Disrupting Utilities

Startups & Tech

GoDaddy has horrible UX and predatory pricing.

Yet GoDaddy, and companies like it, maintained virtual strangleholds on the domain registrar market since the 1990s. Domain registry was a commodity, and companies like GoDaddy the utilities that provided it.

Pundits said the registrar world wasn’t going to change any time soon because registrars needed to mark up Top Level Domain prices because navigating the deluge of TLDs, and ICANN’s stringent rules, was so complicated.

But every industry is disruptible.

In September, Cloudflare announced that it would offer registrar services with zero markup. It would include WHOIS privacy for free. And the experience of using Cloudflare would be nothing like the bloated, complicated process of working with other registrars.

When Cloudflare decided to give away free SSL certs in 2014, they doubled the size of the encrypted web. If Cloudflare’s entry into the world of domain registry goes anything like that, the space will look markedly different by this time next year.

The same thing could happen in virtually any industry. What would happen if a company like Slack decided to make a free learning platform that undercut Skillshare and Udemy? All utilities—power, communication, education, you name it—are ripe for this type of disruption. All it takes is a company willing to treat commodities like commodities in service of a different business model.