Internet gain without the pain

Resellers don't have to make huge infrastructure investments to snare a piece of the Internet pie, according to the boss of one of Australia's biggest Web hosting services.

Lloyd Ernst, general manager of WebCentral, said that resellers can act as a "ghost" Web service provider by reselling his company's hosting services.

"If any reseller is finding its customers looking for a Web host and they want to be involved in the project, they can develop a branded product using our services but with their own logos and any links they want to go with it," he said.

"They can own as little or as much of a customer relationship as they want."

Ernst said that an increase in the number of small and medium enterprises developing e-commerce and Internet strategies meant this market represented a golden opportunity.

"The demand for these sort of services is very strong. People are starting to realise they need to have a proper domain name and e-mail structure," Ernst explained.

Margins for resellers vary from 22-30 per cent and average about 25 per cent, according to Ernst, depending on the size of the deal and the services being offered. The Brisbane-based Web host is enjoying huge success, roaring past the 7000 hosted domains mark during April. It is 51 per cent owned by Ozemail and boasts a farm of over 150 NT servers in Brisbane.It has two 100Mbps links to Telstra and Ozemail, 24-hour maintenance operations and markets a range of e-commerce solutions as well as management and monitoring services.

The company was launched two years ago as an extension of ISP power-Up and, according to Ernst, has doubled in turnover every six months since foundation with forecasts for a tripling in the next half-year.

The two quarters ending December 31 saw revenues exceed $4 million.