There is much tumult over the repeal of net neutrality. But what does it mean to the email business? Nothing good, according to Ryan Phelan, VP of marketing insights at Adestra.
“This could get scary for email,” he writes. “What happens if ISPs start charging separately for email service and internet access? We can see it now: Customers are tired of irrelevant email in their inboxes. Yet marketers still gravitate to 'batch and blast' message-bombing because it’s fast, easy and low-cost.”
Phelan adds that "having access to the inbox means we can send our messages directly to consumers instead of waiting for them to find us. A continued overabundance of irrelevant email could provoke consumers to re-evaluate what goes into the inbox once they pay for email service."
Here’s the scariest part: "Unlike individually metered text messages, email has been free to most consumers since it became popular as a personal and commercial communication channel," Phelan continues. “This could change if ISPs levy a separate charge for email.”
The result? Consumers will “start thinking about how much they’re paying versus the value of what they’re paying for.” The email value exchange had better be a good one.
Bob James, president and chief storyteller at Bob & David James, predicts that the end of net neutrality “will crimp e-marketing dramatically — and boost marketers’ reliance on direct mail.”
James adds that
“the elimination of net neutrality ends a level playing field in terms of web access. That means marketers will have difficulty delivering tried-and-true promotions, including blog content,
white papers, video, podcasts, ads, news releases and webinars. "It will also cripple the ‘freemium," he continues.
Want more doom and gloom? James quotes Ryan Singel, a fellow at Stanford Law School’s Center for Internet and Society. Siegel says “the impact on digital marketing from the elimination of net neutrality will be profound.”
Email marketing aside, Phelan concludes that no good will come to consumers from net neutrality repeal.
“We expect this decision will lead to tons of individual challenges for consumers, and we fear that ISPs will exploit those challenges with tiered services that essentially ask consumers to pay for things they now rely on at no additional cost,” he writes.
Welcome to the new reality.