Paid priority access not to the reception of Internet content but to the speed of distribution of content via the Internet.

Google and Verizon, one of the largest Internet providers in the USA, are engaged in secret talks to work out a deal where the delivery of Internet content is slowed down or sped up (prioritized, in the terminology of the deal) depending on whether or not the ISP is being paid for that delivery.

Net Neutrality: Equal Access For All Internet Players

Net neutrality is an equal opportunity concept wherein all types of Internet data (video, audio, images, text, email, etc.) from any source (Amazon, eBay or your aunts blog) receive the same level of access to the Internet highway.

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It means that ISPs are expected not to block or slow down specific web sites, Internet services or specific types of content in favor of others.

What Google & Verizon Want

Some ISPs have been saying that their Internet highways are getting too full and that companies and services that would like to go from point A (your web site) to point B (a customer browsing your web site) should pay to have their priority access to the Internet.

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While Google has been vocal in decrying this idea, even asking US citizens to take action against it, it now tentatively is working out a deal with Verizon which in all but wording would be the effective end of Net Neutrality.

Google and Verizon, two leading players in Internet service and content, are nearing an agreement that could allow Verizon to speed some online content to Internet users more quickly if the contents creators are willing to pay for the privilege.
New York Times, Aug. 4, 2010

Additionally, the agreement would specifically exclude mobile Internet, such as accessed via your mobile telephone, from any Net Neutrality limitations. Google makes the software that powers many of the telephones Verizon sells.

How It Changes The Web (& E-Commerce)

The types of content they speed up or slow down, or the content providers they speed up or slow down, will impact not only how you would reach your US-based customers.

These large US ISPs are part of the core infrastructure that makes up the essence of the world wide Internet. World wide traffic is routed through their systems; hosting your video with an ISP paying provider may become beneficial even when not targeted at the US market.

Content delivery networks such as Akaima stand to benefit: they have the leverage and capital to get major deals with ISPs in place.

Web hosting itself may change. We would see service providers that through paid deals with ISPs would guarantee speedy delivery of your sites content.

Scenario One: YouTube vs. other video channels

If YouTube, owned by Google, would pay Verizon for priority access (speedy delivery of its content), its videos would swiftly download to a viewers computers while videos hosted elsewhere would be slow, slowed, or " potentially " slowed down.

For competitors of YouTube such as Vimeo it would mean an impossibly unequal playing field only made worse by the fact that potential customers/users considering where to host their videos would opt increasingly for YouTube as its content would be so much faster.

Scenario Two: Amazon vs. your store

A page at Amazon.com can easily be 1 megabyte in size. It being one of the worlds most popular e-stores and one of the most visited web sites, you can imagine the sheer amount of Amazon traffic ISPs move around.

If Amazon would pay to ensure its content would have priority access to a narrowing Internet pipeline while your ecommerce web site cannot pay such fees " how would that play out in your pockets?

Scenario Three: Images vs. Video

If an ISP throttles certain types of Internet content, like videos which take up huge amounts of Internet bandwidth, but favor smaller images " which marketing vehicle would you choose?

What Does This Mean To You

Theoretically? All of the above: a possible, historic change in how the Internet (and by proxy ecommerce) works.

Actionably? Keep your content compact.

The growth of broadband (DSL, cable) over narrowband (dial-up) Internet access has seen a growth in the content we deliver over the Internet; you can watch a complete movie over the web these days.

That doesnt mean that your sites content can or should be as big as it takes. Whether or not there would be an end to Net Neutrality, the physical limitations of the nets distribution channels have always placed their own limitations.

Speedy delivery of your web pages is important now. Not just because Google favors speedy sites or because site speed is good for indexation and usability but also because mobile data networks are overloaded, mobile telephones are slow browsers. Keeping your sites pages compact and snappy means instant delivery on any connection " not just at home at the desktop.

Additional Reading:

Ruud Hein

My paid passion at Search Engine People sees me applying my passions and knowledge to a wide array of problems, ones I usually experience as challenges. People who know me know I love coffee.

Ruud Hein

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10 Responses to “Google & Verizon Deal Would End Net Neutrality, Favor Big Players”

  1. Thos003 says:

    How odd that this would occur after google begins docking websites for being slow….
    .-= Thos003 recently posted: Pest Control is about the little things =-.

    • Ruud Hein says:

      Let's say that I'm not under the impression Google is finally caving in after all these years. Rather, to close off the playing field before the rest of the race is ran … that must be an interesting prospect. Meanwhile they'd also be on the other side, at the receiving end: they own more dark fiber than anyone else seems to. They've been buying it up since — what? — 2005, 2006?

  2. Ally914 says:

    Stay tuned and see if our Congressional members grasp the importance of this issue. I would hate to bet on this one. Sign those Net Neutrality petitions, folks!
    .-= Ally914 recently posted: Should You Use Conventional Or Natural Cancer Treatments =-.

  3. Karen Swim says:

    Thank you so much for highlighting the impact of this issue. While many do business on the internet, not everyone understands the implications of the Google & Verizon deal. Your post does an excellent job of highlighting the dangers of eliminating Net Neutrality for both consumers and ecommerce businesses.

  4. Ok. Google now favors only Speedy websites. So now webmasters should try to optimize their websites for google.
    .-= Ricky | The X Views recently posted: Blog Design =-.

    • Ruud Hein says:

      "Only favors speedy websites" is too strong a statement.

      Let's say that Google encourages web sites to be speedy. Put otherwise: being fast never hurts while being slow … might hurt

  5. Is this the beginning of the end for mobile seo.

    I think Google has gone over the edge.

    I think the time has come for us all to consider what power the people have.
    It is time to make a stand.
    Consider this,…
    What if everyone who believed the net neutrality is paramount, and on September 1st 2010, made a stand.
    All of them dropped verizon phone, verizon wireless, verizon fios and verizon fios tv.
    What if all of the people who believe this is important, did a similar thing to google? Stopped using google for anything. No Searches, no email, no google voice, no google maps, no buzz etc?
    Do you think they would take notice?
    Not just for a day, but a huge slap in their face. No more google , no more verizon ever. If the people take a stand. the companies will surely fail quickly.
    While I would not want to see companies fail, I would prefer they live up to their word. When they don't live up to their word, and they think they are bigger than life, it is time to take them down a notch.
    Verizon as a company can be wiped off the map in mere months if just 40% of the people canceled their accounts.
    Google may take a bit longer. Keep in mind, the share holders would tell google what to do if they noticed a difference.
    If other companies saw verizon fail then sprint and att would not attempt such an idiotic idea.
    I will be leaving everything google and everything verizon on September 1st 2010.
    Please join me.
    Make a stand!
    On September 1st, 2010, stop using Google for anything. Cancel your Verizon accounts.
    Start now to set everything up to work around.

    I will cut all their services on September 1st 2010.
    Instead of verizon wireless I will use sprint.
    Instead of verizon phone services I will use vonage.
    Instead of verizon fios internet I will use time warner cable.
    Instead of Fios TV I will use time warner Cable.

    Instead of google maps I will use Bing.
    Instead of google search I will use bing search.
    Instead of google gmail I will use windows live or live.com

    On September 1st, 2010 I will remove all things google or verizon from my cell phones and computer.

    I will not come back to Verizon as I believe they overstepped their bounds.
    I will not come back to google as I believe with this mistake they should fail.

    Good Bye Verizon
    Good Bye Google.

    You signed my cancellation when you ended, or tried to end, net neutrality.

    Please join me and make a stand on September 1st 2010 and end google and verizon instead of net neutrality.

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