Today, we have Kevin Ohashi from Review Signal. Kevin is a pioneer is website development and help the people to take the right decision in providing the correct hosting as per their requirement.
Let’s begin, Kevin!
Vaibhav – Review Signal sounds cool. How did you come up with this cool name? What’s its significance?
Kevin – The meaning behind the name is that it analyzes the signal which is our collective knowledge being shared with one another – in this case on social media. It might have been a bit inspired by Firefly.
Vaibhav – Tell us more about Review Signal. What’s the unique thing about Review Signal that differentiates it from its competitors?
Kevin – Review Signal is the largest and possibly only honest web hosting review site. It works by monitoring what millions of people are saying on Twitter about web hosting companies and breaking it down into what they do and don’t like. It’s unique in that there’s no way for people to write reviews on the site, the site itself doesn’t write or rate the hosts, it’s entirely data-driven, and based on hundreds of thousands of micro opinions people are sharing. Basically, instead of asking your friends which companies they like, Review Signal has already listened to everyone’s opinion and gives you the data to make an informed decision for yourself.
Vaibhav – Who are the people behind Review Signal?
Kevin – Just me, Kevin Ohashi, I’m the sole founder, developer, marketer, everything-else-er. My background is in Economics (BA), Computer Science, MarketingBrand Management (MSc) and Entrepreneurship (MSc). I started my first online business buying, monetizing and selling domain names in 2003.
Vaibhav – What’s the best thing that ever happened to you in Review Signal?
From the company’s perspective, probably being featured in TechCrunch for the launch. That article generated a ton of interest and traffic that turned it into a real business almost overnight.
Vaibhav – What’s the biggest challenge you’ve faced till now and how are you fixing it?
Kevin – It’s been a marketing problem since day 1 and continues to be. Web hosting is one of the highest paid and most competitive spaces for advertising. It’s full of shady affiliate sites selling visitors off to the highest bidder because the payoffs are astronomical.
You see strong competition from companies themselves and their affiliates spending fortunes to compete. I can’t compete a dollar for dollar in the slightest because I’m probably averaging 10% of what they make per sale because I don’t sell my rankings to the highest bidder(s).
So what do you do when you’re competing against companies who spend more per year buying links than you make per year? I wish I had an answer that told a story of David slaying Goliath. But that would be a lie. I’m competing for a few small keywords that do OK.
I’ve also got a few influencers who promote Review Signal in different communities because they genuinely respect it.
I get the occasional press hit from creating interesting and valuable content. It slowly adds up for little wins and has given me quite a good reputation in the tiny niche that cares what I do. I’ll continue to slowly try to build the brand because I don’t have the financial option to compete like my higher paid competitors.
Vaibhav – How did you find your first 100 customers?
Kevin – Well I’m not sure if I have customers per se since I provide information. Most of my initial visitors came from the TechCrunch article that covered my launch and other communities blogs that covered it like Hacker News, Reddit, Twitter, etc.
Vaibhav – Which one productivity app you love the most?
Kevin – I’m biased but I like the marketing automation tools I’ve built that help me engage people on social media. It helps me not waste as much time trying to find everyone talking about web hosting and keep track of the conversations.
Vaibhav – What’s the first you do as soon as you wake up in the mornings?
Check email, hopefully, see affiliate emails saying I made money and hope I don’t see server warnings or other errors about my website crashing or having issues.
Vaibhav – What are your next plans with Review Signal?
Review Signal will probably continue to run as is with small updates. Mostly I focus on creating valuable and unique content. Some of it is more reporting style exposing the scummy behavior of companies in the space. Other articles focus on creating valuable resources for consumers to help them make more informed decisions related to web hosting like my annual WordPress Hosting Performance Benchmarks.
Vaibhav – And finally, if given a chance to reach out to all the entrepreneurs out there, what will you tell them?
It’s harder than you think, it takes longer than you planned, you won’t make as much money as you dreamed. If you still want to be an entrepreneur knowing that, you should go for it.
And this is all from Kevin.
If you want to learn more from the experience, head over to our Interview section where we feature some amazing startups.