targets B2B, Internet developers

Aspiring developers and seasoned pros alike may just fall in love with – an on-line, comprehensive resource of Web hosting and Web development services.

Billing itself as the essential on-line B2B resource for new media, technology and Internet business solutions, the Toronto-based network aims to combine elements of helpware and community in a business setting, providing both the beginner and experienced Internet professional with tools and guides to develop and manage diverse cyber-strategies.

“It has a lot of depth,” said Brian Shepard, CEO of, in describing his company’s services. “We cater to individuals who only want to spend maybe $20 per month, on up to companies who spend thousands of dollars each month.”

It appears Shepard and company have done their homework. Practically anything a developer could want is available at the click of a mouse. has divided the Web building processes into individual sites to reduce any potential confusion. Ergo, each site is dedicated to specific marketplace demands, providing users the opportunity to focus on their own particular requirements.

For instance, the site focuses on dedicated and collocated hosting services and information that includes a large, dedicated server directory. Meanwhile, provides services such as merchant accounts, shopping carts and e-commerce hosting, as well as guides and resources to help the user excel; provides a searchable catalogue of Web development companies, guides and resources for planning a Web strategy.

“We’re offering a lot for the user and WebServerList is one of our initial sites,” Shepard continued. “For people who are going from a traditional Web hosting server to a dedicated server…Internet applications on the whole have become more essential to business,” he said.

“Twenty minutes of downtime affects [companies] greatly.”

There are other notable pages to access including – an ASP/VB/SQL code and product resource site directed at both new and experienced programmers; – guides and instruction on how to maximize the performance of a Web site with search engines; – a low-cost dot-com, dot-net and dot-org domain name registry, including a shopping cart that allows users to register multiple names at once, set a DNS (domain name search) and create an account.

“Our domain name registry services is a big plus,” he said. “People tend to register (with when they’re thinking of getting going.”

Still befuddled? Don’t be. Ask and ye shall receive. Or in this case, Ask Einstein (the networks’ built in developer guru) and a personalized response to any developer-related query within the scope of the site is provided in a day. Provided you’re not a shy developer – you do have to register to use the service – Einstein is prepared to comply. Overall, does provide free Web development related resources for Internet professionals of all skill levels. However, some of their linked sites are subscription based and include newsletters.

“It’s a new service and it’s one of the big trends on Internet sites lately,” he said. “Ask Einstein allows people to ask a question about ASP codes, for example. We have experts on the other end that can answer those questions within 24 hours.”

Founded in the last century (May 1999) in Toronto, has grown to include over 18 Internet properties and currently employs 12 people full time as well as a number of freelancers. The management and production team include experienced professionals from a variety of backgrounds including software and Web page development, Web hosting, computer hardware, networking, journalism and the print industry. The e-company’s revenue is generated by selling advertising space on its Web sites and newsletters in addition to Internet product sales, including domain name registration. Shepard said his clients are primarily large and mid-sized U.S.-based Web hosting companies.

Moreover, plans to launch its own on-line job board aimed at techies exclusively. Shepard said he thinks it’s a niche his company is well positioned to aid due to their company and member database as well as their keen focus on the developer world.

IDC Canada analyst Kevin Restivo took the time to peruse and he said he was thoroughly impressed, but he added the key to its strength will lie in its partnerships.

“When any business preports to be a hub of resources for a group of people as broadly based as developers, they will be judged by the company they keep,” he said. “The key to their success is also going to be found in revenue generation.”

According to IDC, the Web hosting market is one of the fastest growing in the IT industry and the Internet economy in general, with U.S.-based hosting company revenues estimated to total over US$18 billion by 2003.

Not surprisingly, Restivo said the Web hosting market in Canada may not be developing as quickly as our U.S. counterparts. However, he added that it will indeed prove to be a profitable facet of the Internet economy and that Canadian companies such as are well positioned to capture their slice of the action within this space.

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Jim Love, Chief Content Officer, IT World Canada

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