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May 10th, 2012, 11:42 PM #1I Thought Affiliate Marketing Was Supposed To Be A Partnership
When I became an affiliate marketer more than 8 years ago, I entered believing that affiliate marketing was a partnership between the merchant and me as their affiliate.
For the most part, my affiliations are positive ones. In the past year, I've had to deal with the most junk that this industry has thrown my way. To the daily threat letters to get active, to the we are "terminating you" because you are harming our EPC to "we are terminating you" because you haven't been active, it has become harder and harder to feel that my future in affiliate marketing has good future.
Then there was the letter of letters yesterday by Overstock.com, who in one paragraph was informing me about nexus language that was added to the Vikings bill by the MN Senate.
They urged me as a Mn affiliate to contact my legislators. What power do I have to storm a private joint session committee of 3 House members and 3 Senators.
I had none. In another paragraph the power merchant informed me of my termination if the bill in its current form passed. They didn't wait until the bill was passed. This merchant jumped the gun and didn't waste any time planning to dump me.
Is this a partnership of a big merchant trying to steam roll a little guy because they can. I've always fought nexus bills in my state and contacted numerous legislators educating them about such language. I've done it for myself and for the industry.
I'm left with the feeling that power merchants don't give a crap about their affiliates. I've endured too much crap this year to believe otherwise!
Below is the email. Pay special attention to how they value me as an affiliate:
Overstock.com values your advertising efforts, and hopes to be in a position to continue our business connection for years to come.
However, we are writing to inform you that the Minnesota legislature has just voted on a bill to fund a new Minnesota Vikings stadium, which at the last minute was amended to include an affiliate tax nexus provision. The bill is SB 2391. The affiliate tax nexus portion is in Article 8. If this law is passed, it will necessitate our discontinuation of affiliate contacts in Minnesota. We must act today.
The bill is now in a conference committee to work out the differences between the different versions of the bill that passed. The committee conferees met until 5 a.m. this morning and meetings are ongoing.
You can urge the conference committee to drop the affiliate tax nexus provision from the bill by contacting conference committee members to voice your opposition. The contacts for the committee members are attached to this letter. Phone calls and emails are most effective and to be effective, the contact should be made today, as soon as possible. Even if you do not know the conference committee members, they will listen to what you say.
You should mention in your call or email that an Illinois Judge recently found the Illinois affiliate tax nexus law unconstitutional because it violates the Commerce Clause. The judge also ruled that the law's passage was premature, given the Congressional moratorium related to Internet tax fairness. In Minnesota, such an unconstitutional law will also surely be challenged.
We hope it does not become law; however, since the bill may be moving quickly, we may not have much advance notice before the law is implemented. Therefore this letter is notice that if the law passes, termination of services could occur without further notice to you. We will, however, try to provide advance notice if circumstances allow.
Again, Overstock.com values your advertising efforts and is hopeful that, like other states recently examining and rejecting this legislation, Minnesota will realize that this bill is bad for business and bad for Minnesota.
Last edited by bibby; May 11th, 2012 at 10:36 AM.
May 11th, 2012, 12:25 AM #2
I know exactly how you feel. When the nexus bill passed the CA legislature last year, Overstock terminated us before the bill even got to the governor's desk for signature.
A month later, we got a reprieve for a year, with the illusory promise the law would be void, IF the feds passed a national law. That year is passing quickly, with scant hope of a federal resolution, and a repeat of last year's bloodbath looming (the year is up in 3 months).
Terminations for non-activity don't bother me as much as they used too - there just isn't time to promote every merchant, every product - but I did recently get one I did have big plans for, but didn't yet get to (no comparable merchant around).
Maybe what makes me feel as bad as anything about the merchant-affiliate relationship are things like the thread started a couple of days ago when a merchant posted an affiliate's url, saying that, with absolutely no evidence of any wrongdoing, something must be crooked because the affiliate was generating sales.
It's a dawg-eat-dawg world, and affiliate marketing is just a microcosm. I do not believe that merchants feel it is a partnership. I think, in general, they feel that we are homogenous and disposable, and the next one the comes along will be just as good. Why bother to take an interest in us; why bother to care?
Of course, there are exceptions, but as they saying goes, that proves the rule.
May 11th, 2012, 10:11 AM #3
Year or so ago I asked a few merchants to agree to OUR TOS. 99.9% did. One merchant replied:
"We are the merchant and we make the rules, not you." and terminated us on the spot.
Such is life...Salty kisses, Sandy toes, and a Pirate's heart...
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