Over the years, Melen has batted away offers from big Internet companies looking to buy out his T35 Hosting service for fear that they would take away the offering that most distinguishes it from competitors: unlimited space and bandwidth hosted for free. Last year, Melen had set out three goals to expand his company in 2007: advertise more, offer domain name hosting for free, and boost features to its paid hosting offerings.
Melen says he met all three goals and increased his customer base to about 400,000, up from 300,000 a year ago. Still, one unforeseen competitor emerged: Google (GOOG), which launched free Web-hosting service Google Pages in February. Melen believes the search giant’s presence will help boost overall growth in the Web-hosting space, but in order to prevent losing market share, T35 will have to provide more unique offerings. Some of his strategies include starting a blog about Web hosting and adding social networking features to hosted pages.