Amazon Closed My Associates Account, Now What? Help for Affiliates in California

Californians can use VigLink to keep participating in Amazon Associates

Gov. Brown signed the Internet Sales tax law and Amazon promptly dropped tens of thousands of Associates in a heartbeat. The state still doesn’t get their sales tax and now are missing out on the combined loss of income taxes from affiliates and their reduced spending. The state loses and so do we. We knew this was coming and I had briefly looked into creating an LLC in another state, but it would be a hassle and there was a question of California charging a $800 out of state business fee. Jumping through hoops wasn’t really my idea of fun so I looked around for another solution. My first thought was auctioning off my affiliate links to the highest bidder. I could probably get a little buzz going about that, but didn’t want to mess with that arrangement with some stranger. I did a little more research and found some discussion about VigLink.

VigLink essentially rewrites your links with JavaScript to be routed through their system. Any earnings are tracked back to your ID and then they pay you after taking a commission. For those of us in states that are now locked out of Amazon Associates this is better than nothing. I signed up the other day and will have to see how things go. The commission takes a little bit off the top, but since VigLink funnels clicks through their own accounts they get to the higher tiers which could help make up for it. If your Amazon links are producing $0 then try VigLink at least until you can get something else going.

An additional minus point is that users of AdBlock Plus will probably not have their click-throughs converted. One more plus though is that you aren’t stuck just with Amazon. If you wanted to post to other sites or do a price comparison between different sites then you can still participate in other programs easily. I think VigLink has over 12,000 sites they cover.

TaxAct Premium Online for $11.90

Tax season is coming and I saw this deal for TaxAct that I’m going to try this year. Pretty much you just have to register using the link below and you’ll lock in a $11.90 price including Federal and State e-file. You don’t pay anything until you e-file.

Lock in $11.90 price for TaxAct Premium Online

I’ve used TurboTax Deluxe Online (need Schedule C) in the past because I got it for free through State Farm, but it’s only offered to their banking customers now. Problem is TurboTax is really starting to jack up prices for State e-filing. TurboTax Deluxe with State is about $55 at Amazon and H&R Block’s At Home (formerly TaxCut) is a little cheaper. The problem is they charge you $30 and $20 respectively for a State e-file on top of the purchase price. Even if they go on sale for $35-40 you’re still looking at $60-70 to do both e-files.

I’ll give TaxAct a try this year and maybe test my return in TurboTax as a direct comparison. Nice thing about the online versions is you can plug in your numbers and see the results without having to pay for anything.

California Tax Refunds Finally Going Out

I filed my taxes before they passed a budget so I knew I’d be waiting around for my refund to come through. Checked on my Refund Status and it said it was processed on 3/17 and could take up to 10 days for direct deposit. Checked my checking account today and saw my refund had been deposited. Next year’s taxes won’t be so rosey, especially if you have kids. Speaking of California’s broken government, the May election is coming up so The Blarg and I will be posting on the propositions sometime soon.

2008 Taxes are Done

Our taxes got e-filed this weekend so now we just have to wait for our returns. Federal refund was a little smaller this year, but it should come back quickly. California refund on the other hand may not materialize for a while. The state has until the end of May to get payments out or they have to start paying us interest on our refunds. Have to see how screwed we are once the legislature passes a budget. I’m predicting our taxes will go up.