Greg Laden alerted me to a surprising message that I then found in my spam mail: Amazon has unilaterally terminated their contract with associates in Minnesota. They have a program called Amazon Associates which bloggers could take advantage of: we registered with Amazon, they gave us a little personal code to imbed in links to books, and in return for promoting Amazon with our linkage we got a little gift certificate every month, a small percentage of the profit. It wasn’t a lot of money, but it was a handy revenue trickle. For instance, I cashed out a couple of months worth of certificates from them and the money is being used to buy all the widgets (many of them through Amazon!) for the laboratory fish facility we’re building here.
So when you click through a book link here and it took you to Amazon, and you bought something, you were actually contributing a few pennies to undergraduate research at the University of Minnesota Morris.
But no more. Here’s the letter I got.
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
So…all the Amazon links scattered throughout my site will still be contributing to Amazon’s revenue stream, but I no longer get any reward for them. That’s fai…wait, no, that’s totally unfair. Is this the kind of treatment we can all expect when the New World Order of Amazon achieves complete domination of the planet? That’s worrisome.
Hey, legal people: if I were instead to have my daughter, who lives out of state, set up Amazon Associate status, and then replace the code in my links to redirect income to her, would that be reasonable? I have no interest in evading state taxes and would happily pay those, but I would be interested in evading Amazon’s punitive behavior.