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Will the Internet Sales Tax Bill Help or Hurt the Small Business Retailer?

585040_business_buttonsPresident Obama on Monday, said that the proposed Marketplace Fairness Act, which would require online retailers to collect sales tax, “will level the playing field for local small business retailers that are in competition every day with large out-of-state online companies.”

Far be it for me to disagree with the President, but I don’t see it.

Let’s take this step-by-step. Brick and mortar stores say they’re going out of business because people are choosing to buy online instead of in their store. I believe this is true. I don’t think it’s a stretch to say that Amazon helped put Borders out of business.

Google’s Offer to EU Labeled a ‘Non-Starter’ By Rivals Before It Is Even Seen

google-logoSo as not to create confusion about what exactly is going on between Google, the European Union and Google’s friends at FairSearch.org here are the highlights of what appears to be going on with Google in its continuing battle with the EU and various ‘competitors’.

  • For three years Google and its treatment of its search results have been under investigation by the EU or the European Commission (EC) (I get confused myself on this one so forgive me).
  • FairSearch.org and its member companies have been after the EU to punish Google for claims of unfair trade practices which include charges of Google being a search monopoly

Would ‘Do Not Track’ Legislation Impact Your Marketing Efforts?

Do Not TrackAccording to an article from AdWeek there is some renewed interest in getting ‘Do Not Track’ legislation pushed through that would give consumers the chance to sign up for a ‘Do Not Call’ type exemption from online tracking.

The article tells us

Do Not Track legislation is poised to make a big comeback this Congress, and marketers who managed to hold it off for the past two years are taking nothing for granted. Ahead of a Senate Commerce hearing planned before month’s end, groups are stepping up their lobbying to block Sen. Jay Rockefeller’s reintroduced Do Not Track Online Act, which would give consumers the online equivalent of a Do Not Call option with the click of a mouse.

The SEC Says its Okay For CEOs to Talk Shop on Social

I_Meant_To_Do_ThatWhen Netflix CEO Reed Hastings posted a Facebook update congratulating his content licensing team on facilitating 1 billion hours of viewing, I’m sure he didn’t expect to influence government policy.

Then again. . . maybe that was the plan all along.

The Securities and Exchange Commission jumped all over Hastings for the post, because they thought it violated the rules that govern public disclosure of business information.  Regulation Fair Disclosure says that public companies have to disclose information to everyone at the same time. That way, one person can’t buy and sell stock based on that information before the rest of the world gets the news.

Twitter Says Grandstanding Is the Real Issue In French Hate Tweet Case

GavelSince we are on the legal kick this morning regarding what major Internet companies face when it comes to their service and the perceived lega; rights of their users an update in a case that Twitter is involved in in France is interesting.

The Verge sums up the situation well here.

Twitter has failed to reveal the authors of anti-Semitic tweets after a French court mandated the company do so, reports the AFP. The January court ruling required that Twitter hand over user data to help identify hate speech authors who live under the jurisdiction of French laws. The suit was originally filed by France’s Union of Jewish Students (UEJF), and the UEJF has now announced that it is taking further legal action against Twitter for claims that it has not complied with court orders.

The Cost of Privacy Helped Google’s Decision to End Reader

google-logo1So for all of the conspiracy theories surroundings Google’s decision to shutter its popular (well, popular is a relative measurement isn’t it) Reader one of the main reasons could be a very practical one: the cost of privacy.

According to report from All Things D

Under CEO Larry Page, Google has made a practice of “spring cleaning” throughout all the seasons so it can narrow its focus. Reader was just a another bullet point on the latest closure list.

But the shutdown wasn’t just a matter of company culture and bigger priorities, sources said. Google is also trying to better orient itself so that it stops getting into trouble with repeated missteps around compliance issues, particularly privacy.

New FTC Rules Push For Clear and Conspicuous Disclosures on Social and Mobile

dot-com-coverThe FTC just released an updated version of their dot com disclosures guidelines (aka rules) which was originally released in 2000. A few things have changed since then, but the FTC’s stand on “clear and conspicuous” disclosures hasn’t and that could be a problem for advertisers.

Everyone loves social and mobile, but both outlets are hampered by a lack of useable space. The FTC understands this, but they’re not backing down. My interpretation of the guidelines – find a way to make it happen or don’t post ads to mobile and social. If they start enforcing that, it’s going to be one heck of a crack down.

Here is just a portion of the instruction son how to make a disclosure clear and conspicuous: