On November 1, the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology issued the “Notice on Carrying out Actions to Enhance the Perception of Information and Communication Services.” The notice clarified that under the same network conditions, the minimum upload and download rates provided by online disk companies to free users should ensure that the basic download requirements are met, and this task is required to be completed by the end of December 2021. Behind the notice is the contradiction between the increasing importance of online disk services to social life and the inconvenience caused by the inconvenience caused by the speed limit of free users by online disk companies.
As of June 2021, the number of Internet users in my country has reached 1.011 billion, and the Internet penetration rate has reached 71.6%, which exceeds the global average. At the same time, the demand for Internet users to access files anytime and anywhere has increased significantly. Online storage services represented by online storage can solve the pain points of physical storage media, which has won the favor of a large number of users and achieved rapid growth in the number of users. However, the speed of free download services provided by some online disk companies is extremely slow, which has become a pain point and slot for netizens.
The slow download speed is not affected by objective reasons such as Internet speed, but because some online disk companies limit the download speed of free users in order to improve the experience of paying users and increase the proportion of paying users. Therefore, the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology requires online disk companies to guarantee the basic upload and download requirements of free users. The core is to allow online disk companies to lift the free restrictions on the upload and download speed of free users, thereby enhancing the user experience.
From the perspective of the basic spirit of the Internet, inclusiveness, sharing, and innovation have become its spiritual background. A large number of Internet products are based on the principle of sharing and provide services to netizens for free. For example, search services, news services, email services, social networking services, etc. It is the existence of such a large number of free services that make the Internet one of the fastest popularized new technology systems in the world. Internet companies have rapidly expanded their user base through this free service, and new business models based on inclusive and free services have also brought companies room for growth. Enterprises have obtained huge profits by providing users with fee-added value-added services, or through cross-subsidy and other models. The huge user base has made these enterprises favored by the capital market. This is also one of the reasons why the digital economy can develop rapidly.
At the beginning of the development of online disk services, it also gained a huge user base through free services. However, with the expansion of the user scale, online disk companies have begun to introduce paid user services. After the enterprise gains profits on the paying client side, it is normal business logic to induce more free users to become paying users in order to expand its source of benefits. To convert free users, you can choose to improve the experience of paying users, including adding more value-added services, so that users can actively purchase paid members; you can also choose to reduce the experience of free users and make them passively purchase services. However, when a company chooses the latter, it will not only damage the company’s reputation, brand, and word of mouth, but also adversely affect the online disk industry. Therefore, this move by the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology is on the one hand to better protect the legitimate rights and interests of free users, on the other hand, it also provides a basis for the online disk industry to enter a more benign development stage.
In recent years, relevant departments have become more stringent in reviewing copyrights of content stored on online disks, and bandwidth costs and server costs have continued to increase, and the pressure to provide free services is increasing. Therefore, some people think that enterprises’ restrictions on free services are justifiable, and relevant enterprises have a certain degree of confidence. However, there are not many companies that provide personal-level online disk services in the market, and users have limited choices. In addition, users have high conversion costs when using online disks, which makes it difficult for users to vote with their feet. Driven by market forces, some online disk companies have become accustomed to treating users differently, and the motivation for self-innovation has always been insufficient. From the perspective of the entire Internet industry, there are few successful cases of coping with cost changes by reducing user experience.
On the whole, users are the foundation of the Internet industry. Treat every user well, continue to improve user experience, continuously improve content and services, promote technological innovation and business model innovation, and build the hard power of the enterprise. It is the long-term survival of the enterprise. road. This time the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology has promoted online disk companies to protect the basic rights and interests of free users, precisely in order to return companies to the normal growth track of building hard power, thereby promoting the sustainable and healthy development of the entire online disk industry. (The author is a researcher at the Institute of Financial and Economic Strategy, Chinese Academy of Social Sciences) (Economic Daily)