Netsville – Then & Now: An Interview with Micah Brandon, VP Systems
Micah Brandon has been with Netsville since the company’s original founding in 1994. As its current VP of systems, he has been on the forefront of the internet revolution for the last twenty-one years. Netsville has come a long way since its initial debut. Originally founded as Virtual Visions, the company focused on text-based online gaming before evolving into a web-hosting provider. “What happened very quickly is that the web was starting to grow and we started to do websites for individual customers,” Micah reflects.
Among the first properties developed by Netsville was the website for the Jimmy Stewart Museum in Pennsylvania (www.jimmy.org). “We even did a mini-tour of the museum before virtual tours were made a thing by Google. When Brent Spiner (Data from Star Trek: The Next Generation), who was a big Jimmy Stewart fan, mentioned the website in an interview it got hammered by visitors. We had to buy a new server just to keep it up! It was big deal.”
Jimmy.org was also one of the first online sites to feature an ecommerce option for its gift shop. “We started to build an online presence for our customers. We built the Hazel, which was our ecommerce shopping cart, which enabled us to be one of the first [companies] to purchase a secure certificate from Netscape which cost $5,000 at the time. We made [Hazel] available on an FTP site for people to download – we had thousands of people downloading it and we got a lot of business from people setting it and their websites up. So my role became programmer/system admin for Netsville. That’s pretty much how it all started.”
That’s not to say that everything was smooth sailing. “During that time…[Netsville was] also an internet service provider providing dial-up connectivity to people in buildings throughout Rochester. We then did DSL which extended our reach a little further before we ran into the monopolies of the phone companies which took out a lot of our (and other small provider’s) infrastructure for themselves. Verizon and Frontier split up the area like a cartel would…and there was nothing that we could do about it. So that wasn’t a business we could really grow anymore.”
Like most net-based companies on the road to continuing success, Micah has endeavored to be on the frontlines of innovation. Today, Netsville has moved away from web-hosting to the universal needs of Internet Property Management. “Essentially what we became [over the years] was an internet consulting firm with a heavy emphasis on ecommerce. Our main customer base are online stores, small, and medium sized businesses that we support as it relates to the internet. Now the internet is seen as another major way to market and a lot of businesses need to go that route. We do technical services, web development, and marketing to support those companies, helping them take advantage of the internet and to market their products and bring new customers in.”
Based in Rochester, New York, Netsville is an Internet Property Management company specializing in managing the Digital Marketing, Technical, and Business Solutions for our customers since 1994. For more information, please click here.