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“We believe in a free and open internet”-Matt Russell, Namecheap

“We believe in a free and open internet”-Matt Russell, Namecheap

For long, corporate entities have felt uber-cautious about getting into issues of public interest, as regardless of a company’s position, voicing support or opposition is guaranteed to spur some sort of public reaction. And why risk alienating some customers when you can simply stay mum and stick to your business?

But rarely do we get to see the other side of the spectrum; i.e. the pleasant sight of companies that feel so passionately about an issue that they’re willing to share their opinion in the public sphere; howsoever risqué it may be. And Namecheap, a top-shelf American based ICANN registrar with 3 million domains is a bellwether when it comes to issues related to internet freedom and privacy.

A vehement opponent of anti-privacy legislations for long, Namecheap further substantiated itself as a pioneer of innovation and freedom when it started accepting Bitcoins, a free and open decentralized currency as a payment option. In light of the recent developments, DHN reached out to Mr. Matt Russell, Vice President, Hosted Services at Namecheap for an interview, and he was more than happy to oblige.

Before we begin the talks regarding Namecheap’s beliefs as an organization, their stand on privacy, stellar customer support and more, let’s have a look at their recently launched promotional video. Watch it carefully as within it lies a coupon code for a great deal on new domains.

By embracing social media from an early age we’ve ingrained it’s importance throughout our company. We monitor and respond to each and every interaction we get on social media, and all of our management, including C-Level executives, enjoy using social media to help our customers.

– Matt Russell, Vice President, Hosted Services, Namecheap.

An interview with Mr Matt Russell, Vice President, Namecheap where he talks about CISPA, SOPA, Bitcoins, Anti-privacy laws,  and need for internet privacy.

Mr. Matt Russell, Vice President, Hosted Services, Namecheap.

Q: What is your name and role with Namecheap? How long have you been in this role?

A: My name is Matt Russell. I’m the Vice President, Hosted Services at Namecheap. I’ve been with Namecheap for over 6 years.

Q: For those who don’t know what Namecheap is, can you please brief it a bit?

A: Namecheap is a leading provider of domain names, hosting services, SSL certificates, a site builder and other tools to help individuals and businesses build and maintain successful websites.

Q: While many organizations shy away from taking active stance on issues of public interest, Namecheap has been pretty vocal about its vehement opposition against anti-privacy and pro censorship bills; be it SOPA, PIPA or the recently reborn CISPA. Let’s start on a broader note. Why does Namecheap think privacy is so important?

A: I’d prefer to let our track record do the speaking here, as we’ve opposed any bill that impacts on a free internet and privacy. We opposed SOPA, PIPA and most recently CISPA. We’ve also donated over $100,000 to EFF as part of their efforts to protect and maintain a free internet.

Q: The backlash against CISPA seems to have begun. Groups like Namecheap, Wikipedia, Reddit, Cheezburger etc. who blacked out on January 18th in protest of pending SOPA and PIPA legislation seem to be getting together. Namecheap recently observed its second annual ‘Move Your Domain Day’. How was the response this time compared to last year?

A: We came up with the Move Your Domain Day concept to appeal to internet users who value their internet freedom and privacy. We made a pledge to help fight any draconian governmental policies that would infringe on either of these. And internet users could voice their support by moving their domains to us.

We are very pleased with both of the MYDD campaigns that we ran.

Q: That sounds great. Can you please tell our readers in detail about Namecheap’s campaigns to combat anti-privacy bills and how they can unite with Namecheap in future to fight such bills?

A: Our stance on this is quite simple. We believe in a free and open internet and that such a powerful global communication medium is accessible to all without reprise. I’m sure I don’t need to highlight the plight of those in countries where severe internet restrictions apply. This is not how the internet was designed or how it best operates. It’s also important to note that we do not advocate illegal online activities but we do believe existing law has sufficient power to clamp down on this.

It is very difficult to predict what bills we may see in future. But Namecheap customers should rest assured in the knowledge that we will continue to oppose anything that will restrict the open, free and accessible internet as we know it.

NameCheap's Campaign against CISPA with Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF)

Q:This one is regarding the most recent and much talked about development. Namecheap recently announced that it’ll now be accepting payments via Bitcoin after heavy requests from the tech community. Can you tell us what made you integrate Bitcoin? Also, can people expect any special Bitcoin promos for domain renewals?

A: We’re already accepting Bitcons and have an active Bitcoin userbase!

We’ve built a business based around listening to our customers and prospective customers and accommodating their demands. We saw a lot of demand from existing and prospective customers to use Bitcoin, an exciting new digital currency. So we mobilized our engineering team and quickly integrated Bitcoin payments. And by doing so, we became the first major registrar/web host to do so.

Any future promotions are linked to product and price, not payment method. But Bitcoin users can get great deals on their domain renewals by renewing for multiple years with our recently launched multi-year renewal savings

Q: I’m really impressed by the way NameCheap responds to its customers’ needs. People have started to view it as an organisation they can count on. Bitcoins, if I’m not wrong, were considered for integration after request by the reddit community, where your team is very active. How does NameCheap handle social media so effectively?

A: We’re firm believers in social media as a medium for engaging our customers and for those that have similar values to us. We were an early adopter with Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn and have built active communities around each channel.

By embracing social media from an early age we’ve ingrained it’s importance throughout our company. We monitor and respond to each and every interaction we get on social media, and all of our management, including C-Level executives, enjoy using social media to help our customers.

Q: We recently interviewed Miss Yin Yin Chan, Co-Founder, OnePager and she was very upbeat about Onepager being chosen as the exclusive website builder for Namecheap customers. How has the response been so far?

A: We’re very pleased with the uptake of Onepager. There are a number of site builders in the market but Onepager has the best interface and user experience by far. Our customers love the simplicity and that they can add a simple website to their domain in just a matter of minutes.

NameCheap Accepts Bitcoin Payments

Q: Our standard question to wrap things up, what’s in the box for 2013?

A: We have a lot but I don’t want to let the cat out of the bag too soon! 🙂 I can disclose a few things that we’re working on though. We are increasing the number of ccTLDs we offer for registration and renewal.

We’re launching a new, comprehensive range of dedicated servers in the very near future based out of our Phoenix data center. We’re also adding infrastructure in new geographic locations to deliver hosting and related services across the globe. Europe is our next stop, and we’ve already started installing infrastructure into a UK data center as part of our web hosting expansion.

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