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The Affiliate Link Disclaimer: What is it and why you Should Have one

affiliate-link-disclaimer

Are you using affiliate links on your blog or your social platforms, and do you want to make sure that you’re complying with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) regulations by adding your affiliate marketing disclaimers in the right places?

We all know how affiliate marketing works and that it is also a great way to make money online. However, there are rules that need to be followed in order to stay compliant with the FTC.

If you don’t follow these rules, then you could face fines or even lose your business. That’s why it’s important that you know how to properly disclose your links so that you don’t run into any issues down the line.

In this post, I will cover what an affiliate disclaimer is and why they’re important for both affiliate marketers and customers alike.

I will also show you how to properly disclose your affiliate disclaimer, and if you don’t know how to phrase yours, I will provide some affiliate disclosure examples below.

Affiliate Link Disclaimer

What is an Affiliate Disclaimer?

disclosures

An affiliate disclaimer (aka affiliate disclosure) is a statement that lets your readers or followers know when links to products you are promoting on your blog or on any other platform.

 

Ideally, a good  disclosure statement should clue your readers in on the fact that you have something to gain from recommending a certain product or brand.

By putting out upfront that you will be compensated by an affiliate program for your recommendation gives visitors to your site a full overview of what your intentions might be.

In this case, it’s only ethical to let your readers know that when they purchase something through your links, you get awarded a commission from an affiliate program for that purchase.

Additionally, adding link disclosures to your blog or website also protects both yourself and the potential customer by informing them of any potential conflicts of interest as well.

It’s basically a way to avoid confusion, helps protect consumers, yourself, and your commissions.

Why Do You Need An Affiliate Link Disclosure?

ftc-home

Consider the following scenario: you meet someone who has discovered a fantastic new product.

They explain to you how wonderful it works and that it comes with some fantastic new functions that no one else has. Would that suggestion influence your purchase of the product?

The answer would be probably so because we tend to buy things based on a recommendation by someone we trust.

Now consider for the scenario above, that the individual is employed by a company that sells the goods or has been compensated by the business to promote them.

Would you want to know whether the endorser’s enthusiastic endorsement of this fantastic new product is real?

Most definitely!

This is the Federal Trade Commission’s basic stance when it comes to truth-in-advertising that endorsements must be truthful and not deceptive.

As it applies to affiliate marketing, the FTC requires site owners to identify affiliate links by having their relationship disclosed before any links leading to affiliated products are actually clicked on.

The FTC’s principal objective is for website owners and social influencers to be transparent about any of their actions that might have an impact on a consumer’s decision-making process.

This is why it is critical that affiliates have a disclosure attached to any content that promotes or advertises a product or service in which they receive compensation.

Where Should Affiliate Link Disclosures Go?

service-page

Most site owners do a good job of phrasing their link disclosures correctly but fail to place them in the right places.

This is a big no-no as per FTC guidelines which state that disclosures need to be “clear and conspicuous.”

Check out the image below and you will see what you need to do to stay within FTC compliance:

7 Essential Tips for Affiliate Disclosure

ftc-guidelines

The key points are that the disclosure of your links needs to be displayed clearly and as close to the affiliate links/endorsed product names as possible.

All blog posts, in addition to any pages containing affiliate links, need to include your  disclosure.

Now that you know what the FTC affiliate disclosure guidelines state, here are 7 essential tips to keep in mind when adhering to the FTC guidelines for placing your affiliate link disclosure:

1. Make it Stand Out

Start by making sure they are highly visible to viewers. A good way to do this is to place them in a sidebar widget that stands out in contrast with the rest of your content in another font color or texture.

You can do this by using bold, underlined, and italicized text for your affiliate link disclosure so that it’s clearly visible on its own.

2. Be Consistent

Make sure you have a single place for your disclosure, especially if you have several different categories on your site. It will make the disclosure look more organized rather than scattered around your posts. A common technique is to place it on its own page.

3. Keep it Simple

Overly lengthy affiliate disclosures are a major source of complaints from viewers. Keep your disclosures simple and stick to the facts. Use clear language and be concise as possible in what you’re saying, avoiding any weasel words or subjective language.

affiliate-link-disclosure-example

4. Be Transparent

If you’ve been given any free products by a company to promote their product, be sure to mention it. This can either come in the form of a free product or a monetary gain that you’ll receive when the company makes a sale through your links.

5. Avoid Overall Promotion

If you’re writing about many different products, focus on individual links rather than putting them all together in one paragraph so that they blend in with your other content.

6. Don’t Make Affiliate Disclosures Your Click-Through Links

Make sure you’re directing readers somewhere outside of your disclaimer page when clicking your links.

If you want to include a direct link to your sponsored content, use plain language to make it clear where your links are going and what to expect when they land there.

7. Keep Them Visible Even After the Post is Published

You’ll also need to ensure that your affiliate link disclosures stay visible even after readers leave your blog post, which means adding them to any relevant excerpts you share on social platforms or other websites. 

This is especially important for visual content like images on Pinterest or Instagram.

In lieu of any legal advice, you’re free to write your disclosures any way you like as long as the FTC regulations are met.

But keep in mind that the official FTC guidelines might be more stringent than what you’d want.

If you are operating outside of the U.S., please double-check your country’s specific rules, but they will most likely not be that different from the FTC’s.

7 Affiliate Disclosure Examples

To give you an idea of what the FTC is looking for in an affiliate disclosure, are a few examples that you can use to develop ideas for your own affiliate disclosure:

Newblogr

newblogr

I figured I would start out with this one because most likely many of you reading this have a blog promoting an Amazon affiliate product. Right?

Newblogr.com is an Amazon affiliate blog that was started back in 2018 to help educate and inspire people to start and maintain a blog.

It’s full of inspiring, insightful articles about how blogging can change their lives for the better.

More importantly, it has an affiliate disclosure statement that is prominently posted in the sidebar of every page and blog post. 

This affiliate disclosure statement explains that Newblogr.com is part of the Amazon Associates affiliate and includes affiliate links throughout the blog.

Lucie's List

lucies-list

Lucie’s List is a parenting blog for women that provides its readers with the best tips for every stage of motherhood.

On this site, readers get reviews of the best in baby gear, info on pregnancy and maternal health, real advice from parents for maternity wear to breastfeeding to babyproofing to finding childcare.

The affiliate disclosure on the site is located in the toolbar just above the menu. In the footer, the link “Legal Stuff” is where you can click to read the dislosure.

Wirecutter

the-wirecutter

The New York Times Wirecutter specializes in connecting readers with the best available products and the knowledge they need to find them.

They provide independently certified reviews of dozens of types of items, from appliances and baby gear to tools and toys.

Their purchase guides cut through the confusing marketing jargon and enable readers to identify what’s worth their money.

Alongside product reviews, their experts provide helpful buying tips that educate people on how to get the most value for their dollar or produce a desire for certain items that will only grow as families do.

Unlike Lucie’s List, the affiliate disclosure is placed underneath the main menu bar.

Compared to other affiliate disclosure statements, this one is not posted on a dedicated page, it’s incorporated into the “About Us” page.

The Points Guy

the-points-guy

The Points Guy is a lifestyle blog that originally started out as a niche site that provided advice on how to find credit cards that offered the best mileage rewards.

Since its debut in 2010, it has become an award-winning resource for “travel hacks, credit card information, and travel lifestyle advice.

The affiliate disclosure is located in the top right corner of the homepage web page. When you click on the link, the affiliate disclosure slides out from the side of the blog.

Once done reading it, you have the option of clicking out of it to read whatever blog post or page you are currently on.

Dan Flying Solo

dan-flying-solo-affiliate-link-disclosure-example

DanFlyingSolo.com is a renegade travel blogger and writer documenting his journey of four years traveling solo around the world.

He has an unabashed love for new places and people which beautifully reflects in his photography.

He currently has settled down in Portugal where he continues to write about his favorite places and people as well as stories from the road.

The affiliate disclosure for this blog is found in the hero section of the home page. To actually read the statement, you have to go to the footer section.

The disclosure can be found by clicking the privacy policy link.

TechRadar

tech-radar

TechRadar is your one-stop destination for the latest product reviews from all leading manufacturers, as well as coverage of breaking news and emerging trends.

With a rating system, so you know which products are top-notch, their buyers explain how they rated each device to help you shop with confidence.

Based out of the United Kingdom, TechRadar delivers unbiased journalistic commentary on the technology that powers businesses and reaches into homes, covering smartphones, wearables, TVs, and more through written reviews vetted by experienced journalists for accuracy before arriving on site.

TechRadar’s affiliate disclosure is found underneath the secondary navigation menu and just before the blog post grid.

Just click on the “Learn More” link and you will be taken to their terms of service (TOS) page. The affiliate disclosure is buried in the TOS.

Cookie and Kate

cookie and Kate

Cookie and Kate is a healthy food blog that provides its readers with healthy vegetarian recipes that are filled with flavor, color, aroma, indulgence.

On this blog, the site owner demonstrates how cooking can be made simple with fresh ingredients paired with delicious herbs give food a good home cooking taste without the need for any animal products or packaged meals.

You can find the affiliate disclosure for this blog in the footer of the blog. Clicking on the link will take you to a dedicated page that details her affiliation with Amazon’s affiliate program.

As you can see from the example affiliate disclosures, you can see the variety of locations that a site owner uses to provide their readers information about their affiliate relationships.

I purposely did this so that you can see the difference between bloggers who make their disclosure prominent and unmistakable, versus the ones you have to scour the page to find.

When it comes down to affiliate disclosure best practices, the most common location for disclosures is next to an affiliate link.

There are other places where affiliate disclaimers may show up, so make sure you keep your eyes open.

Affiliate Disclosure Using Social Media

social-media

When it comes to using social media to promote your links, the rules are slightly different. Because of the character constraints that we face, especially on platforms like Twitter or Instagram stories for example.

Social media descriptions are not known for long-form content, so the FTC doesn’t expect you to use a full affiliate disclosure as you would on your blog in a 260 characters tweet, for example.

Using a hashtag like #affiliatelink, #ad, or #sponsored (usually used for sponsored posts) or simply writing “This is an affiliate link” will do. But once again, these need to be clearly visible and not hidden between 29 other hashtags somewhere at the bottom.

But if you still want to use a shortened hashtag, then you should stick with #aff or #spon as they are more commonly used in daily conversations.

However, if you go this route, make sure that your viewers understand that they should click on those links to see the full disclaimer.

The best way is to say “Click here for more details” or something along those lines, and then use another hashtag (like #affiliatepromo) at the end of your tweet. Make sure it’s easy for them to find and read.

Affiliate Disclosure on YouTube

Because it’s one of the most popular search engines on the planet, YouTube is an excellent platform for content producers who earn a commission from affiliate marketing.

Every day, 30 million users visit YouTube, and over 300 hours worth of material is added every minute.

With statistics like these, it’s easy to see why you should include YouTube videos in your affiliate marketing plan.

Now if you are looking to recommend products you’re an affiliate for, you have to include an affiliate disclaimer. Without it, you can get yourself into some unwanted trouble by the Feds.

This is especially true if you are plan to place your links on YouTube. You are required to do it the same way you would for affiliate links on your blog.

If you include a link in a Youtube video, you must say it out loud while on camera, and if you add links to the description, you must do so in writing as well.

For example, “This video has affiliate links. If you click on one of them and make a purchase, I will get a commission.“

You want to do this because videos on Youtube can be shared and embedded in many areas, the description box is hidden.

So, if you direct people to a link in your video, they won’t see the disclosure.

One way to solve this is by using YouTube’s “Paid Promotion” section about halfway down the video upload page.

The next time you upload a video that has inks, make sure you check the box that says your video includes a paid product or endorsement.

youtube-paid-promotion

Best Practices for Disclosing Your Affiliate Relationships

Blog/Website – Place your disclosure in the toolbar, hero section, sidebar, or footer of their website. You can either display it prominently in those areas or link out to a separate page on your website.

Videos – When links are used in videos, which can be monetized with ads or links to affiliate products, you need to add your disclosure at the end of a video.

Another good technique is to place it in the description of the video. Or select the “Paid Promotion” option when uploading to your YouTube Studio.

Blog Article – When links are used in a post, the affiliate marketer will disclose their link disclosure at the end of each post on your blog.

This is one of those questions where if you ask ten different affiliates or bloggers, you’ll get ten different answers.

Social Media Posts – This one is kind of tricky because most users on social platforms don’t like direct linking to promotional content. If you do, your promotional content will most likely get flagged as spam.

I recommend you build trust with your audience first before placing affiliate links on popular platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, Quora, Pinterest, Reddit, etc.

It might take you a moment, but over time you can place your links because you will have built a trustworthy reputation with your audience

Final Thoughts

In affiliate marketing, it’s important to have a disclaimer on your site that discloses affiliate links and any other connections the author might have.

This is known as an “affiliate disclosure” and can be found on many different sites, including Amazon for example.

This post is in no way meant to replace any professional legal advice but to give you some insight as to the importance of affiliate disclosures on your website.

When you create affiliate marketing campaigns, you need to follow the guidelines for affiliate disclosure by both the FTC and your affiliate program’s terms of service or affiliate agreement.

In other words, do not break any laws. Just be sure to include a disclaimer on your site that has links and connections to any affiliate marketing program.

If you want to learn more, CopyBlogger has written an article about how you can turn your affiliate disclosures into a selling point that I highly recommend reading where they talk about delivering the disclosure like a punchline to a joke.

Until next time,

Happy blogging!

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