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  1. #1

    Question Idea: An unbranded SSL sales website where you get a commission?

    I've been contacted by several hosting companies who said they don't want the hassle of adding SSL sales into their billing system, or manually processing the orders... and so they asked if I know of a simple website where they can just send their customers to purchase an SSL certificate and receive a commission for the sale.

    (Yes, I know that namecheap, godaddy, and just about every registrar offers SSL certs.. but I think the idea here is that hosting companies don't want to send their customers to a competitor.)

    So... I thought I would ask the community here if this idea of a "generic website that sells SSL certs at a reasonable price and gives you a commission" is something people would want.

    What I am proposing is a very simple and plain "white label" (unbranded) website (using a generic domain name with privacy whois) that does NOTHING except sell SSL certificates from rapidSSL.com, allow your customer to configure it using an easy-to-understand interface, and then gives you a commission for each sale.

    You could then send your customers to the website, without fear of losing your business. This would allow you to offer SSL certs, without having to screw around with your current order management system, and receive a decent commission for each sale.

    So here's my questions:

    - Are you interested in this sort of thing?

    - What kind of commission would you expect to receive?

    The eNom base price for rapidssl.com certs is $9.95, so I was thinking to sell the certificates for $19.95. You get $5 and I get $5. Is that reasonable? Would you want more? I was trying to think of a way to set this up so that you can set your own price.. but I don't think that would work without a lot of custom programming, and I want to keep this very very simple for you and for me.

    Let me know what you think.
    Last edited by CArmstrong; 05-09-2008 at 04:25 PM.
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  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Athens, Greece
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    1,528
    That sounds like a bright idea!

    - About the price: I suggest the affiliate/reseller to set his own price.
    - The site will not be functional without a referal/affiliate id (otherwise default price would be lower than reseller's)
    Antonis Adamakos @ FuzzFree :: Fully Managed Web Hosting, Development, Online Marketing

  3. #3
    Quote Originally Posted by tonyFF View Post
    - About the price: I suggest the affiliate/reseller to set his own price.
    I would love to do this. The problems are:

    1. This can be dangerous from a potential liability point of view for me, the seller. For example, let's say you set a price of $99 for the rapidssl.com certificate. You send a customer who buys the cert, and then later they find the same certificate from rapidssl.com website at $69.95. Then if they do a chargeback, and I have to eat that cost.

    Perhaps this can be minimized by setting a maximum price limit so affiliates can't set pricing higher then the vendor's website? Or maybe I'm just overthinking this too much?

    2. It would require me to create a custom affiliate software and a lot of scripting for the website that allows affiliates to set their own pricing. My thought was that this would be a very very simple website that could work with a standard affiliate software such as idevaffiliate. If there is a way to store and retrieve custom pricing while using a generic affiliate software such as idev, then let me know. Otherwise, I am forced to create my own affiliate software, and that is a lot of work. (ie: I'm not sure I want to do all that work just to get a few extra $$ from this sort of website.)

    Perhaps to start, I could have the price fixed, and then if there is demand for the website (ie: If I can justify the time/effort), I can add this feature later by customizing/hacking the affiliate script I use.

    Quote Originally Posted by tonyFF View Post
    - The site will not be functional without a referal/affiliate id (otherwise default price would be lower than reseller's)
    I definately agree with that, if I am able to implement the custom pricing feature.


    May I ask what kind of affiliate commission you feel would be reasonable to justify using this kind of website? (ie: what would you expect to make, per sale, for a generic rapidssl.com certificate?)
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  4. #4
    Join Date
    Feb 2001
    Location
    West Michigan, USA
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    9,675
    Yes, count me in. We send a handful of customers elsewhere for their certs each month. It would be nice to be able to make something from that.

    --Tina
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  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jun 2005
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    697
    I don't see that going anywhere. Here is why:
    - The low-tech crowd doesn't want to deal with all the questions/setup/technical details (128/256/512bit, wildcard vs. domain), admin accounts etc. They want to buy it from the host and the hosts sets it up (and bears the risk of errors).
    - The high-tech crowd goes to the cheapest places and you need to compete on price. If you can roll out RapidSSL certs for less than $15/year - I am all for it, I'd buy my client's certs on your site
    ReflexNetworks means Happy Clients!

  6. #6
    I'm not sure I made the purpose of this website clear. The site would be for web hosts to send their customers to.

    For example, if you are a web hosting provider, and you want to offer ssl certs... then you have a two choices:

    1. Sell them yourself. This requires configuring your billing software to offer certs (assuming your billing system supports such capability), or processing the orders manually, or whatever. Basically doing it all yourself.

    2. Point your customer somewhere else. (ie: Customer submits support ticket to you and says, "I need an ssl cert". You tell them to go to [insert your preferred ssl sales website here], purchase the certificate, and then come back to you when they have it ready for installation.

    It is #2 that this website would target. The idea is to create a ssl certificate sales website that is "safe" to send your customers to (unbranded/whitelabeled), and pays you a simple commission for each sale.

    I hope that makes more sense? Let me know what you think.
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  7. #7
    Join Date
    Oct 2007
    Posts
    4,033
    It is possible and workable.
    However, an affiliate link makes the host seems less professionals.
    Maybe we just partner up, come out the same amount of money as capital for the site and divide profits equally?
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  8. #8
    Join Date
    Feb 2001
    Location
    West Michigan, USA
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    9,675
    I don't see it as making us look unprofessional at all. We currently do not offer SSL certs to our clients and make no bones about it whatsoever. When a customer asks us "Where can I buy a cert?" - we point them elsewhere and make $0.00. I would much rather send them someplace that will give us $5 commission.

    Frankly, we've resold certs for years (on and off) and I hate it. I don't want to resell certs.

    --Tina
    ||| 99.999% Uptime SLA!!!
    Plenty of space and bandwidth to fit your needs!
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  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jun 2005
    Posts
    697
    Quote Originally Posted by mrzippy View Post
    The site would be for web hosts to send their customers to.
    [...]
    1. Sell them yourself. This requires configuring your billing software to offer certs (assuming your billing system supports such capability), or processing the orders manually, or whatever. Basically doing it all yourself.
    I understand that. However once you have that set up as a host you have a 30-100% profit margin. And those hosts won't go for the $5 commission.

    It may be right for hosts like Tina's, but I doubt there are that many.
    ReflexNetworks means Happy Clients!

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    Location
    United Kingdom
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    1,686
    Quote Originally Posted by AH-Tina View Post
    I
    Frankly, we've resold certs for years (on and off) and I hate it. I don't want to resell certs.

    --Tina
    Mind if I ask why?
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  11. #11
    You can not have a completely unbranded site selling certs. The customer needs to know who they are buying from otherwise when a strange name appears on the card they will chargeback.

    The host still needs to be involved in some why. Either the generation of the CSR or the installation of the cert unless the control panel allows for the end user to do this. Most of the control panels I have seen that allow this include the ability to charge for it so the billing is not that complicated.

    You can already get branded (by RapidSSL) URLs which you pay for and can then give to your customers to complete the order. Not overly complicated.

    As a host you are going to make much more selling the cert and installation than get in commission by refering someone elsewhere. With our hosting brand we used to charge $100 for a certificate we got for $40. The customer was paying for the ease of the fact we did everything not just for the cheapest certificate. If you refer a customer to another website then they may look further for a cheaper price and certs are available in a lot of places for less than $15 so I doubt you are going to get much more than a couple of dollars if not cents commission on those kinds of prices. Especially when you consider processing costs for payments.

    I can see some advantages of the system and is potentially a good idea it just needs some considerable thought.
    Andy
    Resell SSL Certificates - API / WHMCS / HostBill / ClientExec
    Servertastic - RapidSSL, Geotrust, Thawte, Symantec, SmarterTools and more

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