Affiliate marketing is a billion dollar industry that’s been around for decades. It’s a modern version of a traditional business concept — making a commission from sales. Affiliate marketing would be impossible without affiliate links because affiliate links keep money flowing to affiliate marketers – it’s their core and medium.
Do you have to disclose affiliate links within your content, though?
Yes, you have to disclose affiliate links because the FTC mandates it. Don’t believe me? Back in 2016, Ken Bone (whose red sweater won Americans’ hearts during a presidential debate town hall) did an ad for Uber through Twitter, but neglected to mention anything about being paid for the endorsement nor that his tweet was an ad. These actions caught the eye of the FTC and it was immediately acted upon.
So yeah, it’s pretty serious.
But what the hell is an affiliate link disclosure anyway?
Simply put, an affiliate disclosure is a statement that educates consumers and potential buyers that you’re benefiting from the links they may click on your blog post. Note that the “benefits” may not only be in monetary value but can also be in the form of free products, vacation perks, and the likes.
If you’re confused whether you should or shouldn’t add an affiliate link disclosure to your content, let me clear that up for you:
If you receive any type of benefit from the links on your blog, you HAVE to disclose it.
The FTC fines violators up to $11,000 per violation for endorsing a company/product without disclosing the fact. That’s a pretty hefty fine.
Saving you a long read of the FTC’s guidelines, there’s really only one general rule for affiliate link disclosures: it needs to be clear and conspicuous. Your disclosure should directly tell users that you are getting paid whenever they click your links and it should be as visible as possible near the affiliate links themselves.
Here’s what our affiliate link disclosure looks like:
We are a commercial company and as such, use a for profit strategy. All products reviewed offer affiliate commissions. No product reviews are influenced by the monetary amount of the affiliate commission that StoppingScams.com may receive. This fact must be kept in mind before making any purchase decisions based on recommendations or endorsement generated by this site or any sites owned by StoppingScams.com
Any recommendations and endorsements for products and or services that are displayed on this site are for monetary purposes. What this means is that if you click a link on this site and purchase a product or service from this site or a site linked to from this site, and make a purchase, the owner of this site will receive a monetary compensation.
If that seems too long, one thing that you can do is have two affiliate link disclosures. Write a long and detailed one, like ours, and a shorter version of it as well. Use the shorter version on individual blog posts and link it to the longer, more detailed affiliate link disclosure.
Okay, there WILL be people who’ll be put off knowing that you’re somehow affiliated with the product you’re promoting. However, affiliate link disclosures promote a brand of trust and transparency. Visitors will most likely trust you more because you’re honest and transparent with your business practices. These are the kind of people who eventually turn into long-term subscribers.
Remember that all your affiliate link disclosures need to be clear and conspicuous. Don’t use professional/industry jargon – that only serves to confuse users. Use direct and clear language instead. Also, don’t attempt to bury or hide your affiliate link disclosures. This not only raises some eyebrows, it doesn’t meet the FTC’s requirement.
Honest business practices and avoiding malicious shortcuts will eventually pay off. Don’t risk NOT including affiliate link disclosures. Trust me – it isn’t worth it.
I've been in internet marketing for over 10 years, and I've purchased dozens of illegitimate products for the sole purpose of evaluating them and exposing the truth about these products to anyone who's thinking about purchasing it. I never let money influence my rating of a product and your success/safety is my absolute highest priority. Don't want to buy a product? Register for one of my 100% free internet marketing training courses>>