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Small Business Advocacy Toolkit   /

Issues affecting your business



In today’s economy, digital tools and services from America’s leading technology companies are helping small businesses nationwide find customers, save money, grow their business, and succeed. Every issue is a small business issue, and that is certainly true when it comes to new digital economy regulations. 

Below are some of the most pressing policy issues that could impact your small business. 

Competition and Antitrust

Small businesses like yours benefit tremendously from the products, tools, and services offered by America’s leading technology platforms. These platforms are able to combine products and services to help save time and money while offering innovative and powerful tools that help you run and grow your business, compete with larger brands, and stay resilient amid economic challenges. 

However, the proposed federal American Innovation and Choice Online Act (AICOA) and similar state legislation would prohibit large online platforms from integrating products and services that help save small businesses time and money. 

For example, AICOA would prevent Google from integrating Google Maps and Reviews with Search under Google Business Profile, a free tool that is an important part of millions of small businesses’ marketing strategies. It would also prevent integrating Google Analytics with Google Ads. For small businesses selling on Amazon, AICOA would bar Amazon from integrating Fulfillment by Amazon (FBA) with Prime, an incredibly valuable service that makes it easy for small sellers to qualify for Prime and save more than 60% over fulfilling their orders themselves.

Sample Small Business Talking Points: 

  • My tech partners help me run and grow my business. Digital tools and services for [marketing, operations, sales, etc.] are critically important for my business.
  • Forcing large companies to stop integrating products and services would benefit companies like Yelp (Yelp reviews vs. Google reviews) but will hurt my business.
  • Google Business Profile is an incredibly valuable marketing tool for my business and a critical piece of my marketing strategy. 
    • Google Business Profile allows me to show and manage my key business information, including hours, location and map directions, contact information, and user reviews, in one place, at the top of a search results page, for free.
    • It works so well because it integrates several Google products like Search, Reviews, and Maps. 
    • Forcibly changing how Google Business Profile works will hurt my business by forcing me to pay for several competing products or forcing Google to display incorrect information from a competitor at the top of the search results page. 
  • Google Analytics is the leading online analytics product that provides us with critical information about website traffic, the source of that traffic, and how my online ads are performing with different demographics – all for free. 
    • Google Analytics integrates seamlessly into Google’s advertising platform. 
    • Forcing Google to separate Analytics from Ads, or forcing Google to charge for Analytics, will make Analytics less effective, more expensive, or both. 
  • Fulfillment by Amazon (FBA) is incredibly valuable to small sellers. It helps small sellers qualify for Prime, significantly boosting our sales and saving sellers as much as 60% over fulfilling orders ourselves. 
  • If AICOA and similar state legislation become law, Amazon would be prohibited from saving me time and money by integrating FBA with Prime. 
    • Guaranteed shipping times make Prime attractive to sellers and customers alike. 
    • FBA and Prime enable me to access millions of customers and compete with big-box stores and large brands worldwide by giving me access to the same shipping speeds at prices I can afford. 
    • If Amazon cannot integrate FBA with Prime, how would I qualify for Prime? I cannot rely on USPS or other fulfillment services to meet the deadlines and integrate with my Amazon as seamlessly and affordably as FBA. 
    • If Amazon cannot offer FBA to small businesses like mine, who will be left selling on Prime? Just Amazon and other big businesses.

Data Privacy

Did you know it’s been over 20 years since the Federal Trade Commission recommended that Congress pass data privacy legislation? Today, with digital ads and email marketing, so many small businesses have data from customers that cross state lines. It’s clear Congress has failed to act; consumers are left without basic data protections, and small businesses like yours lack clear rules of the road. As states pass data privacy laws, small businesses like yours face the mounting costs of tracking and ensuring compliance with these various laws.

Small businesses need Congress to pass a comprehensive U.S. data privacy law that is easy for small businesses to comply with and protects data-driven small business digital tools like online advertising. If thoughtfully crafted, privacy legislation could enact important consumer data protections without creating unnecessary hurdles to innovation and small business operations.  

However, the recently introduced American Privacy Rights Act fails to create a single national privacy law and overregulates the collection and use of data online. 

At APRA’s heart is a blanket limitation on data collection to the minimum amount necessary to provide a product or service, prohibiting other uses such as communicating sales, determining where to open a new location, or marketing emails recommending a new product. If passed, APRA would make it harder for many small businesses to know and communicate with their customers and make every small business’s digital advertising more expensive and less effective.  

APRA also creates significant legal risk by introducing a private right of action. As The Wall Street Journal recently covered, private rights of action often lead to frivolous lawsuits that threaten small businesses with hundreds of thousands of dollars in fines or a quick settlement for significantly less. 

Small businesses need a single, balanced privacy law that protects consumers’ sensitive data without overregulating data and its critically important role in small business advertising, marketing, and operations. 

Sample Small Business Talking Points: 

  • I support a single national data privacy law. 
  • Congress has failed to act, and individual states like California, Colorado, Connecticut, Iowa, Indiana, Tennessee, Montana, Texas, Florida, Utah, and Virginia, have passed their own data privacy laws, and more states consider data privacy bills every day. 
  • Some state privacy laws, such as Maryland’s recently passed law, overregulate the collection and use of data for advertising purposes. 
  • In today’s digital economy, my customers cross state lines, and I just don’t have the time, money, and expertise to track several different privacy laws.
  • Unlike large corporations, my business doesn’t have the resources to hire lawyers and comply with every nuance of these confusing, differing data privacy laws. It is just plain unsustainable, and this patchwork of laws risks putting many companies like mine out of business.
  • Also, privacy laws need to take a balanced approach that considers innocuous data’s important and legitimate role in the digital economy, particularly regarding online advertising. 
  • Restricting the advertising use of basic, innocuous data that helps small businesses reach consumers, or earn revenue by selling ads on their website,  would severely and disproportionately hurt my business. 
  • Suppose privacy laws restrict data collection and use. In that case, digital advertising will become “mass media” advertising like television, which is unaffordable for me,  and gives big national chains and international conglomerates a significant advantage. 
  • A balanced national data privacy law would make it easier and less expensive for me to do business online without fear of breaking the law.

Content Moderation

The internet as you know it today is enabled by Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act (also known as CDA 230). Section 230, in its simplest terms, says that platforms are not liable for the content third parties post on their sites. Yet, they are allowed to moderate (remove) content that they deem offensive, outside their community guidelines or illegal, etc. In practical terms, this means websites can continue to be hosts for your content while creating rules to protect the community they want to develop. 

If lawmakers rewrite or repeal Section 230, it would severely hurt millions of internet users. Online forums, review sites, social media, and marketplaces wouldn’t exist and certainly wouldn’t exist in any way we would recognize if the websites and platforms were legally liable for the content people post. 

Without this important protection, online companies will be forced to choose between over-policing or turning a blind eye to all content on their sites. All of the online services you use daily would change in ways that would make them less useful to small businesses, and some may even cease to exist.

Sample Small Business Talking Points: 

  • If Section 230 is repealed or significantly altered, all of the online services I use daily would change in ways that would make them less useful to me, and some may even cease to exist. 
  • Online reviews, digital ads, and social media are some of the most valuable, accessible marketing tools for my business. 
  • Online reviews help me compete with the bigger guys, attract new customers, and get feedback about my business. 
  • Many small businesses, including mine, operate websites that allow customers to post feedback or encourage them to comment and build a community. I can’t afford to hire an army of lawyers to review the content or constantly be moderating the content myself. If Section 230 is repealed or rewritten, I might have to shut down those parts of my website.
  • If Section 230 is repealed or significantly changed, I don’t know if my small business would be nearly as successful.

Online Advertising

Small businesses have been advertising for centuries, always looking for less expensive and more efficient ways to market and grow their businesses. Today’s digital advertising market offers small businesses like yours more ways than ever before to reach potential customers, sell products, drive revenue, and succeed. Diverse digital advertising providers and platforms – like Google, Meta Amazon, Microsoft, TikTok, and Twitter – compete fiercely for your advertising dollars.

However, some policymakers believe that the current online advertising market is broken and needs new laws to fix it. Senators Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) and Mike Lee (R-UT) introduced the AMERICA Act (S. 1073), a bill that would forcibly break up the current digital advertising ecosystem that works so well for small businesses. The proponents of this legislation do not understand that this system creates incredible efficiency that connects advertisers and publishers, saving both time and money. 

Sample Small Business Talking Points: 

  • If it weren’t for the revenue I earn from digital advertising, I wouldn’t have been able to sustain and grow my business to where it is today. 
  • In today’s highly competitive business environment, inexpensive digital advertising makes all the difference in my business’ ability to compete and grow.
  • My business leverages digital advertising to reach a wider audience and compete with larger companies. If we mess with the digital ads ecosystem, it could become less nimble, less effective, and more expensive.
  • If new laws change how the digital ad world works, I worry that it won’t be as easy, affordable, or effective. I can’t afford for that to happen. 
  • The current system works really well for my business, and I urge everyone to think about how new digital ad laws or regulations would impact my business. 
  • If new laws or regulations change how the online ad system works, I am really worried that it could hurt my bottom line or ability to stay in business. 
  • Policymakers must take a balanced approach to data privacy that protects consumers’ sensitive information while considering the value data plays in the small business advertising ecosystem.

Artificial Intelligence

In today’s economy, every business is digitally empowered with digital tools and services that help them run and grow, find new customers, save costs, increase revenue, and succeed – and this includes AI tools and automated decision processes that can help businesses increase efficiency, save costs, and better serve their customers. 

Small businesses like yours use tools from large technology platforms that are increasingly AI-driven. For example, if you’re running ads on Google or Facebook’s advertising network, those are increasingly powered by algorithms! Everything from video placement on YouTube to product placement in online marketplaces’ search results – features your small business might use –  is powered by algorithms and automated decision-making. 

As regulators and legislators begin to consider AI-specific laws and regulations, it is critical to consider the tremendous opportunity AI presents to small businesses now and in the not-too-distant future.

Sample Small Business Talking Points: 

  • AI-powered digital tools have a huge potential to help my business, and I plan to increasingly use them to increase efficiency, save costs, and better serve my customers.
  • As regulators and legislators begin to consider AI-specific laws and regulations, I implore them to take into account the competitive opportunity AI presents to small businesses now and in the not-too-distant future.
  • Before, my business was not really using AI-powered technology. In recent months, it’s become more accessible, and I hope it stays that way as policymakers consider AI-specific laws and regulations.
  • When considering AI-specific laws and regulations, I implore policymakers to prioritize protecting marginalized communities from unjust biases, predatory practices, and illegal activity.

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