Amazon Affiliates and Taxes
Last week I had my 15 seconds of almost fame. I’ve been an Amazon Affiliate for years. When I got my email from Amazon that they were closing my account because of the sales tax law passed by California. For some reason my name got passed to a couple journalists as a spokesperson for the 10,000 or so affiliates who had their business shut down without recourse.
So while I was up on a ridge above Loleta watching my daughter rider her mustang I did a phone interview with a writer from SF Weekly. I tried to steer him to someone who had actually made some good money and so had more at stake, but I guess they couldn’t connect.
A couple days later I was interviewed by a reporter from the Eureka Times-Standard. Again, I tried to slough her off to someone else. But she was persistent so there I am again. I guess it shows how easy it is to get noticed using the right keywords in social media posts, especially if the topic is newsy.
Although I hadn’t made much money from my affiliate program, I know others who have made thousands and will now be forced to find alternatives. These folks generate income by adding value floating on top of the Amazon retail river. Since Amazon cut them off, the State of California will not gain any income from their sales tax. In fact, big players in this realm will simply move or move their “official” address to another state, thus reducing the revenue in income tax for the State as well. This is a fine example of unintended consequences of what seems like a sensible action. I understand the State needs revenue, and don’t mind paying sales tax. But this was clearly not the way to go about it.
This actually does hurt me more than I let on as I have been working on a number of personal web projects where the Amazon Affiliate program would have played a part in building sustainable revenue. I guess I will have to rethink that part of my plan. I’ve also been looking longingly at property in the state of Washington.
If you have a story to share about your Amazon Affiliate program, I’d love to read it. Put it in the comments!