Amazon has sent a letter to all of its associates based in Minnesota. All Minnesota based associates are being thrown out of the Amazon Associates program as of July 1st. This is because the State of Minnesota passed a bill that Amazon does not like. Amazon may well have a good reason to not like this (or any other) bill, but I’m shocked and dismayed that the response is to strike out against its loyal associates.

This is where fine print rears its ugly head. If the contract between associates and Amazon was a normal business contract, it would not likely be possible to terminate it with just a few days notice. At the moment, Minnesotans who use the Associates program, collectively, have a gazillion links on their web sites and blogs pointing to Amazon, and Amazon will continue to reap the benefits of those links (or force Minnesotan web developers and bloggers to spend considerable effort undoing the links), while Amazon will not be holding up their end of the bargin.

This affects me a little … I’ve got some Amazon Associate links, though the total income they bring in for me is very small. Still, that is how I was paying the server fee for The X Blog (or at least most of it most months).

I’d love to change the associates links to Barnes and Nobel, but the last time I looked at their associates program it sucked and was difficult to use. Maybe I’ll have another look.

This, by the way, is why THIS IS TRUE even though I appear to the the only person on the planet who sees the impending end of civilization as we know it!

Comments

  1. #1 Eric Lund
    June 18, 2013

    Depending on what exactly the legislation is about, Barnes and Noble might not be too eager to take on Minnesota associates either. I’ve heard some rumblings (but haven’t followed the story all that closely) that states are now being allowed to charge sales tax on stuff ordered online and shipped to their state, where previously they only needed to charge sales tax to residents of states where they had a physical presence.[1] That was a big subsidy to online retailers, at the expense of local bricks-and-mortar stores, who always had to charge sales tax.

    Is Amazon reacting to Minnesota collecting sales tax on shipments to Minnesota, or is this about something else entirely? Either way, it sounds rather petty of Amazon.

    [1]This was also historically true of mail-order firms. I’ve always been curious why so few mail-order firms (and later, online retailers) were based in Delaware, New Hampshire, or Oregon, the states which do not have sales tax.

  2. #2 Skeptico
    June 18, 2013

    They did the exact same thing in CA a year ago. Amazon now charge sales tax in CA and the associates scheme has been reinstated.

  3. #3 Fiona
    Australia
    June 18, 2013

    Book depository!!

  4. #4 Justin Adelmann
    Minnesota
    June 18, 2013

    Tantrum is correct. More like acting like school girls who got snubbed by not getting invited to the big party of the year. They did this because Minnesota is making Minnesotan customers pay for sales tax at point of sale instead of waiting till they file taxes and don’t do it. This in no way shape or form impacts Amazon’s bottom line. They just didn’t get their way and instead of fighting the unconstitutionality of it in court, they take it out on the little guys.

  5. #5 Kay
    Minneapolis
    June 18, 2013

    I just received my Amazon email today. One option is to join Skimlinks.com. They are located in Australia and they are an affiliate of Amazon (and other programs). You will still be able to sell Amazon’s products through them and earn an income. They work with over 17,000 retailers and last time I checked even Target was one of them. : ) Unfortunately, you are still going to have to change your links which is a big hassle.

  6. #6 Greg Laden
    June 18, 2013

    Kay, I think Skimlinks might just turn stuff in a blog post into the appropriate affiliate code, and would not get me out of using Amazon as a Minnesota resident.

  7. #7 Fred Overtaxed
    Minnesota
    June 18, 2013

    Perhaps it’s worth considering that Mn Governor Dayton’s idiotic, lame brained approach to taxing Minnesotans and related businesses out of every last penny should be a thought for consideration. Don’t like it? Call you legislators. Don’t blame Amazon for cutting their losses. Want to whine more about a business choosing where to do business, too bad, not listening. Dayton screwed Minnesota first, not Amazon. I do agree with the impending end of civilization as we know it, though.

  8. #8 Ally
    June 18, 2013

    I’ve decided that I’m just going to get a virtual mailbox in Nevada and open a Nevada based LLC. It will be easier than moving out of state. However, it might make my taxes way more complicated but I’m making $2,000 a month with Amazon and don’t want to lose that income. It’s what I use to pay my bills and feed my family.

  9. […] Amazon has pulled its referral revenue-sharing program for Minnesota because the state wants them to pay sales … Given the company’s creative ways of claiming they aren’t based anywhere taxable, in […]

  10. #10 soner sarıkabadayı
    http://www.sonersarikabadayi.org
    June 21, 2013

    They did the exact same thing in CA a year ago. Yes, good idea. Thanks a lot

  11. #11 Kay
    Minneapolis
    June 23, 2013

    Greg, If you were an Amazon affiliate, take a moment to go to the website and check out Skimlinks. I spoke with them last year and I believe the way it works is you become an affiliate of Skimlinks and since they are not located in the US, the are not subject to Nexus. Check it out for yourself, but I did hear one drawback was a longer delay in receiving payments.

  12. #12 Greg Laden
    June 23, 2013

    I will look into it.

  13. […] The change that stands out in this is the exclusion of Minnesotans from being allowed to participate in the affiliate program.  They now join the residents of Arkansas, Colorado, Illinois, North Carolina and Rhode Island in being banned and none too happy about it. […]

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