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HB10-1193: How News Orgs Covered Amazon’s Colorado Affiliates Pullback

STATE BILL COLORADO
Over the weekend, Amazon e-mailed Colorado affiliates telling them they were being dropped from their commission-driven relationships with the online reseller as a result of passage of HB10-1193. Here’s how local and national media covered the story.

The Denver Post: Amazon.com told many of its Colorado online business affiliates Monday that it would sever its business relationship with them, a move that could slice into the revenues of thousands of Web retailers.
The company blamed state lawmakers for enacting a law requiring it to notify those who purchase Amazon merchandise through a local website that they owe state sales taxes. Lawmakers in turn criticized Amazon’s move as a hostage-taking gambit to force reversal of the measure.

State Bill Colorado: Scores of Twitterers weighed in this morning on Amazon’s decision to fire its Colorado-based associates because of the state’s passage of HB10-1193. Reaction, predictably, was negative, with posters complaining specifically about Colorado’s governor and state legislators who backed the bill.

The Wall Street Journal: Amazon.com Inc. pulled the plug on its marketing affiliates in Colorado after the state imposed new sales-tax regulations on online retailers.

The Colorado Independent: Enormous online retailer Amazon.com reacted to news that it would now be required to voluntarily report Colorado state sales taxes by canceling its relationship with affiliate web sites here– that is, with sites that earn a small fee for each websurfer they send to Amazon through links and ads. In a letter sent over the weekend to its Colorado affiliates, Amazon announced it will continue to do business with residents in Colorado and didn’t elaborate on how canceling the affiliate relationships balances against the new tax. The mystery has led analysts and lawmakers to speculate that the move was done strictly to send a political message. Others suggest the move is part of a larger corporate legal strategy to combat laws already on the books in Colorado, Rhode Island and North Carolina, as well as any future state sales tax laws that might pass around the country.

The Durango Herald: Amazon.com fired hundreds of Coloradans who market the Web site Monday and said it would not go along with a new state law on Internet taxes. The action surprised people who run stay-at-home marketing businesses, angered Democrats and brought calls of “I told you so” from Republicans. Amazon fired its Colorado affiliates in an e-mail sent shortly after 1 a.m. Mountain time Monday. Last month, Gov. Bill Ritter signed a bill that seeks to collect taxes from sales made on Amazon and other big Internet sites.

Associated Press: Amazon, citing a Colorado tax on online sales, is cutting off its Colorado affiliates that help sell products through the online retail site. Affiliates earn money by using their Web sites to link customers to online sellers like Amazon.

Colorado News Agency: Amazon.com, the world’s largest online retailer, retaliated yesterday against the Colorado General Assembly and Gov. Bill Ritter for moving to collect taxes on sales over the Web. House Bill 1193, signed into law by Ritter last month, requires online retailers to inform Colorado residents how much they owe in sales taxes for purchases made via the internet. The bill would also require retailers to provide summary information to the state of people’s web-purchases. Amazon’s retaliation came in the form of closing the accounts of all Colorado sales “associates,” which are people or businesses which advertise Amazon products, and make a commission on all sales that they personally generate. While associates in the state will have their accounts closed, Amazon gave no indication that it would curtail or otherwise end its retailing in Colorado. An earlier version of HB 1193 had sought to force retailers like Amazon to collect taxes on Colorado sales if at least one in-state affiliate solicits on behalf of the retailer. Amazon does collect sales tax for a handful of states, according to www.techflash.com.

KDVR: Here’s reaction from Colorado leaders “in their own words” to Amazon’s decision.

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