SteelPixel Web Hosting and their No-Advertising Model (Word-of-Mouth-Marketing)

Meet Josh and Chris of the Web 2.0 Show and Steel Pixel
I really like Josh and Chris, they’re the hosts for the popular podcast “The Web 2.0 Show” which I’m subscribed to. I first met Josh at the Future of Web Apps conference (my day 1 and day 2 notes), I heard a familiar voice behind me. After a few hours I realized they were directly behind me. I few times I accidentally blinded them with my camera flash while I was trying to take picture of folks asking questions on the mic. If you’re a web developer, designer, or marketer in the Web 2.0 space, I highly recommend subscribing toe their show, they have quite a few interesting guests.

Listening to your marketplace
Recently, we’ve been covering some issues with Andy’s web host Dreamhost (I’m also hosted with them, but I’ve few issues, other than the outage a few months ago). Josh and Chris have a business in addition to the Web 2.0 show called Steel Pixel. They contacted me via email with an offer for Andy and I to take up two months of hosting for free and a discount for anyone else that reads my blog, or just wants to switch.

Here’s the comment they left:

Jeremiah,

I am sorry to hear that your friend is having such a tough time with hosting. We (The Web 2.0 Show podcast guys) run a hosting business and we would like to invite both you and Andy to give it a try (two months free). We would like to also offer a 10% discount to all your blog readers, they can just use the discount code “switch” when they sign up.

We try to keep a very human feel to our hosting, we use IM and campfire to allow real time chat with customers. We don’t really spend money on advertising because we feel the dollars a customer spends with us should improve the services we provide them. We are very much a fan of “Creating passionate users” :) . You can read more on our ideas at our blog.

They don’t advertise
A few times on their show, I’ve heard them talk about they don’t like marketing, which is interesting as Word-of-mouth is indeed a form of marketing. It appears they’ve modified this statement to suggest they don’t like advertising. For them, this appears to be a very successful way for getting the word out. Harnessing the blog platform and network is indeed a strong way to get the word out for folks that need web hosting.

Small community of passionate users
Josh also told me via email that by having a smaller group of clients, they could provide greater service and support. He raves that his client base tends to be well informed and technologically savvy that they are usually able to self-support or ask intelligent questions. Perhaps another benefit of word of mouth marketing among a specific technical audience, you attract only a certain niche.

Josh, Chris, great job listening to the market, learning how to strategically insert your message via a comment, and building a successful marketing and business model. Brilliant!