In a February 2009 ranking of Swiss brands by Interbrand, the top five brands were, in order of brand value, Nescafé, UBS, Nestlé, Credit Suisse and Zurich. Other globally recognized brands in the top 20 included Rolex, Omega, Lindt, Swatch and Longines. How did a tiny country largely known for keeping to itself become such a branding powerhouse? It starts with Switzerland’s view of its own brand.
This morning at Nokia World 2010 in London, Sir Tim Berners-Lee, widely known as the inventor of the Web, addressed the audience in a keynote speech where he spoke about the future of mobile technology, including both the positive impacts it brings as well as the areas of concern. After encouraging developers to build for the Web, so as to deliver applications that work on all types of devices, even the ones that haven't been invented yet, he then proceeded to detail areas which need addressing, specifically privacy, accountability, network neutrality and the 80% of the world that doesn't have access to the World Wide Web.
As we become increasingly dependent on the Internet, we need to be increasingly concerned about how it is regulated. The Federal Communications Commission has proposed “network neutrality” rules, which would prohibit Internet service providers from discriminating against or charging premiums for certain services or applications on the Web. The commission is correct that ensuring equal access to the infrastructure of the Internet is vital, but it errs in directing its regulations only at service providers like AT&T and Comcast. Today, search engines like Google, Yahoo and Microsoft’s new Bing have become the Internet’s gatekeepers, and the crucial role they play in directing users to Web sites means they are now as essential a component of its infrastructure as the physical network itself. The F.C.C. needs to look beyond network neutrality and include “search neutrality”: the principle that search engines should have no editorial policies other than that their results be comprehensive, impartial and based solely on relevance.