Monday, December 22, 2008

Google's interest in Network Neutrality could cost you money

Network Neutrality GroupImage by eschipul via FlickrGoogle's interest in Network Neutrality may also save you money. Here's the one line summary; Network Neutrality may affect how quickly your site loads and your PPC costs can increase if your site loads slowly.

Some telecom companies would like to be able to prioritise some internet traffic over other network traffic.

For example, an ISP may decide that they may wish to put their business users ahead of their home users when it comes to the second-by-second queue of internet requests. Another ISP may wish to let any request for a .com hosted in the UK to go ahead of any request for a .biz address hosted in Russia should the two bottleneck at any time. Yet another ISP may decide to prioritise any requests to HTTPS connections.

There is a business model here. ISPs could then offer a tiered service where you could pay to ensure traffic too your website was always a priority and that it would always be delivered via the fast lanes of the ISPs network.

Those who oppose this, Google included, argue that Network Neutrality is needed. They say this is a solution in search of a problem. The argument is that ISPs should not be given this power. Google has created an entire section in their help centre to defend Net Neutrality. Google argues that users should be in control of the content they view and the applications they use.

Google's position on Network Neutrality, however, became slightly clouded when it announced plans for its OpenEdge project. OpenEdge lets Google co-locate server functionality with ISPs in order to ensure it gets good service, fast and prioritised connections.

The issue of speed becomes an issue of cost when we look at Google's Quality Score algorithm. Quality Score is one of the thorns currently challenging PPC campaigns that are too reliant to automated bidding strategy; increasingly algorithmic evaluation of ads and landing pages (think SEO for PPC) are as important as max bids, dayparting and the risk management of portfolios.

Google evaluates the speed of your landing pages. If your PPC ads point to a landing page that Google feels takes too long to load – your Quality Score goes down and your cost per click is likely to increase.

If the battle to maintain Network Neutrality is lost then large companies are in a better position than SMEs to secure priority speeds on the new tiered internet. Smaller companies will then be more likely to have slower landing pages and more likely to face Quality Score issues in their Paid Search campaign. Google's interest in Network Neutrality could cost you money

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