Client case: Scoutle
'LeaseWeb ensures the privacy of its hosting customers'
Godfried van Loo
- High uptime
- Quality Support
- A hostingprovider with energy and vision
- Possibility of sponsorship
A dedicated hosting solution based on Linux CentOS with a hosting design created by the engineers at LeaseWeb. This solution also considers the possible need for a rapid increase in scalability and a substantial increase in bandwidth.
Scoutle.com, a semantic (automated) social network for bloggers, went online in May 2008. Its owner, Godfried Van Loo, had his innovative website hosted by LeaseWeb. ‘LeaseWeb is a hosting provider with a lot of expertise, energy, and vision that stands up for the interests of its customers.’
Scoutle.com is located in the Netherlands in the Centre for Entrepreneurship and Innovation (CvOI) on the campus of Utrecht University where innovative start-ups get support for their go-to-market strategy. The site was started by Godfried van Loo who had previously acted as a project manager for the Task Force on Innovation for the Utrecht Region. The number of blogs registered at the website is rising rapidly, and Van Loo expects an additional expansion of the Scoutle team in 2009.
‘LeaseWeb is known for its policy of ensuring their customers’ privacy to the fullest extent provided by Dutch legislation,’ says Godfried van Loo, owner of Scoutle.com. ‘That’s something I appreciate. Blogs often contain highly opinionated information. In choosing a hosting provider, I don’t want to be running a risk that the site gets closed down at the slightest provocation or that customer information is disclosed. Luckily, LeaseWeb respects this position, on the condition, of course, that customers operate within the framework of Dutch law.’
200 MILLION BLOGS
What, exactly, does Scoutle.com do? It establishes international connections between various blogs with the same areas of interest. ‘There are 100 to 200 million blogs, and about 100,000 are added every day,’ says Van Loo. “Scoutle is a way of navigating through all these blogs written in more than 170 different languages, so its potential is simply enormous.
Scoutle links blogs by having bloggers create their own personal webcrawler (or ‘Scout’) that searches the web looking for other Scouts created for similar blogs. Scouts can thus find, connect, promote and evaluate other blogs for their blog owners. ‘As a result,’ says Van Loo, ‘the information in blogs reaches more people, there is more interaction, and you get more appreciation for your blog efforts.’
A PROFITABLE WEBSITE MODEL
The first week after its launch, Scoutle registered 2000 blog owners. ‘But what made it really take off was when TechCrunch reviewed it,’ says Van Loo. ‘That review immediately put Scoutle on the international map. The sign-ups came flooding in, especially from bloggers outside of the Netherlands, and they just keep on coming.”
Eventually, Van Loo expects Scoutle.com to turn a good profit. ‘We are currently working with the Centre for Entrepreneurship and Innovation on the exact design of a profitable model. The possibilities are practically endless. Bloggers with similar interests or profiles form communities that could act as perfect target groups accessible to advertisers, but they could also be platforms that a manufacturer such as Nokia could use to encourage bloggers to write about a new phone.’
Van Loo relies on LeaseWeb’s years of expertise and experience in hosting. ‘I asked LeaseWeb to advise me about what I needed. Their engineers then supplied the design for a hosting solution. I can program myself, but hosting is a whole other ballgame. LeaseWeb has what it takes to turn my preferences into solutions. And if the site suddenly starts receiving a lot more users (with a huge increase in bandwidth, for example) they know exactly what to do to upscale the design quickly.’
SPONSORING INTERNET START-UPS
Various media enthusiastically reviewed Scoutle.com’s concept in their columns. Some that devoted attention to this phenomenon were Het Financieele Dagblad, the NRC, Nu.nl, Frankwatching and Marketingfacts. Hosting providers are also seeing the potential of Scoutle,’ says Van Loo. ‘I’ve received a few offers for sponsoring, but I was already familiar with LeaseWeb. I trust LeaseWeb, and the names of the customers they work with appeal to me as well.’
Van Loo looks at LeaseWeb’s sponsoring as a form of recognition for what he is doing. ‘If the people at LeaseWeb see something in Scoutle, that really means a lot to me,’ says Van Loo. ‘They know a lot about the web. So I’m proud that LeaseWeb is doing this – it means that Scoutle is a start-up with the potential for commercial success.’