Web Hosting Companies Pave Way For VARs

Via Net.Works, for one, signed a deal with Soholaunch, Atlanta, to give its partners an all-in-one Web site building service combined with Via Net.Works' managed hosting services.

With Soholaunch services, resellers can build basic brochureware Web pages or full-blown e-commerce sites with thousands of inventory items, shopping carts, order forms and e-mail marketing campaign management capabilities,all in one day, said executives of both companies.

"Our strategy is to make it easy for resellers to get started as hosting providers and Web site builders with resources such as automatic setup forms, automatic domain-name registration, automatic tracking of debits and credits, and a cockpit view of all accounts," said Randi Knight, national channel director at Via Net.Works, Atlanta. "Now it's all bundled together."


Verio's Craig Schlagbaum says partners will now have a single pint of access.

Via Net.Works also signed a deal with Sphera to bundle its own managed hosting offerings with Sphera's out-of-the-box hosting management and automation solution.

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Also, Via Net.Works offers a flexible channel program, Knight said. Partners can buy discounted packaged and private-label Via Net.Works services, or they can act as agents by referring customers and receiving 5 percent to 15 percent of monthly recurring revenue for the life of the contract.

WSI Worldsites, a Via Net.Works partner that specializes in Web-based solutions,from simple Web sites to complex, database- and e-commerce-driven ones,turned to Via Net.Works to fill in some services gaps and reduce costs, said Michael Hammock, regional director at WSI, Toronto.

"[Via Net.Works has] the Sphera product integrated into its server platform, which gave us more end-user control and, in the process, the ability to more efficiently manage server resources with a lower skill set and lower cost requirements," Hammock said.

Meanwhile, managed Web hosting company Interland recently met with its reseller advisory council to share product betas and discuss channel program changes that would benefit partners.

"We heard that we needed to get back to basics and simplify things for them," said Tiffani Bova, vice president of sales and channel programs at Interland, Atlanta.

Partners said that billing had become too complicated, so Interland automated and streamlined the billing process by removing repetitive steps, Bova said.

The company also deployed account managers to help larger resellers with technical support issues and billing procedures and is now beefing up recurring revenue commissions and partner discounts, she added.

"Hands-down, our goal is to have our partners spend less time on things like billing and technical support so they can focus their time on selling," she said.

For its part, Verio this month consolidated its disparate channel programs under one initiative called viaVerio and introduced "generous" commission programs, said Craig Schlagbaum, vice president of enterprise hosting and access channel sales at Verio, based in Englewood, Colo.

The idea is to give Verio's 6,500-plus partners a single point of access to all of its solutions, regardless of whether they're SMB partners selling shared hosting or bigger partners selling enterprise hosting and access services, according to Schlagbaum.

The company's new commission programs were created to encourage new partners to sign with Verio and existing partners to start cross-selling Verio services, he said.

"From our experience, Verio has always demonstrated a commitment to the channel," said Quy Nguyen, CEO of Allyance Communications Networks, a Newport Beach, Calif.-based telecommunications agent.

"The new viaVerio program is another example of their commitment. They've tailored the program to ensure that partners are compensated for all sales related to the Verio brand, and that's a strong statement," Nguyen said.