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The Web Host Industry Week in Review

Liam Eagle,

October 11, 2002 -- (WEB HOST INDUSTRY REVIEW) -- Some of this week’s most notable news came from the range of businesses that support the Web hosting industry, including content delivery, domain registration, DNS management and the hosting control panel and automation business, along with some more directly hosting-related news.

Late in the week, managed hosting provider Digex Incorporated announced some significant changes to its board of directors, following the resignations of Bert Roberts and Ron Beamont. The company said it has appointed additional directors Vinton Cerf, Wayne Huyard and Jon McGuire to the board, and named Bill Grothe as chairman.

"We are very pleased to add diverse talent and experience from WorldCom to our Board," said George Kerns, president and CEO of Digex. "Vint brings us a long history of innovation with respect to network-based services; Wayne brings us extensive experience on how to sell services to target markets; and, Jon brings us a very deep financial planning background which ties in well with one of our strategic priorities: achieving financial independence."

This week also saw the continuation of one major ongoing legal battle, as well as the conclusion of another, in businesses related to the Web hosting industry, specifically the CDN and domain registration businesses.

On Thursday, communications carrier Cable & Wireless said that it had asked a US District Court for a preliminary injunction against its content delivery network competitor Akamai Technologies Inc. from selling its EdgeSuite services, alleging that the product infringes on a key patented technology.

The request for an injunction is the latest development in a long series of legal and patent-related disputes between the two companies that stretches back as far as 2001.

Also on Thursday, domain name registration company Go Daddy Software said that it had settled its suit against the dominant registration provider VeriSign Inc. Filed in June, the law suit alleged that VeriSign sent misleading “domain name renewal notices” to the customers of other registrars for the purpose of misleading them into transferring their domains to VeriSign.

While the terms of the settlement were not disclosed, Go Daddy says it is pleased with the outcome. Damages to customers were repaired, and VeriSign will no longer send the notices.

In less legal but equally domain name-related business, directory infrastructure services provider UltraDNS Corporation said on Wednesday that it had acquired all of the DNS hosting customer base of competitor Nominum, as well as the Secondary DNS property. UltraDNS will begin serving all of Nominum’s DNS hosting customers, including several country-code and generic top-level domains including .no, .lx, .ie and .coop.

Along with the CDN and domain name news, this week saw a considerable amount of news from the range of control panel and automation solutions that support a large number of the world’s Web hosting organizations.

On Monday, automation software solution provider Plesk announced that it had introduced the latest version of its Plesk Server Administrator product, PSA 5.0, including an optional Master Console. The company says the benefits of the new version include more robust channel management and easier services access. And, according to Plesk, the Master Console consolidates and automates the management of up to PSA servers and the hosting plans operated on them.

Also on Monday, automation solution developer Advanced Communications announced the release of the latest version of its Hosting Controller software, Hosting Controller v.2002, Build 3. Included in the new release, says the company, are several free software solutions, including two email servers, a stats server and a complete billing and invoicing application for shared hosting providers.

Other reports from Monday said that automation and server partitioning software solution developer SWsoft is planning to release versions of its Virtuozzo server partitioning software built to support Intel’s Itanium processor family, as well as the Windows operating system. The Windows-tailored release of Virtuozzo is expected to open the company’s currently Linux-based product up to a wider market, though adoption of the Itanium processing equipment has yet to fully take off. Both new releases are expected in early 2003.

On Wednesday, automation solution provider Sphera Corporation announced that the company has experienced substantial sales growth this year in Europe, identifying 25 recent European customer wins including hosting providers Star Internet, AMEN and COMBELL. Sphera says the success is exciting in the still-distressed market, and that overcoming certain of the fundamental difficulties of the European market has fueled the company’s success in the region.

The obvious ongoing growth demonstrated this week by providers of hosting automation solutions should speak volumes about the Web hosting market that supports their business. And the ongoing development of their products demonstrates a confidence in the Web hosting industry’s immediate prospects, and the development of an ongoing demand for their products.


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