June 1, 2006 8:10 PM PDT

eBay tries e-mail in Net neutrality fight

SAN JOSE, Calif.--eBay this week unleashed a political machine that should make politicians envious: a national e-mail blast over Net neutrality.

Meg Whitman, chief executive of the Internet auctioneer, called on more than a million eBay members to get involved in the debate over telecommunications laws and "send a message to your representatives in Congress before it is too late."

"The telephone and cable companies in control of Internet access are trying to use their enormous political muscle to dramatically change the Internet," Whitman wrote. "It might be hard to believe, but lawmakers in Washington are seriously debating whether consumers should be free to use the Internet as they want in the future."

This is the first time that eBay has used e-mail to urge its members to weigh in on a national issue and the first time Whitman has sent an e-mail to members under her own name, the company said Thursday.

eBay--which has been active in a pro-Net neutrality coalition for years--confirmed that more than a million e-mails have been sent out so far, but declined to offer a more specific number. The campaign is ongoing.

Net neutrality's crowded field

Bill numberLead sponsor(s)What It ProposesStatus
S.2360Wyden (D)No two-tier InternetStill in Senate committee
S.2917Snowe (R) and Dorgan (D)No two-tier InternetJust introduced
HR5417Sensenbrenner (R) and Conyers (D)Antitrust extended to Net neutralityAwaiting House floor vote
HR5273Markey (D)No two-tier InternetStill in House committee *
HR5252Barton (R) and Rush (D)FCC can police complaintsAwaiting House floor vote
S.2686Stevens (R) and Inouye (D)FCC will do a studySenate committee vote expected in June

* Republicans have defeated similar language twice as an amendment to a telecommunications bill.

Source: CNET News.com research

The concept of Net neutrality, which generally means that all Internet sites must be treated equally, has drawn a list of high-profile backers, from pop music star Moby and actress Alyssa Milano to Vint Cerf, one of the technical pioneers of the Internet. It's also led to a political rift between big Internet companies such as Google and Yahoo that back it--and telecom companies that argue federal legislation will curb their ability to manage their own networks.

"Meg has been following the issue, and with legislation moving through the House and the Senate, felt that this was an appropriate time to reach out to the community to make sure Congress heard what the community thought about the telecommunications reform bill," said Tod Cohen, eBay's associate general counsel for global policy.

Other tech companies have tried e-mail outreach efforts before, though this week's campaign ranks among the largest. Microsoft, for instance, distributed a "Freedom to Innovate" newsletter during its antitrust trial that ended with the exhortation: "Now is the time to let your elected officials know how you feel about the case."

eBay's e-mail campaign comes as the political debate over Net neutrality is growing more pointed in Washington, D.C. On May 25, one House of Representatives panel voted in favor of formal Net neutrality regulations bitterly opposed by AT&T, Verizon Communications and other broadband providers--while another House panel rejected such regulations on April 5.

For their part, network operators from the telephone and cable industries, now allied with some of the nation's largest hardware makers, have said repeatedly that they have no intention of blocking, degrading or impairing content. They say they're protecting their right to manage their networks as they see fit, which could mean charging extra to heavy bandwidth users, such as video providers, that expect to have their content shuttled at priority speeds.

Also on Thursday, the American Electronics Association, or AEA, cautiously embraced Net neutrality.

In a statement, the trade association said its board of directors' executive committee endorsed a set of principles asking Congress to protect consumers and Internet companies "from anticompetitive and unreasonably discriminatory conduct by broadband network providers."

That's a careful statement that falls short of endorsing some of the more aggressive Net neutrality proposals--such as the one approved by the House Judiciary Committee on May 25--that would go further and block what's being called a "high speed" lane for certain services such as video.

AEA's board includes representatives of dozens of companies including Microsoft, Sun Microsystems, Nanoventions, Intel, Adobe Systems, Qualcomm and eDiets.com.

A Cisco Systems representative responded to AEA's announcement with this statement: "Some of the groups who are most public in this debate focus on one part of the network stack or another. We actually care about the entire network--from core to end-user. No new regulations are needed in order to support the FCC's connectivity principles."

See more CNET content tagged:
Meg Whitman, Net Neutrality, telecommunications, eBay Inc., Amazon.com Inc.

32 comments

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eBay email campaign
You have to wonder how many recipients of that email didn't even bother to open it, thinking it to be just another spoof.
Posted by dimesy (2 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Re: eBay email campaign
I thought it was a pyramid scheme and promptly deleted it.
Posted by BoredAgain (7 comments )
Link Flag
eBay email campaign
You have to wonder how many recipients of that email didn't even bother to open it, thinking it to be just another spoof.
Posted by dimesy (2 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Re: eBay email campaign
I thought it was a pyramid scheme and promptly deleted it.
Posted by BoredAgain (7 comments )
Link Flag
EBAY SUX-- ONLINEAUCTIONS.COM UP&COMING
move over FeeBay Onlineauctions.com is coming and there's not a damned thing you can do about it. $8 a MONTH (!) with auto relisting and no Final Value Fees!? Works for me! Sellers are tired of being gouged and treated like 3rd class citizens. Are you listening Feebay? Doesn't matter--eBay doesn't care--greedy bast$%#$
Posted by NRecob (78 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Take a left turn at STHU Avenue...
Stop advertising. Jeeze, even the AnooX fanatics aren't as bad as you.

If you're serious, ignore most of that;
Ebay will probably remain the superior site for a few big reasons:
One, they have a massive user base, guaranteeing instantly findind almost anything one could want.

Two, they have many systems in place that help prevent fraud. These may not work great, but when you're the biggest boy on the block, you tend to get picked on more.
-----------------------------
I will not argue about them and PayPal, after viewing that paypalsucks site...mixed opinions...
Posted by Tomcat Adam (272 comments )
Link Flag
EBAY SUX-- ONLINEAUCTIONS.COM UP&COMING
move over FeeBay Onlineauctions.com is coming and there's not a damned thing you can do about it. $8 a MONTH (!) with auto relisting and no Final Value Fees!? Works for me! Sellers are tired of being gouged and treated like 3rd class citizens. Are you listening Feebay? Doesn't matter--eBay doesn't care--greedy bast$%#$
Posted by NRecob (78 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Take a left turn at STHU Avenue...
Stop advertising. Jeeze, even the AnooX fanatics aren't as bad as you.

If you're serious, ignore most of that;
Ebay will probably remain the superior site for a few big reasons:
One, they have a massive user base, guaranteeing instantly findind almost anything one could want.

Two, they have many systems in place that help prevent fraud. These may not work great, but when you're the biggest boy on the block, you tend to get picked on more.
-----------------------------
I will not argue about them and PayPal, after viewing that paypalsucks site...mixed opinions...
Posted by Tomcat Adam (272 comments )
Link Flag
ebay - pure greed - hope it gets em
I have never before encountered the greed of that company, and hope never to again.

Their is a fly in their ointment or they would not bother to get involved. It has been made abundantly clear by Meg the meteor, that ebay will never again be a trustworth operation.

I would like to see the government take a look at that extortion contract they have at Paypal. Now, there is an unethical and probably illegal contract if I ever saw one.
Posted by goody2sh (2 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Maybe your knowledge of Ebay is misconstrued?
From a business standpoint the acquisition of PayPal was the
smartest move any Web company has ever made.

Furthermore, you obviously don't own an entity that will be
affected by Net Neutrality like that of Ebay or Tech01.net!

If your a content provider, and Ebay is, than you need to look
into Net Neutrality. Ebay is just ensuring that it's clients get the
best possible web experience using there service. Net Neutrality
directly affects the outcome of the user experience on the web. I
can say this with confidence, because I too provide content.

You, Pure Greed Person; Do you own a entity that provides
content to end users on the World Wide Web. Or are you just
somebody that's being paid by the opposition to dog Ebay?

Net Neutrality is serious, and it will seriously shape the web as
we know it! If your a content provider on the WWW than you
need to get involved and contact you state rep or who-every you
need to contact to show you voice in Net Neutrality.

After all, the Government was created "By The People, For The
People"!

GET INVOLVED

~Justin
Tech01.net
Posted by OneWithTech (196 comments )
Link Flag
ebay - pure greed - hope it gets em
I have never before encountered the greed of that company, and hope never to again.

Their is a fly in their ointment or they would not bother to get involved. It has been made abundantly clear by Meg the meteor, that ebay will never again be a trustworth operation.

I would like to see the government take a look at that extortion contract they have at Paypal. Now, there is an unethical and probably illegal contract if I ever saw one.
Posted by goody2sh (2 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Maybe your knowledge of Ebay is misconstrued?
From a business standpoint the acquisition of PayPal was the
smartest move any Web company has ever made.

Furthermore, you obviously don't own an entity that will be
affected by Net Neutrality like that of Ebay or Tech01.net!

If your a content provider, and Ebay is, than you need to look
into Net Neutrality. Ebay is just ensuring that it's clients get the
best possible web experience using there service. Net Neutrality
directly affects the outcome of the user experience on the web. I
can say this with confidence, because I too provide content.

You, Pure Greed Person; Do you own a entity that provides
content to end users on the World Wide Web. Or are you just
somebody that's being paid by the opposition to dog Ebay?

Net Neutrality is serious, and it will seriously shape the web as
we know it! If your a content provider on the WWW than you
need to get involved and contact you state rep or who-every you
need to contact to show you voice in Net Neutrality.

After all, the Government was created "By The People, For The
People"!

GET INVOLVED

~Justin
Tech01.net
Posted by OneWithTech (196 comments )
Link Flag
too much govt. control
The great thing about the internet is that is it's freedom of fair play. Anyone can start a business on the web, and it's purely a consumer decision as to whether it survives or not. Same thing with communicating - email, chat rooms and other forms of social networking have made it possible for people from different countries to meet and share ideas. In the last 4 months, the govt. has put forth efforts to separate the internet pack with the idea of privilege. Neither internet speed or online privacy would be an inherent right.

Today on NPR they touched briefly on the congressional tide in regards to NSA snooping. Public opinion is swaying represebtatives to limit their powers over citizen's privacy. The same thing can happen in regards to net neutrality.

Tools for email privacy: <a class="jive-link-external" href="http://www.essentialsecurity.com/products.htm" target="_newWindow">http://www.essentialsecurity.com/products.htm</a>
Congress contact on Net Neutrality: <a class="jive-link-external" href="http://www.savetheinternet.com/" target="_newWindow">http://www.savetheinternet.com/</a>
Posted by 209979377489953107664053243186 (71 comments )
Reply Link Flag
too much govt. control
The great thing about the internet is that is it's freedom of fair play. Anyone can start a business on the web, and it's purely a consumer decision as to whether it survives or not. Same thing with communicating - email, chat rooms and other forms of social networking have made it possible for people from different countries to meet and share ideas. In the last 4 months, the govt. has put forth efforts to separate the internet pack with the idea of privilege. Neither internet speed or online privacy would be an inherent right.

Today on NPR they touched briefly on the congressional tide in regards to NSA snooping. Public opinion is swaying represebtatives to limit their powers over citizen's privacy. The same thing can happen in regards to net neutrality.

Tools for email privacy: <a class="jive-link-external" href="http://www.essentialsecurity.com/products.htm" target="_newWindow">http://www.essentialsecurity.com/products.htm</a>
Congress contact on Net Neutrality: <a class="jive-link-external" href="http://www.savetheinternet.com/" target="_newWindow">http://www.savetheinternet.com/</a>
Posted by 209979377489953107664053243186 (71 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Way to go Meg
I am handicapped and the internet is a blessing for people like me to make a living...

http//www.pittsburghpixels.com
Posted by kahuna2000 (6 comments )
Reply Link Flag
internet is a blessing
<a class="jive-link-external" href="http://www.analogstereo.com/peugeot_406_owners_manual.htm" target="_newWindow">http://www.analogstereo.com/peugeot_406_owners_manual.htm</a>
Posted by Ipod Apple (152 comments )
Link Flag
Way to go Meg
I am handicapped and the internet is a blessing for people like me to make a living...

http//www.pittsburghpixels.com
Posted by kahuna2000 (6 comments )
Reply Link Flag
internet is a blessing
<a class="jive-link-external" href="http://www.analogstereo.com/peugeot_406_owners_manual.htm" target="_newWindow">http://www.analogstereo.com/peugeot_406_owners_manual.htm</a>
Posted by Ipod Apple (152 comments )
Link Flag
eBay kicks ass..
I love eBay. Net Neutrality is a good thing for consumers. And I'm a Republican, conservative, Christian. I go to Mariner's Church in Irvine, CA. I am very conservative and I have voted for Bush, even though I hate him now. I've been voting Republican for over 3 years, I just turned 21. Don't start calling me a lib or a Democrat, lol... just to let you guys know. sorry about that.
Posted by Millerboy (104 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Ebay Alternatives
I use Ebay occasionally to buy stuff but selling stuff I got myself a free store at www.bidz.org.uk.
I still think Ebay's fees are excessive and so many long time Ebayers are now disenchanted although there is still a great opportunity to make money on there.
Posted by bidzuk (2 comments )
Link Flag
eBay kicks ass..
I love eBay. Net Neutrality is a good thing for consumers. And I'm a Republican, conservative, Christian. I go to Mariner's Church in Irvine, CA. I am very conservative and I have voted for Bush, even though I hate him now. I've been voting Republican for over 3 years, I just turned 21. Don't start calling me a lib or a Democrat, lol... just to let you guys know. sorry about that.
Posted by Millerboy (104 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Ebay Alternatives
I use Ebay occasionally to buy stuff but selling stuff I got myself a free store at www.bidz.org.uk.
I still think Ebay's fees are excessive and so many long time Ebayers are now disenchanted although there is still a great opportunity to make money on there.
Posted by bidzuk (2 comments )
Link Flag
well.....
What she did was cool and all but, I still think Meg from "Family Guy" is hotter.
Posted by EricDaEvilGenius (12 comments )
Reply Link Flag
well.....
What she did was cool and all but, I still think Meg from "Family Guy" is hotter.
Posted by EricDaEvilGenius (12 comments )
Reply Link Flag
 

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