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Will Ending Net Neutrality Hurt Advertising?
By: Dwayne W. Waite Jr.
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As the digital landscape continues to change, we as communicators must adapt to the new rules and norms of that environment. Unfortunately, since many of us are creatures of habit, when something new or threatening comes into a fold, we immediately greet it with animosity.

Enter ending net neutrality.

Search Engine Watch recently posted a fascinating piece about the effects ending net neutrality may have on advertising, and though the tone may be more alarming than necessary, the author brings up some really good points.

The most interesting points the author brought up deal with the advertising vs. subscriber model, and the loading times for websites. Both elements have significant impacts on our marketing activities.

Of advertising versus subscriber model: the author nails this point home. Publishers use advertising as a way to create an additional stream of revenue while using the money gathered to keep the access costs lower for readers. Yes, advertising makes sure that a lot of the content provided is "free" for the consumer. With net neutrality, the tiering of customers may make advertising on certain sites less appealing, forcing content providers to go to a subscription model; therefore, a "free" service disappears, and the consumer feels the opportunity cost of accessing content. A very interesting argument indeed. We find it relevant because this is quite the plausible scenario.

Of loading for websites: the industry (as well as everyone else) is still not entirely sure how the "fast lanes" would affect regular content. But the fear is that ISPs would slow down speeds for the regular content, and provide quality speeds for those companies that can afford the big bucks. 

A justified fear? Hard to say.

it is interesting as to why the FCC decides to fight this battle, instead of simply re-categorizing the Internet as a public good, and essentially ending this argument.

Perhaps they like the drama.

In any case, very solid points about the end of net neutrality, yet we all wait to see if anything out of the ordinary actually happens.


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About the Author
Dwayne W. Waite Jr. is partner and principal at JDW: The Charlotte Agency, a marketing and advertising shop in Charlotte, NC. He enjoys consumer behavior, economics, and football.
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