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  1. #1
    ABW Ambassador Georgie Peri's Avatar
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    Post Blogging in Philly reqs License?
    Greetings all,

    I came across this article on a story about a Blogger in Philly that is required to get a Business Licenses.

    Costs $300

    http://www.washingtonexaminer.com/op...101264664.html

    Is this coming to a city near you??
    OpA! Giasou Ti kanies!

  2. #2
    Analytics Dude Kevin's Avatar
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    Thanks for sharing this. Hadn't considered that.
    Kevin Webster
    twitter: levelanalytics

    Kayak Fishing
    Web Analytics and Affiliate Marketing

  3. #3
    Beachy Bill's Avatar
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    Might seem a bit crazy, but (always a "but" - right?)...

    If a business is being conducted in a "regulating" jurisdiction then the rules must apply to everyone - regardless of profitability, size or scope of that business. If someone is running a blog "just for fun" or as a hobby, then they should not be attempting to monetize it.

    The unfortunate part is that business(es) from a foreign jurisdiction (foreign meaning out of the city, out of the state, and/or out of the country) will not fall under the same regulations and/or fees and taxes. Our interstate and intrastate commerce laws were all enacted in a time before instant, worldwide communication became the norm. It is indeed time for a rethinking and rewriting of those items. A "painful" example of outdated legislation is exhibited by the so-called Amazon Taxes being imposed by several states.

    Just my 2-cents. YMMV.
    Bill / Marketing Blog @ 12PM - Current project: Resurrecting my "baby" at South Baltimore..
    Cute Personal Checks and Business Checks
    If you are too busy to laugh you are too busy.

  4. #4
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    All municipal governments have laws regulating business enterprises and they all have a catch all category for those who do not fit a specific category.

    A lot of really small businesses fall under the radar, but once you advertise or put up a sign (another regulated area) you will be spotted (depends on man power of the municipality) and charged.

    Generally there are no exceptions............even your kids lemonade stand technically requires a license to do business.

    On the other hand..........businesses can develop some tax benefits for its owner/operator which a lot of really small "business owners" tend to overlook.

    As the man says...........you need to hire an accountant then a lawyer and then ...........oh well...............
    You must climb this mountain. There is no elevator. ---- Don't stick your finger in the liquid nitrogen.
    Carolina China

  5. #5
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    These are mostly people on blogspot, where it is easy to add an adsense box and I'm sure those people don't consider that advertising.

    I'm sorry, but this is outrageous. I understand states and cities needing more money, but we are close to probably one person in every family possibly having a blog. Are they going to start trolling craigslist to find out if you sold or gave a way some furniture and require you to have a license to do that too? If you have a lens of Squidoo you get a cut of their advertising they make from your lens, does that constitute a business? Anything posted anywhere on the internet can possibly be construed as "a business".

    Discouraging freedom of speech is against the constitution, requiring payment for freedom of speech sounds like someone is clamping down on that right.
    Deborah Carney
    TeamLoxly.com BookGoodies.com ABCsPlus.com

  6. #6
    Comfortably Numb John Powell's Avatar
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    That's just plain sick. Government has become a bloated cancer that's dragging down the people it was meant to serve. The only real beneficiaries are the over paid officials in charge of it all.


  7. #7
    Tax Paying Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by John Powell View Post
    That's just plain sick. Government has become a bloated cancer that's dragging down the people it was meant to serve. The only real beneficiaries are the over paid officials in charge of it all.
    I agree whole heartedly
    But these laws have been around since the early days of the incorporation of your municipality. They are not new...........On the low end economically, they are haphazzardly enforced .........

    As for paying for freedom of speech..........Your local news paper, regardless of its political leanings, pays hefty taxes and fees for permission to print and distribute. Printing is business. The print content is freedom of speech. Stop paying the taxes and the business is shut down........Silence ensues.
    Last edited by Witzer; August 23rd, 2010 at 02:36 PM.
    You must climb this mountain. There is no elevator. ---- Don't stick your finger in the liquid nitrogen.
    Carolina China

  8. #8
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    My point is that the bloggers don't consider themselves a business. No one told them that blogger putting adsense on their site made them a business.

  9. #9
    Comfortably Numb John Powell's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by loxly View Post
    My point is that the bloggers don't consider themselves a business. No one told them that blogger putting adsense on their site made them a business.
    If the government could get $300 for every blog with adsense on it that would be huge.


  10. #10
    Beachy Bill's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by loxly View Post
    My point is that the bloggers don't consider themselves a business. No one told them that blogger putting adsense on their site made them a business.
    Unfortunately, as soon as they deposit that first check - they have a small business. True that it may be miniscule, but it is a business. If they don't want that "involvement" then they should not use AdSense. (Of course, I'm sure Goog doesn't warn them about such things.)

    The "Craig's List" example could also hold true for some folks who cruise yard/estate sales and then try to turn some furniture on Craig's list - repetitive actions to generate income. An individual getting rid of a living room set - to buy new furniture does not present the same action (generating income). That cut of advertising on Squidoo, if it results in "any" income is a business. It does not have to be reported to the IRS unless it exceeds $600 (net), but it is still subject to local jurisdictional craziness*.

    * See my comment, above, about rethinking some laws for our digital age...
    .
    Last edited by Bill; August 23rd, 2010 at 05:28 PM. Reason: spelling typo
    Bill / Marketing Blog @ 12PM - Current project: Resurrecting my "baby" at South Baltimore..
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  11. #11
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    Bill, the point is that a lot of those bloggers *won't* get a check. You have to clear $100 to get a check from adsense.

    No one can convince me that this is "right" and that it is covered by existing laws. It's extortion by the government.
    Deborah Carney
    TeamLoxly.com BookGoodies.com ABCsPlus.com

  12. #12
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  13. #13
    Beachy Bill's Avatar
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    Debbie, I've got to agree with you. Many (most?) of those bloggers will never receive a check. However (I didn't check but I'm sure the Big G has a TOS that had to be agreed to) when those bloggers agreed to a TOS describing AdSense revenue - they entered into a "business" arrangement (because you better believe Goog's lawyers have all the bases covered). That makes them liable under the Philadelphia laws.

    If they put up only one Amazon link because they like a book they read - IF it is an affiliate link they had to agree to a "business arrangement" with Amazon. Same thing.

    I also agree when you say, I'm sorry, but this is outrageous." These antiquated laws, being drummed up because of declining revenues (and don't get me started on why they are declining) do not fairly apply to situations that we are now seeing.

    However, at what point should those laws kick in. At what point does that non-business blogger earning only a little, say 50-cents a month, have a business that "should" come under some form of regulation and taxation? Should it be $5 a month? Or how about $50 a month - which would meet the IRS reporting limit of $600 per year? Or how about $100,000, as mentioned in Angel's article?

    I agree with you that it is not "right" the way it is and the way in which Philadelphia is approaching the situation. But where should the line be drawn? I think the slate needs to be wiped clean and we get a fresh start.

    Here's one of Angel's comments with which I absolutely agree: "Government should be cultivating business growth not burying it before it has a chance to flourish." That is a positive approach to help replace the dwindling revenue that is at the root of this discussion.

    (I'll stop now before my thoughts degenerate to a political level. *sigh*)
    Bill / Marketing Blog @ 12PM - Current project: Resurrecting my "baby" at South Baltimore..
    Cute Personal Checks and Business Checks
    If you are too busy to laugh you are too busy.

  14. #14
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    Bill, you are assuming bloggers *read* that stuff. I'm sorry, but as noted, the majority of blogs are *hobbies* and there is a little compensation but that does *not* make them a business.

    You can debate all you want, or quote that the bloggers should know about this stuff, but unless Google puts up a big banner saying "Creating a blog here makes you a business" most people won't consider themselves a business. And they shouldn't.

    Next the cities will be saying that if you have a website on a server that is physically located in their city you have to pay taxes to that city.

    Enough.
    Deborah Carney
    TeamLoxly.com BookGoodies.com ABCsPlus.com

  15. #15
    Tax Paying Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bill View Post

    (I'll stop now before my thoughts degenerate to a political level. *sigh*)
    I suggest that we get a couple of bottles of wine and go sit on the beach

    Make that 4 bottles,,,,,,,John and Debbie can join us.
    Last edited by Witzer; August 23rd, 2010 at 11:14 PM.
    You must climb this mountain. There is no elevator. ---- Don't stick your finger in the liquid nitrogen.
    Carolina China

  16. #16
    ABW Ambassador simcat's Avatar
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    ...License is required for all businesses operating in Philadelphia. This includes businesses that are located outside the city limits but do some or all of their business activities in the City.
    from phila.gov

    So I'll bet they think any business activity, i.e., selling something to someone located in Philly, needs a license. Good Luck with that...
    Last edited by simcat; August 23rd, 2010 at 11:39 PM.

  17. #17
    Beachy Bill's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Witzer View Post
    I suggest that we get a couple of bottles of wine and go sit on the beach

    Make that 4 bottles,,,,,,,John and Debbie can join us.
    Now THERE'S a good idea.

    More seriously. Are you coming up this way (or even Baltimore way) anytime in the foreseeable future? We really could do the wine thing (just not ON the beach - prohibited there), but our back yard next to the pool would be fine. We'll try to keep the rain away this time.
    Bill / Marketing Blog @ 12PM - Current project: Resurrecting my "baby" at South Baltimore..
    Cute Personal Checks and Business Checks
    If you are too busy to laugh you are too busy.

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bill View Post
    Now THERE'S a good idea.

    More seriously. Are you coming up this way (or even Baltimore way) anytime in the foreseeable future? We really could do the wine thing (just not ON the beach - prohibited there), but our back yard next to the pool would be fine. We'll try to keep the rain away this time.
    I will PM you so that I don't side track the post.
    You must climb this mountain. There is no elevator. ---- Don't stick your finger in the liquid nitrogen.
    Carolina China

  19. #19
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    Yes that was true It does not have to be reported to the IRS unless it exceeds $600 (net), but it is still subject to local jurisdictional craziness*.

  20. #20
    Member BeepBeep's Avatar
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    Unless and Until You ARE The Government You Will Remain A Feckless Victim
    <Soapbox Commentary>

    I'm sure what I'm about to write will be a bit too strongly worded, but - bear with me - as someone who did 2 "tours of duty" as a local elected official (2 - 3 year terms and then I "quit", i.e., didn't "run for more") I've got to say that every time I hear someone moan, groan or finger point "towards" THE GOVERNMENT I cringe a bit.

    Listen up: Who on earth do you think "the government" is?

    From my POV, in a democracy, "the government" IS US. Yes, us, THE GOVERNED who by virtue of participating in elections and in the entirety of "the democratic process" - OR NOT - have a BIG SAY in HOW WE ARE (MIS)treated as the governed.

    Seriously, in my book it is SO dis-empowering and SO indicative of a victim -> "I can't do anything. I'm not to blame" - mentality that I just want to . . . PRINT IN ALL BIG LETTERS "STOP!".

    How many of the people who grouse and whine the loudest have actually taken the time - and GIVEN THE TIME - to run for and hold public POLICY MAKING OFFICE? Because IF you don't like what the politicos are doing that's what you do. You sit down, write up your position paper, go to the printer, go to the post office, spend some of your precious money and lots of your precious time, and DO SOMETHING about . . . THE GOVERNMENT.

    Really. Listen up. GET INVOLVED. Don't just leave to Joe or Jane Doe.

    And guess what the reward is IF YOU REALLY do your best to represent EVERYONE, not just "your party" or "your supporters"? Republican OR Democrat, what you get is attacked in a primary election for "not being a true XYZ". No kidding. Read the news. YOU REALLY have to hit the grassroots and work your arse off to deal with this type of acid-test politics. I did and it was exhausting. But I did my public service. Not a career. Not a career politician. Just public service for 6 years and then I let someone else serve the public.

    So, PLEASE, NO MORE whining or complaining or finger shaking at or about "THE GOVERNMENT". You . . YOU . . need to get it through your head that YOU ARE THE GOVERNMENT. I AM THE GOVERNMENT. WE ARE the government.

    And, to borrow a quote from Walt Kelley's "Pogo" -> "WE have met the enemy and HE IS US."

    Unless and until people do this very thing - STOP disowning that what we get is what we have deigned to accept - I say what we value is in jeopardy in my book.

    </Soapbox-ing>

    Okay, forgive me for growling but I guess you may have noticed I have strong feelings about the whole "It's them, not me/us" thing that is DEEPLY infused on the whole "blame the government" mentality.

    Go ahead. Run for office and then tell me how you think about what I've said. Better yet, run and win. Then you'll get to know what it really feels like to "be the government".
    Last edited by BeepBeep; August 25th, 2010 at 08:55 PM.
    I'll get the hang of it eventually. :0)

  21. #21
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    How do you know that the people posting here haven't gotten involved in government? BTW, we don't allow political ranting or discussions, so let's keep on track here.

    There is probably a wider range of experience here than what you think.

  22. #22
    Member BeepBeep's Avatar
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    How do I know? I don't, but it's a pretty good guess, based upon my experience, that once you've actually been through the process of running for office (in a competitive market), putting in a fair bit of your own time and money, serving for years, sitting in front of the public at all sorts of meetings . . . you begin to see how "the government" really works: It's mostly ignored. (Most people never attend meetings, make an effort to make direct contact, etc.). Those who do attend or get involved usually ONLY do so when there's a NIMBY type situation in play and rarely do those who show up have more to offer by way of solutions to real problems that much be addressed than some version of "Well, . . . not me . . . "

    So, based upon conversations I've had with a good number of folks who, like me, did our time and then walked away, the experience is fairly universal. Those who actually do make the sacrifices/contributions end up with a very different view of "the government", i.e., with special exceptions (for fraud, self-dealing, low brow politics, soul-selling and the like), the experience leans towards the conclusion that the problem isn't "the government". The problem "is us". And, yes, you continue to see the world that way even after you've been out of office for decades. Sadly.

    So far as my comments being "on track" I couldn't conceive of a more on track response to the "blame the government" for the "tax grab" etc. theme that proceeded my post than to respond with my own experience as an elected official, my observations, analysis and conclusions that we, the governed, ARE at the root of what we spend a good deal of time grousing about.

    If that qualifies as a rant then, truly, my hope is even more diminished. I'm sure you don't really see my posts as "that low a form of commentary" or you would have already nuked them. A slow, careful read and it's anything but a rant. Emotional, but factual/analytical.

    It's a plea for people to own what they say they value so much, in a much more personal-responsible way. If we "don't own it" - if we keep holding onto "it", the government, as "a thing out there that is hurting my interests" - then we are in trouble.

    Okay, I'll stop now. If it was so easy to get across and grasp just how feckless it makes all of us to talk about "the government" I'm sure we wouldn't be having this conversation.
    Last edited by BeepBeep; August 25th, 2010 at 10:33 PM.
    I'll get the hang of it eventually. :0)

  23. #23
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    BeepBeep.............

    I can't dispute anything that you said.

    As Loxly inferred......you may be supprised at the background and life experiences of some of these nice folks.

    I hope that you are having fun and making money with affiliate marketing. It would be nice to meet you some day. How about ASW in Jan?? Bill is bringing the wine. Loxly is bringing the cheese. John will bring some "gumbo"
    You must climb this mountain. There is no elevator. ---- Don't stick your finger in the liquid nitrogen.
    Carolina China

  24. #24
    Member BeepBeep's Avatar
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    Thanks Witzer. Like I said, I don't really know . . it's possible . . in fact, I'll take your word for it . . . but such "finger pointing" would be an exception to my experience and social intercourse with many who ran/served in contested D vs. R vs. I elections. It just changes your outlook to live it from the "I'm the government" side.

    I'd love to meet at some future AffMktg event and chat . . briefly . . about all the fun of public service with anyone else who "did (hard) time".

    Not sure I'm going to make it to ASW this year. In due course.

    Making money? Hmmmm . . . More like "working my butt off, but my butt ain't getting any smaller and my bank account ain't getting any bigger".

    But thanks for the pleasant thought. Make money. Wine, cheese and gumbo. Amen to that.
    Last edited by BeepBeep; August 25th, 2010 at 11:05 PM.
    I'll get the hang of it eventually. :0)

  25. #25
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    "we don't allow political ranting or discussions, so let's keep on track here."

    Normally I agree with you but as far as that one, I have to respectfully disagree. That whole not talking about politics stemmed from when we had a section here for it and just as as example, it was for stuff like - Maybe it probably wasn't a good idea to elect an admitted alcoholic to two terms of office, because putting alcoholics in charge of something doesn't usually yield good results.

    That kind of thing. And the funny thing is, I was actually checking out that forum and noticed even Michael starting threads there. I think we made the mistake awhile back of listening the vocal minority who basically likes to shut down conversation.

    Back on topic. Your own comment:

    "Discouraging freedom of speech is against the constitution, requiring payment for freedom of speech sounds like someone is clamping down on that right."

    Might be seen as political. I'm fine with it and the posts in this thread, I think most people are. And the reality is there are things in this business that will intersect with politics, like the Affiliate Tax and it's ok to talk about it. IMO.

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