Well, the news that Google and Verizon are conspiring against net neutrality was announced, and diffused, yesterday morning when the two companies did indeed meet with regulators, but to to enact laws preventing carriers from blocking websites or selectively delaying access to content common on the Internet today, while leaving the door open for private “specialized networks” down the line. The meeting was not about “allowing Verizon to speed some online content to Internet users more quickly if the content’s creators are willing to pay for the privilege,” as the New York Times and, subsequently, the Huffington Post , reported.

Interestingly enough, though, the New York Times is standing behind its story. Which makes you wonder…is net neutrality about to become a thing of the past?

I know, I know. This isn’t a tech blog and believe me when I say I don’t fully understand what Google and Verizon are claiming to do by meeting with regulators. But what I do understand is what a non-net neutrality Internet can do for business as we know it today.

One of the things I love about commnicating online is it completely levels the playing field. A high school student in Sweden knows he wants to go into PR and connects with industry leaders around the world. A sales person knows she has the perfect widget for a company and build relationships with decision makers through social tools before making the pitch. And a small company is able to compete with its large counterparts without spending as much money for the same awareness.

But what the credible media are reporting, and Google and Verizon are denying, is that you soon could pay to have your content delivered more quickly.

So ends net neutrality in which no form of content is favored over another…an open Internet that allows us to decide which companies are successful, no matter their size or how much money they spend. And so ends the level playing field.

If this is true, and it goes through, the way we conduct business is forever changed. What happens to Twitter and Facebook? What about blogs and search engine optimization?  What about ecommerce and online shopping? And the way we easily update photos and videos for all to see? How will the Davids compete with the Goliaths if they have to pay to use the web?

While there are things you can do, as consumers, to save the Internet (there is a petition online), begin to think about how you currently conduct business on the web and what a Google/Verizon deal might do to your goals. If the web does go the way of Big Business, a lot of us are going to have to quickly change the way we communicate.  What are you going to do?

Gini Dietrich

Gini Dietrich is the founder, CEO, and author of Spin Sucks, host of the Spin Sucks podcast, and author of Spin Sucks (the book). She is the creator of the PESO Model and has crafted a certification for it in partnership with Syracuse University. She has run and grown an agency for the past 15 years. She is co-author of Marketing in the Round, co-host of Inside PR, and co-host of The Agency Leadership podcast.

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