Amazon shafts Colorado based affiliates

by dangerbrown on March 9, 2010

Although I am not an Amazon affiliate, my wife and mother-in-law both are. My mother-in-law especially has hundreds of blog posts and at least many dozens if not hundreds of Amazon links in place on her blogs.

Colorado affiliates including myself successfully lobbied to get affiliates removed from HB-1193. Lawmakers excluded affiliates from the bill and passed it. Amazon must have decided they didn’t like the bill and decided to fire all Colorado based affiliates.

The biggest crime here is that Amazon is leaving all links in place and accepting sales from these Colorado affiliates. So affiliates who have spent years building up businesses may have 1000′s of links in place over many websites through which customers are still flowing to Amazon. The only thing Amazon has changed is that they are no longer paying Colorado affiliates their hard earned money. I’m praying for a class action lawsuit. Anyone know a good lawyer?

Below the Fail-ometer is a copy of the letter my family members received yesterday:
“The Fail-ometer”
Amazon fired Colorado affiliates, but kept their customers.

“Dear Colorado-based Amazon Associate:

We are writing from the Amazon Associates Program to inform you that the Colorado government recently enacted a law to impose sales tax regulations on online retailers. The regulations are burdensome and no other state has similar rules. The new regulations do not require online retailers to collect sales tax. Instead, they are clearly intended to increase the compliance burden to a point where online retailers will be induced to “voluntarily” collect Colorado sales tax — a course we won’t take.

We and many others strongly opposed this legislation, known as HB 10-1193, but it was enacted anyway. Regrettably, as a result of the new law, we have decided to stop advertising through Associates based in Colorado. We plan to continue to sell to Colorado residents, however, and will advertise through other channels, including through Associates based in other states.

There is a right way for Colorado to pursue its revenue goals, but this new law is a wrong way. As we repeatedly communicated to Colorado legislators, including those who sponsored and supported the new law, we are not opposed to collecting sales tax within a constitutionally-permissible system applied even-handedly. The US Supreme Court has defined what would be constitutional, and if Colorado would repeal the current law or follow the constitutional approach to collection, we would welcome the opportunity to reinstate Colorado-based Associates.

You may express your views of Colorado’s new law to members of the General Assembly and to Governor Ritter, who signed the bill. [3 links removed]

Your Associates account has been closed as of March 8, 2010, and we will no longer pay advertising fees for customers you refer to after that date. Please be assured that all qualifying advertising fees earned prior to March 8, 2010, will be processed and paid in accordance with our regular payment schedule. Based on your account closure date of March 8, any final payments will be paid by May 31, 2010.

We have enjoyed working with you and other Colorado-based participants in the Amazon Associates Program, and wish you all the best in your future.
Best Regards,

The Amazon Associates Team”


Zack Katz March 9, 2010 at 10:45 pm

The bastards. I am pissed about this, especially because it might provoke other idiots to follow suit.

I was going to post the message on my blog, but thanks for doing it for me — I was too fumed! :-)

dangerbrown March 11, 2010 at 3:44 pm

Hi Zack and Jim! Good to hear from you. My only peace of mind is that I run all my internet endeavors through a Wyoming LLC. Personally I’ll sidestep any Colorado specific legislation but I still get fired up about it. It just ain’t right to crush the little guy so casually.

Steven, I’m happy to see your link here and that you want to boycott Amazon, but personally I’m against sales taxes on the internet. So while I disagree with your being a proponent of implementing internet sales taxes I appreciate your comment. Thanks for taking the time to stop by.

Hi Deborah! Folks, this is my mother-in-law. She’s the one in our family affected most by this move by Amazon. I’m not joking about the class action. I think it’s called for.

Deborah March 10, 2010 at 1:29 am

I too am fuming, steaming mad in fact. Great post.

Steven Ames March 10, 2010 at 10:57 am

Thanks for the post Danger,
I agree wholeheartedly that Amazon scores poorly on the fail-o-meter. Whether we agree with the actions of the Colorado legislature or not, at least they listened and actually changed the wording of the bill to protect Colorado affiliates. Amazon could care less about Colorado affiliates and is only trying to manipulate us to put more pressure on our elected officials and to try to scare legislators in other states. I don’t know about you, but I don’t like being a political football, and I’m getting tired of megacorporations trying to control the government. I personally think we need to be focusing at least as much energy towards communicating our ire towards affiliate merchants who use these kinds of tactics as we do towards the government.
If you’re interested, Progress Now Colorado is circulating a pledge to boycott Amazon until they stop using Coloradans as pawns. It’s political, but so is what Amazon’s doing. This may be one way to get their attention (I doubt it, but it is at least an option and a way to vent a little). Here’s the link:

Jim Kreinbrink March 11, 2010 at 2:44 pm

Thanks for posting this Danger. With Zack, I’m concerned other networks will follow Amazon’s lead.

Warrick August 5, 2010 at 1:37 am

No biggy really, just do what I did and got a business/postal address in a different part of the country, I pay $19 a month for it, I can have mail and parcels sent there which is then forwarded on to me.

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