Amazon Ends Relationship with North Carolina AffiliatesBy: Chris Crum - June 28, 2009
North Carolina residents who are Amazon Affiliates recently received an email telling them the company would be ending its relationships with them due to the North Carolina state legislature getting ready to, as Amazon puts it, "enact an unconstitutional tax collection scheme."
What the North Carolina government is proposing would apply sales tax to purchases made through online affiliates based in NC. It has not yet passed.
Now NC residents have received an email confirming that they are indeed severing ties. Andy Beal at Marketing Pilgrim received one of the emails and shares it on his blog. It reads:
We are writing from the Amazon Associates Program to notify you that your Associates account has been closed as of June 26, 2009. This is a direct result of the unconstitutional tax collection scheme expected to be passed any day now by the North Carolina state legislature (the General Assembly) and signed by the governor. As a result, we will no longer pay any referral fees for customers referred to Amazon.com or Endless.com after June 26. We were forced to take this unfortunate action in anticipation of actual enactment because of uncertainties surrounding the legislation’s effective date.
Please be assured that all qualifying referral fees earned prior to June 26, 2009 will be processed and paid in full in accordance with our regular referral fee schedule. Based on your account closure date of June 26, 2009, any final payments will be paid by September 1, 2009.
In the event that North Carolina repeals this tax collection scheme, we would certainly be happy to re-open our Associates program to North Carolina residents.
Given that the tax law has not passed, it isn’t hard to understand why Amazon’s NC affiliates would be a little upset. A News-Record article that was picked up by Slashdot offers the following quote:
"Local affiliates say they were ‘blind-sided’ by the company’s action. ‘I got this e-mail at 4:30 this morning,’ said James Barrett, a technology consultant from Winston-Salem. ‘It wasn’t saying your account will be shut down. It said it is shut down. That just blew me up right there.’ Barrett said that he is frustrated at lawmakers for considering the tax, but equally aggravated with Amazon. ‘They’re trying to tick off all their associates and get them to call down to Raleigh,’ Barrett said. ‘I think that is pretty tacky. That’s not the way to use people who are referring business to your business.’"
So far, there is no mention of the North Carolina situation on the Official Amazon Association Blog.