Its important to choose who you want as a Customer

Customers may choose you, but its also important to choose who you want as a customers. For years, I have been telling people that one secret to success in the datacenter business is be picky when it comes to what kind of customers you decide to provide service to. This may go counter to popular ideas about business, that is, anyone willing to pay should be a customer of mine. That may hold true is you sell hamburgers, but when you sell datacenter space and IP backbone access, its very important that you stay away from certain types of customers.

Customers I traditionally avoid:

  1. Gamers
  2. Adult Sites
  3. Email Marketers
  4. Proxy Providers

Why should the above group be avoided? Lets look at the four factors that make a customer undesirable. First, can they pay their bills reliably. Second, will they be a long term customer. Third, will they require a lot of customer service. Fourth, will they impact your resources negatively.

Gamers fail three of the four key criteria, they are bad at paying bills, they are not long term clients, they dont require a lot of assistance, but they do negatively impact network utilization and are more prone to DDoS attacks. Adult Sites can be good payers and can be long term clients, but they also require a lot of assistance and have a negative impact, adult sites get DDoS attacks frequently, their bandwidth usage is highly volatile, and their actions of handling illegally copyrighted material cause major headaches and liabilities. Email Marketers fail all four criteria, they’re short term clients, are not good payers, abuse IP resources, and are strong DDoS targets because everybody hates spammers. Proxy Providers are interesting, they are good payers and long term clients, but they have a lot of baggage since proxy providers can’t control what the users behind the proxy do. In our experience, proxy providers cause a lot of headaches and generate a ton of abuse complaints from their proxy clients doing everything from sending spam to running botnet attacks.

Your are the company you keep….

The type of people you have in your datacenter should reflect who you are as a business. I run a very stable, reputable business, so as such, I prefer that my customers be stable, reputable businesses. In the long term, this philosophy has worked very well for me.

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