Hosting Industry Demystified

The Reselling Model

Resellers face several significant challenges, and not least of these is technical support. While resellers can reasonably expect that they will be given some support by their parent hosting companies, in almost all cases they are responsible for directly fielding the complaints of their own customers.

In other words, if a reseller’s client calls to complain about downtime, it is the reseller who must address the matter – even if ‘addressing’ it just means complaining to the original host. This is a source of frequent complaint among resellers, because they feel that while they cannot directly remedy many of the most common hosting problems (bandwidth, space limitations, downtime, etc.), they are the ones who have to deal with end users whose sites are down, or are loading too slowly.

Ideally, however, resellers should not operate according to the same business model as hosting companies. Although resellers may market themselves as hosts (indeed, some deliberately foster an appearance of being first-generation hosting companies), they are ultimately a sales and services company, not a technology provider. Resellers do not actually own the server space that they are selling, and their two principal responsibilities consist of recruiting new customers and servicing those accounts once they are established.

Resellers are valuable to hosting companies because they are middle men; they concentrate their resources on sales and support, and the hosting company, freed from the need to employ a bank of CSRs, can funnel its resources into technology. If resellers could hand off their sales and support duties to the original host, then there would be no reason for the host to even include them in the business model!

Ultimately, however, this system tends toward greater efficiency, particularly because resellers are often based in countries other than their host. For example, when a British host’s server goes down, the company’s French reseller might receive complaints from each of its twenty clients – but would then lodge a single complaint with the hosting company.

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