Over the weekend, Cloudflare announced a new DNS service, in partnership with APNIC, that promises faster performance and improved privacy. And while those are good things, making such an announcement on April Fools Day left may people shaking their heads and wondering if the whole thing was a hoax. It turns out, it's not a hoax with the new service offering faster address resolution and a promise to wipe all logs of DNS queries within 24 hours.
Cloudflare has published a couple of articles (here and here) describing why they've launched the service. In both announcements, they are at pains to mention it's not an April Fool Day hoax, noting that the use of 22.214.171.124 is a play on date, which in the United States is shown as 4/1.
Cloudflare has published a "How To" page that tells you how to change your connection settings to take advantage of the new service with two new DNS entries needed, pointing to 126.96.36.199 and 188.8.131.52 - the second address is for redundancy.
APNIC is partnering with Cloudflare saying "This project will provide APNIC Labs with unique opportunity to gain some valuable insight into the query behaviour of the DNS in today’s Internet and will allow us to further our existing research activities in looking at the DNS".
One of the goals is to look at how a better understanding of DNS can help with mitigating DDoS attacks, saying all the data collected will be destroyed as soon as the statistical analysis of the data flow is complete with access to the data limited to researchers in APNIC's labs.
The project is scheduled to last for five years.
But, the timing
While the timing of the announcement probably seemed clever, Cloudflare had to make multiple pleas for people to not think it was an April Fools Day scam. Cloudflare's Matthew Prince said "We justified it to ourselves that Gmail, another great, non-fictional consumer service, also launched on April 1, 2004".
Here's a simple rule. If you're planning to make a major product or service announcement, particularly one that could affect millions of users or, say, the whole Internet, perhaps choose a date that will not make people think you're scamming them.