Amazon.com has reportedly cut off all affiliates in North Carolina as a preemptive response to the sales tax change being pushed through the state legislature. The Seattle-based online retailer warned affiliates last week that such a move might be necessary, but the early shutoff seems to be a move in hopes of swaying opinion on the proposed legislation. "Local affiliates say they were 'blind-sided' by the company's action. 'I got this e-mail at 4:30 this morning,' said James Barrett, a technology consultant from Winston-Salem. 'It wasn't saying your account will be shut down. It said it is shut down. That just blew me up right there.' Barrett said that he is frustrated at lawmakers for considering the tax, but equally aggravated with Amazon. 'They're trying to tick off all their associates and get them to call down to Raleigh,' Barrett said. 'I think that is pretty tacky. That's not the way to use people who are referring business to your business.'"