Track the companies that matter to you. It's FREE! Click one of these fan favorites to get started: Apple; Google; Ford.



Amazon Crosses Off 2 More States

Watch stocks you care about

The single, easiest way to keep track of all the stocks that matter...

Your own personalized stock watchlist!

It's a 100% FREE Motley Fool service...

Click Here Now

You can add two more stars to's (Nasdaq: AMZN  ) list of booted affiliates. The leading online retailer is saying goodbye to Amazon Associates members in Rhode Island and Hawaii, after telling its online affiliates in North Carolina to take a hike.

Amazon isn't being ruthless. All three of those states have bills on the table that would force online retailers to collect state sales or excise taxes on resident affiliates.

Forget the notion of a "worldwide" Web. If you're a Hawaiian college student who blogs about classic cars, and you made the shrewd move of joining the free Amazon Associates programs so you can net commissions as high as 15% for sending traffic to Amazon's virtual auto-supplies store, it doesn't matter if most of your blog readers live far off the island.

In Amazon's eyes, you're poi, son.

This decision isn't personal. From Amazon's point of view, forcing everyone in Hawaii to pay the state's excise tax of up to 4% simply isn't worth the cost of keeping the affiliate program afloat.

Amazon isn't the only one cutting ties, either. Blue Nile (Nasdaq: NILE  ) gave its affiliates in North Carolina and Rhode Island the boot. (Nasdaq: OSTK  ) even dared to go where Amazon hasn't, by axing its New York affiliates after the Empire State passed similar sales-tax legislation last summer.

Publishers of all sizes have other options. Instead of targeting specific products in Amazon's growing online catalog, they can turn to broader contextual marketing programs, such as Google's (Nasdaq: GOOG  ) AdSense and Yahoo!'s (Nasdaq: YHOO  ) YPN, which automatically populate a site with relevant text ads. However, those programs lack the ability to point interested readers to a specific product. ValueClick's (Nasdaq: VCLK  ) Commission Junction and Google's DoubleClick do, but it's just a matter of time before participating merchants bow out, too.

Ultimately, the states will feel the pinch, because they'll lose the tax receipts they figured they'd collect under their proposed laws. At a time of stubborn unemployment rates, legislators will also have to explain to their constituencies why they're passing laws that lower the earnings power of their Web-savvy residents or boost delivered prices on online goods.

Amazon never wanted to stitch this flag, but there's room for 47 more stars if necessary.

Other headlines to rock out to:

Google and Blue Nile are Motley Fool Rule Breakers selections. is a Motley Fool Stock Advisor pick. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days.

Longtime Fool contributor Rick Munarriz has been shopping online for about as long as has been in business. He owns no shares in any of the stocks in this article and is also part of the Rule Breakers newsletter research team, seeking out tomorrow's ultimate growth stocks a day early. The Fool has a disclosure policy.

Read/Post Comments (1) | Recommend This Article (8)

Comments from our Foolish Readers

Help us keep this a respectfully Foolish area! This is a place for our readers to discuss, debate, and learn more about the Foolish investing topic you read about above. Help us keep it clean and safe. If you believe a comment is abusive or otherwise violates our Fool's Rules, please report it via the Report this Comment Report this Comment icon found on every comment.

  • Report this Comment On July 01, 2009, at 1:23 PM, prginww wrote:

    Right on Amazon! Forcing online global companies to become TAX COLLECTORS for individual states is ridiculous.

Add your comment.

Compare Brokers

Fool Disclosure

Sponsored Links

Leaked: Apple's Next Smart Device
(Warning, it may shock you)
The secret is out... experts are predicting 458 million of these types of devices will be sold per year. 1 hyper-growth company stands to rake in maximum profit - and it's NOT Apple. Show me Apple's new smart gizmo!

DocumentId: 932623, ~/Articles/ArticleHandler.aspx, 10/23/2016 8:03:00 PM

Report This Comment

Use this area to report a comment that you believe is in violation of the community guidelines. Our team will review the entry and take any appropriate action.

Sending report...

Today's Market

updated 1 day ago Sponsored by:
DOW 18,145.71 -16.64 -0.09%
S&P 500 2,141.16 -0.18 -0.01%
NASD 5,257.40 15.57 0.30%

Create My Watchlist

Go to My Watchlist

You don't seem to be following any stocks yet!

Better investing starts with a watchlist. Now you can create a personalized watchlist and get immediate access to the personalized information you need to make successful investing decisions.

Data delayed up to 5 minutes

Related Tickers

10/21/2016 4:00 PM
AMZN $818.99 Up +8.67 +1.07% CAPS Rating: ****
CNVR.DL $0.00 Down +0.00 +0.00%
Conversant CAPS Rating: *****
GOOGL $824.06 Up +2.43 +0.30%
Alphabet (A shares… CAPS Rating: *****
NILE $35.55 Up +0.35 +0.99%
Blue Nile CAPS Rating: **
OSTK $14.45 Down -0.35 -2.36% CAPS Rating: *
YHOO $42.17 Down -0.21 -0.50%
Yahoo CAPS Rating: **