Earlier this month OpenSRS sponsored and participated in Parallels’ EMEA roadshow, which traveled to seven European countries in order to connect with web hosting companies in each region.Each stop was attended by several members of the OpenSRS team, including staff from both our EMEA office (based in Newcastle, UK) and our Canadian headquarters (based in Toronto, Canada). I attended three of the stops – Cologne, Paris and Madrid – and had the opportunity to give a presentation on the impact of hosting market developments in 2009 at each.
The presentation focused on a wide variety of topics, but among the points I tried to emphasize to the European hosting community were:
- The growth and success of ccTLDs are on the rise. Over the past several years, gTLD market share has dropped while ccTLD market share has increased. Many market-focused web hosting companies have adopted a good range of ccTLDs (including .EU, .CA, .UK, .ME and .DE) and are promoting them aggressively.
- Web hosting companies are getting in front of their brands. According to Mitch Keeler’s count over at The Web Hosting Show (www.webhostingshow.com) , almost 100 web hosting companies are on Twitter, engaging customers, prospects and promoting their brands. Virtually every popular web host is active on Twitter, operates a blog and is very transparent when it comes to how they operate (we’re there too: follow @OpenSRS on Twitter).
- There’s opportunity to be found in leveraging the growth of the ‘personal web’. Whether it’s end users using a domain to tie together their Facebook, Twitter and Flickr pages, or using a domain name and email address to brand oneself (think of the .ME or .NAME extensions, or our own Personal Names service), consumers are quickly finding many personal uses for domain names. Hosting companies that leverage this trend will have an excellent opportunity to introduce a new revenue stream before the competition figures it out.
In talking to attendees at each stop, it was obvious that the hosting companies which attended found it to be worthwhile and informative. If Parallels hosts a similar tour next year, I highly recommend attending. It’s a unique opportunity to connect with other hosts in your area, meet Parallels staff, learn more about the product and check out some potential vendors as well.