I received a not unexpected email from today informing me that they intend to shut down all Associates who reside in the state of California, if a new law forcing online retailers who have a presence in California to begin collecting sales tax was passed. (and others) hope to dodge the sales tax issue by cutting all ties to California, including their online affiliate programs.

Then a whole 9.5 hours later I received a 2nd email confirming that Amazon has in fact shut down the Amazon Associates program in California because Gov. Brown did in fact sign the law into effect this afternoon.

So first reaction – who cares? Seriously, the percentage of Amazon Associates that make any kind of meaningful money from the program is ridiculously small. As a result most Amazon Associates would much rather give up the pennies they earn in the Associates program to save the 10s or 100s of dollars they can save each year by purchasing through Amazon.com and not paying sales tax. It is not even worth debating.

The folks that do earn enough money to make the IRS interested through the Amazon Associates program tend to be people with a modicum of celebrity (at least within their field) who shill product recommendations through various social network channels (Twitter, Facebook etc) to their million plus followers. Forgive me if I do not shed a tear for these folks. Worst case scenario, they declare Delaware to be their new home state, buy a house there to make it legit and move on.

Second reaction – Amazon dropped the ball on this one, but maybe they are not as clumsy as they appear. Beginning an email campaign 6 hours before the Governor signs a bill into law is about as ineffectual as it gets. Amazon claims that these laws are unconstitutional amongst other frightening adjectives, and yet for something so horrible, their effort to publicize the issue and mobilize a resistance seems oddly lacking for a company of its standing. Perhaps Amazon is not as devastated about being able to kill their Associates program and be able to blame the government for it.