Net Neutrality Basics and Overview

What is Net Neutrality?

  • The principles if Net Neutrality:
    • Keep the Internet free for all to use
    • Anyone can access to the Internet and all the contents therein
    • No single person or entity owns or controls the Internet
    • Protects free speech
    • Provides all users with the ability to freely communicate
    • Content cannot be filtered or blocked
    • Apps and websites cannot be blocked
    • Speed throttling is prohibited
    • Paid ‘fast lanes’ are not allowed

What is the status of Net Neutrality?

  • On December 14th, 2017, the FCC voted [3-2] to kill the TITLE II section adopted the Obama Administration in 2015. Anjit Pai is the FCC chairman and was in full opposition to Net Neutrality and the votes were down party lines.
    • Title II was adopted, “by the Federal Communications Commission under former President Barack Obama. Those rules subject broadband providers like AT&T, Charter, Comcast* and Verizon to utility-style regulation, all in a bid to stop them from blocking access to web pages, slowing down connections or prioritizing some content over others.” [source]
  • Currently, legal challenges are moving their way through the courts, but more importantly, Congress has enough co-sponsors [40] to hold a vote on the Senate floor. A CRA [congressional review act] is moving forward both in the Senate and House.
  • Anjit Pai mocked Internet users [] by claiming Internet users will still be able to:
    • Instagram your food
    • Take selfies with your pets
    • Shop for Christmas presents
    • Watch your shows
    • Remain a super-fan [online]
    • Use memes to your heart’s content
    • And do the “Harlem Shake”

Why is Net Neutrality important to you and your business?

  • If you count on your website for any of the following;
    • Website Leads
    • Online phone calls
    • Website traffic
    • Website traffic that converts to floor traffic
    • Providing information
    • Providing goods or services to any area
    • It is your primary source of advertising and marketing
    • If you consider your website a key asset in your business model
  • You can expect the following if Net Neutrality remains defeated:
    • ISPs [Internet Service Providers] will/may;
      • Charge you more for access to the Internet
      • Your Internet speed can change based on the package you have chosen
      • Access to your favourite sites may be sold on a package or tiered basis
      • Content will be decided on what the ISPs what you to see not what you CHOOSE to see
        • commerce sites, news outlets all may be restricted based on your content package – thus, curtailing and effectively shutting down free thought, free speech, and much more
      • What this means for your business:
        • If you want your blog or website to be seen online, you may have to pay fees directly to the ISPs
        • Additional costs will be associated with SEO, PPC, and access to visibility and your target markets
        • Your opportunity to have a fair playing field with much bigger companies will greatly diminish
        • Strong possibilities for large companies, new networks, and mega-corporations to rule and control every aspect of the Internet thereby preventing your company from gaining new visibility, chocking off brand awareness, online reviews, social sharing, and more

The Internet was created for all to use and for none to control. The very principle is based on freedom of speech, freedom of communication, and the ability to share knowledge. If our ability to access the Internet is taken away or restricted in any way the result will be billions in lost revenue, lost revenue streams for businesses, lost sales leads, and billions taken or deterred from e-commerce stores.

How to help:

  2. Call your local members of Congress –

Net Neutrality At Risk – What’s the worst that could happen?

Verizon just won a major battle against Net Neutrality. A US appeals court struck down the notion that the FCC can require major ISPs to treat all Internet traffic as equal. Put another way, this ruling opens Pandora’s box of paid channels for the rich and poor. Those that can and are willing for access to websites like Google, Bing, Yahoo, Netflix, Facebook and other major sites may have to pay top dollar. The possibility now exists for companies like AT&T, Verizon, Comcast and other provides to package websites and search engines much like you currently pay for cable packages.

Individuals who cannot pay for this access will not have access to major search engines, websites or access to small business website. Individuals with the ability to pay [potentially high prices] can have full access to information. So, what is the worst that could happy if we loose Net Neutrality?

  1. Small business websites and owners may have to pay premium prices to have their websites show up or be found at all.
  2. Individuals who cannot afford access to the Internet [above the price they currently pay for ISPs] will no longer have access to online information.
  3. Only the wealthy or well-off will be able to have full access [based on what the ISP deems worthy].
  4. News channels and independent news outlets will be shut down.
  5. The majority of websites on the Internet will loos massive amounts of website traffic, data, revenue and exposure.
  6. Small business who focus on e-commerce, m-commerce and rely on the Internet for their livelihood will be driven out of business.
  7. Small business who rely on the Internet to drive sales leads will see the lead flow choked or completely shut down, resulting in business closure.
  8. Large companies will have the ability to fully control what you see online because they have the budget to pay for what YOU see.
  9. The very basis of the Internet is: it is free for everyone. no one person or company has control of the Internet. opens the door of ‘freedom of information’ for all.
  10. The very thing that makes the Internet so unique is access and the level playing field that is created for all.

There is hope…Internet users beat SOPA and PIPA…they have not gone away but with consistant attention, debate and objection from the masses – be prepared to loose one of the most important inventions of all time.


Google, Net Neutrality & Thrid Half of Your Brain

There has been so much news in happening on the search engine landscape it’s hard to keep up. Search firms, internet marketing professionals, and those in the search engine optimization disciplines are ready for a breather. The really big news falls between the recent announcement of Google and Verizion’s [GoogleVerizon ] take on net neutrality and the recent launch of Google Instant. 

The recent proposal has some okay ideas and some ideas that were epic failures. Personally, I don’t believe the proposal will go anywhere as it outlines a) the requirement for the FCC to authority and oversight of broadband access services b) paid placement could dominate the Internet c) what is considered “lawful” content can be very subjective d) other noted exceptions that could completely kill freedom of the Internet.

Sure this is pretty troubling…until Google unleashed “Instant”. Google Instant may end up, as Sergey Brin put it…”the third half of your brain.” Google Instant fills in keywords as you type and displays search results within seconds. Having one of the world’s biggest corporations thinking for your mind may be the best thing in the world for some but not for most. I’ve never been one to be a meat puppet, how about you?

The ability to take a look at search results based on keyword queries is what makes search engines so cool in the first place. When the query is taken away and automation takes over it seems a little like a portion of Internet freedom has been taken away as well. If the thought process is removed what are you searching for? If you are stopped in mind long tail search query, then what happens to the long tail terms?  Are you searching for something that you want to find or for what Google want’s you to find?

In addition, with the new search results flying by a lighting speed, it is more likely larger and broader paid search keywords will be displayed. Long tail search terms will loose their value and broad terms will be like buying a gallon of gas [many already are]. There is no doubt this will increase the cost of keywords, bid strategy will change, and click through rates are going out the window.  Google is not making it easier for companies to compete, it seems like they simply want more money from the highest bidder.

One could make the argument that the recent changes in Google Ad Words quality scores would be the great equalizer [from the paid search perspective] however this is not the case either. Google quality scores have made it more difficult to rank well within the paid search listings without a landing page for each keyword. It seems like it’s all just coming down to dollars and zero sense from the smartest guys in the room.

More and more it seems like Google is trying very hard to not be evil and doing a terrible job of it. Think train wreck + fire balls + killer bees + the executive team of Enron. Yes, it can be easy to get so big you think it’s all just that good and your company is full of the most brilliant people in the world. I’m not wanting to go on a rant here, however, it seems the once little guys are forgetting about where they came from.

No one knows what Google Instant will do to SEO or to paid search. Time will tell. Matt Cutts says not to worry about SEO as the underlying Google algorithms remain the same. One thing is for certain, the new search alliance between Bing and Yahoo could be much bigger than Google had anticipated. It would not be a big shock to find search marketers and SEO professionals moving toward the other 30% of the search market to save money while maintaining solid qualified traffic.

In fact, it could be just the thing Google needs to bring it down to earth.