Friday, October 4, 2013

A Personal-Commercial Note to My Readers

Dear Readers,

I've been informed by Amazon that my Amazon Associates account will be terminated after Sunday, October 6, along with the accounts of all other Amazon Associates in Maine. This is Amazon's response to a new Maine law which creates nexus for companies that engage in internet affiliate marketing relationships. In other words, the state of Maine will now require Amazon to collect sales tax if it has affiliates here, and Amazon's response was discontinue affiliate marketing in the state.

This blog is an Amazon Associate, promoting products on Amazon through the Indigenous Boats Store and through occasional product-specific ads at the bottom on some posts (like this recent post about long voyages in folding kayaks). I'm not sure if Amazon plans to take down the Indigenous Boats Store altogether, or simply stop paying referral fees for sales that originate there. But in any case, this source of (very limited) supplemental income is about to disappear for me.

If you had planned any purchases of books on canoes, kayaks, rafts, sampans, umiaks, coracles, or any other subject covered by this blog, please consider doing it through the Indigenous Boats Store before October 7. I will receive a small commission on your purchase, which will be priced the same price as if you went directly to Amazon. Orders and returns are also handled the same way.

FYI: You can also access the Indigenous Boats Store via the advertising band that appears just below this blog's header when viewed in a standard browser. It does not appear in Blogger's mobile version.

Many thanks,
Bob Holtzman, blogger

p.s., For those with an interest in affiliate marketing, here's Amazon's letter: 
Greetings from the Amazon Associates Program. 
We're 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 October 6, 2013. This is a direct result of the unconstitutional Maine state tax collection legislation passed by the state legislature and signed by Governor LePage on June 5, 2013, with an effective date of October 9, 2013. As a result, we will no longer pay any advertising fees for customers referred to an Amazon Site after October 6, nor will we accept new applications for the Associates Program from Maine residents. 
Please be assured that all qualifying advertising fees earned prior to October 7, 2013, will be processed and paid in full in accordance with your regular advertising fee schedule.  Based on your account closure date of October 6, 2013, any final payments will be paid by December 31, 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 Maine 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
UPDATE, 5 October, 2013: This post was updated to more accurately reflect Maine's new tax law. A previous statement here concerning a sales tax on affiliate advertising was incorrect. Thanks to Cate Monroe, CPA, for the clarification.

1 comment:

  1. Bloggers in California went through this same thing a few years back. Regardless of whether the blogger gets paid for referring people to Amazon or not, there is some benefit to a blogger of being able to use Amazon resources to create links to books. The blogger is relieved of the necessity to scan book covers that he/she is reviewing or referencing in their blog and the reader of the blog benefits by being able to read reviews that others have written and if favorably impressed provides an opportunity to buy the book. Even if the reader does not want to buy the book from Amazon, he/she can still get the info needed to buy the book elsewhere or borrow it from their local library.
    It is possible that Amazon could somehow improve their concept of associate store into a nonprofit referral service that makes it easier for bloggers to link to their book information in a way that would still benefit both Amazon and the blogger but offhand I can't thing of what that would be.
    I can only go from my own experience with your blog where I have seen a number of books that I eventually ordered from Amazon. I would say that both you and Amazon benefited, Amazon because I bought the book from them, and you because I value your blog as a referral service (and other things as well) which points me at books that I would otherwise never hear of.