More sites offer “free data” to mobile users, raising stakes in net neutrality debate

Gigaom

Websites as diverse as Expedia, StubHub and Slate are trying a new tactic to attract mobile device users: they’re picking up the tab for the data, meaning that consumers don’t have to worry that visiting the site, or watching a video there, will affect their monthly mobile bill.

As the Wall Street Journal explains (subscriptio required), “free data” could become the next “free shipping” as websites try to induce cost-conscious consumers to give them a try on their phone:

When AT&T Inc. rolled out a plan early this year to let companies pay for data its subscribers consume, it looked like a long-odds attempt to get a cut of the valuable traffic generated by sites like YouTube and Facebook. But the idea is starting to get some traction.

Hershey Co. , Hotels.com and eBay Inc. unit StubHub have been taking part in experiments by services that pay users’ data cost or offer bonus…

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