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This article was published on July 26, 2012

Final thoughts: A public face can help CloudFlare ramp its already-huge business

Final thoughts: A public face can help CloudFlare ramp its already-huge business
Brad McCarty
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Brad McCarty

A music and tech junkie who calls Nashville home, Brad is the Director TNW Academy. You can follow him on Twitter @BradMcCarty. A music and tech junkie who calls Nashville home, Brad is the Director TNW Academy. You can follow him on Twitter @BradMcCarty.

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Over the past few days, TNW and our friends at Trend Hunter and VentureBeat have been running a “consulting series” wherein we’re taking three companies, finding out their gritty details and then seeing if we have any thoughts about what they could do differently. TNW started with CloudFlare, the Website security company that also serves as a CDN. Now that Trend Hunter and VentureBeat have added their input, it’s time to circle back around and finish out the series.

VentureBeat had some hard numbers from CloudFlare, and that was interesting. Though I’ve spoken at length with CEO Matthew Prince, this is the first time that I’ve seen in black and white the impact that the company has.

“Today, the yes-we’re-a-content-delivery-network-but-more serves up an astounding 65 billion pages per month.

“We do more traffic than Amazon, Wikipedia, Twitter, Zynga, AOL, Apple, Bing, eBay, PayPal and Instagram combined,” chief executive Matthew Prince told VentureBeat. “We’re about half of a Facebook, and this month we’ll surpass Yahoo in terms of pageviews and unique visitors.”

But CloudFlare is a bit like a sea monster. You never really see them, you don’t hear about them, until they do something huge. In the past we’ve given the company press for its advances with IPv6, one-click scraping prevention and much more, but Trend Hunter thinks that CloudFlare should push itself more into the public limelight.

“We’ve seen many consumer-facing brands, such as Coca-Cola and Cadbury, go beyond strong visuals to creating a total brand experience in which the customer is completely immersed in a brand both online and offline. Now, more B2B brands are leveraging this trend, which would be a great fit to enhance CloudFlare’s current pitches to hosting partners at industry events.”

CloudFlare is one of those company with which I have a very close working relationship. Being massively public has never really been its forte, but I can tell you first-hand that the company’s competitors are hot after its customers and perhaps now it’s time to make certain that the public knows more about CloudFlare.

There’s also a lot of FUD floating around when it comes to the company. You’ll likely hear that CloudFlare is trying to raise a round and nobody is interested, but investors tell me otherwise. You’ll probably also hear that the company is going broke from giving away most of its products for free, though there’s a monetization role in place (and it has been there for a long time) for those free accounts and it appears to be working quite well.

But chances are that you won’t hear these things from CloudFlare because the company doesn’t like to talk about them. Due to its engineering-first philosophy the company always tends to focus on problem solving its technology rather than on marketing itself. While that’s great for making sure that your product is top-notch, it’s not so hot when you mention a company with massive traction and people still don’t know about them.

Far be it from us to tell a company how to run itself, but that was indeed the purpose of this experiment. If you want to catch the whole series, click the links below to get the story:

Catching up with CloudFlare: A new network of Web hosts can cache the unchacheable 

Frictionless Website enhancements: CloudFlare speeds up Websites behind the scenes

CloudFlare: more traffic than Amazon, Wikipedia, Twitter, Instagram, and Apple combined

Image Credit: TechCrunch

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