Affiliate links are the backbone of the affiliate marketing industry. It’s how we make our money. Thus, there are countless affiliate links that are applied to blogs today. Consequently, some marketers tend to include affiliate links in their blogs and websites rather freely without being aware of the repercussions.
Not disclosing affiliate links can and will create a legal nightmare.
The role of an affiliate link disclosure is to protect you. It allows you to include affiliate links in your posts without worry and protects consumers from unethical business practices.
Affiliate link disclosures have become necessary because it’s the law. In 2019, the US Federal Trade Commission Endorsement Guides mandated that anyone who earns money or receives any sort of benefit (financial or otherwise) from recommending/endorsing a product or service, including bloggers, to disclose that fact.
This is extremely helpful for consumers to avoid and battle deceptive and misleading endorsements. Affiliate disclosures ensure fair business practices and give all marketers an even playing field. It gives buyers the opportunity to purchase from marketers they trust.
Trust is crucial for marketers and can be best achieved through complete transparency.
You might think that affiliate link disclosures suck and will negatively affect your sales, but you’ll be surprised to find out that they actually help with conversion. Affiliate link disclosures establish an atmosphere of transparency and trust within your user base.
The general rule for placing an affiliate disclosure is to make it as obvious as possible.
Don’t bury affiliate link disclosures.
The FTC said that the closer a disclosure is to your recommendation (affiliate link), the better. This practice builds trust. Disclosures that are hidden in page footers or a separate page make it seem as if you’re trying to comply without actually doing so.
An affiliate disclosure must be clear and conspicuous. Which means:
Don’t spend too much time overthinking where to place your affiliate disclosure. Just put it in an obvious spot that’s visible to visitors and move on.
When writing the affiliate link disclosure, the language doesn’t matter as much as the intent. The FTC offers this disclosure as an example: “I get commissions for purchases made through links in this post.”
It may not seem like much but the intention is there, so don’t worry too much about how you’re going to write the disclosure. Just focus on making it clear and easy for your visitors to find and understand.
Avoid complicated words or fancy industry jargon. All you need is to be direct and concise.
Generally, here’s the most important thing that your disclosure should include: that you receive compensation for your reviews, recommendations, affiliate links and/or any other method of influence that results in you obtaining a benefit.
Remember that the benefit you receive doesn’t have to be monetary – it can be anything of worth such as free web-hosting, free products, vacation perks, etc. Your affiliate link disclosure could also include how your recommendations are unbiased to affirm the users that your recommendations aren’t clouded.
A disclosure can be as long or as short as you need it to be as long as the language is clear and direct. A longer disclosure can also help earn trust with your users and showcase your personality — but don’t overdo it.
A disclosure is a notice or a statement that provides a visitor all necessary and relevant information (sponsorships and promotions) to make a well-informed decision within your website. It’s the “fine print” that lists your affiliations and the extent of your relationship with external parties.
If done correctly, a disclaimer will prevent you from dealing with legal complications most of the time. The following are what should be included in a disclaimer:
You cannot just copy anyone else’s disclaimer. You have to create your own so that it’s detailed to the type of content you use and provide.
At the end of the day, you want to get your disclaimer published and move on.
The disclosure for the affiliate link itself must be published on the page where the endorsement itself is located. You can create a more thorough, lengthy affiliate disclosure on its own separate page, but this can’t be the only way your disclosure is made available to your users. It’s not clear and conspicuous enough that way.
A longer disclosure only works if there’s also a smaller disclosure located on each post that has affiliate links, and if this smaller disclosure links to the longer standalone disclosure page. Users should easily notice the smaller disclosure in each post, which meets the “clear and conspicuous” requirement.
Disclosures are important, but they’re not worth spending hours of your blogging time on. Plus, all an affiliate link disclosure text needs is for it to be clear and conspicuous. Make your disclosures visible and your users will appreciate your transparency.
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