Filed Under:  U.S. & World

FCC Decision Could Disrupt Internet Marketing Efforts

Contributed by on December 25, 2014 at 10:47 am

Man Surfing the Net on a laptop

Business Man Surfing the Internet.

This past year, the American Hospitality & Lodging Association and Marriott International asked the Federal Communications Commission permission to use special Wi-Fi network management equipment to prevent cyber attacks and network interference.

In their petition, they specifically asked to be allowed to use the equipment even if it may “may result in ‘interference with or cause interference’ to a [wireless device] being used by a guest on the operator’s property.”

Google and Microsoft, as well as many mobile wireless service providers, are now up in arms over the request. Last year, Marriott staff used network management equipment to purposely de-authenticate and block personal smartphone and handheld device Wi-Fi hotspots at an Opryland convention. Their actions forced convention planners, vendors and guests to pay for the hotel’s pricey Wi-Fi service resulting in bills of up to $1,000.

As critics have pointed out, the only reason hotels want this option is because advances in nationwide networks have resulted in fewer guests needing hotel Wi-Fi and, subsequently, hotels losing a lucrative form of revenue generation.

What does the above mean for Internet marketing?

If hotels have their way, travelers and convention hosts, vendors and guests will spend less time online to try to save money. As a result, static and dynamic ads won’t be seen by as many Internet users in general. They also won’t be seen as much by Internet users from certain demographics and target markets.

For example, parents will put an end to teenagers surfing or playing games while at hotels. The 18-29 crowd will be less likely to visit shopping and social networks sites that display advertising. Older online surfers, who might normally go online less, will limit their activity to off-site or when they return home. This situation would also reduce PPC ad effectiveness and impulse shopping.