Colorado Government and Amazon Are Pissing Me Off

Rants2 Comments

Amazon Associates is a program where you earn referral money on stuff you sell on Amazon to others. How do I use this? Well, my Now Playing plugin allows people to publish the music they listen to on their web site. When people click through, they can buy it on Amazon (or iTunes). When they do, I or the plugin purchaser make money. If people don’t setup an account, it uses mine so I get the revenue.

Colorado recently passed HB 10-1193 which fucks this all up. Amazon, other online retailers, and consumers are not happy with this. Basically, the Colorado government is trying to make up for lost revenues by collecting online sales tax. They didn’t even go about it in a straightforward way. So the result is that Amazon is playing hard ball and canceling all Colorado-based Amazon Associate accounts. I am not really sure what that has to do with this whole issue other than Amazon is saying “they hurt us, we hurt you, then you make the calls”. What a pain.

Until this gets resolved, any referrals I make go into the trash can. So I either need an out of state front or find a charity that I can donate these to (by using their account). Ideas?

Here is the letter I received from Amazon today.

Dear Colorado-based Amazon Associate:

We are writing from the Amazon Associates Program to inform you that the Colorado government recently enacted a law to impose sales tax regulations on online retailers. The regulations are burdensome and no other state has similar rules. The new regulations do not require online retailers to collect sales tax. Instead, they are clearly intended to increase the compliance burden to a point where online retailers will be induced to “voluntarily” collect Colorado sales tax — a course we won’t take.

We and many others strongly opposed this legislation, known as HB 10-1193, but it was enacted anyway. Regrettably, as a result of the new law, we have decided to stop advertising through Associates based in Colorado. We plan to continue to sell to Colorado residents, however, and will advertise through other channels, including through Associates based in other states.

There is a right way for Colorado to pursue its revenue goals, but this new law is a wrong way. As we repeatedly communicated to Colorado legislators, including those who sponsored and supported the new law, we are not opposed to collecting sales tax within a constitutionally-permissible system applied even-handedly. The US Supreme Court has defined what would be constitutional, and if Colorado would repeal the current law or follow the constitutional approach to collection, we would welcome the opportunity to reinstate Colorado-based Associates.

You may express your views of Colorado’s new law to members of the General Assembly and to Governor Ritter, who signed the bill.

Your Associates account has been closed as of March 8, 2010, and we will no longer pay advertising fees for customers you refer to after that date. Please be assured that all qualifying advertising fees earned prior to March 8, 2010, will be processed and paid in accordance with our regular payment schedule. Based on your account closure date of March 8, any final payments will be paid by May 31, 2010.

We have enjoyed working with you and other Colorado-based participants in the Amazon Associates Program, and wish you all the best in your future.

Best Regards,

The Amazon Associates Team