Sunday, May 16, 2010

Corporate interests - This is where it gets more interesting

Okay so I've said before that ISPs like Comcast, AT&T and Verizon have fallen very squarely on the side of not wanting any regulation (against net neutrality) and content providers such as Google and Yahoo have fallen (mostly) on the side of supporting regulation (pro-net neutrality).  For the purpose of this post just so you understand, ISPs refer to the three mentioned above and if I refer to either Google or content providers assume it refers to the whole corporate group supporting net neutrality legislation.

What it comes down to for each of these groups is greed (as well it should since they are by their very definition interested in making more money and/or saving money above all else).  In this specific instance, it tends to be that the ISPs are interested in making more money and the content providers are trying to save more money (or at least not have their costs of doing business rise).  Where the real point of contention here is is in the ISPs interest in "owning" the transmission of content to users.  By this I mean that ISPs see themselves as not only providing end-users with content for a fee, but also providing access to those end-users to content providers for free.

For the ISPs, then, if net neutrality passes, this new business model is an impossibility, whereas if they are granted full ownership and self-regulatory power over their networks then it is completely possible and, in my opinion, likely that they would follow through with this.  Obviously, as this means higher costs for the content providers, they have fallen on the side of pro-net neutrality so as to keep the status quo in this specific instance. 

Now where marketers and consumers come in can be extremely disruptive to the status quo no matter which way things end up with net neutrality.  Should net neutrality pass, marketers will surely have some changes that I will better detail in posts yet to come, but the ISPs have threatened to change billing models to go back to metered.  This will undoubtedly cause lower usage of the internet.  For marketers, this could very well be a game changer as we have been led to believe for at least a few years that internet marketing in some way shape or form is the future of marketing (when compared to traditional advertising like television and print ads).  In all likelihood this will have similar effects on mobile markets too, but, again, I will try to better detail that in a later post.

If net neutrality doesn't pass, Google will with all likelihood pass on their new costs to those that pay for their services...marketers.  While consumers may not see too much difference at least at first, marketers using things like Google AdSense will likely see increased costs of doing search marketing and other services through content providers.  I have more on this, but in an effort keep this post from droning too long I'll touch on more issues soon.

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