A wrestling fan’s take on Net Neutrality

“Wrestling fans” and “net neutrality” are not concepts likely to be paired in most people’s minds, but from the site ProWrestling.com comes a take on the net neutrality topic I hadn’t heard before:

Essentially, many websites and services would only be available if they were the highest bidder to a cable company. Then, all other internet users would be blocked from that site or service. Imagine a world where only special users could access MySpace!

Is this fair? Is it right? No, to the common internet user it’s not. But cable companies are frothing at the mouth for this to happen. They are shilling out millions to lobby their cases in Washington as we speak. To make things worse, if you didn’t like your internet provider, you have little or no chance of switching, since many internet companies are monopolies in certain regions. For instance, I use Comcast, and as much I hate their services, it’s the only choice in my city, and I’m stuck with it.

Going with this theory, what would stop billionaire Vince McMahon from coming along and making a deal with several or more cable companies? Since he knows the internet is always a detriment to his WWE, he might be able to throw money at cable companies just so they can provide WWE.com, but in return, he would want pwtorch.com to be blocked off. Or he could say “I’m going to pull my pay-per-view programming unless you block out wrestlingobserver.com.”

Could you imagine one day not having an Internet Wrestling Community? To many wrestling fans, the internet is the lifeblood that fuels their passion for the product. Without the internet, fans can’t interact with each other, they can’t get all the juicy backstage gossip, they can’t download their favorite matches, and the acclaimed critics like Meltzer and Keller could take a hit on their income.

I’m nowhere near insider enough to get the backstory amongst the specific players here — McMahon controls pro wrestling and (at least some of) the online fans don’t like him is about as deep as I can go — but it’s interesting to see net neutrality cast as anti-internet-billionaires-who-control-the-industry vs. the fans.

Comments (1) to “A wrestling fan’s take on Net Neutrality”

  1. I completely agree with the fan here. The impact on fandom if net neutrality dies will be immense. Too few fans realise this. I’m glad that someone in at least one fandom is speaking up about it. It’s something that I’ve blogged about before, and I’ll do so again. More fans should know what net neutrality means to them–how net neutrality enables their communications, and keeps them on a level playing field with commercial sites. If Congress eliminates net neutrality, it’s curtains for fansites, BBS, archives, blogs…everything will go. It’ll be the slash-and-burn deforestation of the Internet.