OpenSRS: Reseller Friendly since 1999
 

New .ASIA domain promotion

Starting on November 1 and continuing through to the end of the year, .ASIA domains will be on sale at a registry cost of just $1.99. Considering the usual registry cost for .ASIA is $10, it’s a pretty great deal.

Like most OpenSRS promotions, you’ll need to sign up to take advantage of the savings and do a little promotion of .ASIA domains. That can be done with something like a banner on your website, or through an email to your customers.

Sign up here.

Continuing Promotions

We have a few other promos still ongoing as well – .MOBI, .INFO and .PRO are all on sale, as is .ORG. You can always view current promotions on our website.

OpenSRS Help & Support

If you’ve opened a ticket with us in the past week or so, then you’ve probably already noticed something new. We recently transitioned to a new platform for OpenSRS Help and Support.

The cutover went quite smoothly. The new ticket system for Reseller Support offers some great new things for you – ticket history, the ability to view and update tickets via the web (and on mobile devices), and a clean new look and feel.

New Forums, Knowledge Bases and Announcements Sections

Along with the new ticketing system comes new Community Forums, Knowledge Bases and Announcements sections.

The new forums are integrated into the ticketing system now and we have the ability to promote forum posts into tickets when it makes sense. Our goal is to give you more support options – email, phone, public forums, Twitter, Facebook, etc.

You’ll also note a new “Feature Requests” forum. This one operates a bit differently and allows you to make a request for something you’d like to see from OpenSRS, and vote on requests that have been made. We don’t promise to add every new feature that’s requested, but we do pledge to consider each and every one thoughtfully. It’s visible only when you are logged in to the OpenSRS Help & Support site.

The Knowledge Bases (for services and integration) are a bit on the empty side right now, but we’ll be filling those up with articles and content over the next few weeks. Feel free to suggest articles to us. We expect this to become a significant resource for our Resellers and it’s something we’ve wanted to provide for a long time.

We’ve created an Announcements section as well. That will be home to things like Incident Reports, service release notes, Maintenance notifications, support updates (like holiday hours) and any other bits of info we need to pass along to you. Some of these areas are only visible to logged in users.

A couple of notes

  • You’ll have to create a new login for OpenSRS Help & Support. We’re working on integrating your Reseller account login with this support site, but until we have support on the OpenSRS side for multiple logins for a single Reseller account (coming soon!), we’re going to keep things separate.
  • Those of you who already had forum accounts, sorry…you’ll need to create a new account (which will also function as your Reseller Support account). We’ve shut off posting on the old forums, but we’ll leave that content up in a “read-only” state for now in case you want to reference anything.

Take a look!

We invite you to head over and create an account today. Please feel free to provide any feedback in the General forum – we’re committed to making this a great resource site for you. Let us know what works and what doesn’t and provide us with suggestions on Knowledge Base articles and other ways we can provide better support.

OpenSRS Email Cluster B Migration Update – October 19

The migration of customer mailboxes off the troubled storage infrastructure to the new NAS clusters continues as expected.

We’re pleased to report that the migration of customer mailboxes from the specific head that was causing the issues on Email Cluster B is nearly complete, within the expected timeframe noted in our previous update. A very small percentage (~5%) of customer mailboxes remain and we expect that migration to be completed shortly.

Migrations of remaining customer mailboxes to the new storage infrastructure will begin immediately following. Those mailboxes represent 55% of the total mailboxes which were stored on the troubled infrastructure, but all of these mailboxes are stored on the “good” head that hasn’t been the cause of any issues.

The timeline for the completion of the full migration of customer mailboxes onto the new hardware remains the same – early to mid-November.

We’ll have a further update within 7 to 10 days, or as milestones are reached.

Take your business global because that is where the market is going

Editor’s Note: This is the latest in a series of guest posts by Phil Shih, founder of Structure Research.

The hosting business has shown exemplary growth since its inception in the 90s. Surging Internet adoption and the larger shift to communicating, collaborating and conducting business online guaranteed that hosters would have plenty of addressable market. The shift to outsourcing infrastructure rather than housing it on-premise was another key driver.

The market is still healthy. There continue to be businesses that need an online presence and there are plenty of organizations that use hosting for email or document management or lease servers to run applications or archive files. But it is also fair to say that the low-hanging fruit is not as plentiful as it once was. Having a personal website is still something people want to use hosting for but there are other outlets now. Facebook is perhaps the best example of a plausible alternative to web hosting and there is no shortage of free hosting services that similarly attract customers previously targeted by hosters.

Maturation can mean shrinkage

The fact is that as an industry grows and matures competition tightens and the total addressable market tends to shrink. To frame the problem at its core: with less new Internet adopters and growing numbers of outsourced hosting users along with more alternatives there are less people and businesses for hosters to sell to.

There are plenty of ways for hosters to address this dilemma. They can move up-market into other infrastructure services or add value around the domain name, hosting and email “triple play”. But it is imperative that hosters start looking at easy ways to expand their total addressable market and the most logical thing is to start moving into emerging markets. In places like Brazil, Mexico, South Africa, China, Indonesia and Russia – to name a few – the Internet is just starting to take off and there is a huge untapped market of users that is moving online. They represent prime candidates for business-class domain names, hosting and email.

Check the facts

Consider some of the numbers. In VeriSign’s last domain industry brief, Brazil and China were among the three fastest-growing ccTLDs on a q/q basis. In that same period total ccTLD registrations were up 5.4% q/q. Takeaway? There is clearly new and accelerating Internet adoption coming from all corners of the world and many of them can be found in emerging markets.

Contrary to common perception moving into new markets is also not hard to do. It certainly is not as hard as it was even five years ago. Country-code top-level domains are readily available on a wholesale basis and setting up a small hosting operation is as easy as leasing a few servers or taking down a small colocation suite. Automation, remote management and software portability make location a relatively minor issue. The main challenge for the hoster will be to hire some local language support staff, which is plentiful and easy to find in emerging markets at an affordable cost.

Still a healthy sector

It is worth reiterating: the hosting sector is healthy and continues to grow even in the most mature markets. While things are getting tougher there is still plenty of runway and upside. The tailwinds behind the sector are favourable. But as the market continues to mature hosters would be wise to start looking for opportunities that offset the structural challenges that will have an increasing impact over time. Hedging your bets and expanding addressable market is the path to long-term success. Take advantage of the fact the Internet is borderless and take your hosting business global.

OpenSRS Email Cluster B Migration Update

We want to provide an update on our effort to restore the level of service that you and your customers had become accustomed to prior to the recent outages affecting OpenSRS Email Cluster B.

As mentioned in the Incident Report for the latest degradation of service, we’ve begun moving customer mailboxes off the troubled storage infrastructure and onto the new hardware (NAS).

Current Migration Status:

At this point, about 20% of the total customer mailboxes that were on the troubled storage infrastructure have been moved over to the new NAS cluster(s). When you count only customer mailboxes located on the specific head that was failing and causing the degradation of service, that percentage of customer mailboxes moved is about 40%.

We’re focused on first moving all customer mailboxes on the head that was specifically causing all the issues. Once those customer mailboxes are moved, we’ll continue with customer mailboxes located on the other head. It’s worth noting that all new accounts are being provisioned directly onto the new NAS hardware.

Next Steps:

We’re continuing to migrate the remaining customer mailboxes off the affected hardware as quickly as possible.

Those migrations are being done in a very measured way to ensure that we maintain the high level of service and availability that we aim to provide. The speed at which we can migrate customer mailboxes is dictated by the load on the Cluster at any given time. We’re throttling the migration process to move customer mailboxes as quickly as possible, with as little risk as possible.

Additional hardware to create two further NAS clusters has now been installed and is ready to enter service. Once the first NAS cluster is at capacity, we’ll begin migrating customer mailboxes to the second NAS cluster, followed by the third, as each NAS cluster is filled to approximately 40% of the rated capacity (what we consider “full”).

It’s important to note that as we move customer mailboxes off the troubled hardware, we also reduce the overall load on it. We expect that the decrease in load on the troubled storage infrastructure will lead to improved reliability for those customer mailboxes still on that storage system.

Migrations of customer mailboxes will continue over the coming weeks. We estimate that all customer mailboxes will be migrated off the older hardware sometime late next week (October 18-20). The remaining customer mailboxes on the other head will be moved off after that and we estimate all customer mailboxes will be off the problematic hardware sometime in early to mid-November.

We’ll provide further updates on our progress until we have all customer mailboxes migrated. Our aim is to keep you in the loop with posts at least every week to ten days and as we reach significant milestones.

New webmail arrives for all users on November 8, 2012

On Thursday, November 8, 2012, the new webmail application that has been in preview for the past few months will become the default webmail application for all users. The current webmail application will be unavailable after that date – all users will see the new webmail only.

If you haven’t spent any time with the new webmail, now would be a good time to familiarize yourself (and your support staff) with some of the new features and the new look and feel.

Your users have likely been checking out the new webmail which has been available to them as a preview since July. If you had disabled the preview mode through the Branding Tool, we strongly suggest that you enable it for your users so they can become familiar with the new webmail prior to the cutover.

New webmail features:

  • New look and feel – we’ve updated the default theme to be more modern and useable. This includes a change to a tabbed interface for things like calendar, file storage and settings.
  • Improved performance – we’ve done a lot of work around making webmail faster and more responsive. Users should notice an increase in overall speed, especially those on dial-up, wireless or slower broadband connections.

More complete release notes with details on everything that is new or updated can be found here.

If you have any questions or concerns about the switchover, or about the new webmail application, don’t hesitate to contact Reseller Support. You can also ask questions in the OpenSRS Forum.

October means savings on .CA and .ORG domains

Can you believe that October is here already? Summer in Canada, home to OpenSRS HQ, is pretty much over and thoughts have turned to getting ready for another winter.

But on the bright side, the change of season also means a pair of new domain promotions to tell you about.

  • First up is a great promotion on .CA domains. We’re slashing the cost for .CA registrations to just $10 throughout the month of October (compared to the usual cost of $14). And, as a special bonus for our Canadian resellers, we’ll knock another $1.50 off if you are based in Canada.
  • Also on sale starting October 1 are .ORG domains. We’re taking $2.00 off the registry cost on new .ORG registrations through to the end of the year.

You can read more about the terms of both promotions on our promotions signup page. Like most OpenSRS pricing offers, you’ll need to sign up to take advantage of the savings and we’ll pay out in the form of a rebate into your reseller account in the month following.

Holiday Hours for Canadian Thanksgiving, October 8, 2012

Monday, October 8 is Thanksgiving Day in Canada. Given that our headquarters is also in Canada (Toronto, to be precise), most of us have the day off. Like the American Thanksgiving Day, we’ll be spending the day overeating and watching Canadian football.

We have no idea what is happening in this photo, but it’s of some Canadian Football League players. For the record, the Edmonton Eskimos stink and the team is really named the Eskimos.

We’ve never really explained what Canadian football is so here’s a quick guide for those not in the know.

The game is relatively similar to American football, and nothing at all like the football the rest of the world plays (aka soccer). Some key differences in the far superior Canadian game – there are only three downs, the field is 110 yards long with 25 yard end zones and, of course, rouges.

The rouge, or single point, is a cleverly Canadian innovation. We don’t like to call out failure, so even if a team misses a field goal, as long as the ball gets over the goal line into the monstrous end zone, they can still score a single point by preventing the receiving team from running the ball out of their own end zone. Even our crappy kickers can still score a single point – no need to apologize (although, obviously, they would still say sorry to the rest of the team, and the rest of the team would then say sorry for not putting the ball in a better position for the kicker to make the field goal).

Sorry about the length of that explanation…here’s the info you really came here for:

Hours by department:

Our Technical Support team continues to be available 24/7 to assist you.

Department Dates and Hours
Reseller Support Regular hours
Payments Email support: payments@opensrs.org
Compliance Closed October 8th (Monday)
Service Bureau (for transactions requiring manual processing) Closed October 8th (Monday)

Our normal hours will resume on Tuesday, October 9.

SAN and wildcard certificates – what’s the difference?

Last week OpenSRS added a bunch of new SSL certificate products to our already extensive lineup, and lowered costs on EV and a couple of popular wildcard certificates.

The new certs are all Subject Alternative Name or SAN certificates – they allow for more than one fully qaulified domain name to be protected using a single certificate.

The certificate information for a GeoTrust EV certificate with the SAN option. In this case, a single certificate for geotrust.com also protects geotrust.net.

Since the launch, we’ve received a few queries about SAN certificates and how they differ from wildcard certs. With that in mind, I’ve put together a quick reference guide here.

Let’s start with a basic look at both wildcard and SAN certs.

  • Wildcard: a wildcard certificate allows for unlimited subdomains to be protected with a single certificate. For example, you could use a wildcard certificate for the domain name opensrs.com and that cert would also work for mail.opensrs.com, ftp.opensrs.com and any other subdomain. The wildcard refers to the fact that the cert is provisioned for *.opensrs.com.
  • SAN: a SAN cert allows for multiple domain names to be protected with a single certificate. For example, you could get a certificate for opensrs.com, and then add more SAN values to have the same certificate protect opensrs.org, opensrs.net and even tucows.com.

Some important things to note:

Depending on the specific brand and certificate product, the SAN cert will include either one or four additional domains at the price quoted on our chart. Additional SAN values can usually be added up to a maximum number of either 5 or 25 total domains (including the base domain).

In most cases, the SAN values can be changed at anytime during the life of the certificate – you’d just need to change the value, and then do a free re-issue.

When to choose a wildcard, and when to choose a SAN:

Wildcard certs are great for protecting multiple subdomains on a single domain. In many cases, the wildcard cert makes more sense than a SAN because it allows for unlimited subdomains and you don’t need to define them at the time of purchase. You could provision *.opensrs.com and in at anytime during the life of the certificate, you decided to add www3.opensrs.com or mail.opensrs.com, that cert would just work, no reissue required.

If, on the other hand, you need to protect multiple domain names, then the SAN certificate might be the right choice. Protecting alternative domains with the same website (opensrs.com and opensrs.net) is a great example. One caveat – you need to define the additional domains and add them to the certificate for it to work.

SAN certificates, like wildcard certs, are a great way to save some money and also to make administration a bit easier as you can reduce the number of certificates provisioned since they cover multiple domains.

One last note – the unique QuickSSL Premium with SAN:

We also sell a bit of a hybrid product – the GeoTrust QuickSSL Premium with SAN. This cert is a bit different than the rest of our SAN products. It allows for the protection of four subdomains in addition to the base domain. That makes it more like a restricted wildcard certificate than a true SAN. You also have to add the subdomains at the time of purchase, and they can’t be altered once the cert is provisioned.

You might wonder, as I did initially, why it even exists. Priced at $125, it’s a lower cost product that’s quite a bit cheaper than our least expensive wildcard certificate (the Comodo SSL Wildcard – $199). It’s also a domain-validated certificate (as opposed to being organizationally validated as all of our other SAN certs are) which means that issuance is fast.

For applications where you know the subdomains that you want to have protected, the GeoTrust QuickSSL Premium with SAN is a nice option.

Further questions? Just ask!

I hope that helps a bit in terms of understanding the applications for both these new SAN certificates and also for wildcard certs. If you have any questions about which certificate is best for your customer’s specific application, feel free to ask in the comments of this post, or get in touch with OpenSRS Reseller Support.

Big SSL News: New Super Low EV Pricing and UC/SAN Certs

We have some big news to share today regarding SSL certificates. There are two parts to the announcement, and both are pretty exciting:

First off, we’re cutting pricing on Extended Validation certificates across the board. We’re getting very aggressive with EV SSL pricing and we’re committed to being the low price leader in the category and to making EV more accessible for your small- and mid-sized business customers.

Next, we’re bringing UC/SAN certificates to OpenSRS. For those who have been asking about UC/SAN certs, the wait is over – you can now add the UC/SAN option to many of our SSL certificate products including Symantec, GeoTrust and Thawte brands. That further cements your ability to provide the appropriate certificate to your customers no matter the brand, certificate type, price point or level of protection required.

We’ve updated our Trust Service pricing page on OpenSRS.com to provide you with more information including the new pricing for EV certificates, and which products have the new UC/SAN option.

The SSL pricing chart is getting a bit out of hand (in a good way) with over 40 products, so we added some nifty filtering and sorting options that let you narrow down the product list and zero in on what you want to sell. Check it out!

We’re happy to answer any questions you might have. Drop a comment on this post, visit the OpenSRS forum, or contact Reseller Support.

goMobi 1.7 Released for All Users

Today goMobi released version 1.7 of the goMobi application.

For Resellers already offering goMobi to your customers, there’s nothing you need to do – the upgrade will happen automatically for all of your users. Sites will continue to function as before the upgrade.

phones running goMobi 1.7Version 1.7 of goMobi brings further visual enhancements along with some great new features.

What’s New?

  • Additional site templates and theme options for users so they can better match the look and feel of their existing site.
  • New ability for users to upload background images to further customize their site.
  • Enhanced click-to-call features to better enable site visitors to get in touch (on supported smartphones).

…and many more minor enhancements and fixes.

You can view a summary of the changes on our website.

Meet our Reseller: Brain Host

Akron, Ohio based Brain Host is a great example of a newer entrant in the hosting space that is succeeding thanks to a bit of a different approach.

With an extensive background in marketing, the founders of Brain Host recognized that their customers were looking for a website rather than hosting. By tailoring their own marketing to attract and support small- and mid-sized business customers, they’ve been able to grow quickly in a very competitive market.

Brain Host extends that passion for helping their customers succeed by providing support that goes well beyond technical support. They know that having successful customers is the key to their own success.

Read the full profile here.

Meet our Reseller: Hoster.by

The logo from Hoster.byWe’re back with another OpenSRS Reseller profile – this time we talked to Hoster.by, the largest hosting provider in Belarus.

We’re happy to be working with Hoster.by who came to OpenSRS about a year ago and have been growing their business quite rapidly. They not only provide hosting services to individual, small and mid-sized and even some of the largest enterprise customers in Belarus, but they also recently took over the operation of the .by ccTLD.

You can read more about Hoster.by here.

Come meet us at Parallels Summit 2012 APAC

Greetings! OpenSRS has made some pretty amazing inroads into Asia for a while now and I wanted to give everybody a better idea of what we are keeping ourselves busy with. My name is Caleb and I handle business development for OpenSRS here in Asia based out of Singapore. Some of you may have already met me on my Asian tours or at industry events such as WorldHostingDays in Bangkok. We’re planning on attending much more of these events throughout Asia in the future and we hope to see you there!

The whole of Asia is going through a period of tremendous growth. The rapid development of national infrastructures coupled with booming population growth presents many possibilities which are yet untapped.

We are here to empower resellers to simply go out and capture these opportunities with the knowledge that you are being supported by a stable and established provider in OpenSRS.

By first listening to resellers, we hope to be able to understand the challenges you are facing, then try our very best to support these endeavours. Every reseller is unique in their own ways, so we want to be able to help you navigate not just the business but also cultural aspects here in Asia.

ccTLDs in Asia

OpenSRS currently supports ccTLDs from 17 countries in Asia. We are actively working on multiple fronts to add support for more countries while at the same time improving service for existing supported ccTLDs. As we are expanding this portfolio, we also want to hear from resellers which ccTLDs from Asia are important to you so that we know how best to deploy integration resources.

Parallels Summit 2012 APAC, 21 & 22 September in Singapore

Since 1999, OpenSRS has hundreds of resellers spanned all across Asia who have been counting on us to power their domain name registrations. These are exciting times as OpenSRS now has additional Domains and Trust services which help resellers break into new revenue streams.

We are also bringing the benefits of strategic partnerships which OpenSRS has with leading service vendors to Asia. One perfect example of this is our tight integration with the Parallels Automation line of products such as Parallels Plesk Panel and Parallels Business Automation.

OpenSRS is sponsoring this year’s Parallels Summit 2012 APAC in Singapore. The event will take place September 20-22. We want to meet you to understand how we can help your business be even more successful in Asia. As sponsors, we are pleased to invite you to attend the summit at no charge. I am also available to meet before or after the conference to understand better how we can work together. Please see our event page for the registration code and to book a meeting.

Rethinking SSL Marketing

I’ve talked in the past about starting the sales process for SSL certificates “upstream” – that is, offering the appropriate certificate to your customer after assessing their needs, rather than immediately going to a lower cost domain validated certificate.

You can have a look at that post if you missed it, but the basic premise is that domain validated certificates are great for individuals, while organization and extended validation certificates should be the default certificate that you sell to your business customers.

SSL marketing – some new ideas

Expanding on that a bit, I want to get into how SSL is marketed these days and hopefully give you some ideas that you can use to stand out from the crowd and do things a little differently.

Those who sell SSL generally know the difference between a domain-validated certificate and an organization or extended validated certificate. But do your customers who are buying SSL know the difference, and more importantly, do they really need to know?

I’ve looked at a ton of sites selling SSL lately and I noticed that the vast majority of these companies sell SSL certificates using buzzwords, comparison charts and acronyms. It’s OV vs. DV and EV, UCC/SAN, multi-domain this and dynamic vs. static seal that.

Spec sheets are great for people who understand specs, and I’m not saying you shouldn’t have one on your site – some customers will be looking for that information and it’s good to have it. Apple keeps things simple when it comes to buying a MacBook Pro, but if you want to know which processor and how much L3 cache there is, the info is just a click away.

But the average certificate buyer will end up skimming over all this info they don’t understand and hitting on the one thing they do understand: the price. But without that understanding of what makes the products different, they won’t know why a TrueBusiness ID certificate is more expensive than a QuickSSL.

Educate or simplify

You have a couple of options to counter this: spend time educating customers on the differences (SSL 101), or take the confusion out of your marketing.

In my travels around the web, I also found a couple of examples of companies taking a bit of a different approach to selling SSL:

You’ll note some similarities – gone are most of the buzzwords and acronyms. Instead both examples provide easy-to-understand guidance. Are you a small business? Then the Premium or Business plan is for you.

Most buyers will understand Standard vs. Pro vs. Business SSL and self-select the right certificate for their needs. But if they don’t, one provider offers a nice interactive simulator that asks a few questions and tells the user what they should buy (in some cases, it’s the inexpensive Standard cert that is suggested – the goal, remember, is to sell the appropriate certificate for their needs).

Selling the right SSL certificate to the customer is job one

Take a look at your own marketing for SSL and see if you can do things a little differently. Maybe the goal is to move your small business customers to an organization-validated certificate from a domain-validated product (and push up your margins a bit in the process). A little effort around education and simplification of your marketing might be all you need to do to accomplish that.

Ensuring that your customer gets the appropriate SSL certificate for their needs should be priority one.

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