Carving out a niche, then staying focused has been the key to success for web host and OpenSRS Reseller, DiscountASP.NET. That singularly focused approach meshed perfectly with OpenSRS and its consistent commitment to the wholesale Internet services market.

The Pasadena, California-based webhost started out in 2003 as a shared hosting provider with a twist, offering Windows-based hosting aimed squarely at the ASP.NET developer community.

The company’s developer customers have one-stop access to everything they need, including domain names, SSL certificates and a hosting platform that sports all the latest technologies from Microsoft. That complete package of services enables them to create websites and other web-based applications.

Takeshi Eto, VP Marketing and Business Development for DiscountASP.NET, says that strict focus on the Microsoft ASP.NET market has been critical in building a successful business in the long term.

“If you try and do too many things, it’s hard to target marketing, and it’s hard to provide adequate support,” he says. “From the very beginning, we made sure that everything we did was about serving the needs of the .NET developer and we’ve been very successful in doing that.”

A partner with a similar perspective

Eto says they looked for a similarly well-focused company when evaluating domain registration providers. Eto found, in OpenSRS, a company that built a reputation for providing the best wholesale domain registration platform and service.

That laser focus on the specific needs of its wholesale customers was something that Eto could relate to. The fact that he found an API and platform that he liked was icing on the cake.

“We evaluated a lot of registration partners and we liked the APIs that OpenSRS had,” he says. “It made the integration and automation a lot easier.”

Savvy customers = tech support challenges

DiscountASP.NET’s customer base runs the gamut from hobby sites, to blogs, to businesses. According to Eto, those business customers make up the majority of the base.

“About 60% of our customers are doing some sort of business website with our service, whether it’s the .NET developer themselves, or an application or website that developer did for the business,” he says.

With a tech-savvy customer base like DiscountASP.NET has, providing tech support does offer some challenges. Eto says that overall, the number of support requests is lower than typically seen in mass-market hosting, but that doesn’t mean support is easy.

“The sophistication of the support tickets is very highly technical,” he says. “The challenge for us is to make sure our tech support staff is trained on all the new stuff.”

To ensure that his customers get the help they need, Eto has to look around a little more to find the right people to work in tech support.

“Trying to find talent to hire may take us longer,” he says. “But those that join our team are assured of a dynamic environment where they will always be learning and working on new technology. It’s fun and challenging.”

On trust

DiscountASP.NET developed its own control panels and hosting platform using .NET technologies because they wanted to demonstrate to customers that they were the best option. “What better way to show that we’re .NET experts? Our control panel is .NET, our website is .NET — it all helps in the marketing message,” he says.

He also says the company works very hard to keep up with the latest developments from Microsoft and aims to be ahead of the needs of the customer.

That kind of commitment to keeping ahead of the game also means Eto needs to rely on, and trust his chosen vendors to do the same.

As far as OpenSRS is concerned, Eto says dealing with the company has been “great,” and that he’s always found OpenSRS to be “very responsive.”

Eto also says that he appreciates the regular interaction he has with OpenSRS people. “I see them all the time at different mixers and networking events and they’re always cool, fun to hang out with and good to do business with,” he says.

It’s definitely a relationship that is paying off and Eto sees a solid future for DiscountASP.NET.