Cloudflare Loves to Mess With Incumbents

And that’s a very good thing for the Internet

John Battelle
Sep 27, 2018 · 2 min read

We don’t usually cover news here at Shift, this is more of a place for analysis and Thinking Out Loud. And it’s rare that one company appears more than once here in any given year. But today — again — Cloudflare has upended an important piece of Internet’s real estate, and it’s just too rich to not note the why of it.

So first the news. To celebrate the company’s eight birthday, Cloudflare is announcing the launch of a domain registrar. And because the company operates at massive scale, and can afford to do things most companies simply can’t (or won’t — looking at you, Google, Amazon, Facebook) — the company is offering domains *at cost.* In other words, Cloudflare isn’t making one red cent when you register a domain with them. What they pay to register a domain (and yes, that number is fixed, and the same for all domain registrars), is what you pay to register a domain.

Go ahead, go sell (or short) your GoDaddy stock. I’ll wait.

OK, you back? Look, I’m not writing this post because I think the news is *that* exciting, though I’ll tell you, I’ve not found many folks who love their domain registrar. I certainly don’t. Most of them are experts at confusing you, at upcharging you, and at scaring you that you’re about to either lose your domain or miss some important feature you didn’t know you want or need. I pay an average of about 15–20 bucks for each of the domains I own each year. Cloudflare’s price is about eight dollars.

I own close to 50 domains. That means I’ll save nearly $400 a year when I move all my domains to Cloudflare. That’s real cheddar.

But the real reason I’m writing this post is to point out what a merry market discombobulator Cloudflare has become. (Read more over at our new open web site).

NewCo Shift

Covering the biggest shift in business and society since the industrial revolution

John Battelle

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A Founder of NewCo, Federated Media, sovrn Holdings, Web 2 Summit, Wired, Industry Standard; writer on Media, Technology, Culture, Business

NewCo Shift

Covering the biggest shift in business and society since the industrial revolution