Songbird FAQ

  1. How long has Songbird been in business
    "Songbird" was started as a part-time sole proprietorship by Kent Crispin some 10-15 years ago. The original goal was development of music software, but the company also did general software development. The domain name "" was registered on Feb 24 1995, and Songbird's first web site appeared later that year, running on a Slackware Linux system. The possibility of developing web sites for other people became quickly obvious.

  2. What does Songbird do, actually?
    Songbird does two things, basically: consulting (web design/internet/software development); and hosting web sites.
  3. Could you describe your network?
    Songbird's facilities are divided into two parts, an "main" facility oriented towards support of web design and consulting, and a "server" facility (for want of better terms). The main facility is a network located in a private residence in Castro Valley, CA, USA; the server facility is located in the AboveNet data center in San Jose, CA, USA. There is a private network (VPN) connecting them.

    The server facility is where customer web pages are maintained; the main facility supports web design and consulting activities, plus the business management. The main facility also has backup servers and other support infrastructure.

  4. Is Songbird a "one-person-show"?
    Sort of. Two people part time, plus a couple of volunteers who help out. Songbird doesn't at this time pay salaries to anyone.
  5. But aren't you a for-profit business?
    Yes, but our business model requires that we be happy with what we are doing, and we have a long time horizon. Songbird's web hosting business was originally conceived as a means of supporting customers of our consulting services, but the hosting service has been growing past that original vision. We aim to make a profit, but we believe that profits will come from long term stable relationships with happy customers, not from frenetic dot-com madness.

  6. I notice that you don't host "adult" sites. Why is that?
    Two reasons. First of all, they tend to be overwhelming from a technical point of view -- lots of bandwidth, disk storage, etc. But second of all, and more important, adult sites simply don't fit in the image we have for Songbird.

  7. I just got the following email:
      From  Wed Jun 21 18:41:27 2000
      Date: Wed, 21 Jun 2000 21:40:14 -0400 (EDT)
      Subject: 50 Megs of web space for $9.95 a month!
      50 Megs of web space for $9.95 a month!!!!
      Unlimited E-Mail boxes at 
      and much more!
      We offer web hosting in a number of
      different packages. Tired of paying alot 
      for web hosting and not recieving quality 
      customer service? Try out our hosting 
      services, and see the difference of a web 
      hosting company run by computer technicians.
      Call 1-888-682-5214 for more information.
      Ask about our dedicated servers and reseller
      package. $99.95 a month Colo and Dedicated 
      To be removed from this list reply to                                     with the header of Delete
    Can you beat their price?

    The question is of course meaningless, because, while one can measure price down to the penny, there is no comparably accurate way to measure the services rendered. Moreover, there is no obvious, direct, detailed correlation between the services offered (web hosting, etc) and the costs of doing business (connectivity costs, capital costs for hardware, people costs), so it is very difficult to base prices on business costs, except at a very gross and summary level.

    In practice, it appears that most companies in the business survey their competitors to see how much they are charging for any roughly comparable service, and then charge the same price. Ten dollars per month (or "$9.95!!!") is a very common number for web hosting with a domain name.

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