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The Weekly Netx Industry News Update!

Amazon prepares to take on the state of California while the IAB releases a set of best practices for online ad research.  These headlines and more in this week’s Netx industry news update!

Amazon’s Sales Tax Counter-Attack
Amazon says it will ask California voters to overturn the state’s new affiliate tax law in a February referendum.  In order for Amazon to get the appeal on the ballot, they will have to submit 504,760 signatures by September 29th.

Participate in the 2011 AffiliateBenchmarks Survey!
Don’t miss your opportunity to participate in the industry’s largest research study of affiliate marketing trends and best practices.  The 2011 AffiliateBenchmarks survey has officially begun and we hope you’ll join us in making it the biggest one yet!  Everyone who participates in the survey will get the full study sent to them for free (a $3,000 value) within two weeks of the results being published.  Please note that all surveys must be submitted by September 1st.

IAB Sets Rules for Online Ad Research
The Interactive Advertising Bureau has introduced a set of best practices for conducting online ad effectiveness research.  The guidelines are intended to provide the online ad market with a practical set of recommendations for standard operating procedures with respect to using ad effectiveness studies.

June 2011 U.S. Search Engine Rankings
Google Sites remained atop the U.S. search engine rankings in June with 65.5% market share.  Yahoo! Sites and Microsoft Sites rounded out the top three with 15.9% and 14.4% market share, respectively.  In total, there were over 16.7 billion explicit core searches conducted in June.

Smartphone Adoption and Usage
In its first standalone measure of smartphone ownership, the Pew Internet Project found that one third of American adults – 35% – own smartphones. The Project’s May survey found that 83% of US adults have a cell phone of some kind, and that 42% of them own a smartphone.  Approximately 87% of smartphone owners access the internet or email on their handheld, including two-thirds who do so on a typical day.

Paid Search Budgets Rise, Gain Efficiencies at Lower Costs
Advertisers spent 20% more on paid search campaigns in Q2 2011, compared with the year-ago quarter, but also increased efficiencies.  Click-through rates rose 12%, while overall cost per click remained the same.  The Paid Search Quarterly Benchmarking Report by Marin Software also found that despite a 15% drop in impressions, the average marketer saw an 8% increase in click volume.