Tuesday, October 8, 2013

I'm no longer with Amazon.

You may notice the lack of search bar on the side of the page.  Amazon dumped me
We're writing from the Amazon Associates Program to notify you that your Associates account will be closed and your Amazon Services LLC Associates Program Operating Agreement will be terminated effective October 6, 2013. This is a direct result of the unconstitutional Maine state tax collection legislation passed by the state legislature and signed by Governor LePage on June 5, 2013, with an effective date of October 9, 2013. As a result, we will no longer pay any advertising fees for customers referred to an Amazon Site after October 6, nor will we accept new applications for the Associates Program from Maine residents. 
Please be assured that all qualifying advertising fees earned prior to October 7, 2013, will be processed and paid in full in accordance with your regular advertising fee schedule.  Based on your account closure date of October 6, 2013, any final payments will be paid by December 31, 2013. 
While we oppose this unconstitutional state legislation, we strongly support the federal Marketplace Fairness Act now pending before Congress. Congressional legislation is the only way to create a simplified, constitutional framework to resolve interstate sales tax issues and it would allow us to re-open our Associates program to Maine residents. 
We thank you for being part of the Amazon Associates Program, and look forward to re-opening our program when Congress passes the Marketplace Fairness Act.
Ok, so I don't actually know about either of the laws in question, and it wouldn't surprise me if LePage signed something into law that was unconstitutional (whether the current state legislature would pass such a law is more up in the air.)  And yet, still, I can't help but respond with a strong feeling of bullshit.

"This is a direct result of the unconstitutional Maine state tax collection legislation passed by the state legislature and signed by Governor LePage on June 5, 2013, with an effective date of October 9, 2013," is a good opening but you don't get to stop there.  For something to violate the Constitution it must violate part of the Constitution.  This is one of the few places where proof texting is a good thing.  Cite chapter and verse.

Or just say the constitutional principle it violates.

When something really is unconstitutional you eventually get to why and how.  "The detention practices are unconstitutional because they violate habeus corpus."  "This is against the first amendment."  "The fourteenth amendment expressly says that the validity of the public debt of the United States..."

It's only when you can't support you assertion that something is unconstitutional that you refuse to say what makes it unconstitutional.  Amazon is either lying or going to great lengths to seem like they're lying.  The first is morally reprehensible.  The second is stupid.


  1. Hmm. From my past informal reading in Constitutional law, I'm guessing they think it violates the dormant Commerce Clause: the principle the Supreme Court established in the late 1800's, saying that Congress's power to regulate interstate commerce means that states may not regulate it. Back then, they used it to overturn every state scheme to regulate railroads in an era where Congress didn't care to regulate them at all; now, it's used for all sorts of things. Since you live in Maine, Amazon is somewhere else, and the buyer is probably in a third state, your transaction counts as interstate commerce - which, they say, means that Maine can't tax it without the federal government's consent.

    Whether any of this is valid is another matter; I myself don't care much for the "dormant commerce clause." But then, I'm not even a lawyer, let alone a legislator.

  2. I submit to you Amazon's handling of the MacMillan fiasco in January 2010 as to the high possibility, nay, probability, that Amazon will do astoundingly stupid things.


  3. Ooh, this makes me so angry. >.< I had your affiliate link bookmarked and did most of my shopping that way.

    Amazon is a total asshole about sales tax. I agree with you that their email sounds whiffy. Ugh!!

    I'm so sorry. :(

  4. Stupid post eating blogger.

    Evan, I agree that the commerce clause is the only thing that makes sense, but the fact that they don't say it makes it seem the way Marcellus says something in Denmark is.

    Ana, Thanks. Not much to say beyond that.