Amazon Affiliate Commission Slashed – Spotlight #337

Good Monday morning. It’s April 20th. Wednesday is Earth Day. Parade magazine is featuring 50 Ideas from 50 States to mark the day. Congratulations to Heather McTeer Toney, Moms Clean Air Force’s Field Director, for her inclusion.

Reach out to George if you need to brainstorm about your organization doing new things in a digital way. We’ve already had these conversations with clients and friends. Now more than ever, we need to all work together and support each other. Just press REPLY in your email client to send a note.

Today’s Spotlight is 1,155 words, about a 4 minute read.

1. News to Know Now

a. The Amazon affiliate program is cutting commission rates for partners effective tomorrow. Those are the advertising fees paid to websites that you see with disclaimers about paid commissions if you buy products through their links. Rates for big ticket items like luxury beauty products, pet products, and furniture had the biggest percentage cuts, but cuts to more popular categories like Amazon Fresh groceries and books will have a much bigger effect. 

b. Advertising revenues are flattening across multiple product lines. Expedia reports that its $5 billion budgeted spend for calendar 2020 won’t even reach $1 billion. (CNBC)

c. YouTube announced a beta of Video Builder that targets small businesses without the resources to create videos from scratch. Templates have customizable layouts and colors using your own images and generate a 6 or 15 second video. (YouTube’s announcement)

Last week’s One Click Poll results
You’re (mostly) all one spacers. That might cause Ben Franklin’s printing press some dismay, but it’s a perfectly fine position in a world with laser printers. 

Don’t forget to make your voice heard this week on whether you think businesses in your local area are opening too fast, too slow, or about the right pace. The one click poll is at the end of this newsletter.

2. COVID-19 Online Resources and News


Covidly — my go-to.
Johns Hopkins — the one you see on the news.
Our World in Data – non profit based at Oxford. Maybe my new go-to.

Education Resources

Burger King Free Whopper for Schoolkids
James Dyson Foundation Challenge Cards for Kids
Google Donating 4,000 Chromebooks & Wifi in California
450 Ivy League Courses to Take Online for Free

Tech News

France Orders Amazon to Only Ship Essentials
Facebook Adds Covid-19 Templates for Small Businesses
YouTube Lifts Ban on Monetizing Covid-19 Videos
MIT Leading Academic Effort on Contact Tracing
Norwegian Telecom Wants Wifi Network Names Changed To Educate

Investor Mary Meeker’s annual internet trends report was replaced this year by a stripped down 29 page report addressing Covid-19 effects. Meeker, a former Wall Street executive, runs Bond Capital, a $1.2 billion firm whose investments include Nextdoor, Canva, Airbnb, and Hippo.

This year’s topics include federal spending, Zoom’s hypergrowth, and professional sports. Read the report here.

3. Search Engine Optimization News

Google Search now links to local testing sites when you are searching for relevant topics, reports 9 to 5 Google. There is also information from the CDC and easy map links so that people are referred to legitimate Covid-19 information. 

Google is also offering health care providers new options like the ability to show virtual care offerings, links for virtual appointments, and information about widely available virtual care platforms, including their pricing.

4. Also in the Spotlight — Washington Sues Facebook Again Over Political Ads

Washington has announced a lawsuit against Facebook for not maintaining required information about political advertisers. The state sued Google and Facebook in 2018 over violations of local campaign finance laws. Facebook settled that suit for $238,000.

As part of that agreement, Facebook voluntarily agreed to stop selling ads to political action committees although it would still do so for candidates. Since that time, the state reports that Facebook has sold more than $525,000 in advertising to more than 170 PACs. 

Read Attorney General Ferguson’s announcement.

5. Following Up: Zoom and the Dot Org Sale

The sale of the dot org domain registrarwe first told you about in December was postponed again after the parties received a last minute letter from California’s Attorney General informing them that the state has “serious concerns that cannot be overlooked.” (The Register)

We’ve also told you a lot about Zoom as it struggles while scaling up 20x growth in a single quarter. Bleeping Computer reported last week that up to 500,000 Zoom accounts and passwords were available for sale on the dark web. Their consultant was able to purchase account credentials at the rate of 500 per dollar. Yes, one dollar. Stop using the same password on multiple sites.

6. Debugging: 40 Million Coronavirus Warnings on Facebook

Facebook added warnings to 40 million pieces of Covid-19 misinformation people posted on its site. The company says that 95% of people do not click to read the misinformation when they see the warning. 

Read Facebook’s announcement here.

7. ProTip: Photopea

There is a new freemium (free with basic functions and ads, premium at $9/month) web-based image editor that has more features than almost any other and works with PSD, XD, and basic image files.

Check it out here.

8. Great Data: Providing Context

Risk scientist Jo Perla created plenty of discussion with this simple annotation to a now familiar Covid-19 slide. She’s not suggesting that the death rate is influenced only by something this simple, but she is arguing for the need for context in your data reporting. Dumping information helps no one. Analyzing information is very different.

9.  Screening Room: Knix Underwear Gets Real

Knix is a Canadian clothing company that’s been pushing the envelope in advertising. Their latest spot acknowledges that real woman of all ages and sizes wear their bras and leak-proof underwear. 

10. Coffee Break: A Beary Good Citizen

Look, everyone’s having a hard time and is more stressed than usual. Be nice to each other and to yourselves. And if you’re of a mind, maybe join this lumbering fella in being a beary good citizen. 

Check out the 17 second video here.

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