The other day I was talking with a good friend and we both agreed that the last three months seem more like years. It is safe to assume that the NY affiliate tax issue has caused much stress for merchants, networks and of course, NY affiliates. However, the NY tax issue is not the only cause of stress and turmoil in the affiliate industry.
Lately there have been opposing views on several issues including the formation of industry organizations. When the NY tax issue began back in May, many thought there would be a fast resolution. They thought we could, or should, just ride it out and bear with what some called a temporary inconvenience. Others expressed hope for a resolution and offered words of support. Some said “if only we had an organization” .
New Yorkers could not wait. We took the initiative and took actual steps to finding a solution.
When Kevin and I began to plan a meeting, many jumped to our aid. They donated money to fund the meeting, to hire a lawyer and for what ever we needed to work out a solution. Some of these people you know about and others you do not. Kevin and I are probably the only ones that know all the names of the financial supporters.
Hundreds of others are also our supporters. They have offered advice, purchased “Support NY Affiliates” buttons. stickers or tee shirts. Some have been very vocal in their support and others have expressed to me their desire to remain unknown. Many others posted in blogs about the NY tax issue. Others sent me emails voicing support. I can safely say there are at least two dozen people who emailed me, and though known in the industry have chosen to remain totally anonymous.
I can understand why, perhaps once vocal they might find themselves drawn into the fracas and wish to avoid that.
In addition to unraveling the NY tax situation I and around twenty others witnessed something else. We saw first hand the power of people working together. The amazing thing about “the Albany group” is that inspite of differences we still were able to accomplish great things. Different philosophy, different beliefs, different personalitities, differents styles but one common goal. Even Kevin and I have differing views and work styles yet we worked together.
The Albany Group has left their mark. We are not an organized group who agree on everything but we are a group with a common goal. We never once let our opinions of any of the organizations interfere with our mission.
I think the industry groups need to take a similar approach.