Let's tackle net neutrality. Net neutrality, as I'm sure you've read, means that the telecom/cable/satellite/wireless networks that connect you to the Internet have to allow you to access anything on the Internet equally, without making it easier to connect to one site vs. another. And that matters, not only to the companies and websites that you use right now and might someday use in the future, but it matters hugely to you too. More on that in a minute.
But first, let's break network neutrality down into a real world example. Say you've just launched a website that focuses on delivering the best reviews and news about apps, games and devices. Pretend you call it AppConsumer.com, like I did mine. Let's say the traffic is going thru the charts in just the first few days, blowing away even your highest expectations for the site.
And then let's say since you use Google Ads and since Google searches are starting to drive traffic to your awesome app review site that somebody at Google says, "Hey, we should get into the app, game, and device reviews and news business like those guys at AppConsumer.com." Google also knows just how huge the growth in searches for app reviews and news that I've cited on here many times lately is.
Anyway, the point is, let's say Google decides to start a direct competitor to your company. Google starts adding lots of very expensively-developed technologies to their app reviews website, but the networks are clogged because of people still coming to your site and other small-business-owned app reviews and news websites, so Google says to Verizon and the other carriers:
"Look, we'll pay you if you'll carry our content and make it work better on your networks than anybody else's. Especially those damn rebels at AppConsumer.com!" (Okay, maybe I made up them saying that last part for effect.)
And that's where the fissure starts. Network neutrality might be good for competition which might be good for you, the consumer. But then again, if Google's invested in new technologies that can only be delivered if they get the extra broadband on the networks that they're now paying Verizon for, then why would we want to suppress that? Don't you, as a consumer, want access to the very best technologies, and if you've got a problem with companies like Google that bribe the people selling you access to the Internet, then don't use Google products and try to only use networks that remain net neutral. It's a free country, right? (ha!)
On that note, isn't this arrangement between Google and Verizon a lot like the illegal payola arrangements of the music industry? You're not allowed to pay to get your music content on the radio, but you can pay to get your web content on the network?
And finally, maybe it's up to us at AppConsumer, as a competitor of Google's, to figure out ways to build on top of their new app reviews technologies to enhance the experience of my users and also thereby gain access to Google's preferred network status at Verizon et al?
One of the main reasons for Google abandoning their former positive-on-net-neutrality stance is because they want to kill off any chance of anybody ever competing with YouTube as the de facto standard for delivering user-gen video on the Internet. With this agreement with Verizon, Google's formally announced it's game over for YouTube competitors.
And there's the point of this article for Google investors and for followers of my Revolution Investing newsletter. What if I told you that Google could pay millions of dollars to ensure that YouTube never loses to a competitor, ensuring that all user-gen content creators (and any small business and most medium and large businesses, including media/entertainment companies) would use it and therefore creating a perfect virtuous cycle. Not this year, but ten years from now, when we're all consuming almost all of our content wirelessly with apps on our smartphone/devices and YouTube will deliver the vast majority of it. Can't you see Google search type market share here? say 60-70%? of video delivered on smartphones?
That business, supported with ads and search and all the other things that Google does, will be worth hundreds of billions of dollars. I've said before that I can see a Google $2000 price tag before 2020. This emboldens me on that prediction. Google, via YouTube, wins big with the death of net neutrality.
In the meantime, stick with Google the stock and help support a small business content provider while they still exist - http://appconsumer.com, the best reviews and news of apps, games and devices on the net.