Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC) is an invite-only organization comprised of the world’s most promising young entrepreneurs. In partnership with Citi, YEC recently launched BusinessCollective, a free virtual mentorship program that helps millions of entrepreneurs start and grow businesses.
The FCC is considering a plan to reverse Obama’s 2015 net neutrality order. What one thing should all business owners know about net neutrality and how this could affect entrepreneurs?
1. Sometimes it’s all about money.
Without net neutrality, the internet will be an unequal playing field for big and small online businesses, with big businesses clearly having the advantage. It’s unfair for internet companies to accept money from companies that are able to hand over large payments and shut out small businesses in the process. This affects entrepreneurs who don’t have a lot of money to give. – Zev Herman, Superior Lighting
2. It can be harder for startups to gain momentum.
If net neutrality is gone, it will be much harder for startups that are bootstrapping to gain momentum online. Ultimately, it will come down to who holds financial power. I believe the main tenets of good business won’t change. You will always need to have a strong product needed by the market, but it will be much harder for new businesses to hack their growth formula. – Nicole Munoz, Start Ranking Now
3. You might get new partners.
I don’t think many of us disagree that this was a bad decision. As far as living with it, we’re going to have to be prepared to build relationships with companies that provide these connections. They’ll likely be working with their own content and ad platforms if they aren’t already, and we need to be paying attention and making decisions about which one is the best funnel to our market.– Adam Steele, The Magistrate
4. Marketing costs will increase.
By losing net neutrality, entrepreneurs should expect their marketing fees to increase. In particular, because marketing today increasingly involves video and other bandwidth-hogging material, internet service providers (ISPs) will start billing for this higher use of their services. By allowing ISPs to decide who they can bill for their use and discriminate based on volume, businesses should expect a new bill. – Diego Orjuela, Cables & Sensors
5. SEO may become impractical for smaller companies.
Net neutrality, at least in theory, gives everyone equal access to the internet. If this is no longer enforced, it will favor larger companies who will be able to dominate the search engines. This may compel smaller businesses to rely more on paid advertising as they won’t be able to compete using SEO. However, this has been happening anyway over the last few years. – Shawn Porat, Scorely
6. It’s about discrimination.
Net neutrality prevents web discrimination. For entrepreneurs, this means that the internet is a fair playing field. If net neutrality is abolished, it can put smaller startups at a disadvantage to established players with deep resources. What makes the internet an amazing place for entrepreneurs is that the biggest websites and the smallest are currently treated equally. – Gregory Raiz, Raizlabs
7. You may have to pay a fee.
If you sell or market a lot online, you might want to begin investigating offline methods for advertising or generating sales. If the order is overturned in part or as a whole, you could possibly have to pay a significant fee so your customers can use your website at high speed. – Andrew Schrage, Money Crashers Personal Finance
8. The reversal will stifle innovation.
Reversing the order will stifle innovation and entrepreneurship by reducing competition and giving more control to incumbent corporations. Entrepreneurs can make their voices heard by joining non-profits, industry coalitions, PACs, and events to oppose the change. Check out Engine, a network of startups and innovators, and the internet-wide day of action to save net neutrality on July 12, 2017. – Erik Bullen, MageMail
9. We’ll have limited access to information.
Without net neutrality, we don’t have access to all information that’s available on the internet, plain and simple. If this ever comes to fruition, we’ll all need to ensure we have access to the best sources of information possible. If you’re doing all your research on the internet, that may not be the most reliable source anymore. – Ismael Wrixen, FE International
10. Net neutrality limits opportunities.
On the surface, net neutrality may seem like a good idea. However, it actually throttles the incentive to invest in new bandwidth and limits opportunities for entrepreneurs. By allowing network providers to control how bandwidth is priced, startups could be charged at lower rates, allowing them to enter competitive markets, and niche applications that require special bandwidth could be created. – Peter Bonac, Bonac Innovation Corp.
11. It will make the internet a luxury.
In the digital age, the internet is as necessary to the well-being of our citizens as any other utility. If the FCC reverses net neutrality, it means that the government’s official stance will be that the internet is a luxury, not a utility. No one buys that. The only ones who pretend to believe that also get wheelbarrows full of campaign contributions from Comcast, et al. Coincidence? – Tim Chaves, ZipBooks
12. Don’t rely on organic search traffic.
If net neutrality is reversed, small companies that have worked hard on their SEO and rely on this free search traffic to generate a large portion of their revenue could be at the mercy of big corporations and in big trouble. With constant Google algorithm updates and the threat of reversing net neutrality, it’s more important than ever to have a reliable paid advertising strategy.