Are small businesses empowered or encumbered by online advertisements? That was the gist of today’s hearing of the House Small Business Committee on Internet ads.
Rep. Charlie Gonzalez ran the hearing (you can watch it here on YouTube) and started off with how a book called “The Search” by John Battel inspired him to learn more about online ads. He introduced the concept of the microbusiness, which he credited to the MicroEnterprise Journal.
4 of the 5 witnesses were businessmen, so there was an apparent disconnect when Rep. Gonzalez asked the more difficult public policy questions: how do trademark protections affect search ads? Should Congress be concerned about Google/Yahoo? Or a potential Microsoft/Yahoo deal?
What was surprising is the amount of love that gushed toward gigantic Google from these small business persons. But Richard Lent of AgencyNet, a consulting firm, tempered his comments by saying that the op-out rights of consumers, making sure minors aren’t inappropriately targeted, phishing, and instituting limits on data retention were all important.
Charter communications officially announced plans to back-off its deal with NebuAd to monitor the traffic of subscribers for ad-delivery purposes. Yet the witnesses liked the ability to better target potential customers. But as a Washington Post article describes, Rick – creator of list to block ads called EasyList — doesn’t like it! His disdain for ads is a common consumer feeling that Internet ads still must overcome.