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Virtual Interview: Mike Mangione


Mike Mangione runs CGISpy.com. In this article Brad talks to Mike about his web site, how he gets the edge on his competitors, future plans and more.

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By: Brad Culbert
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November 21, 2002

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Mike Mangione runs CGISpy.com. In this article Brad talks to Mike about his web site, how he gets the edge on his competitors, future plans and more.With so many web sites providing similar free services for webmasters, it is extremely important to provide features that distinguish yourself from the rest. What things have been implemented on CGISpy.com to draw users from the competition?

To compete with our competitors, I have done several important things that my competitors don't tend to do. Number 1, I make sure to keep up on support emails and questions. Number 2, I try to release a new script as often as every 2 weeks, and sometimes I release more than one script a week. Number 3, I have offered the most vast variety of Remote Hosted CGI scripts on the net, with over 30 scripts, by far the largest selection on the net. And number 4, I have made special enhancements to scripts, such as adding statistics for each one, a user friendly administration, and promotional ways for users to enhance their websites traffic and services offered.

I was reading on your web site that your service used to be at infared.com and has since merged with Danworld and changed names to CGISpy.com. What kind of new opportunities has this merger opened up? What advice would you give to webmasters faced with a potential merger offer such as this?

I would say definitely go for it. Becoming part of a network is awesome, you make more money since you can get better advertisements running on your site from the network, they pay for your hosting fees, and best of all, you have some financial backing and support.

The challenge of attracting visitors to a web site is something on the mind of most webmasters. What techniques have been incorporated on CGISpy.com to increase traffic and hopefully usage?

In order to promote CGISpy, I have done many things. The number one way to promote a CGI site like mine though is to get listed on all the major search engines, and to get listed on CGI-Resources.com, PerlArchive.com, HotScripts.com, and Scripts.com. We also get a lot of traffic from our scripts, as most of them have a "Provided by CGISpy.com" link on them. Our users also tend to recommend us too, and we also use button advertising to promote the site.

In order to keep a service such as CGISpy.com free, you obviously have to support it with some kind of advertising. One technique you have used is to place advertisements that will be seen when the scripts themselves are used. How effective have you found this type of advertising is? What other techniques are being used to help support the service?

Our service is 100% based on banner advertising on the scripts. This is what I have found to be the most efficient way to make money by providing a service like this. The only other method I have used to make money, is when we send out our newsletter, people pay for a small text add in it.

Which of the 33 scripts you provide do you find the most popular?

Probably the most popular of the scripts, is the Auctions script. It is based on the popular script by Matt Hahnfeld, EveryAuction. We got his permission to modify it to be remote hosted, and ever since it has been one of our top scripts. It has every feature anyone who wanted to run their own auction could ask for, and best of all it is hosted for FREE!

How many staff does it take to run CGISpy.com? Can you give us an idea of what is involved in running a service like this?

Well, as of right now, I am the only person who runs CGISpy. I program, answer support mails, make the pages, and sit on HumanClick to chat live with people who need help. Daily tasks in running the site involve mass volumes of mailings to answer, forums to moderate, scripts to work on, and bugs to fix in the system.

Although you seem to be providing many more scripts than any other CGI hosting service, what plans are in place to improve CGISpy.com in the near and distant future?

Well, right now CGISpy is young and growing. It started back in April, and has now grown to over 5,000 users. My personal goal was to be at 10,000 users, and 35 scripts by CGISpy's 1 year opening anniversary. We are very close to reaching that goal too, as we only need 2 more scripts, and another 5,000 users. Right now, I am working on adding statistic features to the rest of the scripts, and to implement our newest promotional scheme, The CGISpy Network. The CGISpy Network will list in very neat categories all the FFAL Pages, Auctions, Mailing Lists, Message Boards, and all the other scripts we have that users have set up to be used as a service. So it will help promote CGISpy as well as the users. As CGISpy grows, our services will only get better, and I plan to have the best reputation for site support in this field, on the Internet.
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