LinkShare Puts a Human Face on Affiliates for California Legislators

As the vote on California’s version of the misguided Amazon Tax, Assembly Bill 178, nears LinkShare has stepped forward to help provide a face to the affiliate business who will be impacted by if the bill is passed. Thanks to Mark Kirschner, Chief Marketing Officer, Linkshare for compiling the letter and kudos to LinkShare for providing it.

Below are highlights of that letter (click here to read the letter in its entirety):

On behalf of our tens of thousands of online advertising, affiliate publisher partners in California, we urge you to oppose AB 178.

AB 178 is of great concern to Linkshare and our clients because when a similar bill was passed in New York State, hundreds of online merchants terminated their advertising relationships with thousands of affiliates in order to avoid collecting New York State sales tax. This directly resulted in a significant decrease in revenue for small affiliate marketing and advertising businesses in New York.

As you consider AB 178, we believe it is important for you to understand the people and faces behind affiliate marketing and advertising and the impact passage of AB 178 will have on their businesses. At LinkShare, we know that our community of affiliates is composed of some of the most talented small business entrepreneurs around.

Attached are profiles of six of our small business, affiliate publishing partners. Profiles like Ben Chui, a California small business entrepreneur:

When Ben Chui started Ben’s Bargains in January 2000, he was a sophomore at UC Berkeley looking to make some extra money. Five years later, his site,, not only supported him in earning his undergrad degree, but also funded his Masters in Mechanical Engineering. Today, Ben is running the site full time, and has 2 employees.

Perhaps the most touching story of our profiles is that of Todd Martini:

In 1998, Todd Martini developed a web site to post photos of newborn daughter Alexandra so friends and family could see them. That all changed when Alex was diagnosed with Leukemia. To raise money for his daughter’s multiple surgeries, he turned to the LinkShare affiliate program for help. Today, has 214 LinkShare merchants, who play a key role in helping the
Martini family pay the massive bills related to Alex’s treatment, and sustain her miracle recovery.

Both Ben and Todd manage coupon websites. They are no different than the weekly coupon circular in the local Sunday newspaper or a local value pack mailer, except both Todd and Ben publish these coupons on the web.

Like Ben and Todd, all affiliate marketers work within an advertising model that allows small businesses to display advertising on behalf of retailers whom they normally would not have exposure to without with an advertising agency. The affiliates do not own the customers nor do they transact a sale.

AB 178 singles out the small businesses of affiliate markers and this creates an extremely uneven playing field for them compared to other types of online and offline advertising. This will in turn, will reduce California-based affiliates’ ability to compete with other forms of advertising, as well as with affiliates in neighboring states.

The passage of AB 178 will mean lost revenue and lost jobs for California’s small affiliate marketing, web publishing businesses. This will
devastate these small, entrepreneurial businesses like Ben, Todd and the other affiliates featured in our profiles.

We urge you to read the attached profiles and take the time to understand affiliate marketing before you vote on AB 178. We have also attached a list of all the California cities where we have partnerships with affiliates for your review, so you can understand how many small advertising businesses will be impacted by this bill.

6 Responses to LinkShare Puts a Human Face on Affiliates for California Legislators

  1. Susan says:

    This is an awesome letter. Keep them coming! CA needs to be an example to the rest of the states.

  2. StephARC says:

    Posted real life examples is a great idea. Thank you for doing this I will share it with others.

  3. […] who’s livelihoods depend on affiliate marketing and who will be hurt by these new taxes: Revenews article. Pass this around […]

  4. Mike Allen says:

    I applaud LinkShare's efforts to prevent the adoption of what I feel would be an illegal tax on affiliates. Way to go and well done, LinkShare!

  5. […] understand what we do. So what do we focus on? The key thing is grab their attention. Using the letter from LinkShare that shows real life examples is a good way to make others relate. Missy Ward said, “Hit them […]

  6. […] LinkShare Puts a Human Face on Affiliates for California Legislators ( […]