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BizReport : Advertising : July 09, 2018


Top 3 strategies for SMBs post net neutrality

The end of net neutrality could have a devastating impact on small businesses which rely on equal access to internet bandwidth in order to deliver their product. And one of the most frustrating aspects of the whole situation is that there is very little they can do about it. Here are three strategies SMBs can follow to remain relevant to customers after the net neutrality changes.

by Kristina Knight

Utilize a VPN

"A Virtual Private Network (VPN) is the single most effective tool available against having your traffic discriminated against by your ISP. A VPN is a privacy and security tool that prevents your ISP from seeing what you get up to online. Your ISP can't see your data because it is encrypted. It also can't know which websites (etc.) you visit because all internet activity is routed through the VPN server which acts as a proxy. Your ISP can only see that you are connected to the VPN server, not which websites or services you visit after that. And what an ISP cannot see, it cannot block or throttle," said Douglas Crawford, Online Privacy Expert, BestVPN. "Businesses can setup their own VPN intranets to allow employees access to centralised resources, but this does not help customers access their product without interference. The best a company can do if customers' ISPs are throttling connections to their service is to encourage them to use a commercial VPN service to overcome this. Note that this will prevent ISPs from actively discriminating against traffic to and from their servers, but will not stop competition from paying for preferential internet access, such as faster speeds or unlimited data connections. Other than also paying for preferential treatment, there is little that can be done about this."

Utilize Proxy Domains and Mirroring

"If a business finds that ISPs are throttling customers' connections to its domains, it can try setting up alternative domains that are not blacklisted but which redirect users to their main websites. A similar effect can be achieved by "mirroring" their entire website across multiple servers, each with its own domain. This is hardly ideal, as it may involve businesses becoming involved in a cat-and-mouse game with ISPs they try to close down or throttle each new domain they associate with the business. It also does little to encourage consumer confidence in a product or foster brand awareness," said Crawford.

Leverage Large Sites such as Amazon

"Not a tool as such, but sites such as Amazon are powerful and wealthy enough to ensure a prominent position in the new ecosystem. Or to put it another way, they can afford to pay ISPs for preferential access to the internet, and companies that use its platform are likely to benefit from any such deals it makes," said Crawford. "This is very much a case of sleeping with the enemy, and is arguably morally questionable. But needs must to survive. This leads us to an alternative suggestion for tool number three... the pen. Use it to write an angry letter to your House and other democratically elected representative demanding that they push for strong net neutrality rules to be legislated into place. Then use it to write a big "SAVE NET NEUTRALITY!!" slogan on a placard and a parade outside your House representative's door with it."

Tags: advertising, advertising tips, advertising trends, BestVPN, net neutrality










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