A must read for prospective Blogware resellers and for bloggers and people who don't understand why Blogware is not being heavily promoted by Tucows. Summary: it's all about the resellers. Resellers made Tucows #2 in domain registration and similarly resellers will make Blogware a big player in the hosted blog space.
From An Open Letter to Blog Sceptic:
5/3/2/1. Ditch the resellers/launch a hosted version/offer to specific verticals/promote it...
Never gonna happen.
Here's why: Internet services providers represent the most powerful distribution channel on the internet. No single company can compete with the marketing muscle of 30,000 ISPs** who sit right in front of end-users and assist them in making critical technology choices and guide them as they dive into the internet - usually for the first time. No other channel can put you in front of individuals and the Fortune 500 simultaneously and no channel can better address the fickle needs of their local markets in a more appropriate fashion.
To get a better sense of this, take a look at our track record with domain names. In 1997, we were (according to the most liberal definitions) #85 in the domain name registration market. Today we are solidly #2 and we've been there for a couple of years. How did we get here? We dealt exclusively with internet services providers to the exclusion of all other market opportunities and we nailed their service requirements. By choosing and sticking to our distribution model very early in the game (some would argue that it chose us) we were able to focus on very specific attributes of our products and processes and build some truly excellent structures around everything. In other words, because we weren't trying to be all things to all customers, we were able to do some very amazing things with some very specific customer segments. And they responded in spades.
Our resellers kick serious a*s in the market place. This because the Tucows way of doing things gives them the luxury of being able to focus on very specific and important things. Think of every other blogging company out there. They each have to a) be technical experts, b) be sales experts and c) be marketing experts just to one unit to a customer. Now take a look at the symbiotic nature of the relationship between Tucows and its direct customers. Our resellers have to be sales & marketing experts and develop strong customer service skills and Tucows has to focus on maintaining world-class technical services. Who would you bet on, the jack-of-all-trades or the team of specialists?
The downside to this approach is that it lacks the glitz and glam that retail oriented services employ. You will never see a full out PR blitz from Tucows and Blogware will never be a household name. All wasted money. Remember, we're not the marketing brains in this relationship. We're the technical muscle.
Does that mean that our resellers are idly sitting by doing nothing? Nope. Right now, they are working on developing the right messages to direct at very specific markets - some are doing the institutional angle, some are going after telecommunications firms, others are targetting specific home-user verticals and others still looking to make quick wins at the expense of those with existing market share... And what I've seen so far looks great. Think of this as true "end-to-end marketing" Marketing at the edges. Clue-train compatible distribution. Teamwork. Focus. Whatever you call it, it works.