There were screams of joy across the Land of Lincoln (or at least in my corner of it) as I received an email inviting me back into the affiliate program for Amazon.com called Amazon Associates. So why not join me in celebrating by clicking the link below to buy this beautiful Platinum Cushion Cut Blue Sapphire And Round Diamond Pendant?
A Little Background
Residents of the state of Illinois were tossed out of the program back in 2011 upon the state’s passing of the Main Street Fairness Act. The law recognized affiliates of Amazon and other online companies, those who did not have a physical presence in Illinois, as the physical presence of those companies, and thus required purchases made through affiliate links and Web sites to be taxed with Illinois state tax. I wrote about this back then in an eloquent piece called Pat Quinn Screws Entrepreneurship In Illinois By Signing Amazon Tax Bill.
The intent of the law was to “level the playing field” – and I am quoting the politicians who supported it, including Illinois governor Pat Quinn – between brick and mortar stores across the state and online retailers, the latter who have been taking business from the former. Where the intent was good, the law did not do anything to make anything more fair for anyone. As quickly as Amazon dropped its affiliates, it never missed a beat in its own sales. Residents of Illinois were still buying from Amazon, and as a result choosing to not buy from local stores. It actually had a negative effect as people and businesses who were affiliates – from myself to other bloggers to coupon companies like Coupon Cabin – either lost money or were chased from Illinois to neighboring states like Indiana and Wisconsin. And as these people and companies pay taxes on their affiliate earnings, the state lost out on that tax revenue.
In October, the Illinois Supreme Court struck down the Main Street Fairness law, paving the way for the return of the program. Just hours before I wrote this post, I got an email from Amazon Associates inviting me back into the program, and the text of the short but to the point email is below.
We're pleased to announce that the Amazon Associates program is again open to residents of the State of Illinois. We're now able to re-open the program because the Illinois State Supreme Court recently struck down legislation that had forced Amazon to close the program to residents of Illinois. Amazon strongly supports federal legislation like the Marketplace Fairness Act that’s now pending before Congress, which is the only constitutional way to resolve interstate sales tax collection issues.
Residents of Illinois who would like to participate in the Amazon Associates program can submit an application here:
Thanks for your past participation in the Amazon Associates program. We hope to see you again soon.
What it means to myself and others
The return of the program is definitely good news for those who run affiliate programs or are seeking to monetize their Web sites. The world of affiliate marketing is vast and, in my opinion, fascinating and too much to talk about in this post alone. For myself and this little corner of the Internet called The Hot Iron, I am certainly not looking at the return of the program as a cash cow. In the past links to products – namely books and electronics – were affiliate links to Amazon, and if anyone purchased them, I would get a percentage of the cost.
This is why I am welcoming back the program with what I found as a very beautiful piece of jewelry, let alone pricy. The affiliate earnings for this pendant would pay for a nice vacation, or a couple of months of my daughter’s daycare. I will admit I never got rich off the program in the past, and I don’t see myself doing so in the future, as links on The Hot Iron were never obtrusive and hopefully a compliment to the site.
I also welcome your thoughts and questions on Amazon Associates in the comments to this post. I am curious if the return of affiliate programs like this one will impact you or not, or if you even knew they went away to begin with.
This is from The Hot Iron, a journal on business and technology by Mike Maddaloni.
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