On Sunday, August 8, 2010, Post Register Editor and Publisher Roger Plothow wrote on (the Post Register’s opinion page) about “The Net Neutrality Myth.” In short, Google and Verizon may (or may not) have made a deal that would establish fee schedules for the Internet. Plothow writes,
The Internet as we know it is full of garbage, a cesspool of bad information, lies, distortions, scams, falsehoods and just plain nonsense. A culling of this stuff has been a long time coming, and bringing capitalism into the mix can’t possibly hurt.
I must respectfully disagree. While I will agree that there is a lot of junk out there on the Internet, I disagree with the premise that “bringing capitalism into the mix can’t possibly hurt.” The problem, as I see it, that attempting to regulate the content of the Internet by who can pay what will not hurt just the providers of junk, but also legitimate businesspeople (i.e. capitalist entrepreneurs).
I have a little home-based business making crafts I invented and sell them. My main venue is on the Internet, specifically an online mall for handmade goods. This mall is like my landlord and does not do any marketing for me. I pay them a little when I list an item, and a little every time I sell one.
Since they do no marketing, I am almost entirely dependent for sales on people finding my items on the Internet through search. I am just starting out in this business and most of my money is tied up in inventory. I cannot pay extra money to have my pages load faster or better. I rely on net neutrality to give me an equal playing field with the big stores importing assembly-line goods from China.
The idea of net neutrality ending scares me. I already struggle with being seen on the Internet. For example, the mall I use made some changes this week that make a Facebook application I was using not work as it should. I am afraid this will decrease traffic to my store, but I am powerless to fix it.
As for bringing capitalism into the mix, it’s already present. We pay money for our Internet connection every month. In fact, it is a good portion of our phone bill. Why should other people be able to dictate which pages load fastest on the connection we pay for?
If the highest bidder should be seen by all, can Plothow tell me when the front page of the Post Register will be up for auction to the highest bidder?
This column originally appeared in the (Idaho Falls) Post Register on August 27, 2010.