Retailers Make Pitch to Amazon Affiliates

NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- Lowe's ( LOW) is the latest retailer making a pitch to pick up Amazon ( AMZN) affiliates as the e-commerce giant battles with state governments over sales taxes.

The home improvement joins others like Wal-Mart ( WMT), Sears ( SHLD) and Barnes & Noble ( BKS) who have issued letters to Amazon affiliates, welcoming them to their Web site.

These letters come after Amazon said last month that it would sever ties with California if officials passed a law that would require the company to collect state sales tax because of its relationship with affiliates.

It's latest target has been Illinois, as the state signed an e-fairness law that requires online retailers that work with affiliates in the state to collect sales taxes on purchases made by Illinois residents and businesses. Amazon responded by cutting ties to its Illinois-based affiliates, which are blogs and other websites that refer traffic to Amazon's website and get paid commissions if customers make purchases there.

Amazon has previously battled other state governments and ended affiliate programs in Hawaii, North Carolina and Rhode Island. It is also fighting a court battle in New York.

Wal-Mart says it "welcomes Amazon and Overstock ( OSTCK) California affiliate," while Sears berated Amazon for its actions.

"We want affiliates here in Illinois, in California and around the country to know that you have a place with us. We recognize and value our relationships with our over 6,500 affiliate partners AND the state and local communities we serve," the department store wrote.

"As states continue to grapple with increasing budget deficits and businesses, large and small, slowly make their way out of one of the worst economic declines in recent history -- Amazon turns its back on its customers, affiliate partners and the community to maintain an unfair competitive advantage that ultimately puts Amazon's customers at risk," the letter continued.

--Written by Jeanine Poggi in New York.

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