June 17, 2009

North Carolina Legislature Poised to Kill Amazon Associates Program

This was in my inbox this morning. If you are part of the Amazon Associates program in North Carolina, you won't be for long, thanks to the insatiable greed of tax-and-spend Democrats.

We regret to inform you that the North Carolina state legislature (the General Assembly) appears ready to enact an unconstitutional tax collection scheme that would leave little choice but to end its relationships with North Carolina-based Associates. You are receiving this e-mail because our records indicate that you are an Amazon Associate and resident of North Carolina.

Please note that this is not an immediate termination notice and you are still a valued participant in the Associates Program. All referral fees earned on qualified traffic will continue to be paid as planned.

But because the new law is drafted to go into effect once enacted – which could happen in the next two weeks – we will have to terminate the participation of all North Carolina residents in the Amazon Associates program on or before that same day. After the termination day, we will no longer pay any referral fees for customers referred to or nor will we accept new applications for the Associates program from North Carolina residents.

The unfortunate consequences of this legislation on North Carolina residents like you were explained in detail to key senators and representatives in Raleigh, including the leadership of the Senate, House, and both chambers’ finance committees. Other states, including Maryland, Minnesota, and Tennessee, considered nearly identical schemes, but rejected these proposals largely because of the adverse impact on their states’ residents.

The North Carolina General Assembly’s website is, and additional information may be obtained from the Performance Marketing Alliance at

We thank you for being part of the Amazon Associates program, and we will apprise you of the General Assembly’s action on this matter.


Posted by Confederate Yankee at June 17, 2009 07:50 AM

Yes, this is really fun again. Would really like to know more about this and if there is some kind of "uprising" against this law. Surely would like to join the cause.

Posted by: Tomcat at June 17, 2009 08:11 AM

Yes, with this bill and everything that happened in the last election here in NC I and my wife have come to the conclusion that NC is not much different than Kalicornia were we left two years ago. There are some really nice people here along with to many progressives. So we are leaving. We are taking our family and our small businesses to Georgia. We are hoping that we will find a more hospitable environment but if that does not work we will move again to Wyoming. With what is happening at the federal level we need to believe that our state will want to protect us and I am sorry to say that NC is not going to.

Posted by: ken at June 17, 2009 09:57 AM

Just disgusting -- and at a time when people have lost their jobs and increasingly need creative ways to make income.

On a related note, Amazon Associates pays ZERO for any Kindle book an Associate sells through his or her links. I've talked to the Kindle Team about this (at LA Times Festival of Books) and to an exec who works for Bezos (after I wrote him a letter, snail mail). I urge all Associates to get on Amazon and complain about this.

I told them I had a whole Kindle book store planned -- I did -- and scrapped it totally when I found out I'd be sending them customers and getting ZERO in return. Pretty disgusting.

Please do complain -- they're considering this policy -- maybe changing it. If enough Associates complain and if it gets into the press, they might.

Posted by: Amy Alkon at June 17, 2009 12:34 PM

I recently listened to the owner of Overstock on C-Span. He mentioned that New York and California tried the same thing. He said in New York he had 300 associates. These 300 associates gave New York the right to tax $60 million in sales to New York. He dropped the associates program for New York.

He said in California they quietly dropped the idea after realizing they would have 300,000 upset California associates(voters) when Overstock dropped the associates program.

This is why the ratbags want the Feds to bring in a tax.

He also had a pretty good answer to the callers who said he was a leech (My word) by not paying state taxes - Overstock takes no services from the state. The deliveries are handled through a third party.

Posted by: davod at June 17, 2009 01:19 PM

Got the same mail.

Is there anything they won't tax? I mean really, is there some rule somewhere that says every aspect of our lives has to have a tax associated with it?

Land of the free, my ass.

Posted by: Russ at June 17, 2009 02:46 PM

"Land of the free, my ass."

You have an ass? It's ours now, buddy, plus penalties.

Posted by: The Taxman at June 17, 2009 04:08 PM

Got what they voted for. Elections have consequences - as Charles Krauthammer says.

Posted by: Don Ciccio at June 17, 2009 04:53 PM

NC used to be a little more conservative until all the New Yawkers and other northeastern liberals moved into the tech Triangle area and made the urban populations mostly Democrat. As in Illinois with Chicago and other states, the large urban metro areas outweigh the countyside.

Posted by: John at June 17, 2009 05:16 PM

Well, North Carolina had to raise the money somehow to pay the governor's wife's $170,000 salary.

Hmm, those tea parties are looking better every day.

Posted by: Bob at June 17, 2009 05:17 PM

Sales tax is not on the business it's on your posession of the item. Don't expect to escape the current administration without paying sales tax on your online purchases. It will be same demogogic method as in other tax reforms "those rich guys with credit cards get to skate on their sales tax while you have to pay."

Posted by: GRW3 at June 17, 2009 05:30 PM

Ken, no need to move to Wyoming. Tn is just next door, come on over. No income tax (well, there is one, but anybody with a little brains and an IRA can avoid it), better weather, and fairly reasonable rules (not perfect, but then, we don't have 50 inches of snow, either). Heck, you can even stay in the same time zone.

Posted by: exNC_Vol at June 17, 2009 05:37 PM

So I take it the state scheme is that if Amazon has a single affiliate sale in the state, no matter how small, the state is entitled to impose a sales tax on all other Amazon sales to residents of the state, affiliated or direct?

Posted by: Kasmir at June 17, 2009 05:40 PM

I have lived in both NC and GA and love both states. I have great friends in each. With that said, there is ZERO chance I would ever choose to live in NC again given the political and business climate of the state.

Georgia isn't perfect but I think there is an effort to at least try and fix problems. North Carolina on the hand seems to treat its mistakes like money earning compounded interest; it isn't enough to just do something stupid, the next iteration takes stupid to a new level.

Posted by: Tom in GA at June 17, 2009 06:38 PM

I live in NC and I'll tell you that the pols have an insatiable appetite for taxes and will tax a fart once they figure out how to legislate, regulate, and collect. I'm leaving as soon as I can!

Posted by: Rusty at June 17, 2009 06:50 PM

Rusty's absolutely correct. Now more than ever, with a $4+ billion budget deficit, NC is grubbing around for every buck they can find.

For various personal reasons, I can't pull up stakes and bail right now, but I'm thinking very seriously about the FL panhandle in a few years....

Posted by: The Freeholder at June 17, 2009 07:39 PM

Florida? You have to think one step ahead of the liberal carpet baggers. Look at the last two elections. FL is a clear target. The lefties will flock there, become a majority and then start to tax so they can salve their consciences, all the while clueless that THEY are the ones who moved in and ruined it because they didn't adopt the local culture; they brought their moral bankruptcy and zero common sense with them. I'd say come to my state but the libs are making a try here. It will take longer but with all they ruin, it's simply a matter of time before they find us and bring us down.

Posted by: rrr at June 17, 2009 08:32 PM

So, Ken, you fled California and now find yourself trapped in an Alien versus Predator flick with tax collectors playing all the roles 'cept yours. Ha ha.

Should'a stayed and you'd now be living in the first state contemplating wiping out welfare. Such irony.

Posted by: Micha Elyi at June 17, 2009 08:38 PM

Micha, Thanks but I lived threw 2 riots in Los Angeles and have now wish to go threw the next one possible this summer when you "wipe out welfare"! I want my child to speak english while he grows up.

Florida is out, it is not just taxes but the progressive attitude and lack of morals.

Tn is a good place but have you seen the police looking for revenue lately? I do like the fact that Tn is calling the article 10 issue which could be very important to me and my family if my prototype works. Think under 5k to go off grid and now look at what is going on in Washington and I have a really big problem! I am looking for a state that will allow me innovate and not have to worry about the feds coming after me and/or my family. After all if i am successful then my company is now "to important" and I could be forced to give up everything (or worse it could now be taken from me, or worse ....) and have it given to those who will be able to "help" the administration more than me...

This is were we are now. We are Americans we can innovate out of this mess but our government at both the fed and in NC the state don't want that! They want an emergency to grab control. So again, I am looking for a safe harbor but it is getting hard to find!

Posted by: ken at June 17, 2009 09:34 PM

Hey Ken:

Give Oklahoma a look. I heard today that a Brookings Institute study has rated Oklahoma City the #2 economy during these troubled times (our unemployment rate is around 5.2% or so). Tulsa came in at #9. We are the real deal, conservative-wise. Y'all would be welcome here.

Posted by: Jack Okie at June 17, 2009 10:05 PM

Hi Jack,

I have looked at Oklahoma and again some of the politicians really show promise. I did my basic training at Fort Sill years ago. I am waiting to see if y'all will take the next step and move for real article 10 protection and to put integrity back into the local and state police force.

I am really looking for the state I end up in to stand on it's own feet and not take direction from the federal government. Did you know that your state has signed on to accept the new federal mandates for UN developed school curriculum and policies? There are only five states that have not signed on so far: Alaska (you go Palin!), Texas , Montana, South Carolina, and Missouri. Next year my son will be going to a Christian school and if they even start to go down this road I will be home schooling!

Look, the economy is bad and is going to get worse (they can't get any more power unless it does) and taxes are part of this. The real kicker is I need to feel safe for my family and that I am using my remaining years to rebuild the community I live in. I am tired of having to look over my shoulder (which is what I had to do for the last almost thirty years in Kalifornia).

At this point the first state/region that moves for either full article 10 rights or secession I am there! until then I am looking for the safest state to hang my families hat in.

Posted by: ken at June 18, 2009 12:21 AM

What do you expect? Bush's tax cuts for the rich bankrupted our country and caused massive economic problems that still resonate today. Had Bush not decided to take care of his rich buddies, we wouldn't be in this mess.

Posted by: Vinny B. at June 18, 2009 01:18 AM

You're kidding, right, Vinny? Sarcasm, isn't it? Because not even a lefty would be as stupid as you sound.

No, you're only pretending to be a cretin for laughs.

Posted by: Steve Skubinna at June 18, 2009 05:13 AM

> Bush's tax cuts for the rich bankrupted our country and caused massive economic problems that still resonate today.

*Bush's* tax cuts????!!!

Somebody is not paying attention. Obama's first-year deficit is bigger than all of Bush's deficits put together.

If Bush's $500 billion deficit (in his last year) was bad, and at the time I thought so, how can Obama's $2 trillion deficit not be at least four times as bad? By what standard do we attack a Republican for a big deficit, and not attack a Democrat for a gargantuan deficit?

Ooops. I think I answered the question. Republican - bad. Democrat - good. Regardless of the policies themselves.

Posted by: Lee at June 18, 2009 07:31 AM

Yet another reason I'm so glad I "weighed my options" and moved across the border to SC. Like Tom said above about GA, it ain't perfect, but it's a sight better than what I was leaving.

Posted by: jdb at June 18, 2009 08:43 AM

Hi Everyone,

I own mgecom, inc., which is an affiliate program management firm in Cary, NC. We have been putting together an organized push against the tax laws. I would greatly appreciate any support anyone here is able to contribute.

(Note to moderators: I'm posting a few links, if that is not permitted, I apologize and ask that you please contact me.)

Petition against the NC Affiliate Tax:

Plan to meet on Monday and Tuesday in Cary:

Representative list to contact:

Posted by: Matt Enders at June 19, 2009 09:28 AM

The argument behind the "Amazon Tax" is that Amazon's associates, also known as "affiliates" or "publishers" represent tax nexus. This means that Amazon and other out of state retailers have a physical presence in North Carolina and therefore must collect and remit the sales tax as if they had a physical store.

One problem with this is that Amazon can simply sever the relationship to avoid nexus. When this happens Amazon's affiliates lose out and the state gets no additional sales tax.

This move is an unconstitutional linguistic sleight of hand (calling affiliates sales agents allegedly makes them the same as a store or office). Affiliate marketing is a form of advertising. The absurdity is that Amazon's affiliates could still advertise for Amazon if they charged differently, such as per impression. So this is basically a burden on a specific form of advertising.

Hopefully these initiatives will lose in court in the future but in the meantime they are threatening many thousands of small businesses around the country.

Posted by: Brook Schaaf at June 19, 2009 11:47 AM

The lefties will flock there

They're already here in FL. Palm Beach, Broward, and Dade counties are solidly blue.

Another good hurricane will chase a lot of them away again though.

Posted by: Purple Avenger at June 21, 2009 01:36 AM

California re-inserted the "Amazon Tax" language into its budget bill; Amazon responded today by promising to terminate its advertising relationships with all California web publishers if the law passes (and thus it still won't collect sales tax, but California would LOSE income taxes).

Posted by: Mark Welch at June 22, 2009 07:24 PM