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  1. #1
    Analytics Dude Kevin's Avatar
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    11th hour notes
    Just wanted to express that as it turns out, there are no good outcomes, or good answers to this issue.

    No matter what path a merchant takes, it either hurts them, the affiliates, or the consumers, or in worst case scenarios, all 3.

    I wanted to thank the merchants who called me today to discuss this issue, and I did my best to provide a fair, unbiased interpretation of what's going on, from the way I see it.

    Fact of the matter is, no one knows exactly what the law really means. Not a soul. From Alabany to Sacramento, everyone is still scratching their heads. I'll say again that I think action should be taken against New York for its callous attitudes towards its resident businesses.

    It's been stated elsewhere that New York feels not enough voices were raised in opposition to stay the execution of the law, as it were. I think that points to a failure of this industry.

    For New York affiliates, and those elsewhere, that still think this isn't a big deal, I would encourage you to think through it again. The grasp of this legislation is far reaching, and benefits no one, least of all the citizens of this great state.

    Incorporating elsewhere is a temporary means of keeping some affiliate relationships, but I believe this legislation is way bigger than that.

    Anyways. I'm going out to dinner, then watching hockey, and then going fishing for a week. I wish you all well in the meantime.
    Kevin Webster
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  2. #2
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    This morning I was feeling a bit optimistic - not as many termination emails as I envisioned. The last 2 hours have been crazy! IMHO, these merchants that are waiting until 3 or 4 PM on Friday evening to notify us of their decision regarding the NY legislation, really stink. I believe they wanted to get as many sales from us as they could. Now I'll spend another weekend deleting links & keywords. I realize it's more commissions for us - but appreciate the merchants that at least gave us some advance notice. I feel drained, this has been a tough week, think we'll go get some dinner and at least a few drinks. Back to work tomorrow.

  3. #3
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    I would be pretty pissed if I was a NY affiliate and can understand also being sad and stressed if they're merchants that you're making money with. Remember those merchants who dropped you, I think it's pretty pathetic.

    But trying to think positive, (I know it's hard)

    We still have the suit by Amazon, have to see how that turns out.

    Some merchants like Montgomery Ward and another I just posted about are not dropping NY affiliates but adding in terms that you can't engage in certain marketing but still can have links up. So they're interpreting the law a little differently from the merchants that are dropping affiliates.
    http://forum.abestweb.com/showthread...537#post835537

    There are merchants that are not dropping NY affiliates, so push those merchants even more.
    Last edited by Trust; May 30th, 2008 at 05:44 PM.

  4. #4
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    Thank you! That is what we'll do and hope and pray for the best. Miller Time!

  5. #5
    Advocate mellie's Avatar
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    I am totally shocked by some of these last minute terminations by award winning leaders in our industry. They could have at least given us a clue that this might happen. All we asked for last week was an idea of what they were going to do. I am sure none of them just woke up this morning and said ok let look into it.

    Trying to keep my emotions under control but it's hard. Merchants should be aware of the bridges they may be burning. I for one, would probably sooner go back to Overstock than go back to those who waited til this late hour. Perhaps my vocal stand on this whole issue will not win me friends but I think merchants are not really understanding that some of us are in this to earn a living. It's not a hobby or an evening dabbling. And if there are OPM's or AM's involved even more shame involved.

    Recently, I spent an incredible amount of time redesigning websites, showcasing some merchants. Now those merchants need to be ripped from my sites. Sorry doen't mean much with only about 30 hours before I am terminated. I really expected more. I expected respect and consideration. It is too late to go back to last week to give us a heads up.

    Getting hit by a car this morning was less devastating. But you know what, I am going to come out on top, just with new merchants.
    Melanie
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  6. #6
    Affiliate Marketing Consultant Andy Rodriguez's Avatar
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    Mellie,

    Please understand that some of us have been working, sometimes till late in the evening on many days speaking with our merchants. I can understand how you feel though, we as OPM's are representing the merchant. The in-house AM's are working for the merchants - these decisions are being made by corporate, not by OPM's or AM's

    We have a few merchants that are removing the NY affiliates as well and we have been waiting till the last minute as well to try to get the decision to go in our direction - the decision to keep the NY affiliates..

    We are in a tough position, this is a huge decision for many merchants...just my 2 cents.
    Andy Rodriguez Consulting, Affiliate Program Management and Consulting Services, Since 2001
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  7. #7
    Advocate mellie's Avatar
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    I know Andy, thanks. It's not easy. Hope I can make to Summit and we can all have a drink to celebrate.
    Melanie
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  8. #8
    Antisocial Media Expert ProWebAddict's Avatar
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    Here's what I'm waiting to hear...what can be done? If I was in NY I'd be raising some kind of hell, and not on a message board.

    What can all of us do to help with the situation because talking is great but that's not going to stop the other states from adapting this kind of law....

    If next year at this time 5 more states have added this type of law are we just going to be sitting here ranting on a board? I hope not.

    But what choices do we have....?

  9. #9
    Moderator MichaelColey's Avatar
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    Choices?

    1. Moving to a state with more friendly tax laws.
    2. Perhaps (no lawyer has said whether it would work or not) incorporating in another state.
    3. Letting your voice be heard by the governor's office, your legislators, etc.
    4. Getting the press involved.
    5. Giving up AM and applying for welfare (a double-whammy to NY).
    Michael Coley
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  10. #10
    Antisocial Media Expert ProWebAddict's Avatar
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    I really don't think moving to another state is the answer as if this goes "well" then what makes us think that other states won't adopt similar laws?

    Now that I've had time to think about it, I don't think that NY affiliates should be the only ones letting their voices be heard. We are ALL involved in this so we ALL should be trying to do something. Whether that means launching a letter writing campaign, pooling connections to get media coverage...something has to be done.

    We shouldn't just sit back, complain, and thank our lucky stars that we aren't in NY because guess what- they are coming after your state next.

    I used to do a little work with lobbying and guess what, hundreds of unique, personalized, and well-thought out letters goes a long way into changing peoples minds about legislations.

    Not just "your law sucks", but "this is how this type of law will effect me and my family..." letters.

    I guess I'm just annoyed that there's a lot of talk about "how can we get around this law for now" instead of how can we get this CHANGED so that it doesn't spread to other areas. Even though I don't understand all the terms of the law, I'm still not accepting it.

    P.S. Why would anyone incorporate in another state as opposed to just using a different mailing address with the networks? Edit: Ah, I see.
    Last edited by ProWebAddict; May 30th, 2008 at 06:34 PM.

  11. #11
    Advocate mellie's Avatar
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    Using a different mailing address to give the pretense of living in another state while still living in NY could have serious legal complications. My lawyer advised in no uncertain terms to not do it.

    Incorporating in another state is also not the best answer because many are interpeting the law to read that it also matters where an affiliate resides.

    If you look at the Affiliate Summit forum there is a thread discussing having a session at the next Summit to discuss what to do.
    Melanie
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  12. #12
    Antisocial Media Expert ProWebAddict's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mellie
    If you look at the Affiliate Summit forum there is a thread discussing having a session at the next Summit to discuss what to do.
    That's great, I hadn't read that thread yet.

    I guess my colors are showing because I think thats a wonderful idea but if something was effecting me like this, I wouldn't be waiting until August. I'd use it as a supplement, and I'd certainly appreciate it, but I certainly wouldn't be twiddling my thumbs until then waiting for someone else to take charge.

    But then again, that's just the type of person I am. Maybe I will do something, because like I said before, eventually they'll be coming after my state.

  13. #13
    Advocate mellie's Avatar
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    LOL Proweb I started that thread and I also don't plan on waiting. I want to plan a NY affiliate meeting.

    It does need to be addressed on an industry level because this will steamroll.
    Melanie
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  14. #14
    Analytics Dude Kevin's Avatar
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    I've run out of NY legislators, governors, and lawmakers to write to or call, Pro. Simple as that.

    We are looking at starting a lobby. Lots in the works.

    Problem is, a lot of affiliates can't be bothered with any organization. When it's been brought up in the past, it has failed, with many citing privacy issues, etc. This industry has buried its head in the sand way too long.

    That includes the merchants, the affiliates, and the OPMs.

    The second issue is the broadness of affiliate marketing. Am I going to drive out to Albany with someone from CPAEmpire? Hardly.

    We've failed to properly define what affiliate marketing even represents, since there are no standards and practices, etc. Organizing a group with such varied ideals to move forward in any one direction, even against a common enemy, is a daunting task.
    Kevin Webster
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  15. #15
    Prince of Content Vinny O'Hare's Avatar
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    It isnt the part of swapping out merchants that is bothering me it is the constant updating. As soon as you swap out links it seems you get another email with a termination notice. It feels like I am trying to bail out a shinking ship using a paper cup with a hole in it.

    I can't imagine what you guys with a million links are doing right now.
    Vinny O'Hare - OPM - Contact Info email: vinny at teamloxly.com ~ 702-582-6742 Twitter

  16. #16
    Analytics Dude Kevin's Avatar
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    Fortunately, I've only been back on this side of the house for a few months now (not even 2).

    And since I've been integrating most of my ads and products through the Avantlink API, I erase one number from a data call, and the merchants entire product line, ads, and coupons go BUH BYE.

    I hit the backspace pretty hard, normally, too.
    Kevin Webster
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  17. #17
    Advocate mellie's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by nyfalcon
    It isnt the part of swapping out merchants that is bothering me it is the constant updating. As soon as you swap out links it seems you get another email with a termination notice. It feels like I am trying to bail out a shinking ship using a paper cup with a hole in it.

    I can't imagine what you guys with a million links are doing right now.

    The past couple of hours has added over 1,500 (yes over one thousand five hundred) links that I have to delete/swap. And I haven't checked some of my email boxes.
    Melanie
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  18. #18
    Affiliate/AM Moonlighter dflsports's Avatar
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    NY, the infamous tax state. We're screwed. If we had ten's of thousands of aff's from this state writing letters and making phone calls, we might have a small shot at some kind of better solution. NY wants it's tax dollars, it will get them by any and all means possible, even if it means driving business out of the state.

  19. #19
    Prince of Content Vinny O'Hare's Avatar
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    Mellie find and replace is my best friend right now. I add the merchants ID and let it find the pages. Its not automatic or 100% correct but it helps a lot.

    Just loaded up the coffee pot and prepared to sit for a few hours.
    Vinny O'Hare - OPM - Contact Info email: vinny at teamloxly.com ~ 702-582-6742 Twitter

  20. #20
    Advocate mellie's Avatar
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    I was just thinking how I love find & replace lol. I switched to diet Coke a moment ago, needed a break from coffee.
    Melanie
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  21. #21
    Antisocial Media Expert ProWebAddict's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kevin

    Problem is, a lot of affiliates can't be bothered with any organization. When it's been brought up in the past, it has failed, with many citing privacy issues, etc. This industry has buried its head in the sand way too long.
    You wouldn't necessarily have to organize.

    Without breaking any confidentiality agreements that I signed, when I worked in this arena, we didn't organize per se. Instead we gave people (who would be impacted by future legislations) the information they needed to do something about themselves.

    In this case it would be distributing information like - this is what is going to happen, this is how it impacts you, this is who you need to write and call. Here is a sample letter. Yes, people can find that out themselves but most often they won't. But when you put it together right in front of them, they want to do something.

    There is a way to take it a step further, to follow up and make sure that you are actually getting results from sharing this information but I don't know if I can share that at this point.

  22. #22
    The affiliate formerly known as ojmoo
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    Has anyone noticed any merchant saying. OK OK, I'll collect the 8% from NYers just to keep my NY affiliates. Merchnats in general collect taxes from at least one state already, they don't seem to mind, but when it comes to throwing out the NY affiliates that they don't seem to have a problem with.

    We know that most affiliate sales are made by a small number of real professional affiliates. And if you throw out those from NY, its not the NY sales that you lose but the sales from the other 49 states and around the world too. Do the merchants think that one affiliate is the same as another. That by dropping the NY affiliates that their sales won't be impacted more than by collecting the tax?

    Overstock who started this precedence made a huge mistake. They had 3 options and they chose a bad one. They could have collected the tax (why should the people in Utah be the only ones who have to pay state tax when they buy from overstock). they could have joined amazon in fighting this, or they could have done what they did. You know they have a $2.95 flat rate shipping, that is probably costing them more than the 8% tax to ship items to NY from Utah. So there was a 4th option, because they would ahve to pay the tax anyway, they could have opened a wearhouse in NYS to ship products to the east which would ahve probably saved them money in the long run.

    re: incorporating in another state. As long as you pay you taxes, which might increase, then there is nothing legally wrong with it. NYS won't come after the affiliate because you are paying your proper taxes, the affiliate is never responsible for paying the sales tax. And the merchant has no reason to drop the new corporation b/c it is not located in NYS. Huge corporations have have mail drops in the Bahamas so as not to pay federal tax and its perfectly legal, so would this be. The problem isn't that you could get into trouble, the problem is that it'll cost you more in fees and maybe taxes.
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  23. #23
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    I wanted to post this email we received from Swimsuits for All, they did decide to collect NY sales tax. There are a few others (have to find the emails) but they are few and far between.


    "We have great news for you! SwimsuitsForAll.com has decided to not take any action against New York affiliates. They have taken it upon themselves to abide by the tax law rather than risk losing so many affiliates such as yourself. It is still imperative that you visit the site we gave you below and register your address as we still need to have a complete list for legal purposes.

    If anyone does decide to incorporate in another state, we asked that they reapply so we can make sure to re-register their information under their new location. "

    Personally we don't have a problem giving them info requested but I think some might.

  24. #24
    Life is Supposed to be Fun! Rexanne's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kevin
    I'll say again that I think action should be taken against New York for its callous attitudes towards its resident businesses.
    I totally agree. Whatever government entity responsible for this FIASCO should be held accountable and burned at the stake!

    Quote Originally Posted by Kevin
    It's been stated elsewhere that New York feels not enough voices were raised in opposition to stay the execution of the law, as it were. I think that points to a failure of this industry.
    Yes, besides Amazon, who else has stepped up to the plate to slap these idiots upside the head and stop this CRIMINAL act from taking place?

    Quote Originally Posted by Kevin
    For New York affiliates, and those elsewhere, that still think this isn't a big deal, I would encourage you to think through it again. The grasp of this legislation is far reaching, and benefits no one, least of all the citizens of this great state.
    And if everyone remembers that we have a CONSTITUTION that protects us from crap like this, we'd all have a wake up call. In my mind, this is cause for a freaking revolution - WE, THE PEOPLE

    (Not really trying to incite a riot, just venting LOL)
    Peace,

    Rexanne

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