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Colorado HB10-1193 – also known as the “Amazon Tax” – really upset me as I wrote about in Amazon Fires Its Affiliates in Colorado (Including Me) Because of Colorado HB 10-1193. While I discovered a partial solution via a service from a company called Viglink which I wrote about in I’m An Amazon Affiliate Again – Sort Of I’m still really annoyed with the myopia of our Colorado state representatives around this issue.
I’m also disgusted by the protectionist turn this took as our governor, many representatives, and several progressive organizations that I’ve supported called for a ban on Amazon because of the need to “level the playing field for local merchants.” When I talked to a number of folks about this, including the organizations that I had previous supported, they demonstrated that they didn’t really understand the issue, were getting confused about states rights vs. federal rights (an issue I expect we’ll see come up a lot over the next few years given our federal, state, and local government search for additional revenue wherever they can find it), and didn’t get that a protectionist attitude was actually offensive to most business people (except, presumably, those being protected by the government.)
Finally, legislation like this is completely tone deaf to both the growing impact of technology on our society as well as a huge shift in the way information based goods are bought and sold.
I’ve been told by several Colorado representatives that didn’t support this bill that there is no way this tax will be repealed, but I haven’t given up yet. I’ve enlisted my friend David Binetti to crank up another Twitter Campaign To Repeal Colorado’s Internet Tax. If you are a Colorado citizen with a twitter account, it’ll take less than a minute to tweet out this message along with delivering a physical letter to your specific representatives.
Let’s make sure our representatives know that this is a piece of legislation that should be repealed.
On March 8, 2010 Amazon fired me as an Amazon Affiliate because of Colorado HB 10-1193. I proceeded to have a dozen different conversations (email and live) with several of my state representatives, including one of the co-sponsors of the bill, and each conversation made me more incensed at the abject stupidity and lack of understanding of the dynamics surrounding the situation. Ultimately, the argument came down to one of protectionism – e.g. “we have to protect our local merchants so Amazon shouldn’t get an unfair advantage by not having to charge state tax.” I could rant about this for a while, but I’ve got better things to spend my time on at this point.
I’ve been an early Viglink user for a while. Niel Robertson, the CEO of Trada, introduced me to Viglink’s founder Oliver Roup and I agreed to be an alpha tester. While we aren’t an investor, I’m intrigued with what Viglink is doing and I’m already a big fan.
Last week I realized that all of my going forward Amazon links (and other links to merchants with an affiliate program) were getting rewritten by Viglink. As a result, on a going forward basis, I was getting Amazon affiliate revenue (via Viglink) for anyone that clicked through one of my links and bought something on Amazon.
That was cool, but I have a gillion of old links using my Amazon affiliate code that no longer works. I asked Oliver if he could rewrite all of the old links also. Here’s his response:
“We have coded this and deployed it. As a result, all your dead Amazon affiliate links will be overwritten with our affiliate code and the revenue will be credited to you. What’s more, we just created an affiliate program against ourselves – any links you have to us on your blog will automatically be affiliated and you will receive 10% of the revenue from any customers we get as a result of those links.”
Awesome! If you are a fired Amazon Affiliate in Colorado, take a look at Viglink.