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Thread: Should you sponsor websites?
03-07-2003, 06:12 PM #1SmithGuest
I saved this article in my computer a while ago and when I open this today I thought this could help few Hosting companies ...BUt i forgot when did i get this article from.. :angry:
First let me explain what is a website sponsor is. A sponsor in this case is a Web Host or Reseller that agrees to host a website in exchange an ad of some kind on the sponsored site. If you are a host with your own dedicated server(s), this kind of sponsorship has no real out-of-pocket cost to you. If you are reseller, any cost should be the same or minimal depending on your reseller account. You will of course still have to offer support to anyone you sponsor, so it might cost you some of your time.
If you are new to hosting, offering a few sponsored websites is a good way to get your feet wet and test things out. I think this is especially important if you have your own dedicated server(s). Too many new hosts just get a unmanaged server, put up a website with an order form and their in business the same day. The never bothered to do any kind of testing what so ever and when a client signs up they have nothing but problems. This is the number one reason to sponsor a few sites before you go looking for paying clients.
By sponsoring some websites and having a banner or other advertising on those sites you might get some return. From the information I have gathered (SitePoint and WebHostingTalk) it looks like you have about a 50% chance of getting new clients from your sponsored websites. I don’t think this is dependent on the types of websites you sponsor.
By now you are asking, “what kinds of sites should I sponsor?” I do not believe there is any set answer for that question; it could just be dumb luck. From my personal experiences as a host (July1998- February 2002) the site I expected nothing from was a website for a Mormon church in California. I agreed to host them freely without any ads but the Bishop decided to put a small logo on the front page. I know I got over twenty five new clients in about six months time from them, almost all were small business. I also sponsored a few other sites; four were related to building web pages (HTML, Java, etc.), one was a game site and another was a non-denominational Christian website.
I got a few new clients from one of the HTML help sites but nothing else. I will mention that two of the sponsored sites mentioned were not what they appeared to be! The game site started to go up a lot in traffic (Visits) but had very little information on the site. I looked around a bit and found links to illegal MP3’s and wares files, so their site was dropped. The other surprise was that the bandwidth for the non-denominational Christian website grew to well over their limit in just three weeks, so I took a look and what was once a very nicely done Christian site was now a on-line casino.
If you decide to offer some sponsored websites be sure to keep an eye on what they are doing. The sponsored sites that were not as they appeared had one thing in common, they never once asked any questions of any kind from support. You should state in writing (e-mail is fine) exactly what you are offering the sponsored website and exactly what you require in return. I would advise against making statements like “free hosting for life” while saying “free hosing for as long as xxxxxx.com is in business would be ok.
I still feel sponsoring websites is a good way for a new host to learn something about their server, control panels, support system and maybe something about themselves. I would recommend offering 6 – 12 months sponsorships to websites that you feel might bring in some business. You should make it very clear what is expected of any webmaster you sponsor. If you think a site should bring you in 1 client per month you should make that clear.