BEING UNCONVENTIONAL DOES pay off. Just ask Richard Feller and Jeff Chanesman, co-founders of Hedgehog Hosting, a web hosting company headquartered outside of Washington, D.C. Launched in 2001 amongst a sea of larger competitors, Hedgehog Hosting has emerged to be a premier company in the region because of their unorthodox approach in the managed hosting market. Verisign sat down with the team to find out more.
Q: Hedgehog Hosting doesn’t sound like a name you would associate with a web host provider. Why did you pick “Hedgehog?”
A: We really wanted to set ourselves apart, especially in an industry where people were naming their companies after Greek gods and such. We knew we were different and original, and we wanted a name to reflect that.
It also spoke to the character of who we were as a company – we wanted people to have that “warm and fuzzy” feeling with us – the one you get when you work with a small business that cares. And that’s another difference that made us unique back then and now. We’re still very much a high-touch service provider that’s truly vested in our clients. We’re more like a trusted friend than a partner.
Q: Tell us about Hedgehog Hosting’s online presence in the beginning and how it’s evolved today.
A: We started our company prior to the social media era, so our website, HedgehogHosting.com, was our only online presence, and we used it for informational purposes only.
Our website has grown to be much more robust today. We recently redesigned our website to include the social aspects of what we’re doing. While we still brought over the technical components of what we do, we’re showing what we’re involved with in real time now, such as legislative engagements and trade shows…how we help others within our industry. It’s the core focus of the website now and definitely more of a marketing tool.
Q: What advice does Hedgehog Hosting give to their clients on starting their online presence?
A: One of the first things we tell our clients is to register a dot com domain name because it’s recognizable. That’s important today, especially in our globalized world. A dot com works everywhere.
People get caught up in the waves of “what’s new” and “what’s happening” but a dot com is tried and trusted. It’s not going anywhere, so we continually tell our clients to base your business around that, and not what’s trendy. It’s the brand that people know.
Q: What are the future plans for Hedgehog?
A: We’ve always been a small company and value the small company feel. However, we see the opportunities with careful expansion. Just this year, we launched a new venture, Hedgehog Technology Services, where we’re looking to do more heightened awareness of security and edge of network protection.
And we registered HedgehogTechnologyServices.com to help us do that, which will work in conjunction with HedgehogHosting.com.
Q: You’ve discussed how your website has evolved over the years – what do you hope your website provides you or your customers in the future?
A: We hope that our website will show everybody what Hedgehog Hosting has been for the last 16 years, and where we’re going in the next 16 years. We’d like to see it become a live and rich portal that showcases the things we do on a daily basis.
Many times, technology companies like ours aren’t always seen, and we’re hoping that our website brings that out a little more by showing what we do, like working at our data centers, engaging with clients, coming up with security solutions. It’s important to us to show the world what a technology company can do nowadays.
Q: Why do you think Hedgehog Hosting is unique?
A: Our main difference is really the people. When you call in, you’re actually talking with an owner of the company and that’s really hard to put a dollar amount on– calling and knowing that the same person’s going to answer the phone every single time. That really sets us apart from the others.