A number of prominent online companies have joined forces to create The Internet Association, the nation's first trade association claiming to represent the interests of the Internet economy. Led by President and CEO Michael Beckerman, IA consists of Amazon.com, AOL, eBay, Expedia, Facebook, Google, IAC, LinkedIn, Monster Worldwide, Rackspace, salesforce.com, TripAdvisor, Yahoo!, and Zynga.
For better or worse, these are the companies that will lobby Internet-related issues in Washington, with an emphasis on three key areas: Protecting Internet freedom; fostering innovation and economic growth; and empowering users.
"A free and innovative Internet is vital to our nation’s economic growth," Beckerman said in a statement. "These companies are all fierce competitors in the market place, but they recognize the Internet needs a unified voice in Washington. They understand the future of the Internet is at stake and that we must work together to protect it."
Some of these companies, like Google and Facebook, have fought issues on their own, including antitrust accusations and privacy charges. Collectively, these tech heavyweights will seek to influence regulations on a number of issues, always with the goal of Internet freedom, according to the organization.
How it plays out remains to be seen. A coalition of Internet companies carrying a louder voice could come in handy when topics like SOPA and PIPA come up in Washington, but there's also the risk of self interest getting in the way. Let's hope the organization holds true to its word.