SES Chicago: Understanding How Net Neutrality Affects Search Marketing (6:34)

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Although network neutrality is an issue that could affect everyone, it seems that people are either not concerned or simply unaware of its potential. One industry that seems to be completely blinded by its capabilities is surprisingly, the search marketing industry. In the above video Cindy Krum of Rank-Mobile discusses what would happen to search marketers if net neutrality is not preserved.

According to the nonpartisan and nonprofit advocacy organization Common Cause, the definition of net neutrality is as follows:

“Network neutrality is the principle that Internet users should be able to access any web content they choose and use any applications they choose, without restrictions or limitations imposed by their Internet service provider.”

If net neutrality is not preserved, sites that we use and depend on everyday such as Google and Facebook would not be here. If you remember, the Federal Communications Commission recently cracked down on Comcast for throttling content from BitTorrent and ultimately called it a matter of free speech.

Now, how does all this affect search marketing? If you have a lot of rich media content on your site that is being throttled by broadband providers, you will have to pay more in PPC because it will decrease your quality score. Also, if your content is throttled, the load time will be slow. Your load time affects SEO and PPC meaning that it will drive your costs in PPC up and drive your rankings and SEO down. Does it seem relevant now?

Ironically, the Wall Street Journal published a report today saying Google no longer supports net neutrality. While citing undisclosed sources, the Journal accused Google of approaching major cable and phone companies with a proposition to get preferential treatment for both incoming and outgoing traffic from its sites.

The newspaper went on to report that one major cable company “in talks with Google” said it has been hesitant to make a deal in fear of violating the FCC guidelines.

Richard Whitt of Google’s Washington-based telecom and media counsel responded to the accusations on Google’s Public Policy Blog saying the report was based upon a misunderstanding regarding edge caching. The flexibility of edge caching allows broadband providers to implement network upgrades but does not give them the privilege to “hamper user choice, competition, and innovation.” This practice of edge caching does not violate any net neutrality laws.

Whitt wraps up his post with the following statement:

“Google remains strongly committed to the principle of net neutrality, and we will continue to work with policymakers in the years ahead to keep the Internet free and open.”

In summary, educate yourself on these issues and support legislation to protect net neutrality.

Posted in: Advertising and Marketing, Cindy Krum, Mobile Search, Network Neutrality, News and Events, SEO, SES Chicago 2008
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