With nearly two decades under my belt making my sole income from working online – I’ve had my fair share of web hosts.
Getting started at 13 years old, with a very limited budget, I understand what it’s like looking for cheap web hosting.
With the rise of popularity from my first “big” website when I was 15 years old, I understand what it’s like to look for powerful web hosting.
As I became one of the largest independent affiliate marketers in the world when I was 25 years old, I understand what it’s like to look for scalable web hosting.
Without web hosting – my businesses – and my career wouldn’t exist.
In 2012 I became disturbed when I heard of one of the largest web hosts, Host Gator, selling out to a large corporation.
I had followed Host Gator since their start in 2002 and was always very impressed how their CEO took it from a dorm-room to the largest web host in the world (tons of respect for Mr. Oxley). I figured he would be around until he turned the company into a billion-dollar asset, but work isn’t everything in life, and I believe he made off pretty good in the acquisition.
In the back of my head I always told myself if Host Gator sold I would re-enter the market.
You see, I had a “startup” web hosting company in 2002 but sold in 2005 as I was finishing my college degree and pursuing two other large Internet businesses.
Sure, I could have dropped out of college, but at the time I was enjoying the “party lifestyle” and my two other Internet businesses were earning me plenty of money to enjoy college for all it was worth! School work was easy – I didn’t want to give up my social life (at the time my college was ranked the top party school in America)!
Anyway, when I graduated college I continued to scale my other businesses. The web hosting industry was jam-packed with competition so I continued developing businesses in less-saturated niches.
While I never lost the idea of building a new web hosting company, fresh out of college, I was addicted to the “fast money.”
This led me to becoming one of the largest affiliate marketers in the world. Being a good deal-maker, I was able to secure ad-inventory on some of the most popular news websites, hence was able to generate millions of dollars from multiple affiliate programs (I’ve pushed offers in every niche and vertical).
Eventually, I got tired of making everyone else rich. Sure, I was making great money pushing other companies’ products, but I didn’t own anything. As soon as I drove the conversion, the customer was gone, and I was on to my next campaign. My only asset was cash and business was very inconsistent. Some days would be highly profitable while others I was just barely breaking even. It was a coin toss on how the week or month would go.
Looking for a big change, I decided to partner up with one of my industry buddies to start an Internet Marketing Coaching forum called IMGrind.com.
It made us sick looking at the “other” online coaching programs that were mostly scams. I’m sure you’ve seen the late-night infomercials that promise instant Internet riches as long as you pay them their $10-20K coaching fee.
Therefore we got moving and in a couple years had a very successful venture. Not only did we have a successful private forum, we also held coaching seminars across the United States and spun off two other highly profitable companies.
During this time I realized how bad of shape the web hosting industry was in.
While running IMGrind.com, hosting companies were quick to approach us, asking to pitch their services and/or affiliate program. While it was a lucrative opportunity, I was weary to recommend any hosting company to my members.
Since I handled building all of our servers myself, and I understood how most big companies operate, I was never confident and passed up recommending hosting to our members. I didn’t want to be held responsible for a bad experience and didn’t need the money to sell out for their affiliate commission (people and relationships are always greater than profits).
Anyway, this was the catalyst behind building NameHero.com. The web hosting industry needed a Hero to rescue people from the gigantic corporations that have purchased every single name under the sun, where investors that know absolutely nothing about web hosting, can make decisions. (Funny how that works)
Since our launch last January, I’ve been completely humbled by our rapid growth.
The web hosting niche is more crowded than ever and there are a lot of companies with a lot more capital than myself.
However, I like to believe that we understand the core values of our customers and go out of our way to offer an exceptional web hosting experience.
Since I don’t have investors or a bored of directors, my customers are the only people I have to please. I would rather see them happy than increasing my bottom line. Sure, we have to be profitable to stay in business, but as I said above, people and relationships always come before profits here at NameHero.
Shame on the giant corporations that have treated people unfairly and left them with a bad taste in their mouth regarding web hosting. As we continue to grow and expand I am devoting my business career to restoring people’s hope in solid web hosting companies and hope that through our growth we can also support them in a way that allows them to leverage their online business for the unforeseeable future!
Ryan Gray is the founder and CEO of NameHero, one of the fastest growing independent web hosts in the United States. Ryan has been working online since 1998 and has over two-decades experience in Internet Entrepreneurship.