ANTI-HOME SHARING BILL WOULD HURT THOUSANDS IN THE DISTRICT

WASHINGTON, September 25, 2018 – A newly proposed ordinance would decimate DC’s robust short-term rental market, depriving home-owners of their property rights and hurting neighborhood restaurants and small businesses that benefit from short-term rentals in the District.

The proposed restrictions on short-term rentals, to be released later today, are accompanied by a half-million-dollar ad campaign funded by the big hotel chains – who want to eliminate competition from short-term rentals.   LaSalle Hotel Properties’s CEO told investors that a law curtailing short-term rental services would allow hotels to boost their room rates.

“Washington DC already gives millions in tax breaks to big hotels, and Council should not give hotels another handout by curtailing the property rights of District home owners,” said Carl Szabo, General Counsel of NetChoice.

Short-term rentals provide much-needed income to hundreds of DC residents.  Over 52 percent of short-term rental hosts nationwide live in low-to-moderate income households. And almost half of the income hosts earn through short-term rentals helps them cover household expenses.  Moreover, there are hundreds of local restaurants, shops, and cleaning services that benefit from the activity of short-term rentals.

“This legislation has been marred by misinformation and process problems and should not be rammed through in the closing days of this year’s final Council session.   This issue deserves a robust public discussion and economic impact analysis,” continued Szabo.

“This bill will harm thousands of DC residents who rely on short-term rentals, not just home owners, but small businesses that benefit from the economic boost created by short term renting.”

 

About NetChoice

NetChoice is a trade association of eCommerce businesses who share the goal of promoting convenience, choice, and commerce on the net.

PRESIDENT TRUMP & ATTORNEY GENERAL SESSIONS LACK SUPPORT FOR BREAKING UP TECH, NEW NETCHOICE SURVEY FINDS

Just 5% of Americans Want Antitrust Focus on Tech

WASHINGTON, September 24, 2018 – Americans overwhelmingly value the contributions of the technology industry and do not support antitrust enforcement, despite aggressive rhetoric from President Trump, a new NetChoice survey* of 1,200 U.S. consumers found.

President Trump’s draft Executive Order would put tech in the crosshairs of U.S. antitrust authorities. Attorney General Jeff Sessions is also holding a meeting with several State Attorneys General today  to discuss accusations of social media bias. But Americans don’t support an antitrust crack down on America’s most innovative businesses.

New polling shows that only about 5% of Americans (on both sides of the political aisles) say the federal government should focus anti-competitive enforcement on the tech industry. Further, just 1 in 5 Americans say the break-up of big tech would most benefit consumers.

The value of tech to consumers and businesses is clear.

Over 70% of Americans say that digital advertising platforms like Google and Facebook are valuable to both small businesses and the national economy. Just 13% say that they have had a negative experience with large Internet platforms and 72% say that services like Facebook, Google, and Amazon make it easier for them to connect with people in their community.

“President Trump’s fixation on breaking up tech platforms lacks support from Americans,” said Steve DelBianco, president of NetChoice. “Antitrust policy needs to be guided by facts, not emotional outbursts. The government cannot violate the First Amendment by forcing Internet platforms to suppress negative news. Internet platforms are a boon for American consumers, businesses, and, in turn, the U.S. economy. The President should listen to regular Americans and allow U.S. tech companies to continue to thrive and innovate.”

*About the Survey: From August 6-8, 2018 Zogby Analytics conducted an interactive survey of 1,222 adults focused on consumer attitudes toward Internet platforms and government regulation. The survey, commissioned by NetChoice, has a margin of error of +/- 2.8%.  It is available at NetChoice.org/TechlashPoll

About NetChoice

NetChoice is a trade association of eCommerce businesses and online consumers all of whom share the goal of promoting convenience, choice, and commerce on the net.

 

Michigan Residents Back Legislation to Secure Ticket Rights – “I bought it, I own it”

80% support the right of ticket holders to resell, give away or donate their tickets

68% of Michigan Fans SUPPORT legislation like HB 4224 – allowing fans to resell at prices they choose

September 19 – New polling released by NetChoice shows that both Michigan voters support ticket resale rights and want to be able to resell their tickets for a price they choose.

According to a survey of more than 600 Michiganders conducted by Zogby Analytics and commissioned by NetChoice, 80% support the right of ticket holders to resell, give away, or donate their tickets. 62% say that Michigan law needs to change so consumers can decide what price to sell their tickets – 68% of Michigan Fans support legislation like HB 4224 allowing fans to resell at prices they choose.

“This poll sends a very clear message to Lansing – constituents want legislation to protect their rights as ticket owners,” said Carl Szabo, Vice President and General Counsel of NetChoice. “Consumers expect that once they have purchased a ticket, they own it and can give away or resell however they choose.  Michiganders want state laws updated to reflect their views.”

Existing Michigan law denies fans the right to resell their tickets at a price they choose without written permission from the ticket issuer. The polling shows that Michiganders strongly support legislation to change this status quo.

The research found that Michigan voters would also be more likely to vote for candidates that support a change in the law. By a 3 to 1 margin, respondents with an opinion would be more likely to vote for a candidate that supports ticket resell rights.

“Clearly, Michiganders want ticket holders to determine how and at what price they can sell their tickets.  Let’s hope their representatives pass laws to give them these rights.” continued Szabo.

Other survey findings included:

Michigan Consumers Deserve Control of Their Tickets

  • 69% say a ticket is personal property and the purchaser should have full control of it
  • 75% say taxpayer-subsidized venues should freely allow taxpayers to purchase, transfer and resell tickets
  • 80% support the right of ticket holders to resell, give away or donate their tickets

Voters want Michigan Ticket Laws to Change

  • 62% say Michigan law needs changing so consumers can decide what price they want to resell their ticket
  • 3 in 4 respondents with an opinion support legislation that allows ticket owners to choose what price they can resell tickets
  • 68% support legislation that guaranteed the ability to resell event tickets at the price they choose
  • 75% of registered independents support legislation that guaranteed the ability to resell event tickets at the price they choose

About the survey: From July 12-15, 2018 Zogby Analytics conducted an interactive survey of 601 adults in Michigan on their views of ticket resale rights and related legislation. The survey, commissioned by NetChoice, has a margin of error of +/- 4%.

To see our complete release materials, please go to http://netchoice.org/MITicketspoll.

About NetChoice: NetChoice is a trade association of eCommerce businesses and online consumers all of whom share the goal of promoting convenience, choice, and commerce on the net.

NETCHOICE COMMENDS SENSENBRENNER BILL PROTECTING SMALL BUSINESSES FROM SCOTUS INTERNET SALES TAX DECISION

Washington, D.C., September 14 – This afternoon, Reps. Reps. Sensenbrenner, Eshoo, Duncan, and Lofgren introduced the Online Sales Simplicity and Small Business Relief Act of 2018. This legislation is a response to the chaos caused by the June-2018 Supreme Court decision in South Dakota v. Wayfair.

The Court overturned decades of legal precedent and put small business owners at the mercy of all out-of-state sales tax collectors, covering more than 12,000 local tax jurisdictions.

Below, please find a statement from Steve DelBianco of NetChoice regarding the introduction of HR 6824 this afternoon:

“The U.S. Congress has the Constitutional role of protecting interstate commerce.  Reps. Sensenbrenner, Eshoo, Duncan, and Lofgren are to be commended for stepping into the breach created when the U.S. Supreme Court erased 60 years of settled law that restrained state tax collectors from reaching across their borders.

America’s small businesses cannot survive under the complex burdens and audit risks from 46 different state sales tax regimes. HR 6824 incentivizes all states to significantly simplify their sales tax systems.”

AMERICAN CONSUMERS REJECT GOVERNMENT INTERVENTION IN TECH:  “LET US PICK INTERNET PLATFORM WINNERS AND LOSERS,” NEW NETCHOICE RESEARCH FINDS

AMERICAN CONSUMERS REJECT GOVERNMENT INTERVENTION IN TECH:  “LET US PICK INTERNET PLATFORM WINNERS AND LOSERS,” NEW NETCHOICE RESEARCH FINDS

Just 5% Say Regulators Should Focus Anti-Competitive Enforcement on Tech

Americans Prefer Interest-Based Ads Over Paying for Content By a 3-1 Margin

 

SEPTEMBER 12, 2018, Washington, DC – State and federal legislators on both sides of the aisle have called for more regulation of the technology industry. However, new research from NetChoice shows that Americans want a light regulatory touch for tech companies, believing that consumer spending and online surfing habits should be the ultimate means of ensuring competition and consumer choice.

According to a survey* of more than 1,200 U.S. consumers conducted by Zogby Analytics, only 5% said that regulators should focus anti-competitive enforcement on the tech industry. Only 10% think the government should prevent successful online businesses from acquiring other companies.

“There is a disconnect between American consumers and the anti-tech community,” said Steve DelBianco, president of NetChoice. “Americans prefer to make their own decisions rather than having a heavy-handed government determine what is ‘best’ for them.”

Indeed, the NetChoice research found that 48% say government regulations on the Internet are bad for consumers with only 16% believing that Apple, Google, and Facebook could not be unseated by better competitors. Further, 72% say that apps like Google and Facebook enable them to be in better touch with their community and 71% of those aged 18-34 have discovered small businesses thanks to online platforms.

“It is clear that Americans are willing to explore other online options and don’t feel locked in to Facebook, Google, Amazon, and Apple,” DelBianco said. “More than 40% have stopped using a social media platform, with 29% of them saying they left for a better competitor. The benefits of Internet platforms are clear to consumers, but they will jump ship if a better product comes along.”

Other survey findings included:

Internet Platforms Generate Significant Economic Benefits

  • 77% say digital ads are valuable for small businesses (36% very valuable)
  • 70% say digital advertising platforms are valuable to the national economy

No Need for Heavy-Handed Government Intervention

  • 40% say any tech breakup would mainly reward traditional industries competing with tech or anti-business groups.
  • 75% say parents should be allowed to have their children use message apps that do not collect personal information.
  • 85% say parents are best equipped to determine what tech is best for their children.
  • Only 6% would support a mandate that phone screens default to black and white instead of color.
  • 86% of those with an opinion said that the government should not prevent tech companies from acquiring startups.

The Ad-Supported Model Works

  • 42% prefer ad-supported Internet platforms that deliver ads based on preferences
  • 29% prefer ad-supported Internet platforms that deliver the same ads to all
  • Only 16% willing to pay for online platform services

For full survey results, please visit: www.netchoice.org/techlashpoll

*About the Survey: From August 6-8, 2018 Zogby Analytics conducted an interactive survey of 1,222 adults focused on consumer attitudes toward Internet platforms and government regulation. The survey, commissioned by NetChoice, has a margin of error of +/- 2.8%.

About NetChoice

NetChoice is a trade association of eCommerce businesses and online consumers all of whom share the goal of promoting convenience, choice, and commerce on the net.

President Trump’s Heat on Tech Industry Not in Sync with Americans and His Base

President Trump’s Heat on Tech Industry Not in Sync with Americans and His Base

New Polling Shows by a 7-to-1 margin Republicans believe online regulation would harm consumer freedom and choice on the internet

Washington, D.C., August 29, 2018 – President Trump’s attack on America’s most popular online search provider Google along with regulatory threats from White House Economic Advisor Larry Kudlow are not supported by most Americans, according to new research from NetChoice.

NetChoice found that by a 7-to-1 margin, Republicans agree, rather than disagree, with the idea that online regulation would harm consumer freedom and choice on the internet.

“When the Administration says they are “taking a look” at regulating Google Search results, they really mean that they plan on regulating political speech,” said Steve DelBianco, president of NetChoice.

“Forcing Google to demote critical news about President Trump blatantly conflicts with the first amendment and endangers all forms of online expression. Businesses must be allowed to do what is best for their users.

The basic tenets of capitalism need to hold true on the Internet. Consumers pick winners and losers, not bureaucrats.”

To see NetChoice’s view on conservative concerns about social media content moderation, see here and here.

About the Polling

NetChoice commissioned research firm Zogby Analytics to conduct an interactive survey of more than 1,200 U.S. consumers from Aug. 6-8. The poll has a margin of error of +/- 2.8%. The entire survey will be publicly available in September.

In Comments on FTC Workshops NetChoice Warns about Following Anti-tech Rhetoric

Today, NetChoice filed responses to the Federal Trade Commission’s (FTC) request for comments for upcoming workshops.  NetChoice responded on several topics, such as “The Consumer Welfare Implications Associated with The Use of Algorithmic Decision Tools, Artificial Intelligence, and Predictive Analytics” and “Evaluating the Competitive Effects of Corporate Acquisitions and Mergers”. The full list of responses are supplied at the bottom of this statement.

“Contrary to the claims of anti-tech advocates, self-regulation is working. Consumers today have access to a smorgasbord of products, services, and information thanks to the internet,” said Steve DelBianco, president of NetChoice. “There is no dearth of competition. The market has never been more competitive.”

“Recent polling commissioned by NetChoice and conducted by Zogby Analytics shows that Americans prefer the status quo to heavy handed government regulation on issues like privacy and antitrust. Less than 5% of Americans believe that the government should most focus its anti-competitive enforcement on tech platforms.”

The detailed results of this polling will be released in the coming weeks. NetChoice’s comments focus on the various issues at hand with a limited government, free market approach.

“In our comments, we show that the FTC has ample tools to protect consumers from harm,” continued DelBianco. “The FTC should resist calls to expand its mandate beyond protecting consumers from harm. This could waste resources on efforts that would not actually enhance consumer protection in the U.S.”

 

 

NetChoice Response to FTC Request for Comments on Evaluating the Competitive Effects of Corporate Acquisitions and Mergers

NetChoice Response to FTC Request for Comments on The Consumer Welfare Implications Associated with The Use of Algorithmic Decision Tools, Artificial Intelligence, and Predictive Analytics

NetChoice Response to FTC Request for Comments on The Identification and Measurement of Market Power and Entry Barriers, and The Evaluation of Collusive, Exclusionary, Or Predatory Conduct or Conduct That Violates the Consumer Protection Statutes Enforced by the FTC, In Markets Featuring “Platform” Businesses

NetChoice Response to FTC Request for Comments on The Intersection Between Privacy, Big Data, and Competition

NetChoice Response to FTC Request for Comments on The State of Antitrust and Consumer Protection Law and Enforcement, and Their Development, Since the Pitofsky Hearings

NetChoice to Congress: Protect Interstate Commerce

Without the physical presence rule, American businesses and consumers are put at risk by state-based internet taxes

Washington, D.C., July 23, 2018 – Tomorrow, the House Judiciary Committee will hold a hearing entitled “Examining the Wayfair decision and its Ramifications for Consumers and Small Businesses”. The hearing is the first step for Congress to prevent damage being done by last month’s Supreme Court decision in South Dakota v. Wayfair.

“Because of Wayfair, businesses have no clear test to determine whether they are obligated to pay a foreign state’s sales tax,” said Steve DelBianco, president of NetChoice. “Sellers are left with a dilemma to either collect tax that they may not owe at significant expense, or risk later being held responsible for uncollected taxes plus interest and penalties.”

“The Commerce Clause is just as necessary now as when the constitution was written, and Congress must protect interstate commerce in the digital age,” continued DelBianco. “The time to act is now, and the longer Congress leaves the state tax playpen unsupervised, the worse the mess will be for American small businesses and consumers.”

“The court misunderstood the true audit liability faced by America’s small businesses and there’s no guarantee that tax software services will be paid for by the states.”

NetChoice has supplied a written statement for the record available here.

New York City Passes Short-Term Rental Bill, Outsourcing Legal Enforcement Burden to Internet Platforms Like Airbnb, Homeaway & VRBO

Rules Will Imperil Short-Term Renters from Springfield Gardens to Hell’s Kitchen

NEW YORK, July 18, 2018 – The future of short-term rentals (STRs) throughout New York City was put at risk today by New York City Council’s passing of Int. 9081 placing legal enforcement responsibilities on Internet home sharing platforms like Airbnb, HomeAway and VRBO.

 

The proposal would:

  • place a minimum fine of $1,500 on STR platforms every time a property owner makes inaccurate claims on a short-term rental post regardless of intention;
  • require platforms to obtain, manage and certify that every property owner is abiding by local jurisdiction or homeowners association rules;
  • require short-term rental platforms to share all private transaction data, such as bank account numbers, with government agencies.

 

“New York City risks the sensitive financial data of its residents and tourists by forcing them to hand over bank account numbers to government agencies,” said Carl Szabo, vice president and general counsel at NetChoice.

“The city’s latest anti-tech action threatens New Yorkers’ privacy and financial security, forcing many to choose between protecting their financial information and paying their mortgage.”

“New York is once again going after short-term rentals by mandating hefty requirements on platforms, many of which could be illegal,” continued Szabo. “The City Council’s proposed rules would burden New Yorkers who use STR platforms to help make ends meet.”

 

About NetChoice

NetChoice is a trade association of eCommerce and online businesses that share the goal of promoting convenience, choice, and commerce on the net.

US SUPREME COURT DEALS BODY BLOW TO CONSUMERS AND SMALL ONLINE BUSINESSES, NETCHOICE SAYS

Ruling in Favor of South Dakota Will Cause Chaos Nationally If Congress Does Not Act

WASHINGTON, DC, June 21, 2018 – The U.S. Supreme Court today upended decades of precedent to deliver a ruling in favor of South Dakota that will burden small catalog and web retailers and harm the consumers who rely on them.  The decision in South Dakota v. Wayfair will unleash a summer of chaos as small businesses struggle to comply with the conflicting tax rules of more than 12,000 local tax jurisdictions across 46 states.

“Small web businesses will be hardest hit,” said Chris Cox, NetChoice outside counsel, “particularly those with only a single location, because they can’t afford the overhead to comply with thousands of different tax rules across the country.  Consumers will quickly feel the negative effects as those businesses dry up or are forced into the arms of Internet giants.”

Cox, a former Congressman who authored the Internet Tax Freedom Act, believes the Court disregarded the clear intent of Congress in that law. “The last hope for consumers and small online business owners is for Congress to take action.  It should be Congress, not the courts, that sets the rules for interstate sales tax collection,” he added.

“While a fraction of online commerce was free of sales tax before this ruling, the Supreme Court has now created an even greater imbalance by placing far greater burdens on Internet shopping compared to its “offline” counterparts,” said Steve DelBianco, President and CEO of NetChoice. “A brick-and-mortar business won’t have to comply with the differing rules of over 12,000 tax jurisdictions, or integrate costly and complex tax software into its operations.  But small web businesses will, eating away at their already razor-thin profit margins.  When these businesses disappear, consumers will be the biggest losers.”

“The court has legislated from the bench,” continued DelBianco, “but it lacks the tools Congress has to protect interstate commerce and reduce regulatory complexity.  Congress should immediately address this situation by delivering a law that harmonizes the interests of consumers, small businesses, and state governments.”