OpenSRS: Reseller Friendly since 1999
 

Meet Our Reseller: WebsPlanet

We’re back with another reseller profile – this time we’re looking at WebsPlanet.

This company, based in Israel and the US, provides easy-to-use, yet powerful online presence creation tools to companies servicing small and mid-sized business. The company just recently became a reseller in order to offer domain registrations, email and other services to compliment its existing suite.

You can read the full profile here.

We’re thrilled to be working with WebsPlanet!

Free webinar with Phil Shih from Structure Research

I’ll be hosting a free webinar this Thursday, August 9 at 11:00 A.M. (EDT) with Phil Shih from Structure Research.

If you weren’t at this year’s HostingCon conference in Boston, then this is a great opportunity to get informed and educated about the state of the hosting industry as we move through the second half of the year.

Phil Shih is the founder and Managing Director of Structure Research. Phil has covered the hosting infrastructure space for over a decade in various publications such as theWHIR.com, Computerworld, InfoWorld, Bizjournals, The Houston Chronicle and The E-commerce Times.

He’ll be providing a 45-minute long, third party overview of the state of the hosting and cloud infrastructure service industry and a projection of its future. The session will feature detailed discussion of industry trends, proprietary market share data and analysis and helpful advice on how to succeed in a rapidly changing marketplace.

As with all OpenSRS webinars, this is a free event and open to all to attend.

Register here

Learn more about Structure Research at their website.

ccTLDs of the Week for August

The ccTLD of the Week promotion continues on with great deals. Here’s what we have planned for August. If you’ve been waiting for a particular ccTLD, let us know in the comments and we’ll see what we can do.

Upcoming ccTLDs of the Week:

ccTLD Dates Details Cost/year
.CZ Aug 6-Aug 12 Czech Republic $12/year (normally $20)
.SE Aug 13-Aug 19 Sweden $13/year (normally $20)
.TO Aug 20-Aug 26 Tonga $35/year (normally $40)
.LU Aug 27-Sept 3 Luxembourg $18/year (normally $30)

New Ting phones, more Offers options and Ting for Business

For our resellers in the US who are either already offering Ting phone service through OpenSRS Offers, or thinking about it, Ting recently added a whole bunch of new phones to their device line-up including the latest addition which happened earlier today – the Samsung Galaxy SIII.

The Galaxy SIII is one of the hottest Android phones around with a super-bright 4.8″ display, dual-core processor running Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich. And it’s also the first smartphone offered by Ting that works with Sprint’s new and ultrafast 4G LTE network (where available).

It’s available for pre-order through Ting now, with delivery to customers expected in about 3-6 weeks.

The Galaxy SIII is definitely at the top of the smartphone technology heap, but remember that Ting has a wide variety of feature phones, smartphones and data devices at various price points so your customers can get the right device for their needs. Check out the Ting blog for the latest news.

Ting for Business

We’re also getting ready to roll out a whole bunch of new content to help you make the case that Ting is great for small business users – things like being able to have multiple devices on a single account (with truly pooled usage to help save money), easy-to-use management features, and travel-friendly mobile devices that help your business customers cut costs.

We’ll have much more about how Resellers can effectively offer Ting for Business in an upcoming webinar early in September, so stay tuned.

New options for Resellers in OpenSRS Offers

Last but certainly not least, you may have missed the recent addition of some new options for Resellers using OpenSRS Offers to bring Ting to your customers. At launch we had a single offer of $50 off a device purchase and a 25% revenue share for Resellers for two years and that remains for those looking for a nice balance of savings for your customers and a new recurring revenue source for you.

We listened to feedback and added three new offers to give you more choices in how you reward yourself and your customers:

New, one-time payment options:

  • $50 off a device purchase for your customer, and a $50 one-time payment for you on activation.
  • $25 off a device purchase for your customer, and a $75 one-time payment for you on activation.

New, higher revenue share option:

  • $25 off a device purchase for your customer, and a 30% revenue share for you for two years.

As always, visit the Ting OpenSRS Offers page, and the Ting website for more information.

Holiday Hours for the Civic Holiday, August 6, 2012

Monday, August 6, 2012 marks the second long weekend of summer here in Ontario, Canada where the OpenSRS offices are located. In some parts of Canada, the first Monday in August is known as the Civic Holiday. However, in beautiful Toronto, we celebrate the Civic Holiday as Simcoe Day, in honour of John Graves Simcoe, the first Lieutenant-Governor of Upper Canada.

It seems that the rest of Canada has the City of Toronto to thank for this August long weekend (much to the chagrin of our fellow Canucks in Vancouver, who don’t think anything good every comes out of the city at the Centre of the Universe). Toronto’s City Council is credited for coming up with the idea for a summer day of recreation way back in 1869.

The first Civic Holiday was celebrated in Toronto in 1875 and the idea spread across the rest of the nation in the years following.

Holiday Hours

Putting the rest of the history lesson aside for a moment, Simcoe Day really means most of the staff at OpenSRS will have the day off. That said, Reseller Support will be here to help you out as usual throughout the weekend, and holiday Monday as well.

Here are the hours of operation during the holiday:

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

Hours by department:

Department Dates and Hours
Reseller Support Regular hours
Payments Email support: payments@opensrs.org
Compliance Closed August 6th (Monday)
Service Bureau (for transactions requiring manual processing) Closed August 6th (Monday)

More about Simcoe Day

John Graves Simcoe was a British soldier who distinguished himself during the American Revolutionary War, earning an appointment in 1777 to lead the elite Queen’s Rangers regiment. In 1781 he returned to England, where he was later elected to the House of Commons. He arrived in what later became known as Niagara-on-the-Lake in 1792 and established the provincial capital – known then as Newark.

The threat of invading Americans right across the narrow Niagara River led him to look for a more secure capital. He found a great spot not far away on the north side of Lake Ontario near the abandoned French fort of Toronto.

In June 1793, Simcoe and his entourage arrived in Toronto on three ships, having sailed across the lake from Newark, and established Fort York. Each year on Simcoe Day, there are historical reenactments at the Fort (pictured above), which still stands as a National Historic site just a few minutes’ walk from the Tucows offices.

People Love Ting

The People Love Ting page on the Ting site delivers two clear, important messages to any of you out there selling Ting or thinking about selling Ting.

  • Your customers will be treated well. People are shocked by the accessibility and quality of our customer support and all the little ways (in our pricing, policies, rapid responses and improvements, etc.) that we simply do right by customers. Also check out our Facebook page, our Twitter mentions and this recent Yahoo! Answers thread.
  • We are getting some high profile press and tons of great blogger reviews. This means some of your customers will have already heard of us. It also means that those who research us after your recommendation will like what they see. All this makes your job much easier.

Happy 2nd Birthday, .CO!

Last week marked the two-year anniversary of the relaunch of the .CO domain extension.

It was July 20, 2010 when .CO officially set its sights on becoming the go-to web address for the world’s entrepreneurs, innovators and next great businesses. Although there was some skepticism as to whether the world needed yet another domain extension, the market showed a real hunger for a space where creativity and innovation could thrive.

In those two short years, over 1.3 million .CO domains have been registered…and .CO continues to grow! .CO has proven to be a global success story. Just over half of .CO domains were bought by registrants in the US and Canada, the UK, Australia, India and China all are well represented amongst the more than 200 countries where a .CO registrant can be found.

The most used .CO domain is probably one you see yourself quite often: t.co. This single-letter .CO domain is used by Twitter as its built-in URL shortening service, exposing .CO domains to the millions and millions of Twitter users around the world every day.

Two years of .CO, ten dollars in savings! Sign up today!

To help celebrate two years of .CO, we have a special promotion underway at OpenSRS. Between now and September 30, 2012, .CO domains are priced at just $15 (that’s $10 savings per domain off the regular price).

Click here to view the terms and sign up to take advantage of this promo.

To help you learn more about .CO, the registry created this awesome infographic. Feel free to use it in your own marketing efforts along with a discounted price to highlight .CO and to drive sales. Click the image to get the full-sized version.

HostingCon 2012: Profiting from Changes “Right of the Dot”

Given the mainstream media coverage, chances are you’ve heard of the changes coming to the domain name space over the next two years. Thanks to ICANN’s decision to vastly expand the number of domain name extensions available, there’s a good chance we’ll have an entirely new view of how domain names are used as Internet addresses by 2014. I’m looking forward to previewing these upcoming changes in my HostingCon 2012 session next week, titled “Profiting From Changes ‘Right of the Dot’”.

A sneak peek

While I don’t want to give away the whole presentation, some of the major topics I’ll cover include:

  • What today’s domain name landscape looks like compared to what it will look like in the future. When I talk to our resellers about carrying more domain name extensions, they often ask me how many countries they should carry, and what to do when customers want more. This challenge is going to morph into something much greater as customers are to choose domains based on country, city, state, region, community, interest, or possibly even brand! (Hint: it sounds complicated, but it’s actually good news.)
  • An overview of the 1,409 new domain name extensions that were applied for. These applications can be divided into several categories: Generic (like .web or .blog, for instance), Brands (everything from .apple to .zippo), Communities (such as .irish), Internationalized Domain Names (like קוֹם – the Hebrew equivalent of .COM), and Geographic extensions (such as .london and .paris). We’ll talk about what applications may be successful, and which ones might look good on the shelves of web hosting companies.
  • An overview of the applicants themselves. Applicants for these new extensions ranged from investment groups to brand owners, and everything in between – including web hosting companies, registrars and even Tucows. I’ll cover who the players are and what their goals may be.
  • What happens after the application phase. Submitting an application is just the beginning – there’s phases for application reviews, contention, and possibly even an auction if multiple bids for the same extension are approved. And all that is before the extension is even made live on the Internet!

With a sold-out floor and some fantastic sessions on the schedule, I’m really looking forward to the biggest and best HostingCon yet. I hope you’re able to join me Monday, July 15 at 1pm. See you there!

40+ New ccTLDs Added to OpenSRS

We’ve added another batch of ccTLDs to OpenSRS today. That brings the total to well over 100 ccTLDs available for you to sell.

Some of the more popular extensions in this round:

  • .ru – Russia
  • .hk – Hong Kong
  • .cz – Czech Republic
  • .no – Norway
  • .ro – Romania
  • .to – Tonga

The full list of TLDs along with pricing can be found on the Available TLDs page of our website. If you haven’t looked at that page lately, you’ll note that we’ve redesigned it to include more information about things like transfer rules, trades and redemption rules. We’ve also broken out pricing for third-level registrations where the pricing differs from second-level registrations.

TLD Reference Guide Updated

The handy TLD Reference Guide has also been updated with even more detailed information about the various TLDs you can sell – things like residency requirements, available terms and whether WHOIS Privacy is available is all detailed. You can grab that here (PDF format).

New Ting Offers Available

We have added three new options in OpenSRS Offers to sell Ting mobile phone service to your customers.

At launch, we had a single offer:

  • $50 device purchase credit, with a 25% revenue share for the reseller (for two years)

The new offers now available are:

  • $25 device purchase credit, with a 30% revenue share for the reseller (for two years)
  • $25 device purchase credit, with a $75 one-time payment for the reseller
  • $50 device purchase credit, with a $50 one-time payment for the reseller

The idea here is to provide a variety of compensation models to suit your needs. Some resellers asked for a payment up front, others wanted that revenue share for two years. And some resellers told us that they didn’t need to provide as big an incentive to their customers, so we provided those options as well (with an appropriate increase in the reseller share).

Feel free to utilize any or all of the Ting Offers, depending on your specific circumstances or customer needs.

New marketing resources

We also recently added a few new resources for you to use. You’ll find some print-ready device information cards for all of the devices we currently carry. They are available in PDF format and look great printed on a 5.5” x 8.5” card.

Download Ting marketing resources.

And, in case you missed the blog post a couple of weeks back, we also now have a Ting savings calculator that you can embed in your own site, or even on a Facebook page.

Learn more and get the code.

Get a Year of SiteLock Free for Your Site

Last year we partnered with SiteLock to offer our resellers a great wholesale price on their malware scanning product. Since then, many of you have expressed interest (both enthusiasm and doubt) in the service, the features and the benefits to your clients.

So like buying a car, we want you to take SiteLock out for a test drive, so you can in turn offer it to your customers with confidence. For the next two months we’re offering all of our current resellers one-year free of SiteLock Basic.

All you need to do is buy and implement SiteLock on your own site, then fill out this form for a full rebate. And as a little extra bonus, we’ll randomly select two resellers for a free upgrade to either SiteLock Premium or Enterprise. We’ll have this offer available until August 31, 2012.

Want to know more about SiteLock? We have an archived webinar available that explains the service and features.

Preparing and dealing with the inevitable; its about preserving that trust

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

The recent outage suffered by the Amazon Web Services cloud is another stark reminder that despite the best efforts of service providers, outsourced hosting and cloud infrastructure is fundamentally imperfect. Obviously you don’t want outages to happen very often and there is plenty service providers can do in the areas of engineering and software architecture to minimize risk and impact. But the ideal of 100% uptime, while desirable, is impossible to achieve. Things can and will go down. You can bet on it. Because of this simple fact, service providers need to understand that it is not just about preventing and avoiding outages. It is about how you deal with them when they unfortunately do happen. I

The most important thing to do when an outage happens is to be transparent. There is no getting around this and it can’t be emphasized enough. While it might hurt to tell your customers that the failure in your service delivery has caused a disruption to their business it is a necessary position to take. Being secretive, elusive or worse, dishonest, breaks down the trust a customer has placed in the hands of the service provider when they hand over their mission-critial content and applications. Break this trust and there is nothing left.

Communication is key

Transparency is the first step. The next step is communication. And not just communication but effective and proactive communication. When there is an outage hosters must go on the offensive and reach out to customers directly … and fast. You don’t want customers going to Twitter for information about your service. You don’t want to risk having customers get false or misleading information. To mitigate that from happening hosters must communicate accurate and detailed information immediately. Get on Twitter, post on a company blog or Facebook page. Send a mass email to customers. Call as many customers as you can or at least call your top customers. And be sure to keep the updates coming regularly through and after the outage. Not reaching out to customers could result in customers making decisions about your service based on false information. And this almost always will have an undesirable outcome.

Being transparent and providing clear and accurate information also plays a role before the outage happens. Be careful to look over your SLA terms with a lawyer and make sure you can deliver on all the stipulations. Both the customer and provider need to have a frame of reference for when things go wrong. A concise SLA sets expectations for customers and delineates service provider responsibilities. It also keeps you out of legal hot water. And be sure not to promise what you can’t deliver on. The 100% SLA is just a disaster waiting to happen. Even if you have liberal definitions of downtime, when things go wrong you are going to look pretty silly with a claim of 100% downtime. Just don’t do it.

This is not to say, however, that covering your bases is enough. This is just a staring point. Preparation and a legal frame of reference is just a foundation that shapes a conversation. Hosters still have to engage in that conversation and it is often with customers that are downright irate. Going above and beyond for your customers might be a necessary response. Understand how far you are willing to go for customers in the event of an outage well before it happens.

Be ready!

It is worth repeating. Things can and do go wrong. A good outage management strategy requires preparation, realistic expectations, honesty and transparency. An infrastructure service provider is responsible for the lifeblood of businesses. It is a relationship that runs on technology but is grounded in trust. Preserving that trust is the key to maintaining good relations with customers when things go wrong. Customers understand that the Internet is perfect and always will be. All they want is a technology partner that appreciates this and acts accordingly.

Thanks to Andy Piper for the pic, and for releasing it under Creative Commons.

Explore the next version of webmail in OpenSRS Email Service

Great news! On July 5th, 2012, we’re rolling out an updated version of our webmail application in a “preview mode” for all users of OpenSRS Email Service.

Starting that day, your users will be able to choose between the current interface, and the newly updated interface, through a “preview” toggle on the webmail login screen.

For the sake of any of your users who may fear change, the current webmail will remain the default – users who want to check out the new webmail will have to specifically click to choose the preview.

The “preview mode” is displayed by default on the login screen if you use the default webmail brand. Those using a custom brand can enable the preview through the Branding Tool in the Mail Administration Center.

In the Production Test Environment later today

Later today, we’ll roll out the update to the Production Test Environment (PTE) so you’ll have a chance to log in to an account in your Test account and see for yourself what the new webmail is like.

Take the opportunity over the next few weeks and months to get your support staff familiar with the interface prior to it being released as the default webmail application later this year.

What’s new!

You’re probably wondering what’s new in this version of webmail. Here are some highlights:

  • Support for Google Chrome and Apple Safari in both the Standard and Basic interfaces
  • Better settings handling across sessions for things like the preview pane and email header view
  • New three-pane layout for the Personal Address Book
  • Improved application responsiveness and speed

New default theme!

Webmail has also received a complete refresh of the default theme, moving to a much cleaner, far more readable interface. We’ve also moved to a tabbed interface, providing easier access to different areas of the application like Mail, Personal Address Book, Calendar, File Sharing and Settings.

The full list

We’ve posted a full list of what’s been updated, added and enhanced on our website along with known issues. View it here.

We’d love to get your feedback on the new webmail. Drop into the OpenSRS Forums and tell us what you think and give us a heads up on any bugs that you might find.

Talking About Ting

In our recent webinar about selling Ting, ultramarathoner James Koole suggested that you should “host more of the conversation on your side than ours.” I want to share a piece of data to support that point, elaborate on it a bit and see if I can offer you some help.

First the data. Looking at the traffic coming through our reseller landing pages on Ting, we see that 9% of the traffic has produced 80% of the accounts. Said differently, we are seeing a bunch of resellers who drive, for example, 200 visits with no conversions and a bunch of resellers who drive, for example, 4 visits with 3 conversions. The 200 visitors are probably coming through some sort of logo or link dropped on a homepage. The 4 visitors obviously knew quite a lot about Ting before they ever got there.

Your customers will likely not yet know anything about Ting. We do the best we can on our site to establish credibility and address potential concerns. But, in the end, we are still strangers. The best thing we have going for us is your endorsement.

Think about your own buying decisions. Familiarity and trust is everything. A blog post from you explaining the Ting plans will inevitably be so much more powerful than our own Ting plans page. Sharing how much you have saved a month with Ting will be so much more relevant than dozens of our own testimonials (from yet more strangers). Offering to walk your customers through the savings calculator to see if they will save money themselves will be absolutely invaluable.

The days of slapping affiliate links on your site and hoping to see conversions are over. Your customers rightfully expect to know what Ting is all about and why you are recommending it before they even visit our site. And they will not convert to any of our satisfaction if they don’t get that from you.

I don’t have more advice to offer on selling Ting in your own words. Be helpful. Be honest. I do, however, have one more thought on hosting more of the conversation on your side than ours.

We recently put the Ting savings calculator on our Ting Facebook page. Then, we took it a step further and put it on our separate Hover Facebook page. This work pretty much paves the way for you to embed this calculator on your site, Facebook page or anywhere else you want. Again, it might not seem profoundly different than sending your customers to our site. But I believe having this tool on your side, surrounded by your thoughts and suggestions, will drive more interaction and have far greater impact. It also does even more to reinforce your role as a trusted provider and expert.

You can add the savings calculator to your Facebook page easily. You’ll find more info and the link here.

If you want to add it to your site, there’s just a bit of work that needs to be done. We are happy to help. Just send an email to our own doctor of Ting reseller love, Mark Klein, at mark@ting.com.

Meanwhile, please join us in the Ting discussion forum to offer any questions, thoughts or concerns about how we can help you succeed.

Holiday Hours for Canada Day 2012

Sunday, July 1, 2012 is Canada Day up here in the Great White North, aka Canada. It’s the day we celebrate the day Canada became a nation way back in 1867. We’ve mentioned it before, but it bears repeating – Canadians are pretty predictable when it comes to long weekends in the summertime. The majority of us Canadians will celebrate Canada Day with BBQs, beer on the dock and some fireworks to cap it all off.

While Canada Day falls on a Sunday this year, our HR department assures us that taking the Monday off to recover is a-ok with them. That means a majority of our staff in our Toronto HQ will be off on Monday, July 2. Reseller Support will be staffed on Monday as usual – if you call in or email, please do thank them for coming in on a holiday.

Here are the hours of operation during the holiday:

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

Hours by department:

Department Dates and Hours
Reseller Support Regular hours
Payments Email support: payments@opensrs.org
Compliance Closed July 2nd (Monday)
Service Bureau (for transactions requiring manual processing) Closed July 2nd (Monday)
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