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The Open Web: Still the best marketing opportunity

By Rachel on February 3, 2022 0 Comments

With more centralized companies acquiring market dominance, the ideals of the Open Web, which formed the cornerstone of the World Wide Web, are being lost, and their ability to operate is jeopardized. Governments, media, and regulators must recognize that they must safeguard the Open Web to have more fair competition and rules. Regulators should decide what is appropriate and how they should regulate the internet. What happens is that corporations with billions of dollars act like they’re the ones who have the right to decide what’s fair or not.

If we have more true-to-the-name Open Web principles right now, online marketers would have a far greater chance of reaching and keeping in contact with a larger audience. Why is that?

To begin answering this topic, let’s define what the term “Open Web” actually implies.

What is the Open Web?

The term “Open Web” is thrown about a lot. Some may be uncertain if it is a collection of technologies such as HTML, JavaScript, HTTP, or something more complex.

The phrase “Open Web” encompasses technological aspects such as open-source code and open standards. It also includes democratic ideals such as free speech and digital inclusion. A common fundamental principle links these ideas: an Open Web is built by all its users, not just a few gatekeepers, corporations, or governments.

The Open Web is a set of principles rather than technology. Some of the philosophies include:

  • Transparency: Transparency should be present on all levels of the Open Web. Viewing the source code of web pages and having human-readable network identifiers like URLs are examples of this.
  • Decentralized: Open Web is not centralized or controlled by a single body. Anyone may develop a website or online service. Rather than being tied to a single entity, browsers may deal with millions of entities. It’s not Google or Amazon, but rather the web as a whole, an open system into which anybody may plug and produce data at their own platforms.
  • Support Free Markets: No matter how big or little, conventional free-market enterprises should benefit from the Open Web. The Open Web’s tent is large enough to accommodate many social and economic organizations, even those we haven’t yet conceived. It must also accommodate gift economies, such as open-source and wikis.
  • Openness: Ideally, internet protocols that benefit the masses should be documented using open code or open specifications. Any entity should be allowed to implement these standards or use this code to plug into the system without fear of being sued for patent infringement, copyright violations, or other legal issues.
  • Empower the General Public: Despite having an open architecture, the Open Web should continue to empower the general public rather than the tech elite. The browsers or applications used should not be challenging to utilize.

What is the significance of the Open Web?

The internet does not exist in a vacuum or isolation from civilization. The two are inextricably linked. We engage with journalism, generate opinions, and exchange knowledge on the internet. Politics, education, culture, science, and trade all have a place here. All of these things will benefit from an Open Web—more civic involvement, more chances to learn and communicate with one another, and a better-informed public.

It’s critical to maintain the internet as open and accessible as much as possible. We don’t want a system that devolves like Ancient Egypt, with an authoritarian power controlling the water supply, do we? Tight control over water, which is necessary for existence, led to the world’s longest-known authoritarian civilization. If we can preserve the Open Web as flexible and accessible, we can set the scene for more ideas and inventions, just as writing and language paved the way for books, social polities, and other forms of communication. 

If Open Web is not maintained, the result might be catastrophic. A closed or unhealthy web leads to the flourishment of harassment, misinformation, and monitoring. The web is no longer a fair playing field — it’s a platform controlled by a select few, suffocating innovation and competition.

Open Web’s Importance for Marketing and Business

open web
Benefits of Open Web according to movementforanopenweb.com

Private firms’ technology, limited by their terms and conditions or geared to increase profits, should not govern the internet. The Open Web creates an environment in which businesses and other users want to grow their profits and develop and rely on the internet for their livelihoods. They can operate freely and compete with one another solely on the merits of their proposition. Their company’s size or level of control over internet access software should not be a factor.

Unfortunately, a few large computer companies have used their proprietary technology to ensure that access to the internet is almost only on their terms. They’ve come to control and manage what should be an open web, suffocating competition and putting other businesses and organizations out of business. As these firms become more lucrative and powerful, their control tightens further, posing a more significant existential threat.

Millions of smaller businesses and individuals want the internet to be more open. They want the internet to be available to everyone, without restrictions, without having to use someone else’s technology, and without having to play by the rules imposed by massive tech firms that only benefit them. Instead of the current unbalanced, monopolistic scenario, which is worsening all the time, they want to see the internet restored to a level playing field.

No one firm or small group of corporations should dominate and exert control to increase their already enormous profits.

The Internet Should Go Back to Its Roots

Sir Tim Berners-Lee created the World Wide Web in March 1989 with the conviction that what he was building should be open, free, and available to everyone. However, the “Open Web” has grown to be dominated by a small set of mega-corporations in the actual world.

The Open Web must be a decentralized, standards-based framework that allows a varied and competitive online ecosystem to thrive. Therefore, interoperability is critical to the operation and growth of a free and competitive media and internet economy. It should not be in the hands of a single or small number of people. It should not be susceptible to anyone’s control.

Regrettably, “big tech,” mostly Google but also others, has been able to monopolize the Open Web for their own commercial purposes. Their authority is growing, not shrinking. Their economic clout rises in parallel to their capacity to suffocate competition. Interfering with people’s capacity to communicate or rely on business partners is harmful to society. It puts internet security, the free press, marketing, digital media, advertising, and other enterprises at risk. 

Several organizations have taken various measures to combat the monopoly. For example, in September 2021, the Movement for an Open Web, along with a coalition of marketers, publishers, and tech businesses, filed a complaint with the European Commission. They deemed Google’s intention to prohibit the ‘cookie’ online tracking tool as anticompetitive.

The Commission’s inquiry of Google’s Privacy Sandbox, which includes removing third-party cookies, is likely to be bolstered by the complaint. Tim Cowen, MOW’s legal counsel, claims that while Google has stated that it wants to improve privacy, it is not doing so; instead, its Privacy Sandbox promotes “a creepy data mining party.”

What We Can Do to Help Promote the Open Web

Many individuals feel that the Open Web principles consistently ensure that people’s rights are safeguarded and that they obtain better products due to free-market competition. If we all agree that the Open Web is crucial, how can we maintain it up to date and relevant?

One option is to collaborate with other firms and individuals that share your goals. Consider joining an organization like the Movement for an Open Web, founded by a collection of businesses passionate about the future of the internet. With MOW, you can join over 21,000 advertisers and approximately 6 million individual websites in over 65 countries. 

What Does the Future Hold for the Open Web?

From PCs to smartphones to voice-activated AI assistants, the technology we use to communicate is always improving. A collection of ideas rather than a specific piece of software or hardware defines the Open Web. Is the internet open to the public and shaped by the people who use it? Does it make these users’ lives better? As the internet expands into our automobiles, homes, and medical equipment, we need to make sure we’re asking these questions and adhering to these standards.

The Open Web has many benefits to our lives. Open data can encourage new studies and achievements in the field of science. In the area of art, an Open Web can let independent artists interact with audiences across countries. An open web in government may increase openness and accountability. 

And last but not least, an Open Web guarantees a level playing field for all firms to compete on merits, not on the amount of money a business or person has. It also ensures that people have faith in online marketplaces and websites, promoting competition to the advantage of consumers.

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