Overstock Ends Affiliate Marketing in Four States to Avoid Sales Tax

Overstock.com is no longer using affiliate advertising in four states to protest upcoming laws that will require online retailers to collect sales tax if they are marketing within state boundaries. The states are Rhode Island, New York, North Carolina and Illinois. Online retailers typically do not collect sales tax from customers in states where they do not have a physical presence, but the interpretation of presence is getting broader as states seek new revenue. Overstock will instead market directly to residents in those states by giving customers a credit worth about $30. In all, Overstock said, the program could cost about $4.5 million.


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Just as the atom bomb was the weapon that was supposed to render war obsolete, the Internet seems like capitalism’s ultimate feat of self-destructive genius, an economic doomsday device rendering it impossible for anyone to ever make a profit off anything again. It’s especially hopeless for those whose work is easily digitized and accessed free of charge.

— Author Tim Kreider on not getting paid for one’s work