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Check out this great new analogy for why net neutrality is so off-base -- "food-neutrality"

Every now an then someone comes up with a new great analogy that really helps us get to the heart of a matter. Canadian Mark Goldberg's telecom trends blog really hit the nail on the head in this post. 

Let's go right to his analogy:

  • Videotron boss Robert Depatie: "also spoke from his past business experience.
Before I worked at Videotron, I was in the food business – we were a 'content producer' in the parlance of today's communications business. To reach our customers, we dealt with a distribution channel, in our case, grocery stores.

To reach our customers we needed to convince our distribution channels to place our product in advantageous positions (end of aisles, eye-to-shoulder height on shelves – too high, or too low and sales suffered), and to help promote our product. We paid for that service. We compensated the distributor for his 'help' in making our product more successful.

  • Not all producers pay stores for product placement. And I have noticed that my neighbourhood grocery stores and drug stores give preferred placement to their house brands. But I don't see people shouting about food neutrality. There is no 'Save the soft drinks' movement. Although with winter approaching I would like to find Red River cereal more prominently displayed, I shop around until I find it. I'm not calling for a federal inquiry as to why Sugar Zombies are easier to find at every store.

There is limited shelf space next to the cash registers or at the end of each aisle. How do you think the decisions get made as to which products get displayed there?" [bold added for emphasis]

This analogy gets right to the heart of the "Socialized-Internet" ethos that I have so long railed against on this blog. Somehow many people think that the Internet is different from the real world and that it is not a commercial medium. Net neutrality proponents conveniently forget that the U.S. Government commercialized/privatized the Internet in 1995, which was precisely the time when the Internet became the phenomenon that it is. Net neutrality proponents love to rewrite history and say that the "free and open Internet" had nothing to do with market forces and competition -- but only the first amendment of the Internet net neutrality nondiscrimination principle. What kind of blinders do they wear that they can't see what is in plain sight?

Doesn't every website or content provider who wants to show high up on Internet searches, pay Google, Yahoo, Microsoft, and IAC/ for the privledge of that product placement?

  • Isn't that harming the little guy website or content who can't outbid bigger players?
  • Where's the net neutrality outrage over discrimination in search?
  • Why don't these supposed purists insist on search neutrality?