1&1 Internet AG: Successful Webhosting through customer relations with integrated Content Management System
The CM4all WebsiteCreator from the Cologne-based software producer CM-AG was included in all 1&1 Internet AG webhosting packages in Germany, UK, the USA and France for the last four years. This content management system for first-time users can be operated intuitively and enables all webhosting customers to create a professional website at maximum speed - and also opens up interesting possibilities for upgrading to higher-level website and webhosting packages.
About 1&1 Internet AG
With more than 3.9 million customer contracts, 1&1 Internet AG (abbr.: 1&1) is a worldwide leading Internet provider. The company‘s products range from professional webhosting (websites, domains, online shops) and full solutions for the internet to mobile Internet solutions with unified messaging and personal information management via the Internet.
The 1&1 products are supplemented with appealing third-party products - such as software for designing websites and T-DSL connections - in target group-oriented bundling. The company-owned, high-performance computer center in Karlsruhe hosts more than 5 million domains. Unlike many of its European competitors, the webhosting division of the company operates at an impressive profit.
Success through marketing with third-party products
„We recognised at an early stage that we would not be able to sell our products in a mass market on the basis of technical arguments alone. For many users the real added value of our hosting products only gets visible by using a graphical interface that lets them successfully create a design.“
Andreas Gauger, CEO of 1&1 Internet AG
Gauger already became aware of CM-AG in 2000; back then 1&1 was screening the market for possibilities to upgrade established webhosting packages with useful value-added services.
CM-AG as a supplier of open, future-oriented standard technology
„The central argument in choosing CM-AG was the high scalability of the system and upgrade proficiency. “ Gauger continues. Since the beginning of 2002, 1&1 has offered its own .NET hosting as a joint development partner of Microsoft which is perfectly tailored to the 1&1 hosting solutions.
Through this cooperation with Microsoft, 1&1 is the first web hosting provider within Europe to offer web services that run on the new .NET servers. The CM4all technology enables simple integration of .NET services and can therefore be used as a future platform for other, chargeable services.
3 months between contract conclusion and online availability!
The contracting partners reached agreement at the beginning of July 2001: the CM4all WebsiteCreator would be integrated into the product portfolio. The contract included:
- Installation of the CM4all WebsiteCreator server on the 1&1 AG Linux server cluster in Karlsruhe.
- Integration into the 1&1 customer centre.
- Adaptation of the graphic user interface to the CI of 1&1.
- Creation of a "neutral" version of the CM4all WebsiteCreator for the 1&1 profi sellers.
„For us, the biggest challenge was initially to port our CM4all server software on Linux for the first time in 2001,“ Cornel Schnietz, CTO of CM-AG, says with a smile. „The remaining requirements could be fulfilled relatively quickly due to the open and standard-based nature of our system.“
Only 3 months later, on 09/01/2001, the system went online - and enabled 1&1 to ideally support its multi-level sales concept, based on page packages of different sizes and the CM4all WebsiteCreator reseller version.
The screen design was created by the agency Metrix Internet Design in Karlsruhe for 1&1 Internet AG - and was implemented by CM-AG. Porting and integration of the 1&1 customer center was performed in professional, remote teamwork between Cologne and Karlsruhe. On the technological side, a particularly high-scaling, clustered system was implemented which makes the CM4all WebsiteCreator available to all 1&1 customers.
This means that it is now possible for every 1&1 customer to create a website with a professional design by themselves - without having to perform any configuration settings or requiring FTP knowledge. Each of the more than 120 different design templates was created by renowned design agencies and is available in several hundred colours. With template-specific design details such as key visuals and button variants, the user can choose between more than 1.5 million of homepage designs which is already superior to any other homepage kit and is easily upgradable.
Further development, new language versions - good teamwork with CM-AG
The first-level support for the WebsiteCreator is provided by the 1&1 support team. CM-AG handles the second-level support. Gauger and Schnietz describe the teamwork between their two companies as „excellent“.
The system has been continually upgraded ever since it was first available online in September 2001. It was extended for the first time when the 1&1 CGI script was integrated and made available online in December 2001. This can be used by 1&1 customers who wish to integrate a guest book or counter into their homepage and use the CM4all WebsiteCreator as a platform. The new, individualised flash intro offered by CM-AG was also very popular with the 1&1 customers.
In January 2002 1&1 Internet AG went online with the CM4all WebsiteCreator in UK at www.oneandone.co.uk. In Autumn 2002 CM4all WebsiteCreator was enhanced by a photo software and launched as 1&1 Fotoweb. An offline software enables the comfortable upload of digital images to CM4all WebsiteCreator. Digital images can be edited online and integrated into the website in online photo albums. At the end of 2002 several additional features were added to CM4all WebsiteCreator: discussion forum, voting, location plan and driving directions based on Microsoft Bing™ Webservice. These new features were also implemented for UK in the beginning of 2003.
Since September 2003, 1&1 has marketed the software sucessfully in the USA. In April 2004, CM4all WebsiteCreator was implemented in France.The advantage for 1&1 Internet AG: A high number of beginners within it‘s hosting customers utilise the reserved webspace much more intensive, as the use of the CM4all WebsiteCreator automatically creates HTML pages which awaken a desire for „more”: more pages, driving directions, location plan, voting, forum, etc. This desire can be satisfied by 1&1 with the CM4all WebsiteCreator fullversion at an additional rate, in Germany, France and the USA the “WebsiteCreator Plus”, in UK the “WebsiteCreator Gold”.
In January 2005 1&1 Internet AG was the first provider to deploy the new Content Syndication module with CM4all WebsiteCreator offering its worldwide customers a total of 25 different theme channels for integration in their Web sites. CM4all WebsiteCreator's Content Syndication means that 1&1 customers can now publish all the latest news and applications from 3rd party providers in their websites. All integrated and updated automatically!
The range of possibilities is continually being expanded and customers are shown the new products in a graphic illustration which is easy to use and, above all, makes these enhancements directly available. Many customers take advantage of the new possibilities - and expand their webspace or their WebsiteCreator page package. The resulting increase in turnover benefits both partners: 1&1 Internet AG and CM-AG.
CM4all WebsiteCreator with Inductive User Interface
In autumn 2002 the CM4all WebsiteCreator was for the first time implemented with a new IUI based graphical user interface for 1&1.
Also called inductive navigation, the IUI model suggests how to make software applications simpler by breaking features into screens or pages that are easy to explain and understand. The Inductive User Interface Standard makes it easier for users to operate software applications by means of a context-sensitive and self-explanatory menu navigation.
The development of the industry-wide IUI standard was initiated by Microsoft Corp.
The CM4all WebsiteCreator for 1&1 USA was implemented with an IUI interface by CM-AG, other 1&1 WebsiteCreators with IUI interface are curently planned.
1&1 Internet AG: a successful future
More than 400,000 1&1 customers currently use the CM4all WebsiteCreator.
Andreas Gauger is convinced that the company is on the right track: „According to the number of customers, we are the world wide leading web hosting company. To achieve further growth we have to sell our hosting products to new customer segments - the ones for which web hosting still appears to be complicated. We will reach this goal in cooperation with attractive partners - such as CM-AG.“