If you have been around digital marketing the last few years, I’m sure you have heard of net neutrality. It seems that there are three people out there when it comes to net neutrality: 1) never heard of it, 2) heard of it and knows everything there is to know about it, and 3) heard of it and really know nothing about it. This post is aimed at number 1s and number 3s. You need to know how net neutrality affects you and your daily life.
What is Net Neutrality?
Net neutrality is the concept that internet service providers (ISPs) should treat all sites and applications the same. Meaning, they should let all traffic travel on their networks without discrimination. Think of how we purchase cable plans: the cable companies offer plans and then charge extra for add-ons. If net neutrality laws are not passed to protect the open web, we could be charged to access certain websites.
Internet subscription packages could look like this:
This is how we could be charged for accessing certain websites if net neutrality is not protected.
Net Neutrality Keeps the Playing Field Level
ISPs could give preferential treatment to whoever will and can pay for it if the internet doesn’t remain open and free. Large companies could pay the ISPs to get unrestricted access to the network. Smaller businesses would be at a large disadvantage if they could not afford to pay the ISPs to get the same “package”.
Content marketing from bloggers, small business social media, and startups would essentially be eliminated.
How Could it Affect Online Marketing?
Let’s say you are a small business and you want to try your hand at some pay per click advertising. You research AdWords and you take the time to set up a few campaigns. You even build specific landing pages to get the most out of this investment. You are ready!
BAM! People search and find your ads. A potential customer then clicks on your ad. It’s working! But since you didn’t purchase a high enough “package” from your ISP, your customer is not allowed to click through to your landing page. All that work gone to waste because the internet providers are allowed to over-charge you, the small guy.
Internet service providers will be allowed to show or not show content to whoever they want. Large companies lose. Small businesses lose. Customers lose.
What Can You Do About It?
We are small fish in a big pond, but one drop can cause a ripple – or something like that…
Spread the word! Share this post or one like it. Tell your friends and family.
You can call or write your state representatives.
Sign this petition to tell the FCC to preserve net neutrality.
Sign the Declaration of Internet Freedom.
You can also sign a petition to stop the Comcast and Time Warner merger.
Check out this video explaining Net Neutrality