Net neutrality: Digital industry debates who were real winners following US vote

As the Drum reported yesterday, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) voted 3-2 on the passage of net neutrality.

The controversial proposal, allowed for freedom of speech over the internet and ensured that internet providers couldn’t discriminate against users based on website content.

For the most part, democrats, including President Obama, have approved of the passage, while republicans have opposed it, threatening to fight the decision.

Industry professionals are also split on the decision. Some believe it was a necessary step toward protecting the internet, while others believe it limits freedom online.

Mike Driscoll, chief executive officer, Metamarkets

"While the news has focused on the corporate Goliaths -- Comcast, Netflix, and others -- the true winners in this decision are digital entrepreneurs. Net neutrality is a Law of the Sea for the Internet, providing fair access to all, belonging to none."

Daryl Collwell, senior vice president of business development, Matomy

"As a digital performance advertising company Matomy, along with its clients and media partners, had benefitted greatly from the fact the governments around the world have allowed the Internet to be a marketplace for innovation and experimentation. This lack of direct government oversight of the Web has led to an explosion of Internet communications capabilities, including the explosive growth of digital advertising and marketing. We hope that the new regulations put in place by the FCC do not have an adverse effect on the growth of the Internet or of the digital advertising industry, which continues to reshape the global business landscape for the better, in our view.

Despite the FCC's new regulations and oversight of the Internet, we are confident that the global digital advertising industry will continue its strong growth and innovation, that has led it to become the growing force that is reshaping much of today's digital landscape."

Sloan Gaon, chief executive officer, PulsePoint

"The internet has become an essential part of every day life much like electricity and water. We believe that yesterday’s ruling is pro business and pro consumer. It ensures equal access for all and preserves our right to communicate freely online."

Robbie Whiting, head of creative technology and production, Argonaut

"The recent decision around the complicated issue of net neutrality is a win toward protecting a free and open Internet -- and thus a win for consumers. Regardless of where you work or what you do for a living, you just have to put you consumer hat on and consider: ‘who owns the Internet?’ Does it belong to corporations, or is it more a part of the public commons? And at least for now, there’s a bit more clarity. And that’s a reason to celebrate.

And most remarkably -- somehow we managed to get our collective voices heard, which isn’t always the easiest thing to pull off when we’re continually distracted by wandering llamas and live-tweeting awards shows.

And here’s what’s really fascinating: while the original Net Neutrality issue was sparked and nurtured by traditional activism, it quickly transformed into a case-study of Internet activism thanks in no small part to the influence of people like John Oliver and the ability of platforms like Reddit to mobilize audiences and amplify the conversation – on their own turf, no less. These Internet activists took the guerrilla war that was happening on the steps of the FCC and made it, well, go viral."

Eric Bader, chief media officer, RadiumOne

"We believe that the net must be neutral in the interests of advertisers, who also happen to be the underwriters of much of the net’s sites and content.

For advertisers and ad technology enablers like RadiumOne, speed is essential to capturing audience attention. On behalf of advertisers, we use real-time consumer behavioral information at the moment of intent to produce exceptional ad performance, which lowers media costs and improves ROI. Our performance is driven by serving ads to audiences in the right context and location within milliseconds of reading a signal across any digital device or channel.

If any entity is able to give preference and faster loading times or “fast lanes” to some sites, or create throttling or blocking of others, advertisers will be deprived of the ability to best reach and engage consumers with advertising – the most important commercial currency they have.

Additionally, if some media owners and publishers have speed and distribution preference over others, it will immediately create monopolies and commercial advantages and limit, or even destroy, the opportunity for start-ups and smaller social networks, content providers and websites that rely on ad spending for revenue."

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