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How important is 'network neutrality'? In the United States, the Federal Communications Commission thinks it's such a big deal that it's willing to completely ignore court rulings and potentially even Congress in its altruistic effort to 'protect consumers.'
But in a rare example of thoughtful governmental restraint, Ofcom, the UK's communications regulator, has determined that network neutrality may not be all that it's cracked up to be.
It's probably no surprise that the blogosphere caught fire when the FTC officially announced rules meant to regulate blogger payola and social media endorsements. And it's probably no surprise that, by in large, some of the blogosphere's most prominent voices found plenty to criticize in the FTC's efforts.
And for good reason. Because no matter how well-intentioned the FTC's regulations may be, they're going to be pretty darn difficult to enforce. After all, it appears that the rules would cover activity on plenty of websites and the number of people who could potentially violate them is astronomical. If you live in the United States and can set up a blog or post an affiliate link somewhere, you could conceivably qualify for an "educational" experience courtesy of the FTC.
Techcrunch has just published an article called: “The Time Has Come To Regulate Search Engine Marketing And SEO.” The author requested anonymity for fear of a Google blackout (OR WORSE) and “doesn’t want his company associated with the post”. Fair enough – you wouldn’t want those men in green, red, yellow and blue suits to come a-knockin’.
The upshot of the article is basically that the government should step in and smite these bastards until they are sore. Too much power! We’ll show you! “The industry can’t be left to its own devices…”
Now that Google is properly grown up and employs a vast number of staff, it has undoubtedly moved into the world of ‘being a corporate’. Corporate practices do not sit easily with Google’s founders, nor many of its staff, but a company of that size needs to be run a certain way. And with scale comes responsibility, as well as the ‘corporate’ tag. And corporates are clearly a major threat to the world as we know it.
So the downside of achieving scale extends far beyond the realms of the business itself. Now that Google is king of search, almighty and powerful, questions are being asked about whether it is good, as per the company motto, or evil. Some people think it is too much of a force to be left alone...
Last week I explored the ways in which the government succeeds at its online marketing, but even then I had to admit that these bursts of brilliance are few and far between.
Unfortunately, sometimes our leaders and public servants just get the whole thing so very wrong. Here are a few of their worst offences but please feel free to add your own. It is like bad call centre experiences, everyone has a story!
The government is not having the best of weeks, what with all the Hobnobs, moats and dog food controversy, so I decided to give our not-so-esteemed leaders a break and concentrate on what they can sometimes get just right: using the web to communicate with citizens.
Last week, Econsultancy was invited to the Westminster eForum, where Lord Stephen Carter - the Minister for Communications, Technology and Broadcasting - was a guest keynote speaker ahead of his Digital Britain report.
The report, which is expected on January 26th, is to be “an action plan to secure the UK’s place at the forefront of innovation, investment and quality in the digital and communications industries.” So, ahead of the report, what is the Government planning?