How the repeal of net neutrality will affect small businesses

With the imminent repeal of net neutrality, small businesses may wonder how that is going to affect them. Chauncey explains the negative and positive outcomes of the repeal for small and local business.

Welcome to the Being Found show. We are discussing what is changing in online marketing in 2018 and what small businesses can do about it. You can listen to the rest of the show at beingfound.com.

This topic is one that everybody is probably sick of. It’s all over the news and everybody’s discussing it, net neutrality. But we’re going to hit it with our spin and our spin today is how does this affect small and local business?

What is Net Neutrality? Net neutrality is the principle that Internet service providers must treat all data on the Internet the same, and not discriminate or charge differently by user, content, website, platform, application, type of attached equipment, or method of communication. For instance, under these principles, internet service providers are unable to intentionally block, slow down or charge money for specific websites and online content. Source: Wikipedia

If these ISPs take over and start sticking it to the little guy, the little guy inevitably is going to build situations that work around it. That's what we've done since the dawn of time and that is why we will continue to do.
If these ISPs take over and start sticking it to the little guy, the little guy inevitably is going to build situations that work around it. That’s what we’ve done since the dawn of time and that is why we will continue to do.

Net neutrality started February 26 2015. The FCC ruled in favor of net neutrality by reclassifying broadband as a common carrier, a common carrier is stuff like your phone, your power, stuff like that.

So we’re looking at what a year and a half, two years or something like that. Prior to that, everybody was fighting for it and everybody was in support of it. And at this point right now we’re looking at something like 83 percent of voting Americans are in support of net neutrality. If net neutrality sticks, which it is now happening we can see changes as early as next year. And so what does net neutrality mean? You know the end of net neutrality means that ISP (Internet Service Providers) would no longer be required to provide unlimited or unfettered access to the Internet.

The end of net neutrality could end equal speeds. Basically, to sum it up I’m sure all of you know because it is all over the news, some websites could go faster than other websites. So what effect does this really have? One of the big effects is that it’s possibly going to end the Internet of Things, IoT, because of cost. So what does net neutrality mean for small business? Will small business lose? Well, it basically means that Internet service providers could create pay to play.

I was a band guy as many people know and we always avoided pay to play situations, places where we were supposed to pay money to play at a bar and then people show up and we’re basically paying for exposure. The reason why we avoided it is that there was no money and no future in it for small business or for small bands. That’s kind of the same case with small business.

Now as consumers the place that we’re going to really be hit with it first is in consuming media. Netflix, Hulu, stuff like that might have an extra fee in order to stream media. As small businesses, we might just get run under the table by these big businesses that can afford to pay to play. They’ll have faster sites. For anybody who’s listened to our show, they know that bounce rate is the nemesis of conversion.

You know bounce rate is when somebody comes to your site, oftentimes it’ll load too slow when they hit the back button and go to the next guy. The end of net neutrality could easily put a lot of small businesses in this situation. The other more nefarious bad thing that could be happening is that they could redirect you. So let’s say I like John’s pizza shop but let’s say my Internet service provider has a deal with dominoes. I could search up John’s pizza shop, click the button and my Internet service provider could fully legally redirect me to Domino’s instead. Not even allowing me to go to John’s. Now, this is all a possibility and then another big possibility is anybody doing e-commerce is probably just going to get run over by it.

So these are the bad things that could happen to small business based on net neutrality. The good things are net neutrality only started in 2015 and the Internet was doing just fine up until that so the Internet and Internet service providers are businesses and inevitably if somebody offers a better service we’re more apt to go with them.

They were not looking to piss off the entire country by ripping them off. So basically what we’re in all actuality going to see is them trying to push the envelope just like any other big business. Basically, they push the envelope, they get pushback. They reel it back in and then they push it a little more and get some money. This is the way business in general works on the macro scale and this is probably how we’re going to see. So will this be good for your business?

How could this possibly be good for small business? It depends on your industry. If you’re a marketer like me and like Jake, this could probably be really good because it complicates the matter. It makes us all the more important and we can have deals with ISP and be selling these things and be middlemen and taking money from that. But if there’s one thing that we’ve learned if it is good for marketers, it is probably not actually good. Now as a marketer I probably shouldn’t say that.

If it’s good for marketers it’s probably not good for consumers. So here’s where it probably could help local business in general and that’s with location-targeted marketing.

So currently I use Waze. It’s basically like Google Maps only it’s fancier. There’s a lot of involvement in it. And you know you can report that there’s a couch on the side of the road or that there’s cops coming up and stuff like that. But it has pop up ads that pop up at the very top based on your location. ISPs now can probably circumvent what you’re doing with location-based ads. While that sucks for a consumer it’s probably good for local business because as they go driving by your shop they could take over and basically say come get a pizza. We’ll give it to you for free if you come in right now. You can possibly get new users collecting the data of who’s been there and who hasn’t been there. New people who haven’t used your business could come in and get them. So there’s not a lot good for local business or consumers coming out of net neutrality.

I have to throw in the theoretical good and this is what the other 17 percent are saying and they’re right to some degree. It’s important to look on the bright side, and necessity breeds invention. If these ISPs take over and start sticking it to the little guy, the little guy inevitably is going to build situations that work around it. That’s what we’ve done since the dawn of time and that is why we will continue to do. It’s just going to hurt in the meantime. So regardless of what happens here, everything’s going to be OK.

We’re coming to the end of this segment. Thanks for listening to the Being Found Show, listen to the full show here: Being Found Show Episode #41

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