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  • Gaming Servers

    Tuesday, February 3, 2015 by
    minecraft Gaming servers are servers that are used to host games. If you have played an MMO (Massive Multiplayer Online) game, then you have connected to a gaming server. A gaming server is a dedicated server or server cluster with the requisite amount of hardware and resources to be able to run the game fluidly. Most games, like Warhammer and Minecraft, will not allow a person to charge people to play the game, as the game is the property of the gaming company itself, however you are generally allowed to charge them to play on your server. You can, of course, simply setup a server to play with your friends.  

    Why Would I Do This?

    Well, to put it simply, these games are fun. Warhammer is a strategy game and Minecraft is like Legos for adults. The more people playing, the more fun it can be, but in order to have multiple people playing these games with you, you either need to have a LAN party and a server at your house, or you need a dedicated server – with that you can play with your friends no matter where they are, as long as they have their computer and an internet connection!  

    You've Intrigued Me... Now What Do I Do?

    Well, if you already have a dedicated server, great! Go ahead and install your game of choice and go to town. If you don’t have a dedicated server, you can certainly acquire one here. Many gamers are also getting back into playing older games due to recent nostalgia levels rising, so now is a great time to take advantage of those gaming skills you cultivated as a child! And don't forget: up, up, down, down, left, right, left, right, B, A, start!  
    Image Source: YTimg.com. (2014). Minecraft. Retrieved from http://i.ytimg.com/vi/yUnsOEh6PVc/maxresdefault.jpg
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  • Subscription Boxes: The Next Big Thing?

    Sunday, January 25, 2015 by
    subscription_box

    Subscription boxes, if you're not presently familiar with the concept, are boxes sent out monthly to individuals who've subscribed for the service. While this definition is accurate, it doesn’t exactly provide a lot of information on what the product is, or why a person is selling it to another person. A subscription box contains a random set of items that differs every month. There are different types of subscription box services, providing shaving accoutrements, beauty products, video game related items, baby items, geography lessons to children, and just about everything in between. If you can come up with an idea and there are enough products of that category to keep your subscription box going, that’s all you need. Prices for these subscription boxes generally range from $10 to $40; however, there are specialty boxes with much higher price tags as well.

     

    What makes A Successful Subscription Box?

    As with any business, the key to starting a successful subscription box service is a combination of the right products, high quality service, and prompt attention to customer feedback. If a customer complains that they don’t like your offerings, that’s fine, it may not be their thing, but if ten or twenty people complain about the quality of the items you are providing, then maybe it’s time to look into what you’re doing. Offer higher quality items, offer a discount as an apology and don’t use that supplier anymore; do something. Make it right.

     

    How To get Started

    You'll need to find a supplier (or several) for the products that you want your subscription box to contain, setup a method for you to purchase those items, and setup your website. You need storage space for all the inventory, and you need high quality customer service to deal with new subscriptions, cancellation requests, kudos and complaints.

    You will need a storefront on your website, as the best subscription box services offer samples at a low cost and then sell full sized versions of their products in their store, or additional items associated with the goods in the subscription boxes in their store. And you will need a boxing service. You can either box these items yourself, or you may decide to hire people to do that for you. You can now purchase the standard subscription box sized boxes online by simply Googling “subscription box boxes.” You’ll also need an SSL (to make your site secure). Once you have that, you’re all set and ready to start accepting customers!

    This is a type of business that is quick and easy to setup, but it moves fast, so be sure to have your site setup, your storage, your inventory, and be ready to go before you make your subscription service live. Waiting lists prior to the service being started tend to make people want to cancel. If, however, you have more sign ups than you do inventory your first month, you can waitlist those while you wait on a new shipment (this is a good sign). Don’t be surprised, however, if you don’t have a wait list until a few months in. This is normal. This is one of the easiest business models to setup, and quite frankly, people love them. It’s like getting a present in the mail every month, a random surprise.

    If you’re still not convinced – I personally know someone who spends over $200 per month on subscription boxes, and I subscribe to $50 worth of subscription boxes on a monthly basis myself. Not all are gems, but I constantly try new ones. I’ve stayed with a box for months before I decide if I want to cancel it. Two of my current favorites are Birchbox and Escape Monthly – they’re very well setup if you’d like to check their sites to get ideas on how to setup yours. It’s a great way to try new things, things that you would never buy for yourself, and once you get hooked on a product, it’s easy to just keep going back to that company to buy the full sized items. Check it out! It’s an easy business model to jump right into, and it’s taking off fast!

     
    Image Source: Salazar Packaging. (2014). Subscription Box Packaging. Retrieved from http://blog.salazarpackaging.com/wp-content/uploads/One-color-reverse-printed-on-white-die-cut-mailer.jpg
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  • More Gator Art

    Friday, July 19, 2013 by
    It's been a little while since we shared some good ol' gator art with you. We received this drawing from a customer following us having assisted them with a support issue.  They were so pleased with the resolution that they emailed us this one-of-a-kind, hand-drawn image of a gator apparently drinking a cocktail on an island.  Of note are the nice boat there in the background, which likely served the cocktail to the gator, as well as the beautiful sunset that really brings the whole image together.  The artist did not sign their piece of art, so we can only thank them anonymously:

    island_gator

     

    From time to time, as seen in our Office Art series, some of our own staff will get a creative inclination and produce some impressive HostGator-themed art.  One of our support staff created the following shirt, featuring a blinged-out Snappy!

    bling_snappy

     

    Let's take a closer look at this shirt, as it truly is a remarkable piece of bedazzle-y craftsmanship:

    bling_snappy02

    We would love to see any HostGator-themed art that you produce!  If you're feeling gator-art inspired, please send us your creations at feedback@hostgator.com ATTN: Blog and we can share your art with the world!
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  • The New & Improved Snappy

    Monday, July 1, 2013 by
    It has been historically noted that Snappy hasn't always been in the best of shape.  To be fair, eating up the competition can create a caloric surplus, resulting in excessive weight gain.  Also, those long hours sitting in front of a computer can negatively impact one's physique.  Snappy was once even compared to a blue salamander, which is clearly an insult to a proud gator.  At any rate, Snappy has been in the gym, working on his fitness.  It's likely that you've gotten a glimpse of the new and improved Snappy in recent weeks on this very blog, but let's revisit Snappy's look over the years, and touch on some of the highlights. It is a rarely-known fact that Snappy threw out the first pitch at a Houston Astros game a few years ago:   Every now and again, we'd see Snappy roaming around the HostGator offices and rubbing elbows with his colleagues:   Truth be told, Snappy has even been spotted on the roof of the Houston office:   As Snappy began to see more and more pictures of himself, he began to really consider getting into better shape. The HostGator Austin building has a pretty stellar gym, Snappy was seen hitting the treadmill in there more and more. It seems like all that hard work has finally paid off, because this is what Snappy looks like today! snappy_today   Clearly this is a far more fit gator, ready to take on the world! Snappy has never felt better, and with summer now upon us, Snappy intends to take his fitness to the next level, perhaps even participating in an Ironman triathlon... assuming there's no Irongator triathlons he can enter. Snappy would also like to get out and about. Maybe you know of some location or function at which Snappy could appear, if so be sure to let us know by emailing feedback@hostgator.com ATTN: Blog
  • Memoirs of a Gator, part II

    Tuesday, January 15, 2013 by
    Please see Part I, right here.  As our story continues, I am now on the chat floor speaking primarily on the phone with Customers, though also taking random chats as well between calls.  Starting to get into the swing of things, but still not completely at ease.  I've managed to not break anything or anger anyone, so I figure I'm doing well enough. Many of our Customers are familiar with the feedback@hostgator.com email address, which is directly read by Management and is intended for use any time anyone has any complaints or praise about anything at all related to their HostGator account or the related support they've received.  Thus far, I have assisted a few Customers who took the time to email in to let my Supervisor know about the quality of my work.  It's always nice to have nice things said about you by strangers. Having never provided technical support to the general public in any capacity before, those first few days were interesting and full of constant learning.  I wanted to do the best I could and maintain HostGator's stellar level of support, but at the same time I lacked the actual experience which is what ultimately leads to complete confidence.  Time would solve this circumstance, but time takes time.  I can honestly say that working on the chat floor was fast-paced and exciting and there was truly never a dull moment. I decided to query some veteran Gators on their initial impressions from when they were brand new Hatchlings, fresh out of training.  The consensus seems to be pretty similar to my own experience.  Presenting, in alphabetical order, some initial impressions from my fellow Gators: Cody (presently a Linux Admin): "When I first started as a Chat Tech, I was kind of overwhelmed by the huge amount of information, but very excited by the huge learning opportunity in front of me.  I did all I could every day,  studied the KnowledgeBase, and life got easier and easier each day." Dominic (presently a Sales Representative): "It felt like my first time swimming.  I was scared, splashing around trying to quickly find answers to questions I just learned.  As I was flailing wildly, I held on to whomever was there: Quality Assurance, Level 2 Chat Agents, Supervisors... whoever didn't mind that I had a deathgrip on their arm" Kristi (presently a Retention Specialist): "I was so nervous.  Fortunately the resources, tools and overall assistance provided allowed me to quickly grow to where I became much more confident and comfortable working directly with the Customers." Russell (presently a Linux Admin): "I felt overwhelmed at first, but the more I worked with customers, the more knowledgeable I became and the easier and more enjoyable the job became to me." Zach (presently a Linux Admin): "It was like playing that lightening reaction game: each time you start a new chat it's panic until the Customer describes the problem... and then you realize that yes, you can actually fix this." It seems that almost all of us start out with a certain degree of cold feet, but ultimately we have all risen to other positions within the company and made room for dozens and dozens of new Hatchlings that will follow in our paths. Speaking of new Hatchlings, this is a picture of our Austin Training room on the day this post was written. Behold, the future generation of HostGator, likely presently feeling that initial nervousness of which we're speaking: atx_training_room   It should truly go without saying that most of our interactions with our Customers are overwhelmingly pleasant, but  anyone providing front-line support will always have an interesting or unusual interaction.  One of the Customers that sticks out for me was an individual who initially took a shine to me and began requesting me each time time they called.  This particular Customer wound up calling up to discuss a myriad of topics, including their recent doctor appointments and on-going health issues.  Another call was to request my assistance in repairing a hardware issue on their home computer.  We have a very soft "scope of support" here at HostGator, but troubleshooting home PCs (or doctor appointment visits) is simply not a service we can really provide, with our apologies. Before too long, I would be promoted to a position where I no longer actively accepted telephone calls, thus was the end of my interactions with that particular Customer... at least as of this writing, but one never knows.  As for the position to which I was promoted, we will certainly come to that as we further speak on this topic. Once again, if you have any questions at all about our front-line Agents, or anything at all that has been discussed up to this point, please leave your question in the comments section and I'll be happy to elaborate.