With a new branding, 1&1 IONOS wants to be more than just a hosting provider

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1&1 recently announced that it would be joining forces with ProfitBricks, the German specialist for cloud infrastructure solutions, to form a new united brand called 1&1 IONOS. 

The change is meant to accelerate the firm's ambitions to move beyond just web hosting and it will give customers the opportunity to use a personal consultant free of charge as their central contact person for all questions related to products.

TechRadar Pro sat down with 1&1's Achim Weiss (the founder/CEO of ProfitBricks) to learn more about 1&1 IONOS and how the new entity will benefit its customers.

What were the reasons for the change of identity (moving from 1&1 to 1&1 IONOS)? Why not stay with the same name?

1&1 started its hosting business in 1998, and since then has enabled millions of customers to build their web presence and become successful on the Internet. Now we’ve combined 1&1 with the German cloud infrastructure specialist ProfitBricks, a company Achim Weiss founded in 2010 and which was acquired by 1&1's parent company United Internet AG last year. As this new company is more than just a hosting provider, we have opted for a new name – and IONOS fits perfectly.

It is inspired by the ionosphere; the upper part of the earth’s atmosphere that contains a high concentration of ions and free electrons. It is inspiring to look at, whether viewing from down on Earth, or up in outer space and is, of course, situated in the clouds.

How will you deal with the fierce competition at that level (AWS, Google Cloud, Azure)?

1&1 IONOS has a USP the US hyperscalers cannot compete with: with headquarters in Germany, we pride ourselves on the tradition of state-of-the-art technology, strong privacy policies, and airtight data security. We fully comply with European privacy laws and standards – in comparison to the US competitors, whose data centers can be accessed by the US authorities at any time. With the joined forces of 1&1 and ProfitBricks, we clearly see ourselves as a European counterpart to US giants. In their recent published study “Crisp Vendor Universe: Cloud Computing”, the analysts of Crisp Research see us as one of the top 5 cloud providers worldwide.

First of all, 1&1 IONOS Enterprise Cloud delivers what a cloud hyperscaler simply is not capable of delivering: to serve a small or medium-sized enterprise customer at true eye level. We offer personal dedicated service by account managers and professional service representatives from the very beginning. In addition, there’s our award-winning graphical cloud management tool Data Center Designer with live plausability check. Literarily everyone is able to set-up a running data center with it. Finally, we offer a simple pricing model with an outstanding price-service relation. With 1&1 IONOS Enterprise cloud you do not need to buy whole instances if you just need cores and gigs of storage.

How do you expect your customers to benefit from the new entity?

With the launch of the new brand we also introduced our new personal consultant – an offer that each customer can use completely free of charge. For the first time, customers have a central contact person for all questions regarding products, their contract and becoming successful on the Internet, an offer you will not find elsewhere in the hosting industry. By combining 1&1 and ProfitBricks, we are also the first hosting provider that is able to guide companies through all phases of their development, from domains set-up to our self-developed enterprise cloud infrastructure.

The founder of ProfitBricks is the CEO of the new 1&1 IONOS. How will that shape the future of the company (e.g. focus more on infrastructure?)

Achim Weiss founded ProfitBricks in 2010 but has more than 20 years of experience in the hosting industry, 10 of which were spent at 1&1. He has both experience in mass market hosting and in creating an enterprise cloud infrastructure for large companies – and he is convinced that customers on both sides of the spectrum will benefit from this. At the same time, the management board combines many years of experience from many different angles of the IT industry.

1&1 is the largest hosting company in Europe but how is your market share in other regions? How do you plan to expand in other territories (organic, acquisitions?)

Besides Europe, we are currently active in North America. In the US and in Mexico, we are amongst the top five hosting providers. Of course we always look for new opportunities – for instance our latest acquisition in August was the market leader in Austria, World4You. If you look at our footprint, we have a solid mix of organic growth and acquisitions – we always take this decision on a case-by-case basis. In Germany, Spain, and the UK, we pursue a dual brand strategy, both with 1&1 IONOS and our acquisitions STRATO, Arsys, and Fasthosts, respectively.

One of the USPs mentioned in your press release was the fact that every customer will get a personal consultant free of charge. How is that different from a customer support agent that’s assigned to a customer?

Of course, there are plenty of standard questions that any service agent can answer, or even a chatbot – for instance, if you want to know the name of our mail server. As we mainly deal with small businesses, however, there is a need for true consultancy. The goal of a businessperson is not to get a server running, but to be successful and in the end earn money with  online presence. This personal consultant knows you, your needs, and your business and can add value that a “regular” customer care agent cannot.

What’s next for your company after the rebranding?

For the moment we focus on getting our brand known in all markets. We are building a new channel with tailored products, services, communication and an attractive commercial model for partners, and we will invest in our hybrid cloud offering and PaaS solutions with personal support and account sales staff. This is a very exciting time for us – you can be sure to hear more from us soon!