By now, many of you know that I do some affiliate internet marketing through a couple of different blogs and some other websites. It's pretty much a hobby, one that I have some fun with, but I'm not overly successful at it thus far.

Living in New York state, there is a new challenge where our state requires that any of us who sell items to anyone else in New York state must have that income collected by these affiliate companies. Amazon has tried to protest it by challenging the law in court, but the courts denied it, oddly enough by dodging the issue entirely, saying that Amazon, since its main offices aren't in the state, don't have the right to bring the challenge; it's being appealed.

The result of this is that many affiliates have dropped those of us who live in New York. I don't like it, but I don't blame them; that's a heck of a lot of work, and many affiliates don't make them tons of sales, so it's really not worth it to them to keep us in the loop.

So, I understand that. What I don't understand, though, is a letter I got from one of them. I'm not going to mention them here, but if you'd like to read about it you can follow this link to it. Anyway, the letter I received didn't say anything about New York or taxes or anything else. It was two paragraphs, very short paragraphs, that didn't make any sense. But the message was clear; they were dropping me for "hurting them".

As I wrote in the post about not always needing to know why, sometimes it's fine to just let something go and move on. However, there are other times when it's not so comfortable to just let it go. On this one, I felt I deserved a better response than what they gave me. They even put an email address in the letter to contact them if I had further questions, so I decided to take them up on it. For the record, I've always purchased this companies products, and I really felt honored that they were allowing me to help market their products.

But something I've always said is that, in business, employees are also customers, and therefore they deserve to be treated as such. In this instance, I might not have been a real employee, but the customer service they showed me was horrible. Many businesses treat employees the same way also. They don't tell the employees what's going on, then suddenly they drop a bomb on them and their lives are shaken. Does the corporation feel anything about it? No; all they care about is the money. Sure, some people might agonize a little bit, but overall, internal customer service is horrible, and leaves a bad taste in the mouth of newly former employees. And don't think that won't cause the company consternation when the reports of how the employees were treated; front page stuff, if not the lead story on the local news.

I've always stressed that customer service is probably the biggest thing most businesses have to deal with. Good publicity is always best, but it's fleeting. Bad publicity sticks around for a long time. How much are you willing to lose by not treating your employees with the same customer service courtesy that you hope your employees are imparting on your other customers?