Amazon gives Minnesota Affiliates the boot

Discussion in 'What's On Your Mind?' started by Mike, Jun 19, 2013.

  1. Mike

    Mike Founding Member Coach

    Got this from the *ssh*l*s at Amazon Tuesday ...

    Screw ya dude, I'm replacing all of your ads -- totalling 20M-30M impressions annually on my web sites, with suggestions to boycott Amazon & support local jobs.

    We are writing from the Amazon Associates Program to notify you that your Associates
    account will be closed and your Amazon Services LLC Associates Program Operating
    Agreement will be terminated effective June 30, 2013. This is a direct result of the
    unconstitutional Minnesota state tax collection legislation passed by the state
    legislature and signed by Governor Dayton on May 23, 2013, with an effective date of
    July 1, 2013. As a result, we will no longer pay any advertising fees for customers
    referred to an Amazon Site after June 30 nor will we accept new applications for the
    Associates Program from Minnesota residents.

    Please be assured that all qualifying advertising fees earned prior to July 1, 2013,
    will be processed and paid in full in accordance with your regular advertising fee
    schedule. Based on your account closure date of June 30, 2013, any final payments
    will be paid by August 30, 2013.

    While we oppose this unconstitutional state legislation, we strongly support the
    federal Marketplace Fairness Act now pending before Congress. Congressional
    legislation is the only way to create a simplified, constitutional framework to
    resolve interstate sales tax issues and it would allow us to re-open our Associates
    program to Minnesota residents.

    We thank you for being part of the Amazon Associates Program, and look forward to
    re-opening our program when Congress passes the Marketplace Fairness Act.


    The Amazon Associates Team


    This e-mail was sent to

    Please note that you must use this e-mail address to access your account in
    Associates Central or when contacting Associates Customer Service.

    To manage your e-mail preferences, update your account settings [

    Message Category: Account Closure - MN
    Rugape likes this.
  2. RB

    RB Founding Member

    Does this mean that clicking through on the Amazon links to shop will no longer benefit TUG?
  3. Caradoc

    Caradoc Original Member

    1) You do realize that this is a direct result of Minnesotans failing to pay their sales taxes, and is an attempt by the State of Minnesota to push responsibility for the collection thereof from the citizens of Minnesota onto Amazon's back, right?

    2) In the Phoenix area (Arizona) Amazon *is* a local job. They've got four fulfillment centers here, and I've got an unknown number (but well above ten) of former co-workers and acquaintances working for them in various positions - locally.
  4. Mike

    Mike Founding Member Coach

    That's B.S. -- Most people aren't even aware of the"use" tax (which is what the sales is called when it's paid by the purchaser), and many or most people don't reach the threshold (several hundred $ per year in purchases) where it must be paid. Minnesota also exempts food & clothing from the sales/use tax. In general, most people here who do shopping on the internet don't actually owe any taxes to the state, but collectively a lot that is under the individual thresholds is lost to the state.

    Taxes of this sort are most efficiently collected by the businesses, not paid by individuals. Amazon already collects these taxes on behalf of stores that operate under its auspices, so the machinery to collect them is already in place. Amazon's issue is that they simply don't want to collect them -- they want to continue with their unfair tax advantage for as long as possible.

    Amazon should be collecting it just as Barnes & Noble does and just as Borders did. Perhaps Borders would still be around without the unfair competition from Amazon. In it's time Borders was the best of the bookstores.
  5. RB

    RB Founding Member

    Question from comment #2 is still open.
  6. Mike

    Mike Founding Member Coach

    By July 1 all of those ads will be removed from this site, and linking to in any manner will not be permitted.

    According to my Amazon account I generated slightly over 20M impressions in the last 12 months, and there were several million more that didn't goose the tracking images.

    One thing that Amazon is hoping for is that its Minnesota affiliates will just leave most of their links in place and continue to generate sales for Amazon without being compensated. In my case, that just "ain't gonna happen".

    I've had Amazon ads on my web sites for > 5 years. From the beginning, the payback has sucked, but once in place the ads did result in a trickle of income. However, they're not worth the time & expense to remove them & put them back in. What I could bill out for a single hour of my labor as a principal software engineer would far exceed what I've been getting from Amazon in year's time.

    So I'm going to get a little pleasure out of running some "public service" ads on the subject and then pull the plug completely. I've also already canceled my Amazon prime account and will never do any on-line shopping with them again. I don't maintain relationships with fair weather friends, ever.
  7. Mike

    Mike Founding Member Coach

    I was typing, but if I had seen this first, I probably would have deferred the answer.

    I am not in a good mood today at all.
  8. Caradoc

    Caradoc Original Member

    I most carefully did not pass any judgment on whether what Amazon was doing was "right," "wrong," or "unfair," but simply noted their motivations. The government of Minnesota believes they will collect more taxes from Amazon than they would from their own citizens. They're probably correct.

    In any case, I've been paying sales tax (to Amazon, at time of purchase) for quite some time now. It's still cheaper for me than driving down to someplace like Fry's Electronics, wasting 30-45 minutes just locating what I want to purchase and standing in line to pay for it, then driving home - and with a Prime account, it's already 2-day shipping. Much lower frustration levels for me.
  9. RB

    RB Founding Member

    Not trying to hoorah, just trying to be sure I understood the implications.
  10. Mike

    Mike Founding Member Coach

    Actually that part of it might have backfired -- they will be losing millions in income taxes on discontinued affiliate income.
    Caradoc likes this.
  11. Caradoc

    Caradoc Original Member

    I would agree with that assessment.

    Let's face it. If our elected officials always considered the long-term effects of their decisions, your taxes would already be pretty friggin' low to begin with...
  12. Mike

    Mike Founding Member Coach

    My wife always warned people not to p*ss off Mike. She was right. Meanwhile, now that I'm awake again, I must return to reality, Earth & work.
  13. nachtnebel

    nachtnebel Original Member

    nah. Bezos pulled the same crap in California. A few weeks after they announced a pullout from the state he made a deal with CA.

    btw, what's in the water in Minnesota? some kid out on a furlough went back and raped his previous robbery victim... I guess the cops are too busy beating innocent people to actually keep tabs on scum like this.
  14. Mike

    Mike Founding Member Coach

    But he apparently had other facilities in CA, which complicates the issues. Also he's already at odds with New York. Assuming affiliates are distributed proportionately to population, playing hardball with the two largest states would eliminate 1/6 of his referrals. Instead he takes it out on smaller states.

    His current abuse of the tax system ensures that they will have no competition. Forcing Amazon to collect & remit sales taxes will level the playing field and open the door to other competition, which will benefit everyone.

    For store-sold merchandise, if the playing field were leveled, I think you'd see major players like Target, WalMart, Sears move more into internet sales. Right now it's hard for them to compete on price with that unfair 6-9% advantage in most states.

    Amazon's big edge are their cooperating associates -- independent companies selling their products under the Amazon umbrella. It's amazing what you can find in there. Competition will help in this area, too: Amazon's fees are outrageously stiff. This is a market ripe for competition once the tax issues are dealt with.
  15. nachtnebel

    nachtnebel Original Member

    Bingo. We've already seen this in CA. Best Buy is matching their internet pricing now that they don't have a built-in tax disadvantage. Whether BB can make money doing this and stay out of bankruptcy court, I don't know.

    The interesting thing is that eBay is suddenly a very attractive alternative to Amazon. You can buy from a small vendor in a non tax state and guesss what? You don't pay sales tax as the transaction is between the buyer and seller only-not involving eBay. Although at some point, since PaythruTheNosePal is used to complete the transaction, there might be a hook there.
  16. Mike

    Mike Founding Member Coach

    Costco can be competitive, too. When I bought this computer I compared local options (including Costco next door to work) as well as Amaxon. Costco won.

    If you pay with a credit card, Paypal's fees essentially are the credit card fee, which runs about 3.5% on the lower end of the amount. The seller pays it, as is normal for credit card transactions.

    Sales tax usually is not collected in most eBay auctions, not just e-Bay stores. Even if you're just collecting for your own state (e.g. MN) it can be very confusing & time-consuming to set up the tables. For MN, the state has several pages of instructions.

    For vendors like Amazon and e-Bay, I'm sure there are commercial solutions readily available and easily integrated that can calculate taxes correctly from zip or zip+4. For an indidividual, it's too much to expect.
  17. Mike

    Mike Founding Member Coach

    Love it!

    In all of June, on all of my sites combined, a grand total of 202 people clicked through my Amazon ads.

    Since I started installing the anti-Amazon replacements, mostly on June 30, 755 people have clicked through the anti-Amazon ads. :D

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