We will be suspending our Reseller program as of June 2017. The reasons are numerous, but we wanted to break a few of them down in the name of transparency and for the benefit of the WordPress hosting community.
Firstly, it’s important to note that we recently passed our two year birthday. Over the past few years, many of our hosting customers have been former clients from freelancing projects, referrals, and so forth. Gradually, we’ve attracted some attention from design agencies who were impressed with the simplicity of our environment, along with (of course) the speed and stability that comes with it, which is always flattering (thank you!). Since most agencies are focused on the frontend — marketing, graphics, etc — having a technical partner for the backend who can manage VPS servers in a way that delivers top SEO and performance results while allowing them to “set it and forget it” generated lots of agency interest.
Ultimately, however, our experience has been perhaps similar to other startup hosting companies where we get agencies or others who are “super interested” in becoming a Reseller — for the main goal of receiving pricing discounts when ordering hosting in bulk — but many of these types of accounts end up maintaining an ever-changing list of hosted websites with us that makes management and billing an absolute nightmare. In other words, although these agencies claim to want top-notch server management, what they really want (and need, frankly) is something like DIY cPanel hosting where they can add and delete WordPress installs to their heart’s content (or similar proprietary software… see below).
In short, the agencies benefit in terms of pricing, but it eats up much of our time and energy, while taking away from our potential profits and product development efforts, especially as a small, very bootstrapped, company.
And because we want to keep our pricing monthly with no contracts, dealing with larger accounts takes up not only tons of time and “paperwork” but an agency can also disappear with 50+ sites at a moment’s notice, meaning our attention to detail goes heavily unappreciated and results ultimately in unpredictability and headache in the end.
Upon further researching some of the other managed WordPress hosting companies that have become popular in recent years, we found it interesting that nearly all of their Reseller programs have gone one of three ways:
A. They decided to opt out of launching a Reseller or bulk hosting program (smart)
B. They ditched their Reseller program and instead began to offer “bulk pricing” where a larger server is offered (in a stationary datacenter location) that can host dozens of sites on the same server (crappy quality and slippery slope)
C. They went full blown into the business of supporting agencies as Resellers, creating a custom control panel and tailored “program” with proprietary software, development tools, and dedicated support (time and money)
As a smaller company, “C” is not an option or interest for us right now. We’ve neither the manpower or interest in running in effect a “second web hosting company” made just so that Agencies can save more money, when the vast majority of our clients are direct business owners and not agencies at this stage in our growth.
Likewise, since LittleBizzy is focused on having the “best” (fastest, most stable, etc) hosting possible no matter our client’s home country, “B” is also not an interest for us, as we’ve no interest in becoming yet another GoDaddy or WP Engine junk-up; in other words, if we have a client in Australia, they deserve a server in Australia, not a bulky overloaded shared platform somewhere in Texas or Virginia, USA. What would be the point?
Lastly, and most importantly, we’ve simply not seen enough interest to continue entertaining any Reseller program, as our agency relationships thus far have been all over the map, and do not seem vital to sustaining our growth. Indeed, our niche seems to be evermore defined as the “remote IT” department for SMBs who are smart enough to know a quality server, but lack in-house IT and who don’t necessarily need or want to partner with a design agency.
For those with several (or more) sites on LittleBizzy, your account will not change. We are simply suspending our RESELLER coupon and discontinuing conversations about how we could better cater to larger accounts, at least for now.
Ultimately we don’t want to “scale to infinite” and want to ensure every single website that we host has the best environment possible. We will not be considering shared hosting or bulk servers at this time, nor launching any proprietary control panel. From the beginning our pricing and services were not meant to attract hobbyists with 20+ blogs but rather already-successful businesses looking to improve performance and stability on a few of their homepages and shops.
Time will tell if or when we reconsider a Reseller program.
THANKS very much for your support,