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Trellix Builds Web Sites Behind the Scenes

Christina Torode

Never heard of Trellix? Well, that's sort of the point.

The private-label Web-site creation tool maker has been steadily gaining ground as solution providers and even consumer sites put the WYSIWYG software platform into the hands of customers. The software requires no knowledge of HTML or other programming languages and includes an integrated FTP solution, which simplifies Web-site posting. Trellix last month said it was adding Web log or "blogging" capabilities to the platform.

The software is now used by Thomas Publishing, Interland and Tucows, and is also used as the personal Web-site creation tool at consumer sites such as iVillage.

Trellix's growth is no wonder, considering its leadership. Company founder Dan Bricklin also created VisiCalc, the spreadsheet program credited with fueling the rise of the PC. Bricklin had a similar strategy in mind for Web pages.

"Dan Bricklin has a very keen understanding of the user experience," said Elliot Noss, CEO of Tucows, Toronto. "He's focused less on technology and more on what the customers are using it for."

Tucows, a domain-name registration outsourcing provider, added Trellix's site creation tool to retain domain-name customers. "We've been steadily adding value-added services like Web Express because if customers go elsewhere for services we risk losing them as a domain-name customer," Noss said.

Since Web Express is XML-based, solution providers can easily bolt on their own services or those of other third parties. Trellix itself has integrated Web Express with third-party solutions such as e-commerce, e-mail marketing, site promotion tools and search engines.

While hosting providers are using the tool to create Web sites, Web Express is aimed mainly at small businesses that want to create Web sites without learning the intricacies of HTML or programming languages.

"We've found that small businesses want to control their own content, but they don't want to have to learn [Macromedia's ColdFusion or [Microsoft's FrontPage," said Don Bulens, CEO of Concord-based Trellix. "The VARs and hosting companies serving this market also don't want to have to make simple changes for customers either because they can't make money that way."

Solution providers typically create an initial site using Web Express and then turn over to the customer control of the site.

"The customer can make the day-to-day changes and customize the site, and then call in the VAR when it comes time to do higher value-adds such as e-commerce," Bulens said.

Large organizations from telcos to publishing companies are tapping into the power of Web Express.

For example, Interland bundled its hosting capabilities with Web Express and sold it to a large telco, which Interland declined to name. The telco private-labeled the solution as a end-user design tool.

"[Web Express is very much a part of our strategy to move beyond just Web hosting and into business solutions for small businesses," said Mark Alexander, senior vice president of sales and marketing at Interland, Atlanta. "We looked at a number of solutions, but Trellix worked best based on the openness of its [technology and ease of use for our customers."

Thomas Publishing, an advertising resource for industrial manufacturing, recently began offering an online version of its product and business listings.

Using Web Express, Thomas Publishing customized the offering to the point that templates are categorized. The customer needs only to choose the right templates, such as those specific to parts or raw materials suppliers.

Trellix this month expects to unveil a large deal with the marketing and advertising division of a major career services company. Customers will be able to quickly customize their individual sites.

"The service gives the local store their own domain and complete control over content," Bulens said.

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