What the #NetNeutrality decision means for you
The FCC has officially repealed the 2015 regulations that demanded that internet providers grant the same access to websites across the board, what we know as Net Neutrality. A lot of people have a lot of feelings about this decision -- not least of us here at Obviously. Before we slide into doomsday panic, it bears repeating that there are a ton of court battles ahead of us. It could be quite some time before these new rules, or any watered-down version of them, go into effect. That said, it is essential for influencers to understand the major changes ahead so we can face any upcoming challenges head on.
Here are the top three things you need to know about Net Neutrality and what this decision means for you.
Net Neutrality -- the belief that all internet content should be equally accessible -- is no longer the law of the land.
At this moment, my personal Wix website is just as easy to get to as Google. If you type in my URL, you’re going to find my site right away and it’s going to upload just as quickly as that of our search engine overlords. Under the new system, that won't be the case. While this might have a negative impact on my personal website, big companies like Google and Amazon have the funding to pay more for faster download speeds. It is also possible that providers will choose to restrict certain websites altogether, forcing users to pay more for expensive internet “bundles.”
This is especially relevant to bloggers who manage their own domains. In the future, fewer people might have access to your site, depending on how internet providers choose to use their power. This means that corporations like Verizon and Comcast suddenly have a lot more control than they once did. The good news is that we still have power as consumers. If internet providers start cutting off access, we can vote with our dollars and take our business elsewhere. Force them to provide full access for reasonable prices -- even if they government doesn’t require it.
You may have to invest more money to promote your content.
This is a real bummer. But we at Obviously have always been up front with you, so we’re not going to mince words here. It is possible, under the new system, that people will have to pay to play. We’re not going to be shy about our opinion on this. We don’t like it.
One of the reasons influencer marketing works so well is its grassroots nature: everyday people who aren’t being paid millions of dollars are just talking about products they genuinely love. Unfortunately, this model is at risk. Now, the accounts of people who pay large amounts of money might suddenly be easier to access than the accounts of people who don’t. The good news is that Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg has been extremely vocal about his support of Net Neutrality and the innovation it drives, so it is unlikely that Facebook and Instagram will be participating in this type of behavior. It is possible, though, that access to social media sites could be restricted by internet providers. The higher cost that they have to pay to keep their sites accessible could be passed on to internet users like you and me. Yuck.
Innovative people will overcome this.
This might sound hopelessly optimistic, but I really do believe it. Here at Obviously, we have zero intention of ever slowing down. Influencer marketing developed organically out of the way everyday people use the internet. It morphed into a more organic, more trustworthy way for companies to market their products honestly through people who actually use them. It thrives on your creativity and innovation. Innovation will continue to happen in the new system and new solutions will be found. We’re going to be there every step of the way. Let’s do this thing.