Big Cable Wasting Money On Ads That Look Like They're Supporting Internet Slowdown

from the rather-incredible dept

Today, as you may have heard, is Internet Slowdown Day, in which a bunch of folks are calling attention to the fight at the FCC concerning net neutrality. The basic idea -- as you may have seen on this very site -- is to host some "spinning wheel" banners, highlighting the kind of internet that we may have to live with if the big broadband providers get their way and are allowed to set up tollbooths online, picking winners and losers based on who will pay the most. We've been hearing that the big broadband players are a bit nervous about this -- as often seems to happen when it comes to real grassroots efforts. They've attempted to set up some fake grassroots efforts. We've even heard rumors that they've been trying to "infiltrate" planning meetings for Internet Slowdown Day. But this one takes the cake. In response to this campaign, cable's main lobbying arm, NCTA, has launched an advertising campaign that... um... looks kinda like the Internet Slowdown Day campaign, reminding people that they're nervous about Big Cable cutting off access. Here are two of the ads NCTA is currently running:


Of course, if you look at those ads, they actually (1) look like they're a part of Internet Slowdown Day and (2) remind people of exactly what they fear most about Big Cable: the inability to connect to certain sites. No one (and I do mean no one) thinks that, if the FCC implements true open internet rules, they'll suddenly be "unable to connect" to any particular sites. The only place where that's a fear is if the FCC doesn't put in place good rules and allows companies, like the cable companies NCTA represents, to start blocking access to certain sites.

So, either this a case where some ad designer at NCTA is a subversive double agent really helping "Team Internet," or the folks at NCTA and Big Cable are really so buried in their own wonkdom, they don't realize just how much this ad appears to support the other team. Either way, thanks, Big Cable and your lobbyists for highlighting exactly what most of us fear. An internet where we are "unable to connect" to sites because the FCC has killed off net neutrality...

Filed Under: ads, big broadband, cable, failure, internet slowdown, net neutrality, open internet
Companies: ncta


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  • icon
    Uriel-238 (profile), 10 Sep 2014 @ 4:05pm

    I do like the Mother Night interpretation.

    That's almost worthy of its own fiction, clever marketers in big corporations that sabotage campaigns by pushing them just over the POE line into clear parody and satire.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    sorrykb (profile), 10 Sep 2014 @ 4:09pm

    From the cable companies' perspective... (ew)

    It's not wasted money if enough people believe the ads.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 10 Sep 2014 @ 4:17pm

    You missed another option, which is that they're intentionally playing on ignorance by making those who don't know the issue but want to fashionably support "the right side", which obviously must be the websites protesting with these slowdown ads. If it works, someone with no opinion but who wants to do the right thing will come away from the experiencing thinking they now have an opinion on the right side of the issue, but simultaneously think the right side is what Big Cable wants them to think.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      amoshias (profile), 10 Sep 2014 @ 7:08pm

      Re:

      Yeah, assuming that the admakers are incompetent when THIS possibility is on the table is foolish - they're clearly trying to trick people into believing that the "grassroots" point of view is against regulation.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    BentFranklin (profile), 10 Sep 2014 @ 4:25pm

    It means they are unable to connect their vacuum hoses to your wallet.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 10 Sep 2014 @ 4:54pm

    I'm not seeing these "spinning wheel" banners. Do I have NoScript, AdBlock+ or Ghostery to thank for that?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Lurker Keith, 10 Sep 2014 @ 5:05pm

      Re:

      NoScript, maybe. I'm not running that. But I do run AdBlock (don't think I have +) & Ghostery (both thanks to things I read here on Techdirt) & see Techdirt's, & I checked Reddit before posting this & saw theirs.

      tl;dr: NoScript might block them, but AdBlock & Ghostery probably aren't.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Whoever, 10 Sep 2014 @ 5:10pm

    Playing to the ignorant

    There are lots of people out there who have been convinced by propaganda from the Koch brothers and others to think that all regulation is bad.

    Hence "regulating the Internet" is bad. Hence these ads.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    ECA (profile), 10 Sep 2014 @ 5:41pm

    show me

    For those old enough to remember:

    When utilities were NOT on the stock market, and REQUIRED them to make a profit..Using 20+ year old tech and only upgrading after something broke, maybe..

    WHEN utilities WERE controlled by an office that was controlled by YOU, and Balanced for the area...That wasnt REQUIRED to make a profit, and be bought on the STOCK MARKET.. was REPAIRED by your tax dollars and FIXED/UPGRADED when needed.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 10 Sep 2014 @ 6:35pm

      Re: show me

      Actually this is my hope... An infrastructure in the US to mirror South Korea, where we build out a national fiber network that allows providers to compete for service to individual households/businesses. We accomplished this mostly with electricity, so why is it so hard to do the same for fiber? The benefits in education, communication, and general wellness of the US population far exceeds the cost, and the added benefit of jobs created to do the work of wiring the whole country will last years. We honestly could have started this during the bank crisis to get the most out of the benefits, but anytime imho is a good one.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 11 Sep 2014 @ 12:13am

      Re: show me

      Not old enough to remember, but with few exceptions, the only times I can ever remember the electricity going out are during a severe storm, which is somewhat to be expected. The power grid, for all the criticism it gets, is one of the most amazingly-reliable pieces of technology ever. The Internet is, too, but I need two hands to count the number of times it's gone down this month.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    shanen (profile), 10 Sep 2014 @ 6:07pm

    LOTS of good charities

    I agree that this is an important cause, and if I was made of money, then I would probably support it. Too bad I'm not so rich.

    Hey, how about #MDFC (More Democratic Funding Campaign) options after such articles. There would be 3 to 5 links to SOLUTIONS for the problems. Aren't you just too tired of hearing about all these problems? I could look at the options and pledge some money to support one (or more). If enough people agree with me that the project is good--which includes SUCCESS criteria, in stark contrast to Kickstarter--then the project gets the money.

    Not sure if I would support TechDirt to hold the money, however... Maybe I just don't know them well enough, but I think I'd prefer a charitable foundation, though they could give TechDirt a small return for their support. (In other words, if 5,000 people pledge to support some specific project after arriving from TechDirt, then there would be a monetary incentive.)

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      general thread, 10 Sep 2014 @ 7:10pm

      Re: LOTS of good charities

      Is it just me or do you really make no sense?

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        That One Guy (profile), 10 Sep 2014 @ 7:15pm

        Re: Re: LOTS of good charities

        It's not just you, no.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        shanen (profile), 10 Sep 2014 @ 7:54pm

        Re: Re: LOTS of good charities

        Convince me your question is sincere (for example, by asking a more specific question), and I'll be glad to explain any specific aspect of the suggestion.

        Otherwise, I'll just dismiss you as part of the problem (or problems), which mostly seems to be the way of the world lately.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 11 Sep 2014 @ 8:33am

        Re: Re: LOTS of good charities

        No, it seems like a lot of incoherent thoughts that have nothing to do with the article or subject matter.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 11 Sep 2014 @ 8:31am

    Big telecom needs to learn how to search the internet better. A simple Google search shows countless reasons as to why ISP's should be regulated as a public utility, they however simply wish it not to be so.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    PostLikers, 6 Dec 2014 @ 6:18pm

    Get Free Likes On Facebook Go Here : PostLikers.com

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Business Continuity, 22 Jun 2015 @ 3:40am

    Nice

    IT Disaster Recovery and Business Continuity

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]


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