Cashing Out: Week of June 14th-21st 2009 in Online Marketing News

North Carolina Senate Passes Anti-Affiliate Tax Law, Merchants like Amazon Abandon NC Affiliates

It’s no secret that here at ReveNews we feel the so called “Amazon Tax” laws enacted by New York are a poor idea. This week North Carolina followed in New York’s steps passing Senate Bill 202 (pdf) which is expected to be ratified quickly.

Calling the law “unconstitutional” Amazon sent a letter (pdf) to all North Carolina affiliates in its Amazon Associates program saying it would terminate their participation in the program once the law is enacted. Since the bill has yet to be signed into law the move is a preemptive one on Amazon’s part. While no merchant should dump their affiliates in such a cavalier way, hopefully the news around Amazon’s move can be used as last ditch leverage in petition against the legislation.

To date anti-affiliate legislation has been either delayed or dismissed in California, Maryland, Minnesota, and Tennessee. Affiliate Voice has a current list of the status of pending affiliate tax legislation in various states here.

Want to know what you can do? Here are some opportunities to become involved:

  • Matt Enders, OPM MGEcom, is opening their offices in North Carolina for discussions on Monday, June 22 at 2:00 pm and is then coordinating an effort at the state capitol on Tuesday, June 23 with the following schedule:
    8:00 am – meeting time at the North Carolina General Assembly
    8:30 am-  House Finance Committee standing weekly meeting
    1:00 pm -  Senate Finance Committee standing weekly meeting
  • Affiliate Voice is holding an Internet Tax Issue Education Call this Wednesday, June 21st. The call starts at 12:30pm and is free. To join in the discussion click here to register.
  • Affiliate Summit and are hosting a Tax Talk & Crab Feast on Thursday, July 9 in Baltimore. The event focusing on tax discussion kicks off at 4pm. Click here for information.
  • Both the Performance Marketing Association and Affiliate Voice are two industry organizations who are helping to coordinate efforts to combat such anti-affiliate laws.

WickedFire Flap Causes Facebook to Face Click Fraud Problem

The WickedFire forums tend to be a bit of a Wild West, which makes it ironic the forum was helped bring to light a click fraud issue with Facebook’s PPC ads. According to TechCrunch rather than the normal bot issues that occur in search creating false clicks the issue centered around Facebook’s own system “charging for clicks that didn’t exist at all”. A member of Facebook’s communications team eventually responded to the hubbub saying that Facebook “took click quality seriously” and was “addressing the issue”.

MySpace Cuts 30% of its Staff

MySpace announced drastic cutbacks in its staff this week, eliminating at least 30% of its workforce. The move came as cost cutting measure as the company attempts to remake itself in the face of declining advertising revenue and user base.

Yahoo Rolls Out My Display Ads

In an attempt to gain a share of the hyper localized ad market, Yahoo has rolled out My Display Ads self service ad system. The local ad market is an estimated 13.6 billion according to AdAge which provides Yahoo plenty of incentive to leverage its relationship with AdReady.

Ted Murphy, Kerri Pollard get Wrapped up in Michael Arrington’s Drama

TechCrunch’s Michael Arrington likes to mix things up. This week he took a shot at IZEA continuing an old feud from the PayPerPost days. Basically anti-spam advocate Andy Sernovitz  pointed out to Arrington that IZEA was grabbing affiliate links through Commission Junction to promote advertisers it didn’t have a direct relationship with through its IZEA Partner Network. Arrington’s main point of contention was that IZEA was leveraging these affiliate relationships to endanger advertisers with the FTC by spamming links across Twitter.

The story was perfect linkbait garnering lots of attention including comments by Commission Junction General Manager Kerri Pollard and a tête-à-tête between Arrington and IZEA CEO Ted Murphy.

What Michael Arrington fails to recognize is that advertisers participating in any affiliate network have the right to choose to either manually or automatically approve their affiliate partners. Either way by letting IZEA into their program the advertiser is essentially agreeing to IZEA’s methods of promotion. Arrington’s concern about lack of disclosure with sponsored posts is valid and should be taken into consideration by both Ted Murphy and CJ (which already stated it would implement greater disclosure).

Unfortunately Arrington’s current method of communicating valid concerns simply amount to a lot of entertaining sound and fury.

2 Responses to Cashing Out: Week of June 14th-21st 2009 in Online Marketing News

  1. Karen Garcia says:

    While the affiliate tax bill, AB 178, was successfully postponed back in April here in California, the language has unfortunately made a return in the new budget bill.

    This budget bill is slated to head to the Governor's desk as early as the end of this week. Despite the narrow timeline, a group of affiliate industry folks are headed to the state Capitol today to speak to anyone and everyone we can to try to get them to understand why the so-called "Amazon Tax" will devastate the affiliate advertising industry in California.

    If you are from California, please get involved today…time is running short.

  2. Thanks for the update on California AB 178 Karen!

    As per Karen's DM folks interested in helping out in California can contact her via Twitter at