This week’s Four on Friday was written by Jennifer Bly, Public Relations and Social Media Coordinator for the American Registry for Internet Numbers (ARIN). ARIN is a nonprofit member-based organization supporting the operation of the Internet through the management of Internet number resources throughout its service region. ARIN coordinates the development of policies by the community for the management of Internet Protocol number resources and advances the Internet through informational outreach.
Not many people outside of the technical community are aware that the Internet is undergoing one of its most important evolutions to date. To put it simply, the Internet as we know it will soon be a thing of the past. The pool of available IPv4 addresses has just about run dry, and once they are gone, the old Internet will be replaced by a new network based on a new protocol: IPv6. This change will have a massive impact on public relations professionals who increasingly rely on data to track campaign performance, conversions and website traffic.
PR News recently featured a byline by ARIN’s President and CEO, John Curran, on PR’s Stake in the Evolution of the Internet, where he explained why it is critical that public relations professionals pay attention to the evolution of the Internet and why the shift to IPv6 will have a major impact on their day-to-day work.
Here are four reasons PR pros ought to know about IPv6:
1) It Harnesses the Power of Digital and Mobile
It seems everyone now has at least one mobile device, each requiring an IP address to access content on the Internet. As more wireless providers are deploying IPv6 and traffic volume over IPv6 continues to increase (10-fold over the last two years), content providers must enable their sites for the new protocol. Users connecting to web content available only over IPv4 through IPv6-enabled devices could have a less than optimal experience.
2) It Provides Global Visibility
As IPv4 addresses become increasingly scarce, more and more new users are connecting to the Internet via IPv6 across the world. Europe, the Middle East and Asia Pacific ran out of IPv4 addresses years ago. If your website isn’t IPv6-enabled, it may be unreachable to users in those regions as well as new Internet users all over the world in the near future.
3) It Enables More Effective Measurement
If you use tools to determine website visitors’ behavior and preferences, including what’s driving traffic, geographic location of potential customers, and conversion rates, IPv6 is essential to you. When Internet users browse the web via an IPv6-only connection but want to load a website that is not IPv6-enabled, they must use a network gateway that can make it appear like they are coming for a different location than they actually are. This can throw off website analytics that are used to determine target audiences and campaign successes or failures.
4) It Gives Brands a Competitive Edge
If people are having trouble accessing your website, they could turn to competitors who have already made their content available over IPv6. Many major online companies such (Google, Facebook, Bing, YouTube, Yahoo, to name a few) have already have made their websites IPv6-enabled, and you should too.