Legal Tips for Affiliate Marketers
When you’re an affiliate marketer, laws and regulations probably aren’t on your mind. But there are a few important things to think about. How do you stay above the law and properly disclose the fact that you’re making a few bucks on the side? That’s what we’re going to get into today!
Always Disclose Your Affiliate Links
When sharing affiliate links on social media or even on your blog, it’s important to let people know somewhere that the links they’re clicking are affiliate links, and you will get a commission on sales. This is actually required by many affiliate programs themselves (specifically Amazon), which is why you should always read the terms and conditions of any affiliate program you sign up for.
It is also required by the FTC (Federal Trade Commission). The rules themselves are a little vague, but essentially as an affiliate marketer, you should always disclose your affiliate links.
Tell People When Something is Sent to You
It’s also important to be transparent about where you received items from. This is extra important when you’re reviewing a product. If you received a product for free, that is a lot different than purchasing a product yourself. Even if you say that you’re impartial, no one can know that for sure. After all, wouldn’t you be tempted to review a product in a good light so that the company sends you more free items? Even if your answer is “no”, that’s not the case for everyone.
Is This Different from Sponsorships?
Yes and no. A free product or an affiliate link is not a sponsorship, which involves an entirely different contract. You are very much required to disclose sponsorships. You don’t need to say how much you make from a sponsorship, but you do need to mention that you are sponsored before promoting a product or service. Once money is involved, no one can trust whether your opinion is honest or not, so it’s better just to say that you have been paid to read a sales pitch.
To sum it all up, just be transparent. Tell people how you got your hands on a product, and if you will profit from sharing links.
Here are some suggestions!
Add this to the footer of your website, or at the bottom of every blog: “This site uses affiliate links. I may receive commission if you purchase products through my links.”
Mention this at the start of your review videos or blogs: “I received this product complimentary from [company].”
Attach this to end of social media posts: “#affiliate”, “Affiliate links used”, “I get a kickback if you buy from this link”.