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Hi! I'm Pedro from DataSnitch and I'll let you know if your site is down


#1

Hello!

I had DataSnitch running for months, but to be honest I think I’m quite low both on confidence and motivation. I’m not a coder, so the underlying code has been acquired, but I believe I’m really good managing servers and infrastructure.

DataSnitch monitors your site on many different ways, from simple ICMP up to content checks. It’s not only useful to measure latency or availability from different parts of the world, but also to check if your site contents have changed overnight (even the JS or CSS files). In case your site is compromised and someone injected malicious code, you’ll know before your customers know.

I would also like to offer my services as a sysadmin and infrastructure consultant to other startups. I’ve got a full time job, but a lot of free time after that :smile:

Cheers
Pedro


#2

Looks interesting.

Though you don’t define what a “service monitor” is.


#3

Hey @shantnu

Very good point, thanks! I need to work a lot on my copywriting, I’m pretty sure that’s what stops people from signing up.


#4

Have you considered creating a widget I can embed in my site which displays uptime. Pingdom have this for their more expensive plans.


#5

Hey @mobiplayer, your pricing seems too low, compared to the other services I’ve looked at lately (Pingdom and some others I can’t remember at the moment). I recall $5/mo being the lowest price I saw when I was shopping. Some people will actually be put off by it being too low.

I realize you’re just getting started and maybe still working on some features, and you don’t have a flashy mobile app and all that, but international monitoring still provides good value.

Having said that, one Euro a month is too good to pass up, and it’s certainly a better setup than what I have now. So, signing up…

If you’re not getting signups, it’s probably more related to people being aware of you, rather than your pricing being too high, or (as you mentioned) your marketing copy.


#6

Hi Craig,

The initial iteration had that and it’s still around in the code, but to be honest I didn’t give it too much time. I’ve focused on my strength which is having an international infrastructure that works :smile:

I didn’t know there was an interest, so thanks for letting me know!


#7

@coreysnipes great, thank you!
It is one Pound Sterling so more like 1.25€ I believe! could seem like a small difference but it’s actually 25% extra (depending on the daily exchange) :smile:

I’m leveraging different cloud providers for my network and I believe it shall scale (as per my testing) very good for this purpose, hence the price.

Please bring any feedback. I know it’s not a perfect system and I’m afraid I may be missing errors.

Thanks!


#8

Oops, so it is! It ended up being about $USD 1.60/mo. Still a pretty good deal I thought. I do have some suggestions for the signup and admin experience – I’ll set up some monitors later this week and shoot you an email.

You mentioned your confidence & motivation are lagging. Does it feel like you’re the only one interested in the product? Like maybe you’ve got the idea all wrong and nobody’s actually going to buy it? Or is it something else?


#9

@coreysnipes I think the idea is not bad, but is far from original or innovative. That doesn’t worry me much, though. There’s so many people out there without monitoring that there’s market to grow :smile:

I feel a lack of confidence on some of my skills. E.g. I’m not a coder at all, but I can definitely read code and do minor modifications. I’m scared what would happen if I got a BIG issue that needs rewriting code? It is going to take me time to fix.


#10

I’m digging this idea. Just the other day I was thinking about this. Something that checks not only for downtime but things like messed up content or javascript.

I’ve had an issue a few times where I messed up my javascript file by accident.


#11

@mobiplayer, welcome to the club. :slight_smile: I also created similar service like yours (www.piltek.com). How do you acquire new customers?


#12

@mobiplayer - Non-unique is fine if you serve a real need and execute well. There’s plenty of market for this. I have fears like that all over the business (“How on earth would I handle ___?” ) There’s always that sort of thing, even if you have a deep technical background.

If you have some idea of how to get help, that’ll go a long way. If you think it would help to have someone technical who knows the code available, spend a little $$ on oDesk and try out a few contractors on small tasks. It’ll take some of your time and money, but then at the end you’ll have a relationship with one or two people with strong technical skills who can dive in and help with that sort of thing. It’s not foolproof, but it gives you better options.


#13

@atlet hey! nice site!

As per your question… I don’t! that’s the problem! I don’t acquire much customers…! :smile: so far I’ve been doing some poor man’s marketing campaign on Facebook and Twitter (friends :smile:); also tried offering free months in exchange of promotion (for some people with many followers and so on) but didn’t work really well… I wish I could be of more help!


#14

@kalenjordan feel free to give DataSnitch a go :wink:

@coreysnipes wow, excellent advice. I’ll actually give oDesk a go as there are some things I would like to change.


#15

This market is saturated. You need to attack the problem at some unique angle.

I, too, in past was designing a similar service (decided against it when I realized I do not have enough resources, and shut it down). My take on it was not just plain up-down monitoring, but letting my users to point my robot to an XML or JSON page, where any key-value properties could be collected, even related to the inner working of the system.

For example, a user may have exposed

{ "jdbc.connections": 12}

and my app would record this value. Then on the dashboard page the user would see a graph of this value over time, and could setup alerts for high or low values (or specific string matches for status-like properties).

Looked like this (pure JS graphs):

(Here yellow color is the “NOTICE” alert range, and the orange one is “WARNING”.)

This way the user may have exposed any number of important parameter to monitor – and it only took to add one line to the JSON or XML reporter.

Every system is unique, and only the creator knows what parameters are critical and what not. So I gave some control into the hands of user who’s being monitored.

As I said, I shut it down.

My point is: your current offer is not different from Pingdom or other big boys. The price is low, but the price alone won’t make me switch. You need to find something that big guys do not offer (and likely won’t offer, because they do not care).

I believe you shouldn’t worry about your programming skills. Programming is easy. Coming up with what to program is hard.

Good luck!


#16

@mobiplayer any reason, why so low price?


#17

@rfctr Hey buddy, thanks for the advice!

My idea was to appeal to users that are not yet in the market for a service like this. Small companies, web designers, etc that never thought about getting one of these services, but may find it useful and give it a go because of the low price.

In any case you’ve got a really good point and I have to somehow differentiate my offering from the others. I’ll think about it and try to build something. Possibly security-related as it is a field I love :wink:

@atlet as I was telling @rfctr I would like to appeal to customers that are not yet in the market. To be honest, it is not as low as it sounds as it is in £ and, although I offer a big number of monitors/instances, most of the people won’t need more than 10% :smile:


#18

The people who are not using monitoring are not doing it because of price.

Can you imagine anyone who is thinking “I have this site that is important to me to keep up; but $5/mo is too much money, I can’t afford it; my budget for it is $2”?

This doesn’t sound realistic, at least to me. At that level of pricing $5 is not different from $2. The price is not a basis for making a decision anymore.

Besides, big players offer free plans – Pingdom, for example. You cannot compete with them on price.

You need to raise your prices to have no excuse of thinking about them as your advantage and then start looking at what real differentiators you may offer.

For example, since you’re already watching JS versions and such, you may offer a changelog functionality, i.e.

2014-11-20 CSS has updated the definition of *title* class
2014-11-15 JS library NNN has changed, new size 114200, old size 89104
...

I remember someone here was working on a similar idea for github deployments. While I disagree with him that development teams should rely on such tools, small site owners may find it useful, because many still are doing changes without any VCS or CMS.

Then you may try and target it to web design freelancers or smallest web shops, offering them monitoring of many (up to say 100) sites for one annual fee. The benefit for them is the change tracking AND having the same monitoring system for all their sites controlled from one dashboard.

Let me repeat it: your low price is not a competitive advantage.


#19

That would be an excellent idea, IMHO. Not sure how it may work exactly, but even a mentioning that “oh, and we also monitor your site for security breaches” may have a large effect on conversions.

What can you detect? Injections of malicious JS? Known issues in the used frameworks/wordpress versions? You know this field better than me, but it would be a valuable feature.

I believe there are some remote security checks products out there. You may check them out and see what can you implement, too.


#20

@rfctr I didn’t explained myself well. It’s not just through the price that I’d like to “be different”.

I would like to reach all that people that have “this site so important to keep up”, but it didn’t even occurred to them that there’s a service like this. This people are less tech-savvy hence a bit more scared of trying out stuff like this. You are so right in one thing, though: £5/mo wouldn’t probably hurt neither. The point of the “£0.99” was to break any psychological barriers for these people, a bit like the Poundland shops in the UK. You might think twice before spending £5, but £1 is a no-brainer :smile:

Not saying you’re not right no your analysis (and I agree going cheap it is not a competitive advantage as anyone can match it, I see it more like just another feature). Even I do have a free plan myself :smile:

Another option I’m considering is building different services around it. Instead of selling a service with multiple features, keep it simple and cheap, use it as a brand builder maybe and offer other more bespoke services on top.

As per the security stuff, it is something I’m still thinking about, but DataSnitch has already some small features. It can alert you based on % of change on your site, even on just some files (e.g. javascript). I’m not really sure looking for “suspicious code” would have any value over “mate, your JS has been changed more than X%” or, if it has, if it’s worth the effort. That would get me to design “signatures” like the antivirus companies and I’m not sure I can compete on that (I can’t :smiley:).

Thank you again for your time and insights, I really appreciate it!