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  •  Wednesday, December 12, 2012   
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Startup CruveThis months update comes a lot later than usual, one of our new features got pushed out by quite a margin (which I talked briefly about last month).

We were prepared for the stats decreasing a little this month, they always do when the previous month was a viral success. But, it’s important to keep pushing forward regardless – one decent month doesn’t make or break a web business. The graph on the right dubbed “The Startup Curve” was drawn on a white board by Paul Graham from Y Combinator – it highlights the ups & downs of running a startup. Our aim with the site is to make it the goto place for all the information you need to make a decision about a particular web host, the only way to do that is to keep improving the amount of data points we have, we can’t just be another “me too” web hosting review website.

That being said lets kick off the stats for November:

It makes it quite hard to look for patterns in the data when you end up aggregating 3 sites together in the one Analytics account. Technically we have the main site, the blog & server porn all reporting together, this isn’t normally how we’d set things up but we wanted to keep things simple.

Traffic Stats

I use Google Analytics every day, so there are some nifty things you can do to make the data easier to digest. Here’s an example of what our month looks like if we completely take out the server porn hostname via an advanced segment:

That’s a bit better, it gives us a much nicer indication of how we actually performed a base site level (rather than the noise from our eye candy). You’ll notice a decent spike around the 28th, that was the day that Linode simplified their plan structure & we also got mentioned on a rather popular Russian website (which resulted in a huge spike of new benchmarks, thanks Russia!).

You can see a fairly big shift in the types of traffic sources from last month, Facebook is nowhere to be seen in our top 10. Great to see a healthy number of referrals from Low End Box, one of the reviewers there Zahra has been including a lot of our data in their offer posts (which we hope is helping users make the right decision).

Our top referring organic term for the month was “Porn” of which 95% of the people only view 1 page – perhaps they’re not into looking at beautiful servers (like this Pillar Axiom)? ^_^

Some of the popular organic landing pages for the month were:

  1. SSD VPS Benchmarks
  2. Kimsufi mKS 2G
  3. Unixbench on Ubuntu
  4. Dedicated Server Comparison
  5. Hosting Coupons

Site Stats

  1. 610+ New Benchmarks – Expected this number to drop a bit, we’re coming into a quiet period with less offers from hosts.
  2. 52 code commits
  3. 12 bug fixes
  4. 37 helpdesk requests (up from last month)
  5. 700+ unassigned benchmarks sitting in our queue, we’re working our way & adding hosts from this queue
  6. 5 hosting coupons posted
  7. 69 hosting plans added (2 / day)
  8. 23% of links are affiliated, bit of a drop due to adding new hosts
  9. 2 Blog Posts
  10. 2 Web Hosting Interviews
  11. 30 server porn pictures posted
  12. 56 Tweets & up to 244 followers – Follow us! (@serverbear)

Exclusive Coupons for November

Hosts have been seeing great results working with us to supply exclusive discounts for our users, here’s what we managed to get this month:

SupremeBytes Coupon: 25% Off First Invoice
MaxterHost Coupon: 50% Off First Invoice

Make sure to keep an eye on our coupons page for more deals coming up to Christmas.

Web Hosting Interviews

As promised last month we managed two very awesome interviews this month:

Joe from SecureDragon / ServerDragon
Francisco (@FrantechCA) from BuyVM

Read them all in our web hosting interviews section.

We have no interviews scheduled for December, expect more in 2013 – we’re also open to suggestions on who you might like us to interview.

Popular Hosts & Plans

The ChicagoVPS 2GB plan went crazy this month due to some of the sub $7 offers, we also saw our biggest month in benchmarks from providers that we’ve not listed yet.

Most Benchmarked Plan: ChicagoVPS OpenVZ Enterprise
Most Popular Benchmark: VZSSD5
Most Popular VPS Host: RamNode
Most Popular Dedicated Host: Kimsufi
Most Popular Cloud Host: DigitalOcean
Most Popular Plan: Kimsufi mKS 2G
Most Popular Category: VPS Comparison
Most Popular Blog Post: BuyVM Interview
Most Popular Server Porn: Liquid Cooled Supermicro Servers

Affiliate Signups

Affiliate activity has been good, not enough to pay the bills by any means but we’re growing at a good pace. We did ~180 signups last month with > 25% affiliate penetration (which equates to ~730 signups if you extrapolate it out). I’m pretty pleased with the number of referrals we’re generating, means people are actually finding the data valuable enough to use it to signup, next month I’ll do an end of year wrapup & give you an idea on what sort of $$ we make per signup type, plus also the conversion/churn rates per host ^_^

I’d like to see more activity in the dedicated server space, that’s where we have the ability to really generate some decent revenues, however due to the nature of how easy a VPS is to obtain (and benchmark) we’re very strong in that sector.

BudgetVM – 47
RamNode – 45
Front Range Hosting – 18
ChicagoVPS – 17
PhotonVPS – 8
BlueVM – 8
URPad – 7
WSWD – 6
GridVirt – 4
Dreamhost – 4
BurstNET – 3
Media Temple – 3
SecuredServers – 3
Hostigation – 2
Linode – 2
VPS.net – 2
64u – 1
Atlantic.net – 1
FlipHost – 1

One thing we’re considering doing is linking back initial clicks on a specific plan to a benchmark. So we can get an idea of how many people run a benchmark after buying a specific plan via ServerBear. It’d also be good to see how many people change hosts after running a benchmark with us, I’d love to be able to show the clickstream of which hosts most people move to (i.e. most people move from Linode to DigitalOcean or from Amazon EC2 to Rackspace).

Current Affiliate Issues

DediServe – Pulled their affiliate program with no notice or communication, we have unpaid commissions.
Joyent – Their programs seems dormant or no-one is looking after it, been waiting for approval for months.
Rackspace – Doesn’t register any clicks or activity, they’re looking into issues at the moment.

Development & New Features

Aside from fixing a few bugs we’ve been working on uptime for almost 3 months now, it’s gone through various iterations & has now been beta launched. Another exciting development is that John (@ponny) is making the transition to working for our company fulltime from December 26th, this should allow us to shop features much faster :)

Uptime Monitoring Live

We are offering real time outage information on most of the web hosts listed on ServerBear.

Live Uptime

Simply navigate to any host on ServerBear – You’ll see how many nodes & locations we’re monitoring. Right now only location specific outages affect the % downtime (which is slightly unfair for hosts where we only monitor 1 node per location).

Linode Outages

You can use the tabs to filter the reports by location to see all recent outages that we’ve tracked. If you want to read more about the methodolgy behind how we track the outages see our update from October.

Unixbench.com Domain Name

We acquired the UnixBench.com domain name in an auction mid Novemeber for ~$650. Keep an eye out in the coming months to see what we do with it.

Load More Results on Compare Pages

Up until recently we only showed 40 results on our comparison pages, this meant that you had to fiddle with the filtering column to get more results to show. We’ve added a way to just show more results if you require them by clicking the “More Results” button at the bottom of the page.

More Results

Wrapping Up

John & I are both really excited by the progress in the last few months, we feel we’re slowing building a featureset that no-one else in the industry has – or even if they did have they would probably struggle to get additional traction. We’re already starting to see a few competitors emerge.

We’ve had a few offers already to buy ServerBear, which we’re not entertaining. We’re in this for the long haul. So thanks for your support in November, remember you can always get in touch here or on Twitter (@ServerBear) or get in touch personally (@thegyppo).

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