to other hosting companies to gauge our success. Now is the time to take first position. Now is the time that our company becomes the measuring stick for other hosts to gauge their success.

Our time is now!

Matt Heaton / President Bluehost.com – Hostmonster.com – Fastdomain.com

27 Responses to “Now is the time…”

  1. David Mackey says:

    Matt – Driving yourself a bit hard no? Anyways, was wondering if you could clarify the difference between bluehost and hostmonster? Also if you have any intentions to enter the VPS market.
    Dave.

  2. Rob Worth says:

    Don’t grow too fast. You don’t want to trip over yourself such as lack of adequate hardware to support 25,000 new sign-ups per month. There is always a price to pay when you let yourself grow beyond your means just because you have a goal to achieve.

    On the other hand, go for it. As much as we advertise our affiliation, I’m always at a loss as to why one type of advertising works while another does not. Maybe I’m not putting enough into pushing the brand like I should be doing.

    Our next newsletter will have a link to our affiliate codes. Hopefully, that pulls some business in for us as well.

  3. Dillan Dauterive says:

    Don’t get too big-headed, the only change I am seeing from a customer view is worse and unmanaged technical support. You see it a lot, with a huge influx of work comes less managed, less professional, and less helpful support. You don’t have half the technical support dedication you had a year and a half ago. But you do have a lot more money I guess.

  4. jim waldrep says:

    Matt,
    I’ve been in Upper management for computers. It is very easy to get involved in the day to day and miss the overall big picture. BUT, don’t be too hard on yourself.

    You’ve identified your problem. Now identify your solutions and implement them. Don’t forget to add personnel, because THEY are the only resource you have the differentiates you from everyone else. YOUR PEOPLE ARE YOUR COMPANY.

    I’m retired now. And I’m about to become one of those 25,000 new customers this month that you are seeking. I’m a newbie when it comes to websites. I was strictly hardware (ops) with some software (only when I was forced) and mainly management (good big picture guy).

    Like I said, I’m retired now. 18+ years in DP. The the past ten or so as a gunsmith. I have two degrees (computers and gunsmithing). My wife let me retire about two years ago. I’ve been working up the ‘courage’ to tackle this project with the help of one of your customers who suggested you as a hosting service (thx Tony).

    I look forward to using your service and will gladly continue to submit critiques of how I am progressing. I’m not trying to get fancy or elaborate. My wife and I just want ‘our own space’ and no longer have to be tied to ‘those other guys’ (starts with M and ends with oft). Plus a little more personal email names and a place where we can post pix and comments about our life in general.

    I wish you the best. And don’t let the ‘turkeys’ get you down. Just continue to progress onward and upward. And like I said, don’t forget your people. They are what WILL make your company the best out there.

    jim

  5. Stuart Lob says:

    “Nevermind” – your phone support agent said that Live Chat was down for the holiday, which i now remember has happened before. I appreciate that you would run a skeleton crew on holidays, as that strikes a good balance between service and ensuring well-deserved holidays for staff.

    Still, some kind of explanation would be nice (though I now recall having run across the holiday issue once before). Holidays are the only time some of us have to really focus on our sites.

    Finally, pardon me for not even realizing it’s a holiday. I live in New Orleans and my whole family are evacuees, staying with friends in Mississippi while we wait to hear when we might be going home (fortunately, much sooner than last time this happened).

  6. Raymond M says:

    I have always believed in setting your goals high. Go on Matt, don’t let anyone stop you or try to reel you in.

    P.S.

    Does this new drive include the VPS or Dedicated Server market?

  7. Nathan says:

    Yeah, @ David Mackey, are you going to offer more than just shared hosting? What about dedicated? have some sites now that have experienced the Digg affect and need dedicated servers… they are growing fast and Bluehost is probably one of the best hosting companies… I don’t want to transfer my domain from Bluehost to someone else…. you guys rock too much!

  8. afewtips.com says:

    Growth for Growths sake is not always the best plan. As Rob (Poster #2) says, you could trip over yourself.

    You could grow and not acquire 1 new customer – as you say – Renewals. Revenue growth and profitability growth for a solid customer based is more important than acquisition and also cheaper. If you can predict your renewal rate well and not rob Peter to pay Paul by holding back early renewals, your efficiency will account for solid growth and growth in profitability.

    And don’t skimp on the support side – more customers need more support.

  9. Sir:

    I inquired a few times to your sales dept. about whether other means
    besides the web is employed to further promote Bluehost. Specifically,
    I brought up the idea of a Bluehost T-shirt. That may seem silly in view of the dramatic growth you’re having by present means.

    However, as a practical matter, whenever I’m able to ( randomly ) ask
    who a business ( or individual ) is using for their hosting and I mention
    Bluehost the response is always the same — never heard of them.

    Perhaps, this form of awareness ( a tee ) is wasted effort in your view but I have to wonder. I live in San Antonio and many businesses become captives of the web designers who build their sites and thus follow thru
    with hosting arrangements ( translation — don’t know anyone, do it for me ). I’ve encountered hosting rates that are outrageously high from these firms. How you would exploit this area, I wouldn’t know. I just know its there.

    dk

  10. EarlyOut says:

    I notice that Hostmonster and Fastdomain are having special promotions, but not Bluehost. Since these are all identical, potential customers find the price differences confusing. Doesn’t it actually dilute the brand to maintain the fiction of three separate companies? Wouldn’t consolidation yield a single, killer name brand, with bragging rights about the number of domains hosted?

  11. wes says:

    Its good to aim by such a big number of new customers each month but I also think thats its equally important to retain the current customer base by making sure the service is up to scratch.

  12. vince says:

    You have to be careful what you wish for. Extreme pops in new accounts will stress infrastructure and support staff. But knowing you guys I’m sure you’ve adopted the “Field of Dreams” approach “Build it and they will come” :)

    That being said, I have 2 clients on Bluehost and I love your company. I don’t even use 1/100th of my services. The service and support are great and you have a good team.

    Good luck.

  13. Crystal Rod says:

    I hope you can exceed your goals. Good luck in your business!

  14. Brandon says:

    My website recently move from a free WordPress.com server to our own paid-for server. As I did the research to decide which hosting company to move to, I got very distinct images of the kind of company each would turn out to be. I read reviews, comments on reviews, and anything else I could find.

    The image I got of Bluehost was mixed. It was clearly the biggest company with the most resources. The price was great and the package provided was perfect. But I read many reports of Bluehost having less-than-admirable customer service or canceling someone’s account for an insignificant reasons. These kinds of issues generally occur when a company has so many customers that it doesn’t need to see them as individuals, but as groups and numbers. The problem with that is, after a while, the individuals tell their friends or post their stories online.

    I’m certain that the “horror stories” I read about Bluehost were the minority, but the fact that there were plenty of them held me back from using Bluehost (a company that I really liked and wanted to use).

    I post these comments not as an attack but as a suggestion. Perhaps this is one key to furthering your companies customer growth. You have all of the positives, now remove the negatives. I’d love to see Bluehost become the kind of company that cares about individuals. That’s the kind of company I want hosting my blog.

  15. lingo says:

    to do that, first you should make sure you really have the correct business mindset and etiquette for that. Do a google search on the net and recently there has been soo many complains on hostmonster and bluehost.
    People have been experiencing constant downtimes, site running incredibly slow, and i myself have been suffering from supreme SLOW Upload speed.
    What happened?
    More new customers or More angry existing customers??

  16. Shawn Foley says:

    Matt, sorry to hear you are growing so quickly. When can we expect this system to be up to par? I’d like to be able to post information for people to support our troops but can’t because of constant server issues. Can you help.

  17. Matt Wilson says:

    I’ve been a very happy customer for about 3 years.
    You tend to make a lasting impression when things go pear shaped.
    I wonder if like Rob said you need controlled growth.

    I’ve read about sites being moved around to redistribute the load.
    Our sites have been down for the last few days. I gather the server is under heavy load.

    The problem is that support can’t tell us when to expect resolution and during a trip to the forums I read an affiliate who has customers berating him because they can’t get email for days.
    At the moment I can’t communicate with my clients. We’re with bluehost because you’re really good not because your inexpensive.
    Please don’t allow service to drop for days at a time.

    I read your post about the backup problem. I hope you find a solution.
    Regards
    Matt Wilson

  18. Kuikens says:

    Be careful not to let growth take over quality.
    Hosts are nowadays judged first by quality, then by price, not many custumors care about the growth rate of the host.
    They probably do care about the growth of other domains on their shared server :)

  19. James says:

    Matt, please help!

    I’ve been a Bluehost subscriber for well over a year and have even provided a few referrals.

    My site has been shut down for resource reasons and Bluehost is refusing to reactivate it until I remove my content.

    I don’t even come close to using my allocated resources. The last support email I received seemed to indicate that Bluehost was no longer interested in hosting my ‘resource heavy’ site and that unless my video tutorials were removed, my site would not be reactivated.

    Please review my ticket under the email address for my account here.

    I’m finding it hard to believe that Bluehost, committed to customer satisfaction as it is, refuses me service because of a 17GB per day average usage.

    My site was shut down yesterday without warning, with my email and cpanel access revoked. blenderunderground.com has been down for almost 24 hours yet, and nobody at Bluehost has offered me any help other than an insistence that I ‘take action’ on the offending files.

    My bandwidth usage is even down 4GB average from May!

    I’m still confident this can be resolved. Please help!

  20. Zac Gowen says:

    One of the things you could do is improve DNS management for your users. I know many friends who have gone to other hosts because they can’t edit their own DNS as much as they would like to.

  21. G Sicard says:

    Mr. Heaton,
    Congratulation on running two very successful hosting companies. I have several domains on both hosts. Small companies make their successes by chewing away at the large companies market share of finding their own neiche to satisfy. Do not loose sight of the reason most customers come to bluehost and hostmonster. Value, accessability and performance.

    If you really want to dominate the small and medium space hosting you may consider the performance side of the equation and see about increasing the resources allocated to your customers on the servers. Some form of scalability would be nice.

    Whatever you do please do not go the way of siteground.com. I have several sites that I will be moving from there this month because of resource issues (one is just an install of Gallery2) and frequent page load errors.

    Bluehost and hostmonster performs ok but much can be done to improve speed and resources. I am also working with tmdhosting and hostupon and their performance has been fantastic.

    Good luck in your quest.

    G

  22. Alan Shaw says:

    A couple of specific complaints:
    1. Throughout repeated extended outages, the system alerts page consistently reports that everything is “ok.” Right now, for instance, it says:

    Server Load: ok
    Services:
    2008-10-01 09:39:43: Merged box28 onto this server to provide better services for our customers.

    If I’m not mistaken this is claiming the merge is completed when in fact it’s still being worked on.

    2. Can you not set up a gateway mail server so that when a customer domain is down, copies of incoming mail can be forwarded to an external alternate address?

  23. Leo Kobes says:

    Hello,

    wish you all the luck for the future, but you have lost me as a customer.

    Thanks
    Leo Kobes

  24. Scott Hatton says:

    This is not the place for Bluehost customer complaints but … I agree. Don’t grow to fast until you can invest in a helpdesk to cover in an timely manner your existing long-term customers

  25. Chris says:

    “I am actually disappointed in myself because personally I haven’t done everything that I could over the last 12 months to really increase our growth at a faster rate.”

    Excuse me – but when 9 of our websites on box501 were down for FOUR days and the tech support person said, “We ran out of space,” is that what you consider fighting shape? This weekend we’re moving all of our web properties off of bluehost. Your service is rude and dismissive. Your technology is out of date. And apparently you’re out of space.

    Your posts are entirely self-serving. Fix your company before you try to grow it more. You’re just wasting our money.

  26. [...] posted a plea with Bluehost CEO Matt Heaton at his blog on Friday morning, but it’s stuck in the moderation queue. I’ll post a longer and more [...]

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