Searching Beyond the Paid

Thursday, June 15, 2006

Public Policy = Foreign Language?

What a great article by Dave Morgan in MediaPost's Online Spin today. "Net neutrality" has gotten a lot of press in the online and interactive world recently, and the series of events has illustrated quite clearly how little this industry knows about public policy. First off, hardly anyone had a grasp on the House bill and its ramifications until it had already been defeated in the House - too little, too late. Second, those who did try to influence the lawmakers didn't really go about it in the right way (see this Search Engine Watch blog post for a summary on Sergey Brin's last-minute visit to Washington). Finally, and perhaps most frightening of all, I'm not sure a lot of online marketing professionals really care.

Folks, it's time to start caring. As Dave Morgan points out, the telcos are WAY ahead of online media when it comes to having political influence. In college, I took an entire course on telecomm public policy and its history and importance as part of my telecommunication degree at Michigan State. The internet wasn't even around then, by the way (man am I old!). At the present time, I don't think there is even such a thing as a degree in internet marketing, much less a course therein on public policy. Those who understand public policy's inner workings come from other fields, such as Dave Morgan in journalism, and someone like Andrew Goodman with a political science background. However, too many of the online marketing industry leaders are techies and geeks who have no understanding, and most days no use for, politicking.

This is going to be an interesting development to watch. It's obviously gotten Google's attention, if only to serve as a wake-up call that hey, the whole world doesn't revolve around your every whim - only the online world does that! Keep an eye on this, people - and go Google your House and Senate rep's email addresses today.


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