Amazon Sues NY Over Taxes; Are Affiliates ‘Affiliated’?

We’ve all used Amazon before—but if you’re living in New York, a new(ish) law says you’ll have to pay New York sales taxes on purchases from the Seattle-based Internet retailer. Don’t worry, New Yorkers, you’re not the only one incensed: Amazon is already challenging the law.

Reuters reports that the new law, which Amazon believes is “unconstitutional, vague and overly broad,” dictates that any business selling goods with a presence in New York—including Internet-based affiliates living in New York—will have to pay New York sales tax. Or, as Reuters puts it:

Through its “Associates Program,” the company pays unaffiliated Web site operators around the country a commission if they advertise Amazon on their sites. Those ads often allow consumers to click through from the advertiser’s Web site to

Pilgrim’s Picks for May 5 – Cinco de Mayo Edition

Today is Cinco de Mayo!

What does that mean?

Well if you’re of Mexican descent, it’s a celebration of the defeat of French forces in the Battle of Pueblo on May 5, 1862.

If you’re anyone else, it’s an excuse to simply “celebrate.” :-)

For those of us staying sober today, here are today’s Picks:

Live* Tracking of YHOO, MSFT & GOOG Stock Reaction

While Reuters and are going to flood the newswires with “XXX shares plunge 20%” all day long, we wouldn’t put you through that kind of bombardment.

Instead, we’re publishing an intra-day chart of the stock price for Yahoo, Google, and Microsoft. That way, you can check back here throughout the day and see which of the three companies is fairing the best.

*OK, so it’s almost live–there’s a 20 min delay in the data. ;-)

Who Are the Winners & Losers in the Yahoo/Microsoft Battle?

With this weekend’s news that Microsoft has withdrawn its offer to purchase Yahoo, the news media is having a field day analyzing the “if,” “ands”, and “buts.” Instead of regurgitating the same stuff, let’s take a look at the winners and losers here.


  • Yahoo: It should have taken Microsoft’s increased offer. There were no other suitors in sight, and Google is hardly its best pick for a knight in shining armor. I don’t expect the market to be kind to Yahoo today, and I suspect employees are deflated, not elated.
  • Microsoft: When it made its bid for Yahoo, it waived a big white flag to the rest of us. Microsoft gave up on building its own search share and now it expects us to believe it can go back and waive a magic wand to fix it? If Microsoft had faith in its own ability to build Live Search’s share of internet searches, it wouldn’t have bid for Yahoo, would it?

Write Newsletters Even You’d Want to Read

By Michelle Greer.

It’s official. As much as people want to pile on the social media consulting gravy train to bring in the big theoretical bucks, even Biz Stone at Twitter sends email newsletters. Apparently, the guys at Twitter have cool news they want you to hear that requires more than 140 characters.

How can marketers actually send emails that people want to read, according to a study done by eROI?

  • Put out something people can use. Of those who responded to the study, only 29% offer access to preferred content, 24% offer discounts/coupons, and only 22% offer some kind of contest.
  • Don’t be a jerk. Only 30% of respondents to the study are offering any opt-in options.

Google vs. Microsoft – Who’s the Bad Guy?

A recent article here on MarketingPilgrim, which referred to an interview with Eric Schmidt, where he basically saw Microsoft as the “evil” company the knight in shining armor (since Google’s CEO was being interviewed, I’m sure it’s clear who he sees as the “knight in shining armor”) needs to protect us from gave me the idea for today’s post

Obviously, the opinion in question is anything but objective, but it does make us wonder: who exactly is the bad guy? Given the fact that Google and Microsoft don’t exactly have a stainless track record, it’s definitely hard to tell.

Steve Ballmer’s Email to Microsoft Employees has released an email sent by Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer to Microsoft employees:

This afternoon I sent the attached letter to Jerry Yang announcing that Microsoft has withdrawn its proposal to acquire Yahoo. We proposed the deal in the belief that a Microsoft-Yahoo merger would create a combined company with the resources and assets to win in the fast-growing market for advertising and online services.

Ballmer spends most the email bolstering the company’s initiatives in terms of Internet advertising, and explains that the Yahoo merger was more of an accelerated means to obtain the company’s vision on the Web rather than an end all be all.