Amazon Axes 10,000 California Affiliates

Shortly after California governor Jerry Brown signed the budget which includes the affiliate nexus tax, Amazon affiliates in that state received the following email from Amazon:

For well over a decade, the Amazon Associates Program has worked with thousands of California residents. Unfortunately, a potential new law that may be signed by Governor Brown compels us to terminate this program for California-based participants. It specifically imposes the collection of taxes from consumers on sales by online retailers – including but not limited to those referred by California-based marketing affiliates like you – even if those retailers have no physical presence in the state.

We oppose this bill because it is unconstitutional and counterproductive. It is supported by big-box retailers, most of which are based outside California, that seek to harm the affiliate advertising programs of their competitors. Similar legislation in other states has led to job and income losses, and little, if any, new tax revenue. We deeply regret that we must take this action.

As a result, we will terminate contracts with all California residents that are participants in the Amazon Associates Program as of the date (if any) that the California law becomes effective. We will send a follow-up notice to you confirming the termination date if the California law is enacted. In the event that the California law does not become effective before September 30, 2011, we withdraw this notice. As of the termination date, California residents will no longer receive advertising fees for sales referred to,, MYHABIT.COM or Please be assured that all qualifying advertising fees earned on or before the termination date will be processed and paid in full in accordance with the regular payment schedule.

You are receiving this email because our records indicate that you are a resident of California. If you are not currently a resident of California, or if you are relocating to another state in the near future, you can manage the details of your Associates account here. And if you relocate to another state in the near future please contact us for reinstatement into the Amazon Associates Program.

To avoid confusion, we would like to clarify that this development will only impact our ability to offer the Associates Program to California residents and will not affect their ability to purchase from,, MYHABIT.COM or

We have enjoyed working with you and other California-based participants in the Amazon Associates Program and, if this situation is rectified, would very much welcome the opportunity to re-open our Associates Program to California residents. We are also working on alternative ways to help California residents monetize their websites and we will be sure to contact you when these become available.


The Amazon Associates Team

Affiliates in the following states are now affected by the affiliate nexus tax:

  1. California
  2. Colorado
  3. Illinois
  4. North Carolina
  5. Rhode Island
  6. Connecticut

The Performance Marketing Association advises California publishers and out-of-state advertisers to consult a tax or legal professional regarding this issue.

Are you a California publisher? Thoughts? Comments? What are your plans?

Comments, questions or suggestions? Please leave a comment below!




  1. says

    Hi again, Ros!

    I guess I could have searched a little harder, before submitting the last comment. Knee-jerk reaction!

    Everyone probably already knows that B&N is now at Linkshare! Good news, I suppose – lots of work to change links, though. Maybe Skimlinks will help as B&N doesn’t seem to have deeplinking available yet.

    Thanks for your patience!

  2. says

    Hi Ros and friends,

    Just got notice that Barnes and Noble “has made the decision to terminate their Affiliate Program with Google Affiliate Network effective Tuesday, August 9, 2011.”

    Ugh!! Do you know if they are part of another affiliate network? (I sent them an email, but doubt I’ll get a reply back any time soon!)

    As a Colorado resident terminated by Amazon before ever getting going, Barnes & Noble was looking promising.

    Checking out Skimlinks is on the “to do” list ; )

    Thanks for any info and for keeping our spirits up.

    With hope,

  3. says

    @Mullins Farms, and others, DO NOT leave those links to Amazon for them to get free traffic and not have to pay you for it. Not only will they get sales, but they get SEO benefits from all those backlinks.

    I know there are people out there, including one person on the Amazon forum who says his wife is an attorney, a federal prosecutor, and she told him all he had to do was change over the account to someone out of state. First off, nobody knows if that’s true, second, its not her area of expertise, and if you get in trouble with the California FTB or BOE, she isn’t going to show up and defend you, now is she? Its very dicey business, and they’re going to be looking for people circumventing the system, particularly if you’ve made a lot of money in the past. And if your circumvention goes wrong, and the vendor ends up liable for the tax, or in trouble with the state, how is that going to end in anything other than lifetime bannishment?

    There are two ways you can apparently work around the system. The first is to rewrite your pages slightly, and put them on Squidoo, using Squidoo’s amazon links. (Squidoo wants original content, but its not like you have to start from scratch, optimize for a different keyword or set of keywords, get creative). Squidoo earns 8%, which means you earn 4%, but its better than nothing. Change the links on your website to something else,, barnes and noble, borders, sears, target, whatever you can find. Maybe having links at two different locations will not only increase your traffic, but also make up for the reduced commission that those earning more than the Amazon minimum will experience.

    The other alternative was recommended by Ros herself, here: (be sure and make sure and say that Ros referred you so she gets her referral fee). I’m still waiting to hear whether my site has been admitted or not, it takes a couple of days, but I checked it out in detail. Basically, what it amounts to is they are a UK corporation (therefore no sales tax issues at all) with affiliate agreements with amazon, commission junction, etc. They are the official affiliate. Once your website is admitted to the system, you get automatic access to their system, and can use THEIR affiliate links to populate YOUR site. I believe you can do it manually or install a plugin to do it for you. It won’t disturb any of your existing affiliate links, you just need to sub out direct amazon links for your affiliate links, and it will convert them on the fly for you. (I think you could likely use a search and replace function to covert your affiliate links to regular links.) Worth checking out, at a minimum.

  4. says


    Yes, we have West marine as an affiliate, but our site is RV and camping related. Boater’s World also carried many products for that interest, where as West Marine is strictly marine stuff. It’s just not as good a fit for our site.

    The whole concept behind our site was that our book for creating your own minivan camper would have links in it to the pages on our site where they could find the products we recommended for their project. That was SO easy to do with Amazon. Now we have to sign up with the aggregator, then search out what stores they have that “might” carry what we want, and then apply to them. If we’re turned down, then it’s back to more searching and more applying. Also, It appears that none of the product links between all these places are ever consistent, so trying to merge them into something that looks decent on a catalog page is a nightmare! It creates at least ten times more work for us than what we had with Amazon.

    However, Rosalind just sent out a notice about a UK site called SkimLink that appears to have a lot of promise. I’m going to check thm out this afternoon and see how that works. It could be the answer to a good alternative for Amazon!

    Good luck, and feel free to contact me at my site or blog any time.

  5. Bert says

    @John Abert

    Thanks for the info on ebay, it does seem strange that ebayers are treated differently than Amazon affiliates and this concept of $500,000 is bizarre. I don’t know how CA came up with that figure. I have been paying sales tax as a business to CA for over 20 years and there is no minimum, let alone a figure like that!

    As for Boater’s World we had a physical store in Santa Barbara (right up the road from CJ headquarters) which closed down when Ritz took over. Now I don’t see or can’t find any Boater’s World stores anymore, appears they have gone totally online.

    Have you tried West Marine? As for CA they have numerous stores so at least for us here in CA they should be ok, I would assume they have a store in Arkansas also.


  6. says


    I am in Arkansas, and we got our notice almost two weeks before California. However, we were told that we had until July 24th before they would actually end our commissions. However the law has already been signed, so it’s a done deal. But the delayed grace period may be why some places are not recogizing it as “official” yet.

    But according to information on Skip McGrath’s newsletter as well as AuctionBytes, it is not going to affect eBay sellers in California unless they do over $500,000 worth of business per year! (Good luck with doing that!) So if that works for them, then why should other affiliates be singled out? Many eBay sellers deal with drop-shipped products from other states shipped TO other states. So how does that make them any different than Amazon affiliates?

    But yes, Boater’s World has also joined those ranks (through CJ), so as soon as I got the news, their banner came off and Wal Mart’s went on! If you can get Wal Mart, Sears, or any national chain that has a prescence in every state you are better off. They usually ship from within whatever state the order is delivered to, and they have no problem with collecting the sales tax for that state!

    On other stores that we tried to get, some came back with an immediate rejection. They didn’t even take time to look at my site! So that tells me they must have some parameters set within the aggregator’s database to automatically reject certain states! Other times, some stores have looked, but turned us down without giving a reason. That’s OK, I have a sizable list of aggregators as well as a list of of about 1000 private stores that run their own affiliate programs.

    Instead of drowing in “the river”, I intend to take the bridge and look down on “the river”.

  7. Mike says

    Instead of all of this talk about forming Delaware corporations and so on, why not drop Amazon until Amazon becomes a better corporate citizen? (Obviously they have no problem dropping us.) Why help Amazon dodge taxes that are needed to pay for roads and schools and fire departments? Virtually everything Amazon sells, with the exception of Amazon-brand products, is available through other sources. If you promote books, for example, there are a number of options, including a great independent store, Powell’s Books, which offers a flat 7.5 percent commission and a 90-day cookie:

  8. says

    Jim, as someone who worked in the legal field for 20 years, I can tell you exactly why Amazon didn’t fire their NY affiliates. Their contention is that the nexus argument is unconstitutional, and frankly, I think they are right, and even if they aren’t, the present Supreme Court is going to side with business every time, so they’d prevail anyway. In order to get the issue before the Supreme Court, however, they had to have at least one legal challenge to get it up there. I don’t know whether they thought the lower NY courts were likely to side with or against them, but clearly, they decided that was the best venue to challenge the nexus argument, so that’s where they filed the challenge. Once the Supreme Court rules on the issue, there go the other states’ nexus laws like dominoes.

    Right now, Amazon is allowing its NY affiliates to remain while they collect the sales tax in an escrow fund (in case they actually have to pay it), but they’ve made it clear, if they lose the case, they’ll fire the NY affiliates, too.

  9. Bob says

    I agree somewhat with Neal, who posted on June 30, 2011 at 13:18 pm

    Instead of crying, about your notice from Amazon and other affiliate programs that dropped you. We as Internet marketers (affiliates etc.) need to take a page out of the book from the people across the pond. And start marching in the streets over laws like this one, law that are going to take our incomes away!

    We elected these people into office and we can vote them out, or we can just lie down and let the whole thing march across the country.

  10. Jim says

    I live in Colorado and when this happened I remove all Amazon links from my websites. I also personally stopped doing business with Amazon and encouraged my friends to do the same. I recently read that while Amazon terminates association with residence of states that pass tax bills it DID NOT do so for New York state. Wonder why???

  11. says

    Oops, accidentally left off the last part of what I was going to say.

    Now the irony is, there is what seems to me to be a completely legal above-board workaround which will allow you to not lie to Amazon (and therefore risk being banned and losing all your commissions), where you wouldn’t be exposing Amazon to the risk of liability for the CA sales tax, and in fact you’d never be accessing the Amazon control panel and they’d never know you had anything to do with it. Only problem is, you’ll make half of what you were before.

    Go to and join. Create lenses using content from your webpages (you’ll want to change it around some, both so you don’t risk the possibility of the search engines thinking the squidoo pages are the original content and your website is a duplicate, and because squidoo has rules about copying content, so you don’t want them to think your content isn’t original). Then substitute in Squidoo’s Amazon links for your previous ones. Yup, Squidoo lets users post affiliate links on their lenses, including using Squidoo’s Amazon account, and you have the choice of either taking half of the resultant commissions, or donating half to charity. And also include links back to your site, where you will have the same articles, only more complete, better written, more pictures, more attractive, and you’ll have Barnes & Noble or links on your own site. That way you’ll be directing traffic back to your own site, and maybe you’ll get some additional traffic and commissions, make up for what you’ve lost because of losing Amazon. If you have no other options, and you don’t want to risk being banned by Amazon forever, this seems to me the optimal workaround that doesn’t involve lying or possible lifetime banishment, and who knows, maybe the increase in traffic will actually improve your commissions.

  12. says

    California Lemon Law, I see one potential problem with your idea. If you apply to have your account reinstated, you are supposed to change the contact info in your account first, then call Amazon to ask to be reinstated. I have no doubt that they will check your ISP to see where in the country you accessed their affiliate site from. I wasn’t told this myself, but one of the other affiliates was told that as far as reinstatement goes, they are going to VERIFY the address change, a mail forwarding service or a post office box is not going to work.

    Now, yes, you could just apply for a new affiliate account as the corporation, and not tell them about your previous life, but there’s a problem. You were supposed to list the websites you would be referring folks from in your previous account, and assuming you aren’t starting with all new sites, all they have to do is look for that URL in their databases, et voila, they found out its you, and you tried to lied to them, and that’ll probably get your new business and you banned for life from their system. They are not going to want to risk having some affiliate who lies to them set them up so they owe the tax obligation, especially when they haven’t collected it, so they are likely going to be very vigilant looking for liars. Especially when it probably is very easy to log your ISP every time you access the system, and they can look it up in 2 seconds and then ban you. You could do a lot of work, and then get canned and get denied your commissions anyway.

  13. says

    Brown sold us out! What an inept Governor and career politician.Always sucking up to the regulators and hurting the lifeblood of the state. We need to expel Brown from office like an overdue BM.

  14. says

    I live in Los Angeles, and got the news as well. I’m worried about other affiliate sites pulling the plug as well. I was going to move at some point and am wondering if I need to go live in Costa Rica or someplace like that. This is alarming! Luckily I set myself up to help others install their WordPress blogs but my plan was to get my affiliate stream going so I could create passive income and travel the world like you. I guess it pays to diversify and create your own products as well.

  15. says

    How about this for a solution?

    Let’s say I rent the space you currently use for Amazon links. ONLY that space, exactly like-for-like. Let’s say the rental contract is flexible. It is 75 per cent of whatever the link earns me during the period (let’s call it per month to simplify).

    I populate the space I’m renting with links to the same products, or the nearest match where the same products are no longer available, using a new tracking code unique to your site.

    And then at the end of the month, we run a report, and I send you payment of your 75 per cent when the check arrives from Amazon. Or you can be paid quarterly, or whatever suits you. Maybe with a threshold of $25 as a minimum payment. Payment via Paypal.

    You can still submit this rental income on your tax returns.

    Any thoughts?

  16. says

    I don’t claim to be a lawyer but here’s a possible solution.

    Incorporate in a state that isn’t pursuing this nonsense. Your ‘C corporation’ is a legal entity that can apply for it’s own EIN. Reapply to Amazon’s affiliate program as the *corporation*. Amazon accepts ABC Inc of Nevada (or wherever) into its affiliate program. You now have a contractual arrangement between Amazon and your corporation. You’re not an affiliate, your corporation is, and Amazon pays your corporation – not you.

    You work X number of hours a week for your corporation – just like any other freelancer – and the corporation pays you a salary. Whatever profit the corporation makes can be distributed to you at any time via a dividend.

    Once again, I’m not a lawyer but I can’t think of any reason why this wouldn’t work. I can’t think of any reason why it would be illegal and this has nothing to do with gaming the tax system – the combination of your ‘wages’ and the corporation’s profit = 100% of your income.

    Sure, there are a few details to work out but that’s the basic idea.

    What do you think?

  17. says

    Please update your list of states! On June 10, 2011, Amazon affiliates from Arkansas received the following notice from Amazon because Governor Beebe in Arkansas signed a law.

    For well over a decade, the Amazon Associates Program has worked with a large number of Arkansas residents. Unfortunately, a new state tax law signed by Governor Beebe compels us to terminate this program for Arkansas-based participants. It specifically imposes the collection of taxes from consumers on sales by online retailers – including but not limited to those referred by Arkansas-based affiliates like you – even if those retailers have no physical presence in the state.

    We opposed this new tax law because it is unconstitutional and counterproductive. It was supported by big-box retailers that seek to harm the affiliate advertising programs of their competitors. Similar legislation in other states has led to job and income losses, and little, if any, new tax revenue. We deeply regret that its enactment forces this action. The unfortunate consequences of this legislation on Arkansas residents like you were explained to the legislature, including Senate and House leadership, as well as to the Governor’s staff.

    As a result of the new law, contracts with all Arkansas residents participating in the Amazon Associates Program will be terminated on July 24, 2011. Those Arkansas residents will no longer receive advertising fees for sales referred to,, MYHABIT.COM or Please be assured that all qualifying advertising fees earned on or before July 24, 2011 will be processed and paid in full in accordance with the regular payment schedule.

    You are receiving this email because our records indicate that you are a resident of Arkansas. If you are not currently a resident of Arkansas, or if you are relocating to another state in the near future, you can manage the details of your Associates account here. And if you relocate to another state after July 24, 2011, please contact us for reinstatement into the Amazon Associates Program.

    To avoid confusion, we would like to clarify that this development will only impact our ability to continue to offer the Associates Program to Arkansas residents and will not affect their ability to purchase from

    We have enjoyed working with you and other Arkansas-based participants in the Amazon Associates Program and, if this situation is rectified, would very much welcome the opportunity to re-open our Associates Program to Arkansas residents.


    The Amazon Associates Team ”

    Just for the record, I also read that the State of Indiana, who has had a “Use Tax” for as long as I can remember is NOT signing a law, and according to the newspaper in Anderson, Indiana, Amazon is going to build a distribution center in Indiana. Maybe we all ought to move there and give our tax revenue to the State of Indiana. Instead of sending Indiana residents down “the river”, they are bringing “the river” to their residents! What a concept!

    Why can’t other states think outside of the box! It’s not rocket science!

  18. Bryan says

    I get why brick and mortar’s felt it was unfair that internet businesses didn’t have sales tax but they need to wake up and see the world is changing. They need to leverage their physical storefronts with online sources of income. We should not be penalized because we have embraced a better and more effective way to provide for our families (lower overhead, time freedom, mobility, etc.)

    I get that the government has a budget and needs to find money to keep things running but hurting people who have actually created income from scratch online is not the answer. There are different alternatives, but until the voters actually educate themselves, stand up, and tell these politicians what to do, they will do whatever makes them and their corporate buddies wealthier.

    I get why amazon and other retailers are pulling the plug, but they handled it horribly. 1 day notice? are you kidding me? Is that how you treat your business partners?

  19. Jenn C says

    Well here we go again –
    Government putting 10’s of thousands of people out of work,
    while trying to squeeze blood from a stone.

    I am in Cali and was just beginning with Amazon, so I’m glad this happened before I got too far.
    I just received notices from 2 other affiliate programs through CJ that I’ve been dropped for the same reason.

    I was planning on setting up shop in another State, but it seems its just a matter of time before they
    all follow suit. It looks like I’ll be going off shore with my company and accounts, so Big Brother stops
    rapeing my wallet and I will no longer be tossed from all my programs!

  20. says

    It’s absolutely insane and will accomplish the exact opposite of what their stated goals are… and they know it! It’s protectionism and disinformation at its finest, and I believe we will be seeing a lot more of it until they succeed in eroding all avenues for entrepreneurs to be financially independent. Real independence is the enemy of governments in their current condition.

    File an LLC in Delaware and give yourselves a blanket of protection and a degree of isolation from these events. For those of you who don’t know, an existing LLC in one jursidiction can be naturalized in another one should Delaware decide to participate in the folly as well. Yes, it costs some money, but if you have money to lose it’s a better choice. Nevada was previously where I chose to register LLCs, but I had the intuition to change a year or so ago, and now I’m grateful that I followed my intuition since Nevada has finally been compromised.

    There are also mailbox rental services that will receive and forward your mail anywhere you tell them to, and you can get them outside your state. That is at least something that might be helpful for some folks that live close to a state border where they can just cross and go to the mailbox when needed.

    Don’t give up, just consider some practical alternatives to save your cash flow. Then work on weaning your income away from the larger companies.

    Good luck everyone!

  21. says

    I have one solution to this tax. Move to another state! I haven’t made any money yet to tax, but when I start I will be completely mobile and I couldn’t think of a better reason to travel!
    Keep the Faith, fellow affilliates!

  22. Bert says

    Actually this will affect anyone selling on ebay as ebay also has an Affiliate program so technically ebay sellers will have to begin to pay sales tax to every state they ship too.

  23. says

    I am not in California either, but am afraid this will happen in my state soon. I am starting to use other programs more and more, besides Amazon, in the event that it does happen, I don’t have all of my eggs in one basket. I am so sorry for people in those states as I love Amazon and make some decent money from them in some of my niches.

  24. says

    Thats really to bad for them i hope it will not affect other states. The most people who will suffer will be the affiliates who use Amazon. Lets pray that this darconias Bill will not pass.

  25. says

    There is a broken links checker plug in for WordPress which you can install to unbreak and remove Amazon links that won’t be earning you anything, I would do that as Amazon will make more money out of those that don’t bother to remove them.

  26. says

    That really sucks for all those who have affected by the nexus tax. The way I see it, this is them shooting themselves in the foot because I would guess that having affiliates do what they do only adds to stimulate the economy even more and right now, this is something that is needed all over the world!

  27. says

    Angela (and others with book links) I can also recommend which is available through Linkshare and Better World Books, which is available through Commission Junction. The business model of the latter is actually very attractive to me personally, and I’ve bought a lot, and I mean *A LOT* of books from them. Their prices aren’t as low as Amazon, but they offer free shipping WORLDWIDE, which can be very attractive for those overseas who want to take advantage of the exchange rate but fear shipping charges. They also offer a carbon free option domestically for those who are environmentally concerned. I also like that a portion of their proceeds goes to world literacy programs. And they have an interesting way of getting used books, instead of just buying outright only the books that used booksellers deem worthy, they allow people, libraries, etc. to just ship the books to them, and when they sell, they get a check. So books that otherwise might end up in a landfill or recycled get re-purposed, even if they aren’t the kind of used books that most sellers think have any value. I’ve bought a ton of used travel books from them, and when they’ve arrived, been delighted to find that some of the books were retired library books from libraries around California, so I was doing good for THEM as well.

    I’m finally beginning to stop holding my breath each time I check my various emails to see if I’ve been axed from yet another program. So far, Amazon is the only one I really care about, and there are alternatives. The silver lining is that B&N (which had previously rejected me) must have been inundated with applications and set an auto approve because I was accepted immediately this time, so hooray for that. I’ve still got, Better World Books, one or two video sources, and so far I haven’t lost any vendors from my primary niche (crosses fingers). I was always planning on moving out of state anyway, and now those plans are accelerated, but I’m not quite as panic stricken as I was a day or two ago.

    At least on a personal front. I do feel AWFUL for those who have been decimated, who are facing immediate loss of a LOT of their income, and facing massive amounts of work to recover it. That’s dreadful, and it makes me sick to think of it…

  28. Bob R says

    It is easy to take Amazon’s side in this if you’re an affiliate marketer. I am one. But, I disagree with Amazon. Fact is I also worked in the bookselling business and brick and mortar stores are getting kicked in the butt everyday because of the sales tax advantage enjoyed by Amazon.

    Amazon located most of it’s warehouse facilities in states without sales tax so that it could enjoy a 5% or more “total price” advantage over competitors like Barnes and Noble who have physical stores in throughout the country in most, if not all, states. If I go to to buy a book I pay sales tax because they have stores in my state. They employ people in my state. Their stores use other businesses and services that provide jobs for people that pay taxes to support the state’s services.

    If I go to to buy the very same books or product it is tax free because they don’t have a physical presence here. The price advantage may appear small but when people are counting every penny it is just one more nail in the retail coffin.

    Ultimately Amazon will have to collect state taxes. it may take a year or two or three. But, in the long run all state governments will have to level the playing field.

  29. says

    @HKC thanks for that bit of info. I am a B&N affiliate and hadnt thought about them for replacing my book promotions. I guess there are a lot of work arounds. It’s just gonna take a lil digging to figure them out as I cont to build this business. Let’s just keep our heads up. I know its hard and disappointing but we’ll all find other ways to build and grow our online businesses.

  30. says

    I’m affected and angered by this and got one email yesterday and then the other one this morning. I also rec’d an email cancellation from a one of my Commission Junction affiliates that I use as well. I’m new to affiliate mktg and I am slowly setting up my blog and monetizing it w/amazon products. I’m a member of other affiliate networks but I really liked how the Amazon program was easy for a newbie to use and start earning revenue. I’m very disappointed. I havent had a chance to really get started and feel like all of my hard work has been stalled while I regroup and try to figure out how to re monetize my site with new promotions. I think they didnt really think about all of the people this would affect. There are people who really rely on this for their main source of income. I’m only a temporary CA resident because Im a military spouse. I guess I need to learn more about the industry to see where I can still continue to build a online business.

  31. says

    I live in The Peoples Republic of Maryland. The far-sighted politicians here have long looked to California for ideas and ways to separate the tax payers from their money. I imagine it won’t be long before they bring us into the mix as well. Moving to another state now looks pretty good.

  32. says

    That’s absolutely insane! I’m not a resident of CA but I do wish those who could be impacted by this bill all the best and to keep their head up.

    Amazon isn’t the “end all be all” when it comes to promoting physical products.

  33. Bert says

    @John Abert Boaters World cancelled you, where do you live? Why was that, they have locations in CA and collect Sales Tax.

    Read this:

    You never pay sales tax! We are not required to collect sales and use tax on deliveries throughout the US, except where we have business locations and in those states we pay ALL sales taxes (California, Kansas and Maryland). For customers in these states, our price includes all applicable taxes.

    Are you sure?

  34. says

    It’s amazing that governments find it ok to impose more taxes from hardworking people.

    Can’t governments create their own income like we all have to do in order to keep afloat?

    Or do governments “lead by example” and suggest we all ask Ros to give us a share from her hard work, so we can sit back and relax???

  35. Bert says

    This has to do with the FACT that CA is out of cash and in serious debt and the money needs to come from somewhere. I live here and am (was) an Amazon Associate. I don’t blame either Jerry Brown or Amazon. In our last election, we as property owners were given the opportunity to pay $18 per year to keep all our State Parks open and free for CA residents. It failed! This is the most outdoor worthy state in the nation and the majority of the populace decided that that fee was a worthless extravagance. The fees for out of state and out of country visits would have been a huge benefit to the CA budget but apparently selfishness comes with blinders.

    We need to see the reality, Monopolies that refuse to charge and collect sales tax will be the only retail survivors. Why should they be exempt? Where is Borders now? What will happen to every retail location throughout the state ? It eventually forces them out of business doesn’t it?

    This will spread to every state in the US, until the Big Guns have to collect and pay taxes like the rest of us. Is it fair for them to be excluded at our expense?

    Putting your livelihood in the hands of companies who don’t need you in the first place is a short term solution that will put you in long term pain. Make your own products and thrive!

  36. Oscar says

    I wonder what, if any, effect this will have on business owners who sell via FBA or Kindle…

  37. says

    @John Abert

    Your demand for Amazon to “stand by their affiliates” would:

    1) Require them to spend millions of dollars to implement a mechanism for collecting and then distributing (back to the state) the sales tax.

    2) Cost them millions of dollars in sales lost to other online vendors who still do not have to deal with California sales tax.

    We need to demand that California elected officials “Stand By” their constituents instead of demanding a private company spend/lose millions of dollars to do so for them. The accountability seems lost on most people, when government does something wrong, it’s THEIR FAULT, and thus OUR FAULT as voters.

    Vote everyone who didn’t oppose this budget out of office.

  38. Shannon says

    I’m a California resident, and in addition to Amazon, I’ve received a couple other “termination” emails from other merchants. was honest about the Affiliate Nexus Law, but OrganizeIt said my website “is not a good match” anymore. I guess I’ll continue web publishing and just try earning revenue through GoogleAds.

  39. says

    For those who are affected as far as booksellers, I can personally recommend Better World Books (I’ve purchased from them, a lot, I’m a regular customer) which is available through CJ — haven’t asked if they’ll be booting their CA affiliates, but I haven’t received termination notice either — and Barnes & Noble is on Linkshare, and although I had previously been rejected by them, the system said within seconds that I had been approved, so its possible they’ve set things to “auto accept” to handle the deluge of desperate California affiliates looking for an alternative.

  40. says

    I love it the way they try to to work their way back into your good graces after they axe you. By the time we replace them with good honest vendors who stick by their affliates, why would we want to welcome them back after they create all this work for us in locating those other vendors?

    Besides, many of the other vendor programs pay higher commissions than Amazon does! The only good things they had going for them was the fact that all of their product banners were of a consistent size, and you could manage all your products in one place! But if I have to go to all the trouble of working out all those problems that Amazon has caused, they will have no place in my offerings EVER again! Nor will I buy from them!

    I don’t blame them for fighting the legislation however they can, but they should support their affiliates WHILE they are doing it. What they are doing is wrong! And the way that better than half of the states are already thinking of jumping on this bandwagon, Amazon, Overstock, Boater’s World (they cancelled today through CJ) and others are treating their affiliates is going to come back and bite them, because the odds are good that they are going to lose the court battles anyway! And once they have shafted their affiliates, most will not be gracious enough to forgive and forget!

    I can understand the overwhelming task of trying to keep track of sales tax, not only in every state, but in every county and municipality that has different tax rates. Even a software program would have to be very complex to handle it. Every little change in tax rate by each one of those areas means having to have the software updated, probably on a daily basis. I can understand the enormity of the situation that apparently these states haven’t even thought of!

    But places like Amazon and Overstock have the funds to be able to create the software and then recover their cost by selling the software to all the others who need it! Instead of making lemonade out of lemons, they’re cutting down the trees! Dumb move!

    For those affected, take comfort in the fact that replacing Amazon, even though it may be a lot of work, should result in higher commission rates for you in the end. I’m upping my profits by making the change, and they can “up theirs” however they can!

  41. L.M. says

    What is the future in affiliate marketing if:

    a: More state enact this law, maybe all 50 states someday

    b: More affiliate programs/networks follow in Amazon’s footsteps

    It may be worst case scenario, but it is entirely possible.

  42. says

    First I got axed in Colorado, then I moved to North Carolina; axed again. I think the states are wrong, and I think Amazon is being childish. Will the axe the whole program if every state gets on board?

  43. Dacia says

    I’m not from California, but I am really saddened that individuals that’s trying to make an honest living have to suffer financially because of an idiotic decision that’s made by a politician.

    We’re living in the middle of the recession and they (politicians) should be encouraging Americans to become financially independent because the ratio of people looking for work compared to the jobs that’s available is ridiculous.

    I just hope there is a way that this decision will be overturned because this is really unconstitutional.

  44. Celeste says

    Sorry, CA — I feel your pain. I’m in Colorado and this happened to us a while back. I wasn’t making much with Amazon, but that income was growing. It’s a bummer. With new plugins and training courses, it’s easier than ever for most marketers to promote Amazon products.

    I’ve also been dropped by other programs because of the nexus tax in my state. Be sure to read the fine print before you promote: some CJ programs (since the tax) have accepted me but won’t pay referrals to Colorado affiliates.

    No doubt, the nexus tax makes it harder for many new affiliates. Hopefully, there is a silver lining. Perhaps those affected will build more robust business models from the start and weather future storms more successfully.

  45. Corinne says

    Most of my sites have Amazon links on them and I just can’t see going back and replacing them with other affiliate links (if I could find them) from other sources. This is a huge mess. Luckily I do not rely solely on Amazon for product links.

    I am considering establishing an out of state LLC or corporation or since I do split my time, establishing residency for Amazon in UT. Does anyone know if Amazon will work with you to keep your account if you do ‘sell’ from another location?

  46. says

    I am a Colorado resident and had just gotten approved for the Amazon affiliate program when Colorado was axed – literally within one week!! I was really bummed as I was still brand new to affiliate marketing and thought of all the thousands of things to promote through Amazon. I am still floundering but determined!

    Either all of you who can still earn commission thorugh Amazon will flourish, or perhaps Amazon may see a down-turn in business?? Who knows.

    Best wishes to all of you : )

  47. says


    Let this be warning shot across the bow to all of us. This tax will go nationwide eventually. My advice is that somebody might want to start lobbying Congress now.

    Here is my reasoning….we have states far and wide that are desperately starving for tax revenue. Getting it this way is an easy, low risk way for them to do it. It’s a lot easier than pulling cops off the street or cutting teachers pensions. Basically, we are an invisible workforce…let’s face it, that’s part of why we do it.

    However, we better start waking up…because as California goes, so goes the nation in many many things. Once states and the Feds wake up to the “low hanging fruit” of this kind of tax revenue, there are all going to try it.

    Good luck everybody.

    Neal Coxworth

  48. says

    Looks as if Texas may be spared. Here in Nevada where I am, looks as if we’ll soon be on the no-Amazon list. Our greedy legislators are pushing hard for the Amazon tax. One of Amazon’s largest distribution centers is in Fernley, northern end of the state. If Nevada taxes Amazon, Amazon has already said it will close down the plant and move it elsewhere. As for us, looks as if options that don’t leave us at the mercy of Google or Amazon are the future. I’m no longer investing time in my Amazon sites but looking at other avenues (offline, domain name selling, etc.).

  49. Kit Elliott says

    Do you think that internet companies should charge a sales tax for each state and send it to the state? Right now, it’s a big mess. I was registered in all 50 states to collect sales tax for one of my companies. Every month I received $10,000 fines and penalties and most of the tax collected was $5 to $10 per state. They were so unorganized that they didn’t know if I was filing monthly, quarterly, annually.. – I finally closed that down and cancelled all permits for that company. THANK GOD!

    But that got me thinking – what if – you had one centralized company called Tax Collector and it either collected and forwarded the sales tax or collected directly from the sales form.

    What is the solution for the financial problems of each state?

    OR do we go after the unnecessary govt spending, the perks, the oil subsidies, the big business tax breaks?

    Curious to hear your ideas!


  50. Anna says

    I Just Started My New Website . I’m Really Disappointed Because Not Only Did I Lose Amazon I Lost 2 Other Big Name Stores. who Knows How Many More I Will Lose. This Is My Only Source Of Income Right Now. I’m A Substitute Teacher , But work Has Been Terrible. How Much More Are We Going To Lose . Anna

  51. says

    I shut down my 10 Amazon sites last night so that Amazon cannot profit off me while refusing to pay me for service. I suggest all affiliates from affected states either shut down their sites or remove Amazon promotions from them (might be hard to do).

    another option is to form an out of state LLC and operate (remotely) from there to collect revenue. this was suggested by Danger Brown who does this because he is located in one of the states affected earlier by a similar law:

    but unless you are making a heck of a lot of money from Amazon this does not seem to be worth the effort. i prefer to fold for now.

    i’m more worried that as a California affiliate i’ll soon start finding that i am no longer welcome in the affiliate programs of other vendors as well.

  52. Kelly K says

    I can’t even begin to tell you how negatively this will impact my business. Just the thought of all those websites I now have to find new sources for and update links. Does anyone know of a good alternative to Amazon?

    What I especially liked was the one-day’s notice they gave us to prepare for this train wreck. I guess they figure they’ll still make money on sales from all the links we won’t be able to update instantly — the Associates just won’t be receiving any of it!

    I wonder if CA legislators gave any thought to the income tax they’ll be losing by the lost revenue? To my way of thinking, the sales tax is considerably less than most of us pay in income/self employment tax.

    Way to go.

  53. says

    I am in California, and I got the notice shortly after the bill was signed, my Amazon associate account was terminated.

    I was not currently active in the program, so the highest profile bit of the situation, at least by news standards, hasn’t affected me. But it remains to be seen what other ways I will be affected.

    Technically, every US based affiliate program should be under the boot of this overreaching and unconstitutional law. I do not yet know whether I will see other problems stemming from the illegal tax scheme. It’s possible that most or all of the other affiliate relationships are too small for California to know or care about. On one hand, one of the few things overbearing governments are actually good at is collecting taxes, but on the other, they may not have anywhere near enough knowledge about how this industry works.

    It would be rather ironic if they do make effort to go after every single little affiliate program possible, as they would undoubtedly spend far more money on the enforcement of their ridiculous policy than they could possibly gain.

    Anyways, I already had firm intention to leave this state of super-inflated government and insanely high taxes which get spent on everything but what’s useful. Now I just need to hurry up.

  54. says

    As yet this doesn’t affect me…yet anyhow! as internet sales taxes have been mentioned over here in the UK, but I know a fair few people who it does affect and it’s not right and action like this should be opposed, partitions handed out for people to sign.

    As it really aggravates me how Governments can be so greedy, because you just know they’ll start implementing this worldwide eventually and then they’ll tax us on how much Oxygen we breath and how much sleep we have will also be taxed!!!

    Governments!? Who’d ave em!??

    On a separate note Ros! I finally got my WordPress blog up and running thanks to Affiliate Blogger pro,all them useful videos were a great help, so cheers!

  55. says

    A friend of mine lives in California and at my continued urging, had just signed up for an Amazon account when this happened. Here in Texas, the state wanted to start charging Amazon taxes and they threatened to pull out their distribution center here so the state backed off.

    Now the state of California will also have to do without the revenue of the 10,000 Amazon affiliates who would have paid California state taxes on their earnings.

  56. says

    This is the same letter that NC recipients got a few years back. (save a different governor) It is just heart wrenching to say the least. I feel really bad for Californians who are going through this. Arnold kept the tax from passing there for years, but with him gone and CA in such dire straights financially, I’m not surprised that Gov. Brown did this. When it happened in NC, I had thousands of Amazon links on my site to remove. (All thanks to Beverly Purdue, whom I helped vote into office! Grrrrr!) They are all a bunch of back stabbers who have been bought by the folks who own the brick and mortar businesses in the state! IMHO

    Feeling like ‘clicks’ were a safer bet for me, I joined to replace some of the income I lost. (And I lost big time!) Why should someone buy products from me and pay taxes on it, when they can just go to the site and not pay taxes?

    Its a real dilemma for affiliate advertising and there is no ‘one size fits all’ answer. Sorry CA! But I sure know how you feel!

  57. says

    I am a Colorado affiliate that is already affected by the same law. I do not blame Amazon. Greedy politicians who can not raise enough revenue to cover their bloated budgets are shooting themselves in the foot. What is next, taxing emails?

    Our federal and state tax budgets need to be brought in line by cutting spending, not looking for more revenue at the expense of hard working people like affiliate marketers.

    Now California gets to join the states you have listed by losing income tax revenue on the lost sales of affiliates. Does anyone think about the consequences of their actions? Our country is screwed up.

  58. says

    As of right now I am not affected by this law as I reside in Minnesota. I am very interested to find out how affiliates in the above mentioned states are dealing with this issue as well.

  59. says

    Both my husband and I are affected by this as we both have sites. We weren’t aware the law was even being considered here in CA until yesterday when Amazon and another affiliate sent out notices of would happen if the law was passed. I’m not sure what we’re going to do just yet.

  60. says

    According to the Amazon Associates’ blog, 80,000 affiliates had their accounts suspended last night. From what I understand, Associates can still log on to their accounts and even create links, but they won’t be paid for further business. Also, if an Associate did not make their minimum quota, they lose any revenue earned since the last payment.

  61. says

    Hi Ros,

    Yep, I got an email yesterday (or maybe a couple days ago), stating this may happen. Then the final email this morning. Whack, that’s it, game over. This completely shuts down one of our (low performing) sites. Amazon is only responsible for a small portion of our income, but I don’t like the precedence this may set. Don’t get me started on the politics of how the state is (and has been run) :(

    The times they are a-changin’. We’ll just have to stay focused on alternate affiliate sources. But I really hope this does not set a greater precedence that changes the affiliate business for ever.

    Cheers, and thanks for all the relevant and interesting posts!

  62. says

    I have quite a few sites selling Amazon products, and even though I am not in a state currently banned by Amazon, I’m not building any more of them.

    It’s crazy to do business with a company that will just close your account at the drop of a hat. Sounds a lot like Google doesn’t it? Once these companies get to a certain point, they don’t need us any more and could care less. Better to partner with smaller companies that want to work with you.

    If your business is completely dependent on Google, Ebay, or Amazon, you better rethink your strategy. You could be out of business tomorrow.

  63. says

    I’m one of those California affiliates. So far I’ve been terminated by two or three other merchants, besides Amazon. And I think Arkansas is also on the list, IIRC.

    I’m going to do what everyone else who wants to keep their business is going to have to do. Flee the state in one form or another, and incorporate in a state where such a thing is unlikely to happen (Oregon, Delaware, Wyoming, etc.)

  64. says

    What saddens me is that those who brought these laws into place are probably not witnessing the impact of their decisions on their constituency.

    Fat Wallet can probably afford an interstate move to avoid the falling axe blades and continue their merchant relationships. I cannot, nor do I imagine that many one-person affiliate publishers can afford it either. Just pick up and move across the border to Nevada? You betcha.

    What baffles me is how states expect to gain tax revenue from these laws, when the laws themselves remove the ability to generate that revenue by driving the merchants away. This is like taking out the car engine in order to save gas. Sure, you save gas. Oddly enough, your mileage doesn’t improve.

    These nexus tax laws are perfect for those wondering why their gas mileage didn’t improve. The rest of us would like our engines back, please.

  65. says

    What’s really annoying about the situation is that affiliates aren’t the only basis they’re saying Amazon should collect California sales tax. Amazon has subsidiaries in California, and the bill uses that for nexus as well. Cutting us off isn’t going to help Amazon.

  66. says

    That is a pity, and I hope my home state of ND never does this.

    I feel really bad for those who have built up a good income, only to be squashed by big government.

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