Two years ago my co-founder, John Masterson, and I chatted over omeletes at Dauphines. We lamented that our competitors were increasingly overselling resources (think over-booking in the airline industry) to the point of absurdity, while some of them charged impossibly low rates with hidden "gotchas". We knew we had one of the best hosting products available, but ours was a hard story to tell in terms of gigs, megs, and mailboxes -- the things that make for more compelling window dressing than "try us, you'll really like us."
The more we looked at some competitors' offers, the more misleading they appeared. Consider:
- Even with "unlimited" disk and bandwidth, web hosts also have to keep your CPU and RAM usage in check when your "SarahJessicaParkerLooksLikeAHorse" website suddenly goes viral. In fact, these system resources are more often the cause of service issues than disk and bandwidth "overage."
- Chances are, your website will never come close to reaching your
plan's disk or bandwidth limit. If your website uses 100 megs of disk
and transfer but is allowed up to 10gigs, that's as helpful as driving
a school bus for a family of 4.
- Most customers don't really know how much disk and bandwidth
their website needs (or will need in the future). Naturally, there is perceived
comfort in "getting more" for less.
our customers exceeded limits, we often
ways to work with them and even waived overage payments when possible.
That made our own resource limits pointless in many situations.
We arrived at a striking conclusion: If the disk and bandwidth limits are meaningless for 99% of customers, maybe it was useless, even misleading, to mention specific limits at all. If a certain client needs huge amounts of space, we can work with them. If a client site gets tremendous traffic for a few days, so what? As long as one website doesn't affect the service for everyone else we don't see a problem.
It was roughly two years before we mustered the courage to change our core service so drastically. In reinventing our flagship service, we found other opportunities for improvement: With the new approach, it made less sense to have multiple shared hosting plans, so we went with just one. We also implemented automatic discounts for pre-payment, something clients had wanted for years.
We decided to call our new service
“Yep!” as in, “Yep! We can do that.” One of the most rewarding aspects of Yep! is that we were able to run
the concept by our customers before launching it publicly, inside our
Grupthink-powered Modwest Community. Our
customers gave us critical feedback and ideas that shaped the final
pricing and "message."
I'm happy to say that many of our shared hosting clients have already seen the value in switching to Yep! since we launched. If you haven't already, we invite you to switch to Yep! today.
- S. Sundheim
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