The Importance of Net Neutrality for Marketers

I’m off for a few weeks – but before I go….

You may or may not be up-to-speed on net neutrality, but if you aren’t it’s fairly simple. If you are a marketer and you’re not in cahoots with certain providers of Internet access, you may find your ads and your sites don’t quite make it through in the same way to your (potential) customers as those of your competitors who do actually pay the access providers. A neutral net doesn’t discriminate.

Is it a problem? Well – yes, because it will inevitably cost money and that cost will inevaitably be passed onto end-users as the cost of digital marketing increases. Your (potential) customers already pay a tax to providers of Internet access (this is called the monthly fee), so this is a second tax: Internet access is being paid for twice here, and if the second tax is not paid by the marketer (and subsequently passed onto the end user), then the end user will not be able to access the content provided by that marketer. And so a form of discrimination can take place.

There is a way to see if this is happening on your ISP. If you’re a bit geeky/techie, you can download this tool provided by the Electronic Frontier Foundation which will let you know if your own ISP is running this approach to deciding what content is allowed down your pipe. I suspect that in time, we’ll see this happening. As a marketer, you might think that Phorm is a good idea, but when you mix it up with a non-neutral net, it could be problem for you and your (potential) customers.

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