Net neutrality, round 2: What will our new world look like?

A few weeks ago, I explored what the impending loss of net neutrality in the U.S. might mean for recruitment marketing sites and job boards. However, as this recent article points out, we can look to a few countries like Portugal and Morocco – which don’t have net neutrality – to see how things may play out.

First of all, users will be subjected to a world where they pay not only for the amount of data they are consuming (which is the case now for many mobile and home consumers here in the U.S.), but also for the specific services they can access – like Facebook or Twitter. In other words, the internet starts to look like cable TV, where you buy ‘packages’ that allow you to access specific shows or types of shows. So what does that look like in real life? Well, everyone wants Facebook (well, everyone but me, but I’m weird) – so everyone will want to buy the ‘package’ with Facebook in it. And, umm, in case you didn’t know, Facebook just got into the recruitment marketing biz…so guess who has a leg up on pretty much everyone else in our industry? Yup. Facebook.

Oh yes, there’s another big new player in the recruitment marketing biz – Google. And guess what? Everyone wants Google, too. So they will also have a leg up – although, as a distributor and director of traffic to job ads, their role is a bit different from the direct role Facebook plays with employer.

But wait – there’s more! The big telecoms like Mediacom, Comcast, AT&T, and Charter may be very interested in ‘special relationships’ with the biggest players (read: deepest pockets) in our industry – companies like LinkedIn, Indeed, and – yes – Facebook and Google. They may – for a fee – allow certain companies to provide their listings to users without charging against the users’ data usage limits. Imagine the savvy candidate: ‘Well, should I use Snagajob to look for work and have it hit my data usage – or go to Facebook and get a free pass? Yeah, Facebook it is.’

These changes won’t happen immediately after the December 14th vote. They will take some time. But I’m guessing – absent a sea-change at the FCC (ahem, feel free to contact your Congressional representatives!) – that this time next year the ‘candidate access issue’ for recruitment marketing companies is going to be a big deal. It’s really too bad. It didn’t have to turn out like this.

But it did.

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