The Federal Trade Commission requires that all affiliate links are disclosed on your blog – but it can get so confusing to figure out how to exactly do this.
Here is a quick guide for blogger’s to see how to comply with affiliate disclosure requirements and keep your blog out of hot legal water!
When do I need a disclosure?
Any time you’re taking compensation, whether money, product or otherwise, for mention of a product/service in a blog post (may or may not include an affiliate or link back).
Disclosure Compliance Requirements
Disclosures have four basic requirements that are really easy and quick to follow:
- Conspicuous placement
- No additional reader action
The disclosure must be on every page that includes a review, sponsored post, recommendation, comment or link that promotes a service and/or product for which you are receiving compensation. The most commonly form understood of compensation is monetary, but compensation can include the reception of goods.
For example, a recipe blogger may receive a crockpot for use in a CrockPot Recipe Series in exchange for blogging about the crockpot and linking to the product. The recipe blogger must place a disclosure that the crockpot was given as compensation for placement in the blog post in every post that it is used and linked.
The disclosure must be immediately clear to your readers that you are receiving compensation for the rating, review, or reception of the product/service.
Example of an unclear disclosure:
High fives and shout-out to the Crockpot company for this awesome crockpot that I reviewed in this post. I’m sharing because I love this product.
This is not clear – there is no indication that the crockpot was received as compensation for the review and/or placement on the blog.
Example of a clear disclosure:
Blogname received this crockpot from Crockpot company as compensation for using in my recipes. While they did give the crockpot, I still thoroughly enjoy and endorse this product!
This is clearer – it shows the audience that the product was received with the intention of being put on the blog and that the blogger did not pay for the crockpot.
Tips to creating a disclosure:
- Make sure it hits all the points in this article
- Ask non-bloggers for a review of the disclosure (without providing them a framework- see what they perceive it to be)
- Get a template
Disclosures cannot be hidden from the reader. Mere placement of a disclosure on the site but hidden in the footer is not sufficient for FTC Disclosure compliance. You must have the disclosure clear and easy to see. It is best practice to put the disclosure right next to the link/product that you are discussing.
For example, for the crockpot you should mention the disclosure at the first mention of the crockpot as well.
It is also best practice to have yourself an additional disclosure that is automatically attached to posts in the rare case that you may forget to include the disclosure.
No additional reader action
Just like with the conspicuous placement, the disclosure needs to be readily seen and require no other action for the reader (such as clicking or hovering over a link). Having a disclosure on another page is not in-of-itself a bad thing, but in order for this to be sufficient by FTC compliance requirements, the language of the link itself needs to have disclosure language.
Example of appropriate disclosure:
Blogname received this crockpot from Crockpot company as compensation for using in my recipes. While they did give the crockpot, I still thoroughly enjoy and endorse this product! Click here to read our site disclosures.
The reader knows, without clicking, that the product was provided. The additional clicking to the page about disclosures is just some added information for them!
Example of an inappropriate disclosure:
I love this crockpot crockpot company. Click here to read our site disclosures.
This requires additional reader action for the reader to see a disclosure of compensation. Further, even if the reader was to click there is no clear (violating #2) information that the crockpot was provided as compensation.
This is affiliate disclosures in a nutshell- be sure to stay updated with FTC Disclosures and stay compliant.
If you want to read more about the FTC Disclosures – here is their .Com Guide.