Net neutrality has never existed and probably will never be. And the only people able to level the playing field are the digital marketers.
You have probably already heard that Net Neutrality – the Obama era regulation governing ISP fast lanes and tiering of content – has been canceled by the FCC.
And so the heavens rained blood clots and meteor showers on the masses.
Well, that did not really happen. But the winners celebrated, and the losers went to lick their wounds. And while this article takes a vexing view of how internet marketers will be more or less spared, we can have a couple of things to say about those winners and losers, and why we do not care less.
What is net neutrality?
Net neutrality – a 2015 decision by the FCC – made it illegal for Internet service providers like Comcast, Verizon and AT & T to block, speed up or slow down applications, websites and streaming video content, etc. It also prevents these companies from promoting their own content services (for example by increasing speed or reducing costs for these services).
Net neutrality advocates claim that it levels the playing field between large companies and small businesses. It keeps the Internet of a fair and unbiased meritocracy, where everyone is on an equal footing and everyone can access the same content at the same speed as everyone else.
Opponents say net neutrality is a regulatory override that has been too severe for ISPs. According to FCC President Ajit Pai, the decision to regulate the Internet as a public service has made the Internet less competitive and cost so much money to ISPs that they can not invest in infrastructure needed to improve speed and connect more people to the web.
Ok, so that was repealed. What is the worst that can happen?
According to Just About Everybody, the worst is worse than we thought.
Wired claims that ISPs might look like cable TV packages. Only a handful of larger sites like Facebook and YouTube will be available, and you will have to pay extra for additional third parties. Blogs will disappear, small businesses will disappear and die, and only monster technology companies like Netflix and Amazon will be able to compete.
Inc. says that internet marketing as we know it could be destroyed. Since net neutrality is the only thing that keeps a competitive online environment, small businesses will have no use for things like SEO and SEM or even websites, because they will be ignored from any way.
AdWeek said that advertising prices could explode. Agencies might be forced to pay higher prices for faster bandwidth to make sure ads are loading fast enough to be noticed.
MARTECH Today, says the marketing model Freemium is toast. Without consistent availability of speed and data, companies like Evernote and Dropbox would never have taken off. This low-cost strategy can not exist when ISPs create similar offers and destroy their competitors with higher prices.
Digital marketers are no strangers to a biased Internet
The volume of lobbying money that flooded Washington from Net Neutrality is staggering. This money has financed campaigns of fear for both warring parties.
But digital marketers should have known that it was better not to buy from one side or the other. Digital marketers, more than any other group, should understand that the Internet has never been right. He has always been manipulated by huge predatory societies. Whether it's the Silicon Valley tech giants or the ISPs. It's the same.
Question. Does anyone here believe that we have ever had a fair and neutral web environment before, during and after Net Neutrality? An environment in which companies like Google and Amazon have created an impartial playground regardless of the amount spent?
Are these companies really more caring guardians than your ISP? Or are they just another hurdle that digital marketers must take to get our customers to the people who matter?
Follow the money …
Whether we like it or not, companies control the web. Everyone has something to gain.
Netflix has not advocated for Net Neutrality to fight for the rights of small businesses all over the world. They have done so that more viewers can access their services as long as possible humanely and for as cheap as possible, which means more money for them, at the expense of their ISP competitors who would like offer similar streaming services. The same goes for all major technology companies, which save millions every year through net neutrality.
When you follow the money, you start to realize that everyone has deep and deep pockets. Technology giants and ISPs have been waging war for years. And digital marketers have supported it as long.
We survived the Internet before Net Neutrality, we survived the Internet during Net Neutrality. And we will survive after it's gone.
Digital traders are paid to bypass gatekeepers
What are we paid to do, if not to help our clients get noticed in a world of biased and goliath societies?
If government regulation is the answer, then we must regulate everything on the web. We can not regulate ISPs and ignore how search engines and social media giants like Google and Bing and Facebook are the custodians of the content.
Do not hurt? Riiiiiiiight.
Where there is money to be won, there is a bias. It's our job to get around this. We will find a way as we have always done, no matter how much Internet service providers like Verizon and Comcast take their newfound freedom.