For a long time one of the best internet affiliate programs has been Amazon.com. They, unlike many others, do not require you to recruit a down-line or commit to buying a minimum amount of products every month. Also, they are one of the most stable and reliable affiliate programs around.
I have been an Amazon affiliate for quite some time, probably ten years or so. However, that relationship has come to an end, an end not of my choice. Amazon is strictly an online retailer. It has no presence in the real world, that is, no actual bookstores. For a long time online retailers and their affiliates have been exempt from collecting state sales tax. However, in recent years, and most recently here in Arkansas, states have been passing revisions to their tax codes that requires online retailers and their affiliates to collect sales tax for sales originating in that state.
For whatever reasons, Amazon does not want to do that, instead, Amazon drops all affiliates in any state that requires they collect sales tax. That is why I am closing my bookstores – Amazon won’t collect the sales tax and won’t honor any sales originating from affiliate links in Arkansas.
While I, to some extent, understand Amazon’s position, I feel that the way they are handling it is unfair. I certainly understand the rationale of the states that have required online retailers to collect sales tax. After all, with so many retailers increasing their online presence and reducing their physical presence, these states need to offset the loss of tax revenue if they want to continue to provide necessary services to their residents. I have long felt that the exemption from state sales tax gave online vendors an unfair competitive advantage, so I do support this change in the Arkansas tax code. That is why I feel that Amazon’s decision to drop affiliates in states that have the sales tax requirement is both unfair and unreasonable.
I have deleted the links in the sidebars on both of my sites to my amazon bookstores. At this point I do not feel motivated to spend the time and energy needed to go back through all posts and pages and remove any links to those bookstores. I do not know yet how those links, if clicked, will be handled by Amazon. i do know that I will not get credit for any sales from those links, which is fine, since I never really expected to make any serious return on those links. You are free to shop at Amazon, however, I intend to boycott them and urge anyone who thinks like myself that this policy of theirs is unfair to also boycott Amazon. After all, it was their affiliates that helped make Amazon the online giant that it is. It seems Amazon has gotten to big for it’s britches and is content to hurt the very people that made it the success it is.