Yesterday was a painful day on the internet for me. For some reason, everything that had to do with Google was not working for people in my area of Las Vegas. I tested a computer on the other side of Las Vegas and it worked fine, but for me and all my neighbors, the Google services were down. This meant no mail from my Gmail accounts. It also meant that every page I visited that used Google Adsense would stop loading as soon as I hit the Adsense code on the site. And of course, the big nail in the Google-less coffin was the fact that I couldn’t search the web using Google. This was painfully clear when I tried to search Google on whether anyone else was having this problem. Ironic.
This was not a fun day.
This is what it could be like if Net Neutrality isn’t created and made into law.
For those who don’t know what net neutrality is, a very short answer is that Internet Service Providers (ISP’s) will have to serve up all the websites at the same speed and with the same priority. Otherwise, they can say to Google, “You have to pay us money or we’ll make your website load much slower than Yahoo’s website and people will flock to Yahoo.” The ISP’s say that the money they earn from this will enable them to continue to build up their network. (But we we all know it will just build up their pockets.) This is a very elementary explanation of Net Neutrality, but you can read more here and here. There is a nice video explanation of it here.
The reason I bring all this up is because the slower Google had a different influence on me than the ISP’s were hoping for with their customers. A slower Google didn’t make me want to switch to Yahoo, it made me want to switch my ISP to another company. Google is so popular because it works so well. I’ll have my internet service with the provider that gives me the best Google experience.
This got me thinking, why don’t the big internet sites group together and flip the table on the ISP’s? Instead of the current threat from the ISP’s, I think Google, Amazon, ebay, Yahoo, MSN, Apple (with iTMS) and the rest of the big sites should counter with, “Dear ISP’s, We know that our sites are the reason that people sign up for high speed internet. If you want serve our content on your networks, you’ll have to pay us for the right to serve it up. ”
This would make me, the average consumer, think that I’ll sign up with whoever pays to offer these sites. If Cox wouldn’t pay it, I’d go with Sprint or AT&T or Comcast or satellite, etc. To me, ISP’s are interchangeable and my favorite websites are not. Nobody searches like Google. No one sells like Amazon. No one auctions like ebay. You get the point.
Now, I’m not saying this is a good thing. It probably wouldn’t work because the way things are set up, it’s a “I scratch your back, you scratch mine” deal. I’m just saying that it is a good counter attack to show the ISP’s that net neutrality will benefit both sides. In fact, it’s necessary.
Has this been talked about before and I totally missed it? I never thought of it until I experienced no Google yesterday. I’m hoping all of you can put in your opinions.