Why You Need an Affiliate Disclosure Statement on your Site

By | July 28, 2018

Affiliate Disclosure Statements are Now Required

I’ve been doing affiliate marketing for over 3 years now and, yes, I’ve read about putting affiliate disclosure statements on your website and that it would be a good idea.  But now, by law, (since 2003 and you could be fined) it is required for the U.S.

Image of text illegal and legal“The Federal Trade Commission yesterday said that companies engaging in word-of-mouth marketing, in which people are compensated to promote products to their peers, must disclose those relationships.

In a staff opinion issued yesterday, the consumer protection agency weighed in for the first time on the practice. Though no accurate figures exist on how much money advertisers spend on such marketing, it is quickly becoming a preferred method for reaching consumers who are skeptical of other forms of advertising.”

You can read the full article in the Washington Post here:

As an affiliate marketer, my posts are considered to be “Word of Month” and thus require me disclosing that I receive affiliate commissions.

In order to comply with these guidelines, your disclosures have to meet four main requirements. They must be:

  1. frequent in multiple places like on the home page and within pages/posts that have affiliate links
  2. conspicuousclear
  3. easy to read and understand
  4. require no action on the part of the visitor, like scrolling or clicking

So don’t put your disclosures:

  • behind a link to a page or post where visitors have to click to see it.
  • within a popup message, since they may be blocked
  • in your footer where visitors have to scroll all the way down to see it.

Make sure your disclosure:

  • Can be seen by a visitor as soon as they enter your website
  • Is “above the fold” on the screen so scrolling isn’t necessary

Because:

  • You could be fined by the FTC
  • You might be thought of as misleading the site visitor
  • You are not keeping up with industry laws
  • You want to do the right thing

For myself, I’ve created the following image to place on my homepage and other pages sidebar:

Affiliate Disclosure image

I have chosen to make my disclosure statement with a little fun in it.  You can create a silly one like mine or a plain legal looking statement like this Amazon specific one.

Amazon Affiliate Disclosure image

Just be sure to include one that meets the requirements in each of your affiliate web or blog sites.

I also add it to my Comments paragraph on each of my posts.

Comments

I welcome any questions or comments, and I will be sure to respond to your comments and questions.  Please leave them in the form below.

Note: AFFILIATE DISCLOSURE.  You may see links to various products or services in pages or posts in this website.  These links are affiliate links and I may receive a small commission if you purchase through them.  There is no additional cost to you, but this can help me cover my hosting and other fees for this site.  Thanks. – Shirley

No Reason to Hide Affiliate Disclosures

Some website creators and bloggers neglect “on purpose” to add or they hide their affiliate disclosures.  That’s pretty silly since you chance getting reported and fined and also you may lose the trust of your target audience.

Face it, most of the online world knows that plenty of websites and blog sites use affiliate links to try and make money.  I say more power to them if they can create an article or a review that I learn something from.  And yes, I do purchase often through affiliate links myself – especially if they point to products from my favorite online store – Amazon (Love me that Amazon Prime“2-day shipping).  And YES! Those ARE AFFILIATE LINKS RIGHT THERE!

I know people who put both affiliate links and non-affiliate links to their products on their sites, giving site visitors a choice to “take a little money out of Amazon’s pocket and put it in the bloggers instead or to just forget being a giver”. I’m thinking about trying that one day and to see which one my site visitors click on.

-Shirley

Comments

I love to get comments and answer your questions.  Please leave yours below.  Also, if you have enjoyed reading this article and think others might also, please share with your friends and on your social media.  Thank you for visiting my website – Shirley

NOTE:  This post includes affiliate links, which, if clicked on and a product purchased, I get a small commission (with no increase in cost to you).

 

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10 thoughts on “Why You Need an Affiliate Disclosure Statement on your Site

  1. Maurice Jackson

    I hope everyone reads this. Most people including myself liked my affiliate disclosure statement. I have since had to go back and cover my tracks. This is welcomed information.

    Reply
    1. Shirley Dawsson Post author

      Thanks Maurice for visiting my site and your comment. Yes, I’m having to go back and add things to my posts and pages also. Live and Learn I guess. – Shirley

      Reply
  2. Alex

    Currently, I do not have an affiliate disclosure on my own website. I did not know that it was required by law! I guess when you run a business you have to know the law. It is just part of the cost of doing business. You probably just saved me a whole lot of legal trouble down the road.

    I do have a question though. Are there any other important things I have to do to make sure I am within the law? I am still quite the novice in affiliate marketing, so any help from an expert would be most appreciated.

    Thank you for sharing and I hope you have a wonderful day!

    Reply
    1. Shirley Dawsson Post author

      Alex, thanks for reading my post and your comment. I’m certainly not a lawyer or anywhere close, but the things I find so far that might be problematic in website creation and blogging is keeping any images you use legal, making sure you include a privacy policy page, an affiliate disclosure statement, not using content from elsewhere (it must be your original wording-no plagiarism) and if you write about health products or issues, a medical disclaimer. Google that and you will learn more. I’m so fortunate to be learning all about affiliate marketing through my online training platform. You can read about it in my Wealthy Affiliate Review. Thanks again for visiting my site and your kind comment. – Shirley

      Reply
  3. Lisa

    Thank you for your article. I’m new to affiliate marketing and I thought you only needed to put the affiliate disclosure on a separate page. Thanks to your post, I see I need to beef up it’s presence on my blog. I’m assuming it has to be very obvious to readers & that’s why it has to be in multiple places. Guess I know what I will be doing next! Thanks for the info.

    Reply
    1. Shirley Dawsson Post author

      Hi Lisa, thanks for visiting my site and your comment. I thought that too unto I started doing some research and found out myself it has to be visible, above the fold – not on a separate page or behind a link. We live and learn – right! – Shirley

      Reply
  4. Matts Mom

    I did not know we had to do this. I certainly do not want to be fined! I love your examples. Do you mind if I use one of them verbatim, or should I change it up some. It is perfect! Glad I found this post!

    Reply
    1. Shirley Dawsson Post author

      Hey there Matts Mom, thanks for visiting my website and your comment. Sure you are welcome to use any of my examples. Thanks for your visit and the comment. – Shirley

      Reply
  5. Tom Priesmeyer

    Thank you for sharing this vital information. I was not aware of much of this, and as a part time affiliate marketer, I am leaving myself open for possible problems. I will adjust my posts and pages to reflect this required info. Thanks again, Tom

    Reply
    1. Shirley Dawsson Post author

      Hi there Tom, yes as affiliate marketers we need to make sure we do things right. Thanks for reading my article and your comment. – shirley

      Reply

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