Repealing Net Neutrality Will Hurt Entrepreneurs

So much of life exists in grey areas— so it can be surprising to come across an issue that’s black and white: Repealing Net Neutrality is black and white. It’s wrong. It will make life harder for entrepreneurs.

The internet has been an amazing enabler of new kinds of entrepreneurship: think of all the Youtubers, comedians, retailers, musicians and consultants who have found their voice on the long tail of the internet. I know these people because I hear from them every day— these are the people that use Site Builder Report to build a website.

Every month Site Builder Report gets around 50,000 visitors. Of those visitors, about 2,000 try a website builder and 400 actually launch a website. That’s an incredible number. That’s 400 people with guts and courage who start a new thing. They are the upside of the internet. They are why we should not allow the FCC to repeal Net Neutrality.

Even Site Builder Report itself is a small business that would never have existed without a free and open internet. Most people use Site Builder Report once in their life. They read my reviews, choose a website builder and then forgot about me. Site Builder Report will never become a corporate juggernaut— it wouldn’t make sense. It only makes sense as a modest, one-person company. The internet enables that— without a free and open internet, Site Builder Report wouldn’t exist.

We need to protect and preserve the upside of the internet. We don’t know what businesses will be built, what songs will be uploaded and what podcasts will be recorded in the future. We do know that repealing Net Neutrality would be sacrificing that future potential.

You can call congress here.

Published Nov 22 2017

Some Website Builder Should Launch a Better Free Plan

Here’s something I’ve been thinking about: to stand out from the crowd, one website builder should step up and create a really strong free plan. I think there’s an opportunity there.

A really strong free plan would need two key features:

  1. Support domain names
  2. Be advertisement-free

I just wrote a summary of the top free website builders and no one offers both of these features. (I believe Ucraft has the strongest free plan right now. They are the only website builder to support adding a domain name— but even they are not advertisement free.)

I get why website builders are hesitant to offer free plans that support these two features: they are effective ways to get users to upgrade.

And hey, I tried to build my own website builder once and failed, so I’m certainly no expert.

But I do know one thing: there are a ton of website builders— many of which are undifferentiated. This is an opportunity to be different. Free plan limitations are so conventional that offering a really great plan is an untapped way standout.

Published Nov 16 2017

Squarespace's Newest User: Elon Musk

So this is interesting: Elon Musk’s newewst company, The Boring Company, built it’s website using Squarespace.

Elon probably didn’t personally build the website (though it’s fun to imagine him sitting at home going full John Malcovich). But even if Elon didn’t build it himself, isn’t it interesting that Squarespace was good enough for a guy worth ~$20 billion?

Tip: I usually figure out what a website was built by viewing the source. For example, The Boring Company uses the Squarespace CDN— which is what we tipped me off.

Published Oct 31 2017

The Grid, a much-hyped AI website builder, is near industry-low in customer satisfaction

The Grid recently scored 60% in Wise Buyer’s customer satisfaction testing— second lowest among website builders.

Wise Buyer found the customer satisfaction percentage by talking to 1,571 users of website builders.

Many of The Grid users expressed disappointment and anger:

“I wouldn’t recommend it to anyone, at any time, for anything. It was a complete waste of money – a pure ripoff.”

“It’s a major disappointment in every possible way, in my opinion.”

“I was one of the founding members who paid a year or more in advance and was very excited about the potential but when I finally got access it was like… ok but where is this revolutionary AI tech?”

“I was hoping to build my website as they claimed, automatically via AI … was pretty disappointed and frustrated when I tried it.”

"I bought it originally based on their social media advertising blitz. But when I got to finally use it after months, I was not happy. "

“The system is garbage.”

“I signed up almost a year in advance.. But when I started to make my websites hell begun.”

“I would definitely not recommend it. It just happens that I have (stupidly) paid for it and now i am stuck with it.”

A few years ago The Grid launched with no software or demo— just a marketing campaign promising an AI that could design websites. It generated huge buzz.

Fast Company promised that The Grid was “the website of the future.”

Venture Beat issued a warning to web designers: “Now there is an A.I. that can do your job.”

During this time The Grid collected money from “founding members” by promising them early access to the AI website builder when it launched.

But at this point, it should be pretty clear: The Grid is not satisfying customers.

(Note: Wise Buyer is a separate entity from Site Builder Report— but I run both websites.)

Published Aug 4 2017

I emailed 52 SaaS companies to test support time. Here's what I found.

Early this year I spent 20+ hours testing how long it would took 52 SaaS companies to reply to my emails.

Why? Because everyone hates waiting. We all know the agony of calling a call center and getting stuck on hold. And since I'm always looking for ways to test software for Site Builder Report, I thought support reply time would be a useful metric.

The test was simple: I emailed each company twice and tracked how long it took them to reply (ignoring auto-responders). Then I found the average. I only emailed companies on a Monday or Tuesday morning during normal working hours (I don't think it's fair to expect customer support at midnight).

Here's what I found.

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Published Jun 16 2016