Here are a few developments that I have seen lately regarding web hosting.
WP.com is Now WordPress.com
First off, on the domain front – the ubiquitous blogging service WordPress has confirmed that it has purchased the domain name wp.com from Yahoo. There has been specualtion regarding the purchase for a few days as the wp.com domain was redirecting to WordPress.com. The news became official when WordPress founder Matt Mullenweg posted the information on the domain acquistion on the WordPress blog. You can read the details here: http://en.blog.wordpress.com/2009/04/24/wpcom. The purchase price was not announced – however – judging from the latest domain prices and the obvious rarity of 2 letter domain names, you can bet it was well into the six figures. For reference, you can see the list of the top 100 domains sold this year here: http://www.dnjournal.com/ytd-sales-charts.htm.
Susan Boyle Cybersquatters
On a related domain name theme, UK’s guardian.co.uk is reporting that since April 11, more than 30 websites have been launched that take advantage of the name Susan Boyle. Ms. Boyle has shot to fame on UK television and subsequently on YouTube as a contestant on the program ”Britain’s Got Talent”. Ms. Boyle is an unemployed 47-year-old Scottish charity worker who claims to have never been kissed. Her cover of the song ‘I Dreamed a Dream’ from the musical Les Misérables became a global YouTube hit hours after it was posted. So anyway – no big deal that all these domains are being registered and these websites set up. It just stands in stark contrast to Ms. Boyle herself who has no web presence whatsoever. She does now have an agent, however. Details and the full story are here: http://www.guardian.co.uk/media/2009/apr/23/susan-boyle-cybersquatters.
Professional Hosting Launches
In a story covered by MyHostNews, website hosting company 34SP.com launched a new groundbreaking hosting service entitled, Professional Hosting. According to the company, The new plan specifications break down as follows: 5GB storage, 20GB transfer per month, free spam and virus filtering and free weekly backups among many other features. The new Professional Hosting plan is priced at £3.95 per month. There is no minimum contract, and every plan is sold with a 30 day money back guarantee. To learn more please visit: http://www.34sp.com/professional-hosting.
On a slightly nostalgic note, one of the original successes in the nascient web hosting industry – GeoCities – has met its demise. The owner of the service, Yahoo, has announced that it will shutter GeoCities sometime this year. For those of you that weren’t around back then, GeoCities was a free web hosting service launched in 1994. It was purchased during the peak of the dot-com boom by Yahoo for a stunning $3.57 billion (that’s with a B!). It was sort of the original MySpace / Facebook. According to Wikipedia the site became doomed by its own financial model, ”In 2001, amidst speculation by analysts that GeoCities was not yet profitable (it having declared an $8 million loss for the final quarter of 1998), Yahoo! introduced a for-fee premium hosting service at GeoCities and crippled the accessibility of free and low-price hosting accounts by limiting their monthly data transfer for webpage visitors; since then the monthly data transfer limit for free accounts is 4 GB. Later, the paid accounts were unified in the Yahoo! Web Hosting service and currently have no data transfer limits. The limiting of data transfer for free accounts made less popular the GeoCities hosting service as well as the hosted pages.” In closing the service Yahoo issued the following statement: ”We will be closing GeoCities later this year. We’ll provide more details about closing GeoCities and how to save your site data this summer.”