Few things in the affiliate marketing industry infuriate me more than hearing someone say, for whatever reason, “I may have to go out and get a real job”. In the ongoing fight with various state legislatures, the tax scheme commonly called the “Amazon tax” seeks to use affiliates of online merchants as definitions of nexuses for said merchants. Doing so allows states to mandate the collection of sales taxes on purchases made by state residents online. That’s the super short explanation. The longer explanation is more complicated.
As an affiliate myself, I come down strongly on the side of the industry in saying that it is unfair and possibly unconstitutional to use affiliates in this way. We’re not a nexus. We’re not a “physical presence” for the companies that we drive traffic to. It is important for lawmakers to understand that they are killing small businesses and hurting families when they attempt to pass these laws. Online merchants are severing ties with affiliates in some states to avoid compliance with these bad laws while they are being fought in the courts. Some small business owners are losing their livelihoods as a result.
Nothing hurts our cause more than an affiliate who denigrates our industry by essentially calling it a hobby or flight of fancy. In an article called State may sue Web retailers published at citizen-times.com, affiliate Bobby Coggins says:
“I may have to get a real job.”
A real job? You might have to get a real job? What you’re doing is a real job! This is why the state lawmakers are able to run roughshod over our industry. This is why people like Melanie Seery are tearing their hair out trying to drum up support from affiliates, merchants and networks. This is why it’s so damn hard to get people to take us seriously.
We provide a valid, valuable service. We deserve respect. We do a real job.