Now that Amazon.com has settled a summer-long dispute with the state of California over collecting sales taxes on Internet purchases, the world's biggest e-retailer wants to hook up again with 10,000 operators of affiliated websites that it fired in late June.
On Tuesday, Amazon e-mailed its "California associates," telling them it's ready again to start paying them commissions for any sales made to customers who "clicked through" to Amazon's shopping site.
"As you may have heard, California Gov. Jerry Brown has signed legislation repealing the law that had forced us to terminate our California Associates," Amazon said. "We are pleased to invite all California Associates whose accounts were closed due to the prior legislation to re-enroll in the Associates program."
As part of the deal with Brown, lawmakers and bricks-and-mortar retailers, such as Wal-Mart Stores Inc. and Target Corp., Amazon agreed to start collecting sales taxes in September 2012 and work with California and other states to ask Congress to pass a national Internet sales tax collection law.
While the agreement is good news for many Amazon affiliates, ranging from single-person bloggers to Internet businesses with dozens of employees, it comes too late for some operators, who had already gone out of business or fled the state when their Amazon-related revenues started disappearing.
"I liked California while it lasted, but I was losing my entire family's income," said Ken Rockwell. He quickly moved from San Diego back to his native New York City after Amazon cut him off.
"Why would I come back?
Rockwell said he can run his photography website from anywhere he has an Internet connection.
"I'm looking forward to this thing being worked out on a national scale," he said, "but that's going to take some years."
-- Marc Lifsher
Photo: Amazon fulfillment center in Goodyear, Ariz. Credit: Ross D. Franklin /Associated Press