Over the last several months I have worked feverishly to further educate myself in the area of performance and system tuning to overcome server issues and improve our customers satisfaction and hosting experience. As the President of Bluehost.com my responsibilities normally take me far from the technical issues that I normally love to work with but lately I have felt that some things are simply best done yourself. In this case it has paid off handsomely as our server loads have dropped considerably and server speeds are now faster than they have ever been before.
The thing that surprised me the most was how I obtained the information to increase our speeds. Much of the information was obtained from competitors. How could this be? Simple, I make it a priority to call and discuss hosting issues with many of the companies that I compete with. I try and do this once a month. I truly want to help these companies with technical problems and business decisions that they come up against. I help where I can and most of these companies return the favor when I am looking for information as well. Over time we have come to trust and help each other so that we might both have a better hosting service.
Many see this as a strange way to do business. I don’t have to hurt other businesses in order for me to succeed. Quite the opposite actually. When I need help or want to see how our operation compares with another company that is similiar to mine I ask them and normally without hesitation help is given. I try and give help myself even if it is unsoliciated. Often I have called competitors and told them of a problem or security concern that we have seen and to tell them where to look to find the problem and what we did to solve it. I do this because I believe what many say but don’t act on. I treat others as I would like to be treated and guess what? It works – even in the hosting industry.
Bluehost customers are now reaping the rewards of me being a good citizen in the hosting community. Any hosting company that is in need of help can always email or call me with problems and I will do my best to help. In return, I would expect them to do the same and most are eager to do so.
Just about 15 minutes ago I was chatting with the head admin of a different hosting company. We were talking about some firewall issues and what we thought was the best method to do x,y,z. We both came away from the conversation better informed and more ready to solve the problem than if we had not spoken to one another.
Working with competitors is doable in most cases. Hosting is a big enough market that I don’t damage my own business when I help a competitor solve a major problem. Think about that? Are you willing to do the same? If the answer is clearly no, I would encourage to reevaluate and see where there might be benefits. I would be interested in your comments especially if you do it my way and how it worked out good or bad
Matt Heaton / President Bluhost.com