Your customers may have to pay by the Byte to access your website in the near future. If you have a no frills, static site, it probably won’t affect you. But, if your site is loaded with features, graphics, and interactive options (you know, the stuff that is supposed to hypnotize your visitors into staying until they buy), you have a problem.
Flat rate Internet access charges are going away. It was only a matter of time, so I don’t know why people are surprised. After all, we pay for gas by the gallon, electricity by the watt, and lawyers by the hour. The free (almost) ride on the Internet is almost over.
The challenge with metered Internet access is that most people won’t know how to monitor their usage. The first time they receive a $200 ISP bill, they will eliminate all non-essential surfing. This is because the providers are charging by the bandwidth. Do you know how many gigabytes you use when you visit a website? How about when you read an email? No? Congratulations. You have something in common with your customers!
The time to prepare for the change is now. Before you invest in the super-duper, animated, website tool, ask how many gigs it uses. Learn about how using your site will affect your customers so you can explain it to them when the time comes. While you are at it, figure out how many Bytes your emails use. And, make sure that their content provides a real service to your customers. When the pay-as-you-surf goes into effect, non-essential emails will be blocked, too.
It won’t be long now. Time Warner started testing the waters in June. Comcast and AT&T are considering similar moves. Be ready so you aren’t caught in the fall out!