When: Always! Why: It’s the Law!
Besides the myth of easily gaining top 10 rankings on Google; a close second is getting rich via affiliate links. Affiliate links are links for products and services that you put on your website. If your site visitors follow that link and a sale is made, you receive a predefined commission. Sometimes it is a dollar amount per sale while other times it is a percentage of that sale.
Many think that by copy-n-pasting links from affiliate programs into blog posts, reviews or their social sites, the money will roll in. As usual there’s more to it than just placing links on your site. If you want to work hard and become successful at affiliate marketing, check out my main trusted source for real-world no BS tips and guidance — the SugarRae Blog.
When you consider becoming an affiliate for any product or service, you have to make sure you follow the all powerful U.S. Government’s Federal Trade Commission’s (FTC) rules on being an affiliate and promoting products online by including the appropriate disclosure. By disclosure the FTC wants you to make clear to your site visitors or social media fan/followers what your relationship is with the product you are writing about or promoting.
If you have done any affiliate marketing already, your partners have probably already made it clear that your ongoing relationship is contingent upon disclosing that you are an affiliate and what you have to gain by that relationship.
The Basic Principles of Advertising Law Apply Online
- Advertising must be truthful and not misleading;
- Advertisers must have evidence to back up their claims (“substantiation”);
- Advertisements cannot be unfair.
FTC Affiliate Disclosure Link Guidelines
- make the link obvious;
- label the hyperlink appropriately to convey the importance, nature, and relevance of the information it leads to;
- use hyperlink styles consistently, so consumers know when a link is available;
- place the hyperlink as close as possible to the relevant information it qualifies and make it noticeable;
Ads such as those from Google AdSense are marked as ads (top right corner — see ad below). When it comes to Blog posts where you are reviewing or writing about a product or service you have a relationship with you must note that you are an affiliate. What I do on posts where I have affiliate links I include a paragraph at the end that states:
P.S. Disclosure: Some of the links in this post are “affiliate links.” Read my full Affiliate Disclosure Statement here.
I link to my affiliate statement page where I explain in more detail how I run my partnerships so folks know I’m a bit odd. I’m not just in it for the money. If I haven’t tested the product, or used it, or wouldn’t use it on my sites, no amount of commission can get me to place an affiliate link on my site.
What about social media?
The best way to make clear disclosure on any social network is to start with Ad: or Sponsored:. You can also use hashtags #ad or #sponsored.
For all the legal mumbo-jumbo, you can download the FTC PDF om the topic: .com Disclosures: How to Make Effective Disclosures in Digital Marketing.
The bottom line is to just be upfront about your relationships when it comes to writing, posting, tweeting or pinning anything that you either received something free, a discount or a possible commission on.
At your service,