RealTime IT News

Price Check on Web Hosting

Small business customers needing anything from a printer cable or a network card to a scanner or notebook PC have for years headed to computer retail superstores. Don't be surprised if someday soon you hear a co-worker shout, "I'm heading out to pick up a Web hosting service."

Looking to extend its reach to both consumer and corporate clients, C I Host, a Bedford, Texas-based Web hosting and infrastructure provider, announced yesterday a partnership with computer retail giant CompUSA.

According to C I Host, a range of its Web hosting services and products will be sold on a private-label basis under the brand, CompUSA Web Design/Hosting, Powered by C I Host. The announcement also marks the launch of C I Host retail division. Earlier this week, C I Host opened its first retail store, the C I Host Technology Store, in the Dallas Galleria.

"CompUSA is the first of several retail partners C I Host will offer its Private Label program to over the next several years," said Christopher Faulkner, founder, president and CEO of C I Host. The private-label program will also target ISPs, CLECs and telcos.

Yesterday's initial roll out included 24 suburban CompUSA stores in the Dallas/Fort Worth, Phoenix and Virginia/Washington D.C. areas. The services will be available in all 227 CompUSA stores by early 2003, according to C I Host.

All Web hosting services, from shared servers to dedicated, professionally managed services, will be sold through CompUSA's corporate sales services.

Many of the Web hosting services that CompUSA will offer under its private label are geared toward small- and medium-sized businesses and late adopters, according to C I Host. "Our business model for the past 12 to 18 months and going forward has been to attack that market sector and reach the small- and medium-sized businesses that don't yet have a Web site," Faulkner said. "Many are fearful of technology and are getting started late in this game. We hold their hands and help them through everything."

That hand-holding includes technical support through live chat, e-mail or phone.

Market research firm IDC projects impressive growth in the Web hosting market. According to a report released in February, the market, which was about $4 billion in 2000, grew only about 25 percent from 2000 to 2001. However, IDC reports that the hosting services market began to accelerate in 2002 and will eventually reach $20.8 billion by 2006.

IDC also reported earlier this year that Web hosting services are the most widely used and the most widely delivered services provided by xSPs. IDC defines xSP services as those that have these characteristics: one-to-many, externally managed, network-delivered and fee-based services.


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