"We are writing from the Amazon Associates Program to notify you that your Associates account has been closed as of June 26, 2009. This is a direct result of the unconstitutional tax collection scheme expected to be passed any day now by the North Carolina state legislature (the General Assembly) and signed by the governor."
What is the Amazon Associates Program?
Amazon Associates is a Amazon's referral program. Bloggers and webmasters who place links to Amazon on their website will get some percentage of each sale that is generated by traffic from those links. It's Amazon's equivalent of Google's AdSense. Many bloggers and webmasters use associates as a way to support their blogs and websites.
Who does this affect?
To understand the significance of a program like associates shutting down it is worth first answering: how do blogs make money? The upper-crust, say the top 3-5% of blogs, sell their own ads or are involved in small advertising rings. These sites demand a premium for their ads and have full-time staffs writing for their sites and selling advertisements. The long-long-tail blogs, the lower 40-60% of blogs, don't make any money or run at a loss because of hosting costs. These are mostly personal blogs, or the just-getting-started blogs.
So who is most affected? The mid-level bloggers. Amazon Associates and Google AdSense are the two leading ways of monetizing mid-level blogs. Monetization is actually too noble of a word: covering hosting costs is more like it. These blogs typically don't generate enough revenue to be full-time jobs for their authors, the money is simply a reward for producing really solid content and obtaining respectable audiences. The best written, most interesting content of the blog-o-sphere comes not from the most popular commercial blogs but from the mid-level bloggers whose writing is a labor of love.
If programs like Associates and AdSense start shutting down due to state legislation the most interesting and insightful bloggers and blogs will suffer because of it.
The Full 6/26/2009 Amazon Email
"We are writing from the Amazon Associates Program to notify you that your Associates account has been closed as of June 26, 2009. This is a direct result of the unconstitutional tax collection scheme expected to be passed any day now by the North Carolina state legislature (the General Assembly) and signed by the governor. As a result, we will no longer pay any referral fees for customers referred to Amazon.com or Endless.com after June 26. We were forced to take this unfortunate action in anticipation of actual enactment because of uncertainties surrounding the legislation’s effective date.
Please be assured that all qualifying referral fees earned prior to June 26, 2009 will be processed and paid in full in accordance with our regular referral fee schedule. Based on your account closure date of June 26, 2009, any final payments will be paid by September 1, 2009.
In the event that North Carolina repeals this tax collection scheme, we would certainly be happy to re-open our Associates program to North Carolina residents.
The North Carolina General Assembly’s website is http://www.ncleg.net/, and additional information may be obtained from the Performance Marketing Alliance at http://www.performancemarketingalliance.com/.
We have enjoyed working with you and other North Carolina-based participants in the Amazon Associates Program, and wish you all the best in your future.
The Amazon Associates Team"