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cPanel/Siteocity Q&A

Discussion in 'cPanel Announcements' started by cPanelAP, Feb 21, 2012.

  1. cPanelAP

    cPanelAP Administrator
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    cPanel, Inc., announced that its subsidiary, Hostbed, L.L.C., has acquired Siteocity.com, a small website hosting solutions provider. The purchase gives cPanel a direct platform for real-world testing of its products. Siteocity.com will continue to operate under its current name.

    cPanel Vice President Aaron Philips said that with the Siteocity.com acquisition, cPanel will be able to gain a deeper understanding of how website owners use cPanel’s software. “This will be accomplished by having direct access to live server data, help desk tickets, and hosting company feedback”

    “By running Siteocity.com, we hope to achieve a deeper connection to the hosting industry as a whole,” Philips said. “We are certainly not operating Siteocity.com in order to compete with our customers.”

    Now that the formal legal stuff is over with, let me provide some straight talk in relation to this acquisition. cPanel has no intention of becoming a major player in the web hosting industry, rather we will harness data and analytics from a small web hosting company in hopes of making our product better. This project was started 12-18 months ago and getting this directly from our customers was very difficult.

    
In the end we chose to acquire a small hosting company that would allow us to remain connected, engaged, and have the ability to use data to help make our product better. Early on, we decided that the purchase of a hosting company might assume some risk or bad press, in relation to cPanel entering the game, but I would like to assure you this is not our intentions or goals.

    Understanding our customers is really the game here by operating a small hosting company it provides us a great deal of information that was either impossible of previously difficult to gather. We also decided that upon acquisition we would remain transparent, open and honest about this acquisition.

    "We are very happy to see cPanel take a step to gather data directly from end users,” said Ben Welch-Bolen CEO of Site5.com. “We believe this will help them create a better product and develop a better understanding of the needs of hosting companies. "

    As a company we are very excited to use this new tool to make our product and overall experience better. We hope you feel the same!

    Quick Facts

    Which host did cPanel buy?
    cPanel acquired Siteocity.com.

    Why did cPanel buy this specific host?
    We spent more than a year looking for the perfect company to purchase.**** We had the following criteria:

    * 3+ years of ongoing service
    * 100 percent cPanel & WHM
    * No dedicated or VPS plans
    * Around 1,000 customers

    Why did cPanel buy a small hosting company?
    cPanel acquired a small web hosting company for user experience testing. **** One of the primary challenges we have is implementation of new features without real world testing and trials.

    One of the longer terms goals cPanel has been engaged in is ways to make our software more usable. The original goal started with trying to gain insight from our customers and their customers. This was a difficult process hosting companies have their own set of goals and operations to run.

    In the end we wanted to be able to gather deeper analytic data into the utilization of our software, provide a model shared hosting company for others to use as an example, and have direct access to data that can make our product better.

    Do cPanel have plans to buy any other hosts?
    No, our primary focus is developing software that allows hosting providers to grow and achieve success. This will remain the primary focus.

    Is the goal of purchasing this host to compete in the hosting market?
    Definitely not!**** We are not operating Siteocity.com to compete with our customers. Our goal and mission is entirely focused on user testing.**** We will maintain no more than 1,000 hosting accounts on our infrastructure.****

    In fact, the hosting company we run is operating at a net loss for us. If we continued down the path using the same model utilized for this acquisition, it would not help the financial health of cPanel.

    * How will Siteocity.com help cPanel’s partners & customers?
    * There are numerous ways this will help our customers:
    * Have access to internal analytic data on the features customer use.
    * Remain engaged with the hosting community by understanding how they use cPanel & WHM.
    * Test and gather feedback on integrated 3rd party add-ons.
    * Create a model of an ideal web hosting company that can be used as an example for others success.
    real world testing of installation, configuration compatibility and reliability

    Ask your questions here and have Vice President of Operations Aaron Phillips answer!
     
  2. DomineauX

    DomineauX Member

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    Sounds like a great idea to be able to get direct interaction with hosting customers and see what problems they face and generate ideas to make the product better for the "hosting company" to assist the users.
    Keeping the accounts under 1000 will certainly help to assure other hosts that you are not attempting to compete in their market.
     
  3. EH-Chris

    EH-Chris New Member

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    I just want to know what Ben was given in exchange for saying this..
     
  4. cPanelAP

    cPanelAP Administrator
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    Ben did not receive anything for his quote.

    We talk on a regular basis and the result on one of our recent phone calls was the acquisition of Siteocity. We use these types of relationships to field questions and gain perspective on a variety of items including marketing, product, and company related item.

    This didn't actually start as a quote, but rather a conversation and I asked him if we could use a portion of it in our communications to the community and public.
     
  5. WiredTree Zac

    WiredTree Zac New Member

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    What guarantee do we have that you won't expand hosting operations at a later date once you do your evaluation?

    Maybe you'll need to see how VPS or Dedicated clients use cPanel/WHM differently than shared clients for example so you add VPS and Dedicated? Then perhaps once that is done you need a larger sample set to get the data you need so you add more clients. And so on.

    Don't get me wrong, if you truly ever only do what is said here then it isn't a big deal at all and will help Partners. It's the potential and slippery slope I worry about.
     
  6. cPanelAP

    cPanelAP Administrator
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    We have no intentions of shifting focus from software development to service provider.

    One of our goals during this acquisition was complete transparency and making sure both our valued Partner NOCs & customers had knowledge of both the goals, aspirations, and visions of SiteOcity.

    We are an automation software development company and this is our core competency, focus, and intent for the foreseeable future.

    We also have a great deal of product insight from Partner NOCs such as WireTree and have what we believe great relationships to gather the type of insight we need to continue with the evolution of the product.

    Please let me know if this has answered your questions directly. The short answer is we have not considered or entertained the idea of acquiring or becoming a service provider.
     
  7. eva2000

    eva2000 Member

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    Interesting development. If such moves help improve WHM/Cpanel product then that would be great news :)
     
  8. sneader

    sneader Active Member

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    I think this is a brilliant idea, and I am 100% supportive of this effort!!!

    - Scott
     
  9. rzderich

    rzderich Member

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    Aaron

    We follow Cpanel development as a product and as Company from the beginning, we start using cpanel as soon it become a commercial and stable product. I beleave Cpanel have reach maturity and sould become the reference in the industry. Every Software need improvements and / or perfectionism, these acquisition fit perfectly in a path of permanent test and research. I wish these will make Cpanel strongest!

    From my point of view i think we have many debs in user interface improvements in special making email a much better service, improving the user experience, in particular the whole webmail thing. These is something very important since cpanel spread worldwide. Tens of thousand users work every day with email on cpanel based servers in our network, actually cpanel based servers compete with gmail and or hotmail on the small office email market, at least that is our experience in South America. With better email tools we can keep many customers on these low budget segment.

    Recently we join Cpanel as Partner noc and i have to say we are glad to be so close to your company so we can grow together and learn directly from the source.

    Cpanel become our most powerful tool and i can´t wait to see what will be the next step in these great software.

    Best Regards

    Roy Zderich

    CEO
    ADX Networks
     
  10. dansgalaxy

    dansgalaxy Member

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    How does cPanel plan to manage the user-base churn so that it maintains the 1000 user cap?

    How would cPanel manage the situation should a large number of users suddenly sign up breaking this cap?
     
  11. cPanelAP

    cPanelAP Administrator
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    * This will be controlled by simply turning the order forms on/off and carefully watching signups.
     
  12. sneader

    sneader Active Member

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    If you get too many sign ups, I'd like to volunteer to take any extras. I mean, just to help out, you understand.

    - Scott
     
  13. Infopro

    Infopro cPanel Sr. Product Evangelist
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    Your position is understood Mr. QTH. Over. :p
     
  14. ryanlee

    ryanlee New Member

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    They couldn't just give you customers that's a security risk and legal risk they would not take.

    But I think you guys are selling yourself short by capping your user count to 1k, even if anyone was to verify it which could be fake(doubt you guys would do that though) anyways but if you start a company you shouldn't limit yourself to your new customers that want to try you out, your just setting yourself up for failure, I could see others may think you are entering into the market but you acquired a company so there is nothing really different then accepting orders and turning them off would be no more then refusing business which in this world is pretty stupid.

    I'll still support you guys if you enter into the market, It's anyone's game you would be only a 1% chunk like everyone else, IF that.
     
  15. sneader

    sneader Active Member

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    Fortunately, those at cPanel understand my humor. :)

    - Scott
     
  16. johnburk

    johnburk Member

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    Wouldn't it be better to buy a company who also has 20+ dedicated server clients who use cPanel? Hosting clients will have much different needs than dedicated server clients.
     
  17. mohd_007

    mohd_007 Member

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    This is a very good idea .. but why it was so necessary for cpanel to announce this acquisition publicly? this has created competition in market. After this news, there would be definitely increase in sales of siteocity. New customers would like to host their website in a company which is directly supported by cpanel team.

    The goal of connecting direct with website owners would be better achieved if acquisition was kept secret and creating no more fuss....
     
  18. sneader

    sneader Active Member

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    If they did not announce the acquisition, then they would be accused of trying to hide it from us... and then the conspiracy theories would emerge once it was discovered... that cPanel was going to get into the hosting business and compete against us.

    Bravo to cPanel for being transparent, open and honest about this.

    - Scott
     
  19. ljesh

    ljesh Member

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    I don't think it's a good idea for cPanel to go into webhosting business - even for direct knowledge.
    People now will want to host with cPanel because they need cPanel server, so they'll come directly to you instead of choosing me. That will make me cancel few of my cPanel licenses because I am losing customers.
    Anyway, I think you should have trusted us (your customers) more. You have great forums and had (past time) great tickets support team, that means you have enough info about what should be fixed and what features we need. If we say for example that we need cpu/ram limit - we need cpu/ram ability to limit our users. You will see you need that too now with your webhosting company, but you should have trusted us more.
    What is next, WHMCS starting webhosting business just so they have direct experience about their software usage?

    Sell the company.
     
  20. Infopro

    Infopro cPanel Sr. Product Evangelist
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    Greeting ljesh, Aaron Phillips is out of town on business but will personally address your concerns properly on his return. I wanted to post here and alert you to this so that you know that your comments have not gone unnoticed.

    Thank you.
     

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