TL; DR: When GKG launched back in 1993, its domain and hosting solutions didn’t have much competition. But as more providers entered the marketplace, GKG remained competitive by pairing its innovative plans with top-notch customer service. Unlike most other providers, GKG’s prices aren’t just affordable for the first year — the company keeps costs down for the long-term and refuses to raise rates after contracts run out. Today, GKG continues to develop products and services based on client feedback and staying true to its core values of strong security and honest pricing.
GKG launched its web services back in the early days of the internet, so it didn’t have to worry about competing with other hosts and domain registrars right away. So few hosting companies existed in 1993 that GKG spent its time perfecting its services and preparing for the ecommerce wave that was coming.
“We were the seventh registrar to be accredited after ICANN’s formation in 1999, but we’d spent the previous several years working with an incredibly adept staff developing ecommerce technologies and preparing for this new market,” said Jared, a Senior Systems Administrator with GKG. “The topography of the Internet was being reshaped rapidly and we made sure we were ready to take advantage of the new opportunities created by those changes.”
From the beginning, the host designed its technology to be feature-rich and easy to use. But what the GKG team valued most was security — which was why it decided to become a registrar itself, focusing on Domain Name System Security Extensions (DNSSEC) and tying its products to those extensions.
While its intelligent solutions didn’t have much competition at first, everything changed when multinational tech companies began selling IT infrastructure that small businesses could afford.
“In the early days, the technologies behind web and application servers were incredibly expensive, and the idea of scalability that exists today was nothing but a dream,” said Jared. “There were a lot of limitations and some of the things we take for granted now simply didn’t exist. Now we can build atop a custom infrastructure that has no limits in sight and our customers reap those benefits.”
As storage and RAM got faster and cheaper, GKG provided even more value to its customers. The technology got smarter, so businesses could launch impressive websites without having to add a team of IT and web design experts.
That sea change created today’s online environment in which GKG continues to thrive. Now the company can offer an impressive array of cutting-edge solutions for entrepreneurs and ecommerce retailers at affordable price points.
Linking Comprehensive Plans with Robust Customer Service
GKG, which is serviced out of Texas, provides customers with a chance to launch the site of their dreams — from a developer who runs a portfolio of established websites to a stay-at-home parent who’s starting a business in the garage.
GKG has plans for every type of customer, including a Personal Plan with a monthly cost that’s about the same as a latté. From there, the plans increase in price, but remain affordable. The next level is the SOHO Plan, designed for entrepreneurs who are building a business from the ground up, and ideal for blogs and photo-rich sites. The Corporate Plan is aimed at businesses that are well-established or growing quickly and its Developer Plan was created for web professionals who run multiple sites.
And the common thread that ties all of those plans together is GKG’s service.
“We have great technology — but so do a lot of other hosting providers. In 2019, it’s everywhere. What separates GKG from the competition is the fact that, right now, I’m sitting in the same building as our CEO and CTO, Paul and Taylor,” said Jared. “If I need anything, I can walk down the hall and go directly to ownership. Our support staff is one door away from me, and our technology isn’t in some datacenter thousands of miles away — it’s right here with us in our office building in Texas.”
Because the GKG team that works together in the same location, it can give more personal attention to each of its customers, regardless of need. If one representative can’t answer a question or solve a problem, someone in the building can.
“I can’t tell you how many requests and proposals I get from companies that want to outsource their customer and technical support to us,” Jared said. “It happens at least twice a month. It’s flattering, but that’s not why we built this set-up — we created it for our customers.”
Cost-Effective Services for a Wide Variety of Clients
“Objectively, domain registration is a bigger section of our company than hosting. While hosting accounts for a large percentage of our revenue, domain registration is still our bread and butter,” Jared said.
One of the reasons GKG is such a popular domain registry is its affordable pricing structure. On the surface, its competitors’ pricing may seem like it’s in the same ballpark — but those price points are simply a mirage. While they advertise deals with a low price per month for the first year, the following years the cost may double, triple, or quadruple.
“That’s why you see a lot of people constantly transferring between registries. They take advantage of a bundle’s first-year pricing, then transfer out when the domain is coming up for renewal and the costs are about to skyrocket,” said Jared. “Our customers don’t do that. They come in and they stay. Our hosting product is the same — it has incredibly slow churn rates because the only agenda we have is high customer retention”
GKG’s smallest package provides customers with 5GB of storage and hundreds of email accounts. It’s a product that’s both affordable and viable for anyone, which is why GKG sees very little customer attrition. The company strives to be straightforward and honest in everything it does, with no surprises waiting to pop up the moment the first year’s contract expires.
Focusing on the Future by Listening to Feedback
One of the hidden benefits of focusing on customer satisfaction is that customers have a lot of great ideas. And GKG has been listening to — and learning from — those ideas for more than 25 years.
“Every once in a while, a client sends us an email saying, ‘You guys should really do this.’ We take a look at their suggestion and think, ‘Wow. Why didn’t we think of that?’” Jared said. “And three days later, we’ve already got a team developing a new product based on that idea.”
GKG has carefully designed a program to collect feedback. Whenever a client transfers a domain to another host, initiates correspondence with customer service, or cancels a product, GKG asks for feedback. The company also keeps a master list of features, tools, and packages that customers request and another for changes that customers want to see. GKG weighs the viability of each idea and request before acting on the best ones to improve its solutions.
The main thrust of GKG’s customer feedback loop proves that its instincts are right — customers want security-focused products and reasonable price points.
“As long as we continue to provide those features, we know we’re going to keep bringing new people in. I can’t tell you how many referrals we get. Every day, I get emails from new clients who say, ‘My friend had been using your hosting for years, so we decided to give it a go and the experience has been great,’” Jared said.
While GKG uses SEO and has many online reviews, the biggest driver of its success is good, old-fashioned word of mouth. And by staying true to its values, GKG looks to continue its success for at least another 25 years.