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제목  "(Net) Neutrality’ for SMEs and Digital Divide
 
The current spotlight is on “net neutrality” so I suggest that we look into

a less popular, but extremely important aspect of the net neutrality issue: the

lack of anti-hijacking protection for SMEs’ customers who type brand/company

names into the internet address bar.




(You may read more about “customer hijacking” on Whose Customers Are Those Typing Brand and Company Names in the Internet Address Bar?)




Let’s begin by exploring staff hijacking, followed by delving into the concept of “digital revenge”.




In some countries, SMEs employ up to 90% of the workforce. Many of these

SME employees work not only at a desk in their employer’s office, but also

somewhere else online. When an SME staff member accesses the internet via

his or her computer, and the first page is not the company’s website, he or she

starts working for a different company. Many business owners and employees

are not aware of this.




Connecting to the internet via a workplace computer is like opening and walking

through an office door. If you use the computer at work, you are supposed to

be doing so on behalf of your employer. Today, however, in many workplaces,

when an SME employee goes online, he or she opens a “door” to (and enters)

a different company! He or she goes to online search companies or the portals

thereof. In effect, the employee in our example contributes to the revenue of a

different company – the search company that he or she uses. It probably does

not happen within all SMEs, but it certainly does happen more often than most

people realize.




By typing their company's name in the address bar, SME staff are unknowingly

making the portals richer because the act of doing so results in portal usage

instead of connecting them directly to their company website.. There is no

problem, however, when employees type their company's complete domain

name in the address bar. However, many employees simply type their company

name (without .com, etc.) because it is easier that way. Nevertheless, when

they type simple names in the address bar, they are unable to directly access

their company’s website. What happens next? Browsers take the employees to

the search results page.




There are some cases when the direct link to the company is on top of the

results page. This is good. In other cases, paid advertisement links for the

company are on top of the results page. In this case, some companies may

have to pay more money when their employees (accidentally) click on the paid

links.




This is how some SME workers (unknowingly) make money for other

companies (ie: portals). This is what we call staff hijacking in the Internet

address bar. Employees are not connected directly to their company website.

Instead, they are redirected to the search website results. Business owners

need to be aware of this.




The SME owners are cheated out of revenue in this backhanded process. The

SMEs are unknowingly financing the portals.




Now let’s delve into the concept of “digital revenge”. In the case of company

owners who pay for online advertisements, they need to be careful not to offend

their employees and customers. Imagine, if you will, an angry employee who

decides to use click fraud as a way to release their stress. Further, an angry

customer could do the same thing repeatedly. This is an extreme example but

it can, and does, happen.




This is one example of what I would call “digital revenge”

The distorted internet mechanism makes the above-described digital revenge

possible.




Ponder this:

Who benefits from digital revenge? The higher the incidence of this kind of

digital revenge, the more money goes to the portals.




These might sound like ridiculous examples today, but the lack of protection

for the customers of brands as well as for the companies in the URL bar could

make digital revenge more widespread.




Nowadays, more people prefer typing brand and company names than

complete domain names. This is why there is also a net neutrality issue in the

address bar.




In this internet age, genuine network neutrality starts in the address bar. Here

is a simple process to help prevent employee hijacking: If 10 million SME

employees in any given country change their default homepage to their own

company's website, instead of the portals, that means 10 million employees go

straight to their respective SME’s website.




If these employees also set their default page to the web page that they use

everyday at work (ie: their specific division page of their company’s website), it

is even more efficient for their company.




Many business people from older generations are not familiar with the details

of keyword advertising. They could become victims of this kind of hijacking.

National leaders and internet experts must also pay attention to what’s currently

happening with SMEs in terms of the internet.




Staff hijacking, customer hijacking, digital revenge, and the issues of net

neutrality are all connected to the concept of digital divide. That being said, it is

important to understand that net neutrality is not just about networks, it is also

related to the concept of digital divide.




The digital divide is expanding because many leaders are still unaware of -- or

not paying attention to -- the many problems inherent to the internet.




Leaders are not well-informed, so the SMEs in each country are being

overlooked. As a result, the economy is not booming as it should. This is

another aspect of the digital divide within the economy.




Before there can be net neutrality, the digital divide needs to be narrowed.

National leaders and internet experts must pay more attention to the state and

degree of digital divide. Perhaps establishing what constitutes
“fair play” is a
good way to start resolving the issues I have mentioned above.




Digital divide is not only about differences between the old and
young people or
between advanced and developing countries. The concept of digital divide also

involves the awareness levels, understandings and beliefs of national leaders,

experts and political leaders. The world economic issues are connected with the

digital divide because even presidents are not aware of this all-encompassing

distorted internet mechanism. That’s why every country is suffering from

national economic issues. They do their best to improve their country’s

economy, but their results are meagre. This is one hallmark of the digital divide at the national leadership level.




This is what I believe to be the true root of the current worldwide financial


difficulties.
 
 
 
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