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Tuesday, September 14, 2010

crosspost from Jillian

Jillian Ann Hi everyone,
I rarely send stuff out to you all as a group, it will hopefully not happen again, if I have not been in touch in a while, forgive me, but I thought this was important.

I have been telling people about Net Neutrality for a long time, in my arguments against Google's (and others') plans, I have been highlighting the totally ignored sword of Armageddon, which is the fact that their plan to put commercial traffic on the fast track while non-commercial traffic would be slowed down, was far more debilitating than it sounded, since search engines would respond by ranking commercial sites higher all the time (due to speed). This fact has to my knowledge not been written about before and it means that when you look up "BP Oil Crisis" you would end up with ONLY commercial results in the top 50 search engine results, rendering the other hits meaningless. So if you are an environmental group, a blogger or any small group with less money than BP, you lose and your message will not be heard. This also means that if you are an indie band, against a powerful political faction, or think Monsanto is not doing the right thing, you will be shut down, not by censorship, give these guys some credit for brains, but by ensuring that no one ever gets to hear you.

This would be less of a problem if there were still a lot of reliable news sources but the few remaining online ones will also be affected by this. Unless you read, which most people no longer do.

Here, in this (technical) article, you have further indications that this is already going to happen. The fact is, web crawlers will be subjected to the uneven speeds, so by default, they will rank commercial sites higher than non commercial sites. When all search engines adopt the commercial algorithm then they will all have the same bias and non commercial results will be relegated to the back of the search queues. This article points out that there is indeed a speed factor, so far it is mitigated by the obligation the search engines have to provide relevant content results (this will change to favor commercial content as I said) The article ONLY tells us that at the moment, the speed with which pages load is critical to search results, and the solution for everyone is to design better pages. Keep in mind that we also expect pages and web sites to "do" things for us, or we lose interest, so a fast loading text only page will not work no matter how important the text is.

Eventually even the most streamlined non commercial site will lose out to commercial ones with turbo speed boosting. if net neutrality is not adopted as law. Trust me this is a really BIG deal.......

Oh to those of you in Europe or Asia, guess what, the US search engine algorithms are the same ones you are using, and the commercially weighed searches that happen in the US will affect you almost as much, unless censorship like in China happens to change the game entirely.

To understand the actual things going on spend 2 minutes with this:

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