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September 30, 2013

Amazon cuts affiliate program in Maine

Internet retailer Amazon has stopped a commission-based advertising program with Maine-based companies in an effort to fight a new law to collect state tax on Internet sales.

The Portland Press Herald reported the company has stopped its Amazon Associates program, which allowed associates to place ads or product reviews on their websites and receive a 4% to 8.5% commission if a customer buys the advertised or reviewed product. Companies based in Maine will no longer receive those commissions.

Amazon would not disclose how many Maine websites participated in the affiliate program, so the economic impact of its move was not immediately known.

The paper reported that one affiliate, Hillstock LLC, expected to make between $1,000 to $2,000 per year on those commissions in the next year. Averyl Hill, who runs the business from Scarborough, told the paper she had no idea Amazon was cutting the program.

The company has eliminated its commission-based associate program in Missouri, Colorado and Illinois as well, where lawmakers passed similar measures to tax out-of-state Internet purchases.

Supporters of that law in Maine said that not collecting sales tax from out-of-state Internet retailers put Maine stores at a competitive disadvantage.

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