Verizon FreeBee Data, A New Twist On Net Neutrality

By 04:10 Fri, 30 Jul 2021 Comments

Verizon is introducing a recent way to create money at the potential inconvenience to consumers. It is going to offer sponsored data at the expense of marketers and companies who want to advertise.

An ad or link would have a small bee next to it signifying that it is sponsored and has already been paid for, the user can then click the content, view, or consume it in any way.

Basically, Company X can post an ad with content like videos or articles which will not be deducted from the subscriber’s data bucket upon viewing the content. It will be billed at Company X’s own expense. While this isn’t really a benefit for the customer, nor an inconvenience, it’s just a way for Verizon to create more money off its large subscriber base.

Net Neutrality supporters have been bugging T-Mobile about services like Music Freedom and Binge On. The incompatibility with the two is that T-Mobile’s services actually provide benefit to the customer while Verizon’s FreeBee data only makes Verizon more money.

When you think about it, this is much like what T-Mobile is already doing, except it is explicitly charging the companies for flagging content as free data. The way that Verizon wrote the press release sounds like it is taking advantage of its customers to a certain extent. I may be sounding harsh and this might not even be Verizon’s intention at all, but this could discontinue up badly for Verizon or its consumers.

The only way FreeBee could be successful for Verizon is if these ads are unobtrusive and don’t put preference of other content over what the subscriber is actually looking for. It really boils down to what marketers want and what Verizon can offer to them.

If Verizon can respect what is obtrusive and annoying to the subscriber, I guess it’s not THAT bad. Once Verizon crosses a line, it becomes a slippery slope and customers could become irritated.

This program is actually in beta-testing, so the only content providers correct now are Hearst Magazines, AOL, and GAMEDAY. These are initial test runs to see how well the program performs before proceeding.

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