A bit of irony greeted me this morning; Cafepress, a print on demand merchant has decided to kick out NY affiliates effective July 1, 2008. It is ironic because this was the source of our Support NY Affiliates buttons and tee shirts. As a result I have removed the link to the shop while we find another source.
Now the worst part of this is not having to find another button source. The worst part is that there is a business owner who has now lost a business. The designer and shop owner of the NY Affiliate merchandise was notified late yesterday of this action. Although a top shop owner and affiliate for the Cafepress program, she was notified via an impersonal email at around 5pm PDT. Once again no value was placed on the affiliate relationship and affiliates were not treated with respect. Nor was a shopkeeper treated with respect.
It is also very discouraging that merchants are still dropping affiliates. Most non-NY affiliates may find it hard to really understand what this is like. Some have made comments that it is only a small percentage of merchants – “only 1-2%”. If even one merchant in that 1-2% is your income that can be devastating. Merchants can’t be replaced within seconds. First you need to find a merchant that carries the products and has an affiliate program. Then you have to consider the following. Not every merchant converts, not every merchant tracks, not every merchant is parasite-free, not every merchant has the products you need. We also have no guarentees that the replacement merchant we find is a safe merchant and won’t kick us out in the near future.
Things continue to get worse for NY affiliates and there really is no end in sight. The court case between NY and Amazon (and NY-Overstock) will take time to resolve. Merchants are continuing to drop NY affiliates. The interpretation of the law varies from person to person and there is no consistency.
One of the things we have repeatedly asked over the last two months is for merchants to let us know where we stand. Many have been silent and we begin to assume we are safe, that a program will keep NY affiliates. Then the email arrives…
And today, with the morning light, I see NY affiliates struggling to survive.