Earlier today the forums were spammed about starting your own homepage communities. I felt that this is actually a worthwhile topic for promoting your site. By offering your visitors free homepages you give them a reason to return to your site on a frequent basis. This works the same as with free email from companies like Everyone.net and Bigmailbox.com. While free homepages are pretty ubiquitous now just like free email accounts, a savvy markerter will be able to add this to their offering quite well. Imagine the web designer that offers all their clients free web hosting. This will be especially attractive to those promising low cost development and lots of features. If you did it right you could even offer them their own domains and redirect that traffic to their free site.
I have looked at several different companies offering these services. These include the one mentioned in the original spam and several others that came up as well.
<< URL DELETED DUE TO POSTING VIOLATIONS >>: This was the site mentioned in the spam. The site doesn't contain very much information and you don't seem to have many options compared to some of its competition. The site also seemed unprofessional to me with incorrect grammar, misspellings and other similar errors.
www.wigloo.com : Another site offering free email and free webpages. They got their email services through a third party so I am inclined to think that they are doing the same for web hosting. The site wasn't very professional either but their parent site was. It could be the first version or a work in progress.
www.northsky.com : This is the company I liked the best. They current host over 1 million websites for different companies. They are owned by About.com which is a large respectable company and they own Freeservers.com which hosts over 500,000 sites using the same technology. Northsky also offers integrated email and instant messaging services for you to offer your visitors and customers. They have solutions that range from free to custom built ones that will cost you.
I think Northsky can do for free homepages what Everyone.net did for free email. They by far seem to be the most professional and able to get the job done.
Yes we were spammed. In fact we were spammed by someone who WORKES at the webiste in question. I have deleted the url from the above post because we DO NOT SUPPORT SPAMMER or anyone ASSOCIATED with the practice.
Eric Jones - WR Administrator
ICQ 1215804 (mention WR)
I signed up a domain that I don't use for much for the northsky package: email, web, and IM (though the IM part doesn't look to good - only users who get a webpage or email can download it as far as I can tell....) (the domain is udiscuss.com - nothing there now, but it's a good name for this type of thing.) I'll let you all know how it goes. One thing I did notice was after I finished the application they said they would start service after reviewing my site, receiving my signiture, and PROCESSING A FEE. It could be a fragment left over from their more expensive solutions, or they really could be charging for it....
Even ICQ says they charge a fee.. This is just incase they want to in the future. Northsky has three different packages. The first or co-branding package does not require a fee but you have Northsky on some of your stuff. The Second solution has a fee per user or you promise Northsky some of the revenue from the ads (I think its like 40%). The third is all fee.
P.S. Jonese, I am sorry. I just wanted to start a valid topic because I felt that free homepages would be a great way to promote some sites.
Okay. They sent me the "info" email. The fee they refered to is "free forever". I don't know why they lead you in circles like that, but they do.
They give you 10% until 2000 hits/DAY 100,000 at 40% and 200,000+ at 50%. (and every thing in between) Not TOO bad considering it is pretty expensive for only a few sites. They also say they are planning email at the root domain, so you could give out firstname.lastname@example.org. It sounds familiar. (-: They also say they are planning bulletin boards, calanders, "file box" file sharing, and more. I won't say more because they probably don't want me to.
I think it's a great way to promote your site. It really brings back visitors (as well as extra income ) and give you a nice community. Of course, you COULD do it yourself with some of the free tools available, but I don't know if it would be as nice...(you would keep ALL of the income though )
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[This message has been edited by Owen (edited April 27, 2000).]
I have decided to use Northsky to provide services for a religious based community that will be coming online in June. It will be the co-branded solution as we currently only have 100 people on our mailing list (1000 posts a month) right now but this will give us the opportunity to expand modestly.
SitePoint Moderator ICQ 29015947