Buying Local Internet?

buylocalWhen it comes to shopping, there is a movement to buy local. People have tried the “100 Mile Diet” and they have lashed back at mega corporations that have come to symbolize globalization. There is also a significant fear about privacy and some companies are working to avoid storing any of their data in the U.S.A.

So here are three questions:
1. Why should I buy local anything? I don’t think it’s a good idea for everyone but me to have the advantage of a global economy.
2. The Internet is a global thing to start with, so it’s not really possible to buy local, right?
3. If I keep my data out of the U.S., am I safe from NSA spying?

Part 1: Buying Local

To start with, what is the importance of local business, and if “MegaCorp” has a store in my home town that employs my friends and neighbours, isn’t that just as good, or maybe better, since the prices are lower?

Keep in mind that large companies offer lower prices through a basic concept called “economy of scale”. This means they use less of their resources to accomplish the same thing because they are operating on a large scale. This means they need fewer employees to sell you a loaf of bread. Fewer employees means less local employment. For some, this is compelling enough, but what if the cost seems out of line?

This leads to the next question, which is, “Why am I responsible for funding local jobs when I could save money by shopping elsewhere?”

A business that is not operating on a MegaCorp model offers things that are unique. Although prices and packages will vary, pay attention to the extra care you get from a well-run business, and consider that the additional value that comes with the product. Peace of mind is worth it.

Businesses can compete successfully by offering personalized service. This works when the ratio of dedicated employees to the number of customers is high enough, and the employee turnover is low enough due to the valued employee approach that a non-MegaCorp model can offer. Employees can remember the customers’ names, and have a basic familiarity with even thousands of customers. With this approach, management has a better view of the whole operation and how each customer interaction is being handled by each employee.

See below for some links to articles discussing studies done on Walmart and how it affects local economies.

Part 2: Your Local Internet

Most people don’t really know where the Internet comes from, so briefly, here it is how it gets to you:
Large organizations such as universities, telecommunications companies, content and service providers worldwide connect to each other through fibre-optics. In every locality, these organizations interconnect with regional companies and service providers who connect with end-users, including residences, businesses, and mobile devices.

Websites can and do exist at any of the links in the chain described above. In order to ensure that a website is constantly available, it should be connected to more than one link, so people do not normally host websites at their own business or residence, but at a service provider’s residence, or “datacentre”.

A good datacentre is connected to the regional and national carriers at the same time. This makes more efficient connections to more viewers. Your reach will be global at some point, even if only for a few users at a time. Even if your business is local, people do travel.

If your primary audience is regional, then it makes sense to have a good regional presence. This will reduce some of the inefficient communications that can happen when your website is hosted thousands of miles away. The difference between a half second page load and a quarter second page load is hard to measure, but the impression it makes on the human brain is real. Impress your visitors.

Local Access

Whether or not servers are located physically far from their users, accountability of all the parties involved is a critical factor. The website owner trusts the provider or consultant they are dealing with, that consultant trusts the manager and the staff in the facility, and all of them trust the transit connection between the local community and the remote hosting facility. If the facility is remote, perhaps these people have never met, and so accountability is not as strong, simply due to the relationship.

Accountability is greatest when held within a personal relationship, and when people have direct influence over outcomes. If you can have a direct relationship with a local provider, then accountability increases. Additionally, when that provider has direct physical access to the systems that are being managed, it is easier for them to be accountable. Once again, local workers providing local services give you an advantage.

Part 3: Fearing the American Spies

This is a topic big enough for its own article but I’ll comment briefly anyway. The important things to know are that you may not be able to prevent spying, and that if you can choose your battle ground you’ll be better off.

The United States has its own interests at heart ahead of yours. If you are not an American citizen, then you’ll find it harder to defend your rights in their country. If you store your data in Canada, it may be less likely to be compromised by American spying. If that doesn’t sound very reassuring then that’s good. The NSA made significant efforts to compromise software that is used in businesses worldwide. This means that you can have a secure hosting environment that they could have a back door into via some software that you have chosen to use.

If you expect that a legal battle could be the result of compromised data, then you should host your data in a jurisdiction where you have the most benefit. Talk to your lawyer about this, and don’t take my advice on it in any way. Consider that a court case in your home jurisdiction is going to be cheaper, and might have a better outcome than one in a foreign land.

How To Get More

100% Helpdesk provides website hosting service with bundled customer care and technical support services. Our experts understand the platforms we use from top to bottom, and will give you the customer care you need to transfer your website and email to us, and to keep your site running smoothly on an ongoing basis. We will make sure you get all your devices set up just right, and we do the preventative maintenance for you.

Our servers are located in a secure facility in Winnipeg with local and global connections. Our technicians have direct access to the environment we use for our hosting services, resulting in a service we can support and stand behind.

Related Links

The 100 Mile Diet:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_100-Mile_Diet

Report on a study of Walmart, published on New York City’s website:
http://pubadvocate.nyc.gov/news/2011-01-11/new-study-wal-mart-means-fewer-jobs-less-small-businesses-more-burden-taxpayers

Forbes Magazine editorial article on the significance of Walmart studies:
http://www.forbes.com/sites/timworstall/2013/03/31/of-course-walmart-destroys-retail-jobs-thats-the-darn-point-of-it-all/