On March 8th Amazon closed all Colorado based Associate accounts that used to pay commissions to websites that sold books and other products for Amazon. I’m not sure of their motivation but the most compelling explanation I’ve heard is that Amazon is using Colorado based associates as pawns in a political battle with the state legislature.
As a result Amazon is now pocketing the proceeds that would have gone to community and conservation non-profit projects in Costa Rica (see Not For Profit Store Launched).
Our response on the six and ten o’clock news are on these links
The video links are on the right hand side of each page.
The exposure on the nightly news was nice, but it only told a small part of the story.
In late February we invested about 40 hours of our time to update our recommendations for Costa Rica Guidebooks and travel gear, not with the intention of profiting, but to earn money to contribute to non-profit projects in Costa Rica.
Amazon continues to accept referrals and sales from our websites, but now instead of paying commissions that we could pass on to non-profits, they are keeping the commissions as excess profit.
From Amazon to us:
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 Amazon.com 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.
The Amazon Associates Team