From ethical and personal freedom’s point of view, internet censorship is the worst adoptable policy for a Country and this would be enough for engaging a fight against it.
Ethic and freedom, anyway, are just the fingertip of the censorship’s impacts on a Society. Indeed, thanks to VPNs, OpenDNS and proxy servers the censorship can be bypassed and contents can be easily reached by users, reducing the problem of information access.
The heaviest impact is related to the business and, especially, in the internet business strategy. A user using a Proxy or a VPN is able to reach and use a content, but his/her identity is twisted by the IP and user agent’s info transmitted by the browser once she/he reaches the websites.
You can ask yourself “How could it impact my business? His/her reaching is more important than his/her surfing profile”. The answer is quite simple: your website stats are false and you’re no more able to understand who is your target audience and which is your target market.
Censorship wastes the online advertising investments
Normally online advertising tools, even Google Adwords, show ads recognizing some elements from your connections such as the IP Address. For instance, try to connect to a website with your real IP address and then through a VPN. You can see that the shown advertisements will be different according the network you are using. That means that someone is paying to show you ads created for a target that you are not. They are wasting their money because you are using a VPN to avoid a censorship. What if you are that advertiser?
Censorship affects your website analytics
Since YouTube and Twitter has been banned in Turkey, the number of VPN connections are increasingly gone up. One of my projects, targeted to Italian speaking Turks aims to reach this segment especially in Turkey. Comparing the Country Source before and after the banning, I registered a different distribution that let me supposing an increasing use of VPN software.
The number of sessions from Turkey were used to be about 50% of totals. In March Twitter and YouTube have been banned, the incoming session from Turkey went down to 23,9% in April from the 44% in February. Looking at other countries, I observed that visits from UK, Switzerland and UK grew up. Especially UK in April generated more than 2% of total visits when it was used to represent the 0.7% in previous months. Furthermore looking at “New Visits”, the 80% of UK visitors were New Visitors in February. The percentage fell down to 28% in April, showing that more and more users virtually connected from UK has been becoming returning visitors.
Censorship generates uncertainty and costs
Censorship pushes businesses to increase costs they have to manage online business making the internet marketing to be very difficult. In this scenario, it means that only large-profit enterprises can have a reasonable Return of Investment in developing online marketing strategies. Small Enterprises, which could the ones that benefit much more from the internet technology, could loose the competitiveness because they are required to allocate more resources in order to reduce the impact of uncertainty created by censorship.
In Internet marketing data are essential. Bad data give bad information that generates bad decisions.
Coming back to the preview sample, in order to achieve the goals I’ve to implement plans able to reach my target audience composed by Italian speaking Turks. So, Turkey is one of my main target markets. According to the analytics shown, It seems I’m missing my target even if I can suppose that it is only using VPN and masqueraded IPs. Can I be sure? Is it my fault or is it only an effect of using non real IP? I can reduce my uncertainty estimating from cross checking data but it would be an approximate value.