January 7, 2011

The Amazon/Illinois Brouhaha

Originally uploaded by Gordon D
Like many in the state of Illinois, I received Amazon.com's e-mail about ending my affiliate status if Governor Quinn passed a bill charging a company taxes for online sales above a certain price point, and if they had a "physical presence" in the state.

Now, if you go onto the Interwebs, much of the conversation revolves around how the Governor/state legislature in Illinois is "tax hungry". (The link to the e-mail text is from a site that skews in a particular ideology). Granted, perhaps many of them are the kind of affiliate marketing-driven sites that depend on mulitple links for their livelihood...but for me, a humble comics-loving blogger with a crushing addiction to Doctor Who, it was a way to get access to materials at a moderate price.

However, Amazon's recent e-mail - and actions - seem to be punishing affiliates for the actions of its legislature . In short, Amazon seems to be engaging in a call of action...merely because the company wants to avoid paying a higher set of taxes.

(Reminder - not affiliates, Amazon.com the company. Huge difference)

But I understand - after all, it's just business.

So I'll keep the affiliate links that exist, but after this point....I'm seeking other options to keep this blog afloat. In the fifteen or so years that I've been an Amazon affiliate, I've earned....well, if I earned $100, I would be surprised. It's been crushingly disappointing.

So, I'm doing an open call for anyone reading this blog:

I'm open to selling ad space. Let me know and we can negotiate.

For pals like Chuck at Comic Related - if you know of anyone who's deserving of exposure, but has minimal/no budget, let me know. Willing to work something out.

If there are any other cool affiliate programs - ones that might be somewhat more socially responsible - please feel free to contact me; my e-mail address is in the sidebar. I'm not looking to turn this into a spam blog; more enough to cover costs.

If you're a non-profit, like Open Books or Hero Initiative, drop me a line. I'll donate space. I can't guarantee a multitude of hits, but I can pledge support. (I'll even consider featuring you on my new non-profit social media blog, Metrosrhink, more about which later).

I'll also be encouraging people - like I used to do back on the podcast (and I owe you guys an episode, I know), to support their local comics shop, local music store, local business. (Like my pal Terry at Third Coast Comics, at 6324 N Broadway, within walking distance of the Granville Red Line stop. He's a cool guy, it's a cool store, and he deserves every penny he earns)

Because ultimately, Amazon made a critical mistake - it is abandoning the very affiliates who, on some levels, were its advocates. The company's recent actions are fomenting a kind of faux outrage by a Tea Party-esque contingent who seems to think that its reluctance to support the local community through corporate taxes is somehow noble...and that the legislature is wrong for even asking at a time when it is attempting to handle a severe financial crisis.

(And no, I'm not a fan of the Illinois state government, but this time, I can't see them as being totally at fault)

So here's my response - I'll gently, but gradually, sever my ties to Amazon and consider other alternatives. Because I would rather not work with a company that has to engage in such hardball tactics. And I'd rather be a good citizen and support companies that are willing to give back.

After all, it's just business. Good business.

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