Internet Association lobby group launched, includes Google, Amazon, Yahoo, Facebook

September 20, 2012
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Today’s Internet giants don’t feel powerful enough to individually combat threats to their interests. With this in mind, major technology companies have formed a lobby group called the Internet Association to ensure the Internet remains a place for freedom, innovation and user empowerment.

The Internet Association is considering itself the “unified voice of the Internet economy in Washington,” and is made up of 14 companies, so far. These include Amazon.com, AOL, eBay, Expedia, Facebook, Google, IAC, LinkedIn, Monster, Rackspace, Salesforce.com, TripAdvisor, Yahoo and Zynga (in alphabetical order). What the lobby group aims to achieve is a “free and innovative Internet,” which is considered “vital to our nation’s growth.”

“These companies are all fierce competitors in the market place, but they recognize the Internet needs a unified voice in Washington. They understand the future of the Internet is at stake and that we must work together to protect it,” says Michael Beckerman, a Capitol Hill veteran who leads the lobby group as president and CEO.

Companies like Google and Facebook are not exactly small guys in today’s corporate world. But in terms of policy, it helps to band together toward a common goal. In the case of the Internet Association, the aim here is for the body to have enough clout to influence policymakers in Congress.

The member companies have joined forces to form The Internet Association, an umbrella public policy organization dedicated to strengthening and protecting a free and innovative Internet.

The Internet Association will relentlessly represent this critical economic sector, in partnership with Main Street businesses and individual users, to ensure that the Internet will always have a voice in Washington and a seat at the table.

Of course, the caveat here is that the Association should hopefully represent both businesses and consumers as collective stakeholders, and not only the interests of the business group itself. The group’s aims are to protect Internet freedom, foster innovation, and empower users.

Reading between the lines, I would tend to think the “innovation” part may have something to do with the patents vs. innovation debate that is deeply ingrained in the much-publicized litigation involving Apple, Samsung, Google, and a host of other mobile and technology companies.

Is the IA a good thing for consumers? Or will it only serve the interests of the companies involved?

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