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Top False Claims of the New Internet Association -- Part 2 of Internet as Oz Series

Unfortunately, the new Internet Association launched yesterday making several false claims.

Claim: "The Internet Association, the nation's first trade association representing the interests of the Internet economy, America's leading Internet companies and their vast community of users…"

Truth: This "first" claim is unsupportable; several different Internet groups have had similar purposes long before this Internet Association: The Internet Society; The Internet Engineering Task Force; Net Coalition; SaveTheInternet.com; The Open Internet Coalition; The Internet Defense League; The Internet Freedom Coalition; The Internet Alliance; The Internet Marketing Association; The Internet Commerce Association and The Internet Infrastructure Coalition.

The New Internet Association's Back Story

Google, Amazon, eBay, and Facebook reportedly are launching a new Internet Association in mid-September to be "the unified voice of the Internet economy, representing the interests of America's leading Internet companies and their global community of users. The Internet Association is dedicated to advancing public policy solutions to strengthen and protect an open, innovative and free Internet."

What is the back story here? Why is it being formed? Why now? What unites these companies? What is the Internet Association's public policy agenda? What does its formation mean?

Why is the Internet Association being formed?

The main public policy catalyst was bipartisan anti-piracy legislation that was moving swiftly through Congress last year that Google, Amazon, eBay and Facebook all strenuously opposed and helped defeat with an unprecedented Internet blackout day in January.

Who but Google is Thriving in Online Advertising?

Evidence abounds that the industry business model of online advertising, minus Google, is shockingly weak competitively, given how many people assume advertising is supposed to be the viable competitive monetization engine that will sustain the "free and open Internet" long term.

Anyone open to connecting-the-dots of recent public evidence will see an obvious dichotomy: Google is thriving, while much of the rest of the online advertising industry is struggling despite unprecedented: opportunity to reach users, technological efficiencies, and access to troves of private data to target ads to produce more revenue growth.

Examine the accumulating troubling evidence of how weak online advertising competition has become.

The Internet Advertising Bureau's latest reporting of 15% online advertising growth for the industry in 1Q12 masks the large Google vs. competitor revenue growth dichotomy. Given that Google grew 24% 1Q12 and comprises almost half of all U.S. online advertising per eMarketer, I calculate that the rest of the online advertising industry is growing only about 8%. That means Google is growing three times faster than its online competitors and continues to take market share at an accelerating rate.

Google's Picking a Third Antitrust Fight in Becoming a Domain Registrar

Is anyone paying attention to the profound antitrust implications of Google applying to ICANN to become the world's largest domain registrar for Internet Taxonomy 2.0 -- the next generation of Internet addressing and classification of information? Giving the world's dominant search engine -- that is already under antitrust investigation on four continents for favoring Google content over competitors' content -- the additional market power of controlling the allocation of new keyword domain-names which Google would then index for publishers, rank for users, and monetize for advertisers, is an unquestionable conflict of interest and a recipe for more Google monopolization.

ICANN's original Internet taxonomy 1.0 involved truly "generic" top level domains as like .com, .org, .net, .gov, .edu, .mil, organized around institutional purposes and around geography to recognize sovereign nation authority like .US, .UK, .JP, .NZ, etc.

Mobile Payments Ignite New Competitive Free-for-All

Mobile technology advances are dramatically increasing the intensity of competition broadly online and offline. The technological convenience of using a smart phone, tablet etc. rather than a card or cash to pay for goods and services, wherever one may be, is igniting a competitive free-for-all.

  • That's because the technological shift to devices rather than cards creates a huge potential competitive opportunity for most everyone in the competitive ecosystem to potentially disintermediate other industries -- i.e. Wrest control of the customer relationship, customers' private information, interests and metadata, and also the bundling of marketing coupons and promotions, in markets with transactions in the trillions of dollars annually.

Activists and regulators who fear a potential new communications "opoly" lurking around every corner -- in need of preemptive government intervention to protect consumers from the convenience, savings and benefits of a highly-competitive marketplace -- need to take a breath, enjoy, and get out of the way of this amazing technological convergence and innovation over mobile payments.

Where's the Market for Online Privacy?

Why are market forces so weak in protecting users’ online privacy?

The main reason is that the online marketplace is economically structured around users being a commodity, data, to be aggregated and mined, not customers to be served and protected in a competitive marketplace. That’s because the overriding economic force that created the free and open commercial Internet – the predominant Silicon Valley venture capital/IPO value creation model – was and remains largely antithetical to protecting online privacy.

The Silicon Valley venture capital/IPO driven model is laser-focused on achieving Internet audience/user scale fastest in order to gain first-mover advantage and then rapid dominance of a new product or service segment. This predominant Internet economic model is predicated on a precious few investments achieving such rapid user scale that it: warrants a buy-out at an enormous premium multiple; enables fast and exceptionally-profitable liquidity (via the new secondary derivative market for private venture shares or employee options); or broad liquidity via a public IPO.

What is the essential critical element of achieving audience/user scale fastest? Free. No direct cost to the user fuels fastest, frictionless, viral adoption. This free economic model presupposes online advertising as an eventual monetization mechanism and shuns products and services directly paid for by the user because their inherent time-to-market is too slow and their upfront sunk cost of sales and customer service is too high for this predominant value creation model.

Twitter’s Realpolitik & The Sovereign-ization of the Internet

Reports that “Twitter Can Censor by Country” is a perfect example of how the world is changing the Internet. Change is a two-way street. Conventional wisdom that only assumes the Internet is changing the world risks being blind-sided by the Internet’s underappreciated exa-trend: how the world is changing the Internet.

See my Forbes Tech Capitalist post: "Twitter Realpolitik & the Sovereignization of the Internet" to learn about Twitter's new realpolitik and how sovereign powers will increasingly be asserting themselves vis a vis the Internet.

The Google+ Antitrust Smoking Gun

Usually one of the hardest things to prove in an antitrust case is anti-competitive intent and motive, but Google’s new CEO Larry Page has made that much easier for antitrust authorities by unabashedly tying and leveraging Google’s search dominance with Google+ in a myriad of overt and covert ways.

To learn Google's "grand plan" and what the Google+ antitrust "smoking gun" is, please read my Forbes Tech Capitalist post: The Google+ Antitrust Smoking Gun.

 

Seven Ways the World is Changing the Internet

Since most people focus on how the Internet is changing the world, few focus on the reverse -- how much the world is changing the Internet.

See My Forbes Tech Capitalist blog post to learn the "Seven Ways the World is Changing the Internet."

 

SOPA Fixes Isolate Opponents, Especially Google

The House Manager’s Amendment to the pending House Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) fixed the major legitimate problems with the original bill, effectively isolating the small but extremely vociferous minority of SOPA opponents, especially Google.

See my Forbes Tech Capitalist post here for a political outlook of the SOPA/PIPA anti-piracy legislation, which is likely to become law in 2012.

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