Who Is John Gault? Jeff Bezos vs. the State of California

I have been an amazon.com affiliate for several years. I hadn’t updated my links in a while, since GeoCities.com died. I had several book pages hosted on GeoCities.com before the age of blogging and just didn’t feel up to moving them somewhere else.

I have wanted to take my passion for books, reading, writing and lifelong learning into a blog for a long time. I thought, “It couldn’t hurt to check the amazon.com affiliates page to see what’s new in the way of links, banners, buttons and other promotional goodies”.

Imagine my surprise when I got a message that my account had been deactivated. When I tried to reactivate it I got another error message,

“An Error Occurred: Residents of CA are not eligible to participate in the affiliates program.”

It turns out that the State of California passed a law that gives them the right to tax sales of affiliates based in California. I live in California. California would force amazon.com to collect that tax on behalf of the state. Amazon.com wasn’t happy with that decision and decided to pull the plug on us affiliates in protest. The affiliates are unhappy that they have been unceremoniously kicked to the gutter without warning.

It seems Jeff Bezos is playing John Gault against the out-of-control tax-and spend politicians from both parties in Sacramento. Politicians are the last remaining ostriches with their heads in the economic sand. Everyone else in this county has had to face the hard reality that they can’t live beyond their means. Everyone is cutting their budgets except the politicians.

Infighting between the parties threatens the solvency of the United States. If they don’t get their act together soon we may be facing an even greater economic crisis than we have seen in the last three or four years.

It looks like we are headed back to the serfdom of the dark ages when the lords of the Manor House in Sacramento and Capitol Hill can rape, pillage and burn everything within their reach to raise enough taxes to support their bloated lifestyle. The problem with their methodology is that it leaves a scorched earth behind that can’t support anything, much less an economic recovery.
As a fan of Ayn Rand’s Atlas Shrugged, I wondered to myself, “Why doesn’t Jeff Bezos really pull a John Gault and stop selling everything to customers in California?” That would really send a message to the Manor House.

I don’t think it would be very effective though. Californians will just find somewhere else to shop to the detriment of amazon’s bottom line. Just like amazon.com affiliates will jump ship (I did) and sign with other retailers like Barnes and Noble or Powell’s Books to keep their bottom line going. There are lots of other affiliate programs to choose from through sources like LinkShare Referral Program.

If you are a disaffiliated amazon.com affiliate, what have you done to keep your business going?

If not, has this news changed your shopping patterns or political persuasion?


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