California, Hawaii Veto “Amazon Tax”; NC & RI Still Plan Affiliate Nexus

It’s somewhat hard to keep up with which state is passing the so called "Amazon Tax," which have vetoed it, and which retailers have pulled the plug on their program–just in anticipation of it.

Let’s start with the good news. Both California and Hawaii look set eject the planned affiliate nexus, with vetoes from their respective governors.

CA’s Arnold Schwarzenegger stated:

"After passing the largest tax increase in California history, it makes absolutely no sense to go back to the taxpayers to solve the current shortfall – that’s why yesterday I vetoed the majority vote tax increase passed by the legislature."

Meanwhile HI’s Governor Linda Lingle says:

Happy 4th of July!

It’s a Saturday, so I know you’re not going to work hard today anyway.

For those in the US, I hope you enjoy your hot dogs and fireworks!

Fireworks over Waikiki, Oahu, Hawaii

Google Added 25% to Chinese Ad Revenue

Google China logoAfter their recent skirmish with the Chinese government over Internet porn, Google China is back online. And they’re already optimistic: apparently they’re poised to announce a Q2 revenue increase in China of 25% over the previous quarter. (And in this economy, that’s not just great; that’s phenomenal!)

Brand Republic reports that Google China will also see operating revenue increases of 45% to 50% over the second quarter of last year. For owning only 30% of the Chinese search market, that seems pretty impressive. And the revenue boost from April, May and June of this year probably wasn’t because of a jump in market share—they’ve only added eight percentage points to their marketshare over the last two years.

Search Ads Less Helpful than TV, Newspaper

harris logoThe results of a new poll from Harris Interactive indicate that Internet advertising isn’t as effective as search engine marketers would like to think. When asked what medium’s ads were most helpful in making purchase decisions, the 2500+ American respondents indicated that first television, then newspapers, then search engine ads. Internet banner ads fared even worse:

  • 37% said television ads were most helpful in purchase decisions
  • 18% said newspaper ads
  • 14% said search engine ads
  • 3% said radio ads
  • 1% said Internet banner ads

Perhaps most revealing, however, is the math. Those numbers don’t add up to 100% because another 28% (rounding effects) said that none of those ad media were helpful in purchase decisions.

Google AdWords & Ad Planner Get the Mary Kay Treatment

In addition to some minor changes with the blog search interface, Google has been busy updating both the Google Ad Planner and Adwords interfaces.

The AdWords updates are in response to feedback Google has received since it introduced a new look last month. About the only thing that appears to be truly an "update" is a new search feature for finding your keywords.

Google Blog Search, Now With Added Mediocrity

Google has updated the homepage to Google Blog Search, but it seems more like a knee jerk reaction to other web sites, than true innovation.

Take for example the new “Hot queries” section. It highlights the search terms currently most active on Google Blog Search. It sounds like a good idea, but ends up looking like nothing but a rip-off of Twitter’s “Trending Topics.” Google couldn’t even be bothered to match those hot queries to the topic you’re viewing. Switch to technology news, and you still see “tour de france” and English soccer star “michael owen” in the list.

Google Book Settlement Officially on DOJ Radar

RadarEarlier in June we talked about how the Google book settlement reached with Authors Guild and the Association of American Publishers was drawing the attention of the Department of Justice. The settlement between these two parties was reached in October 2008. There isn’t even final approval on the agreement and the fairness hearing to determine that approval is still months away. Under the settlement, Google’s plan to make available millions of titles copied from various public sources can move forward.

Google would have the right to display the books online and to profit from them by selling access to individual titles and by selling subscriptions to its entire collection to libraries and other institutions. Revenue would be shared among Google, authors and publishers.