The popular online crafts store Etsy has thrown its support toward net neutrality, which is the principle that internet service providers should charge the same for data regardless of content. Etsy, founded in 2005, sold more than $1.35 billion in handmade goods last year and wields a lot of influence over the internet. For this reason, Etsy’s CEO, Chad Dickerson, has been speaking out in favor of net neutrality. Dickerson claims that the people responsible for making the policies that control the internet do not understand how the web really operates.
According to the Washington Post, the Etsy CEO spoke out about his belief in the “micro-manufacturing movement” last week. Etsy’s free and open internet would be populated and run by individual users like Etsy crafters and reliant on the non-discrimination of internet service providers to allow all data to be available to everyone for the same price.
“In a really crude way, I think that policymakers still need to understand the Internet,” said Dickerson. “It’s surprising sometimes.”
On the issue of net neutrality, Etsy has published a blog post in support of the system that has worked for so long. Etsy claims that net neutrality is under threat from the Federal Communications Commission and its chairman, Tom Wheeler, who is proposing a new set of rules that would allow internet service providers to charge more money for “internet fast lanes.”
Like many outspoken activists against the FCC’s new proposed system, Etsy points out that service providers could charge more for companies they dislike and less for companies they approve of. Without net neutrality, websites like Etsy would have to pay more to provide their users with data — and some smaller businesses would not be able to afford the fee, resulting in slower websites and less traffic.
“It is this democratic access that makes the Internet so revolutionary,” the Etsy site says. “It is what allows Etsy sellers to compete with much bigger and more established brands. It is what allowed Etsy to grow from a tiny company in a Brooklyn apartment to a global platform that hosts over one million sellers worldwide.”
There are a number of ways that net neutrality defenders like Etsy have chosen to speak out against Chairman Wheeler’s decision, and other advocates can join the cause by visiting sites like SaveTheInternet.com and BattleForTheNet.com.
According to Etsy’s CEO and other advocates, if net neutrality were to be abolished, sites like Etsy that bring incredible amounts of revenue through the internet would suffer.
“Etsy’s continued growth depends on equal access to consumers,” Etsy says. “Any rule that allows broadband providers to negotiate special deals with some companies would undermine our and our sellers’ ability to compete.”
Where do you stand on net neutrality? Do you side with Etsy?