Net Neutrality Explained: Why It’s Critical To Etsy Sellers Especially

Net Neutrality Explained

Attention Etsy Sellers. this is an *Emergency Dispatch* and it will behoove you to pay close attention.

Now before you click away dismissing this as too clickbaity of an intro, listen just a little bit longer and you’ll see exactly why I felt it necessary to sound the alarms.

Today we’re going to talk about Net Neutrality and what it means to you. What is it? Why should you care? How will affect your Etsy business in the months and years to come?

First, a little backstory…

There are some general principles that our country is founded on. The right to justice, liberty, freedom, etc.

In that same vain, we believe that certain essential resources are a fundamental right of all citizens. Things like air, water and the pursuit of happiness.

As such we believe that open access to knowledge and information is a fundamental right as well.

Net neutrality is the idea that all internet traffic should be treated equally – with no internet service provider (ISP) having the power to favor one source over another by blocking, throttling (i.e. purposefully slowing down or speeding up), or by means of paid prioritization.

An open internet is vital to everyone on all levels, from doctors in developing countries who need vital medical information to diagnose and treat patients accurately, to small businesses and entrepreneurs looking to impact the world with their time & talents, to the everyday person simply being aware of current news happening in the world around them, including injustices thrust upon those who haven’t the means to speak up for themselves.

Without a level playing field, certain people (read: those with money) will have access to the world of open knowledge and opportunity while others will be cut off from it. This is inherently unfair, and we can’t stand idly by while something so important is at stake.

This makes net neutrality a crucial aspect in helping all of us have equal access to knowledge, and to your Etsy business as well.

Can you imagine a world where your listings don’t show up in search because you didn’t pay enough to get it priority from any particular ISP? Or you could not even take advantage of a marketplace like Etsy. Why? Because it didn’t show up in your search engines because your ISP cut off access to that website?

Or worse yet, what if internet speed to your site was significantly slower than the speed to load big box online retailers like Amazon and Walmart, what would that mean to your sales?

Yes, this is hella important ya’ll. Don’t sleep on this issue.

Now that we’ve covered what Net Neutrality is, let’s take a look at what it means to you and why it’s critical that you take action now…

Etsy has joined in with several other online entities to fight the FCC’s vote to repeal net neutrality and here’s what they say on their website…

They want to protect a free and open Internet. The Internet is built on the principle of openness and for the price of an internet connection anyone can spread new ideas or start a business even spark a new industry. It is this democratic access that makes the internet so revolutionary.

It’s what allows Etsy sellers to compete with much bigger and more established brands. It is what allowed Etsy to grow from a tiny company in a Brooklyn apartment to a global platform that hosts over 1 million sellers worldwide.

As a community we believe that the basic principle of net neutrality should be safeguarded and we encourage policy makers to adopt clear rules that allow any business including micro entrepreneurs to compete on and even the playing field online.

Now recently the FCC continued to roll back net neutrality rules and you might have noticed if you haven’t please go and check in your Etsy dashboard there was notice from Etsy to send a letter to your senator. If you haven’t already please go and look for that email or message alert.

If it’s no longer there, you can visit this page and just sign up with your email here and I’m sure they’ll send you a link to it as well. But you want to send that message to your senator so that they know how you feel about this repeal of the open Internet rules.

Now when you do this and actually I’m going to leave some more resources if you’d like to applaud I’m going to leave a link to this page, the net neutrality page as well as this article if you’d like to read a little more further about the topic.

So I actually signed that petition, had the message sent to my senator and I got a form letter back but it was very informative and I think that you should do it as well because it’s important. Basically I got two letters back I got one from Senator Richard Durbin and from Tammy Duckworth who are my representatives.

They basically say that back in 2015 the FCC voted to adopt new net neutrality rules that would preserve the internet as an open platform and that those rules prohibited ISPs from blocking customer’s access to websites and banned content providers from charging higher fees delivery of certain information. 

This is very important and it makes a lot of sense. I mean you don’t want the internet service providers act as gatekeepers to the information that you’re allowed access to.

That not only blocks open innovation, it blocks access to resources, it blocks the right to be informed about what’s going on around you. I mean there are so many negative things can come as a result of those companies holding that kind of power. But in May of 2017 under other Trump administration they voted to roll back many of the central tenets of the net neutrality rules which basically would allow ISPs to throttle (i.e. they would they would be able to speed up or slow down internet access depending on how much you paid).

They’d also be able to block certain parts of the internet which means you may see certain websites and you may not see certain web sites. If you just think about it logically this is very dangerous but they voted to roll it back anyway.

So I submitted a letter and so it turns out that Senator Durbin is in favor of net neutrality so he’s voting on that anyway but it was good to have that letter of confirmation. And also from Senator Tammy Duckworth, she says that as a member of the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Technology which oversees the FCC, she’s committed to protecting net neutrality.

She says that we must protect consumers by banning internet service providers from engaging in paid prioritization blocking and throttling. All of these restrictive practices not only hurt consumers but they threaten the very freedom of the Internet.

Congress should not allow cable or telephone companies to act as gatekeepers of what content consumers may receive. Which is this is why she voted against efforts to weaken the FCC’s long-standing statutory authority to protect Internet users from unfair and anti-competitive practices.

Okay so you guys as Etsy sellers if you have not already submitted your form via Etsy go over to the website. If it’s no longer anywhere in your seller dashboard to send the letter directly hop on over to this page and sign up submit your email and then you probably get more information. That way so that you can send a letter to your senator.

But it’s important that we not stay silent on this, we have to speak up. And if it means even taking further action like demonstrations or going to Washington or whatever. Even if that is the case, this is worth it because an open Internet is vital to all of us on all levels.

So I hope that this has been valuable to you. Feel free to leave a comment in the comments below if you’d like to discuss or if you have any questions. I don’t propose to be an expert on this topic but I thought that it was very important  and that I had to raise awareness in any way that I could so that I so that is the reason that I make this video.

Hopefully it will spread on YouTube and the Etsy seller community can take a united stand on this matter. So until next time happy selling.

Resources:

Etsy’s Page on Net Neutrality: https://www.etsy.com/advocacy/net-neutrality

Etsy CEO speaks out on Net Neutrality: https://www.wired.com/2014/09/etsy-ceo-to-businesses-if-net-neutrality-perishes-we-will-too/

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