Affiliate Disclosure Requirements and Examples
In December 2009, the FTC released Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising. The guidelines require that any affiliate who uses reviews, rankings or testimonials to promote products must clearly disclose the fact that they receive compensation for doing so.
As affiliates we must disclose commercial relationships with businesses that appear on our site (and how that affects the businesses’ ranking) and clearly identify advertising and paid promotions.
Review sites should clearly state how reviews are composed and checked, and whether and how commission or conversion rates influenced the presentations, including ratings or rankings.
The FTC has also published answers to Frequently Asked Questions applying these guidelines directly to the context of Affiliate or Network Marketing, as follows:
Affiliate or network marketing.
I’m an affiliate marketer with links to an online retailer on my website. When people read what I’ve written about a particular product and then click on those links and buy something from the retailer, I earn a commission from the retailer.
We will disclose our relationship to the retailer clearly and conspicuously on our site, readers can decide how much weight to give our endorsement.
In some instances – like when the affiliate link is embedded in our product review
- a single disclosure may be adequate. When the review has a clear and conspicuous disclosure of our relationship and the reader can see both the review containing that disclosure and the link at the same time, readers have the information they need.
- We will say something like,
“I get commissions for purchases made through links in this post.”
We will endeavour that the product review containing the disclosure and the link are not separated, so you readers may not lose the connection.
We will place the disclosure in a clear and conspicuous manner. We will try to place it close to the advert of our recommendations. Consumers should be able to notice the disclosure easily. You would not have to hunt for it.
It’s clear that what’s on my website is a paid advertisement, not my own endorsement or review of the product. Do I still have to disclose that I get a commission if people click through my website to buy the product?
If it’s clear that what’s on your site is a paid advertisement, you don’t have to make additional disclosures. Just remember that what’s clear to you may not be clear to everyone visiting your site, and the FTC evaluates ads from the perspective of reasonable consumers.
It is required for all affiliates to comply with these guidelines. Failure to do so may result in removal from our affiliate program and the cancellation of commissions.
In order to comply with these guidelines disclosures about the fact that we are receiving commissions made through links in our websites, they will be frequent, clear, conspicuous, and require no scrolling or other type of user action to locate the disclosure.
- Frequent: Our disclosure will appear on any page that has a review, recommendation, comment or article that promotes a product or service for which we receive our compensation.
- Clear: We will immediately make it clear that we may receive compensation for your review or rating. If commission or conversion rates, or factors other than those listed in the body of the rankings, comparisons, or reviews are determining or significantly impacting the placement of brands or information on your webpages, then you must clearly state this.
We will not promise or imply neutrality or independence where in fact commission/conversion is driving the editorial presentation of information. If we are receiving commissions from all of the listed brands, you may state this. Consumers may assume that factors which are important to their decision making such as features or price are determining the ratings. We cannot be silent about the fact that our business could be an incentive to driving placement or ratings.
Disclosure: We are a professional site that receives commission from the companies whose Services we advertise and when you have committed to buy from.
This “disclosure” is omitting the most important information: that a commission is paid for purchases made through links in the post, or that commission or conversion rates are influencing the placement or content of the rankings or reviews.
- Conspicuous: The disclosure is to be clear and easy to see. It should begin with the word “disclosure.” No scrolling should be necessary in order to find the disclosure. We will Prominently display disclosures so they are noticeable to consumers, and evaluate the size, color, and graphic treatment of the disclosure in relation to other parts of the webpage.For the disclosure to be considered clear, the font should be:
- At least as large as the main text on the page
- In a color other than black or gray
- In contrast with both with its background and the main text
- Darker than its background or the main text.
- Require No Action: We will disclosure immediately and make it evident to all visitors to our site who views a review, ranking or endorsement on a PC, Mac, or mobile device. As visitor, you should not need to scroll, click or hover to learn that you receive compensation.We will include a clickable link or additional information when a visitor hovers over text, the language of the link itself should reveal the fact that you receive compensation.
Disclosure: We receive commission for you buying these services. Click here for details.
Keep this in mind: Simply telling you, the visitor that you can “Click/hover here to read our FTC disclosure” is not adequate. We will signal through plain words, such as “Advertising Disclosure” that the “disclosure” is relevant to the potential for editorial bias due to commissions.
We have not included consumer reviews or feedback about listed brands,
- hence, no reviews is given about the Affiliate offers the Businesses’ goods or services.
- We will endeavour to ensure that advertising and paid promotions are clearly identifiable to readers as paid-for content.
- We will display consumer reviews clearly and state how reviews were obtained and checked; publish all reviews (including the negative ones) provided they are genuine and lawful; and explain the circumstances in which reviews might be edited or not published at all (for instance if they include abusive language or defamatory remarks).
- We will ensure that there is no delay before publishing reviews, and that we have appropriate procedures in place to detect and remove fake reviews.