FTC Affiliate Disclosure For Bloggers: Everything You Need To Know

Disclosure: This post may contain affiliate links, which means we may receive a commission if you click a link and purchase something that we recommended. Read more about Affiliate disclosure here.

Affiliate Disclosure For Bloggers
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Are you an affiliate marketer, blogger, or site owner who is making money online by promoting products of companies based in the USA, the UK, or Canada?

If yes, then here’s another question:

  • Are you disclosing your affiliation(s) properly?

This post is all about learning the importance of a legally valid FTC affiliate disclosure, and how to effective display this information on your website.

What Is An Affiliate Disclosure?

Affiliate marketing is a well-known division of digital marketing where merchants (or advertisers) work with affiliates (or publishers), affiliate networks (like Commission Junction), and other third parties to sell their products. In return, these merchants provide a commission to their affiliate publishers.

Learn everything about affiliate marketing with the popular “ShoutMeLoud Affiliate Marketing Handbook“.

To make sure that the digital marketing industry maintains trust between consumers and merchants, the FTC (Federal Trade Commission, USA) came up with an “affiliate disclosure policy”.

The affiliate disclosure policy states that if you are an affiliate marketer, then you must clearly disclose your relationship with the merchant, brands, or products on your website.

This basically means that you have to clearly tell your visitors that you will be getting paid if they use your affiliate link(s) to purchase something from your affiliated merchant(s).

  • Why does the FTC want an affiliate disclosure?

Because if you are trying to sell a product to your readers and are not disclosing that you will get compensation, then you are deceiving them.

Affiliate disclosure requirements were released in 2009 by the FTC.  You can read the original copy here:

If you have questions concerning affiliate disclosures, then read this:

Affiliate or Network Marketing
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Who Needs An Affiliate Disclosure Statement?

Anyone who endorses brands or products of other companies and gets compensation in any way needs to have an affiliate disclosure statement. This includes affiliate marketing, endorsements, reviews, sponsored posts, sensational claims, and influencer campaigns.

Note: This only applies as long as your business has to something to do with the USA, the UK, or Canada. This rule doesn’t apply to a blogger who is hosting his site in India, working with Indian brands & promoting stuff only in India. 

More precisely, whenever you add affiliate links in a blog post, in marketing videos, on Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter, or elsewhere, you need to disclose any affiliation.

You must clearly disclose if you have ever received any type of compensation like commission, advertising fees, free products, discounts, or any other kind of special privileges from the merchant(s).

NOTE: The FTC guidelines are law; everyone is legally obliged to disclose their affiliations.

  • What does “compensation” mean?

When we talk about compensation, it does not only mean direct affiliate commission.

Other things which count as “compensation” are:

  1. Cash payments.
  2. Sample or demo products.
  3. Store credits in your account.
  4. Gifts from the advertiser.
  5. Special discounts.
  6. Free giveaway items.
  7. Gift cards.
  8. Any other kind of “favor”.

When To Disclose The Relationship?

Whenever you recommend or endorse a product in a blog post, you must add a disclosure in that post.

Something like, “I get commissions for purchases made through links in this post.”

The FTC recommends specifying your affiliation as close as possible to the affiliate link.

Here’s an example:

Example of adding disclosure statement link in the posts
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The FTC requires that your disclosure information is clear, obvious, easily understood, free of distraction, and easy to see.

If you don’t want to fully disclose your affiliations in a certain post or page, then it’s acceptable to provide a link to your full disclosure statement close to the triggering claim (e.g. affiliate link).

Examples of Affiliate Disclosure Statements
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Here is an example:

Best Practices To Meet FTC Guidelines On Affiliate Disclosures:

  1. Clearly and conspicuously communicate the disclosure to prospects before they make any purchase decision. Failing to do so will be considered a “deceptive marketing practice” by the FTC.
  2. Make sure this information is visible on all devices like mobile phones, tablets, desktops, etc. Due to space constraints on mobile phones, it’s recommended to use phrases like “Advertisement”, “Sponsored Post”, or place a link to your affiliate disclosure page with the anchor text: “This post contains affiliate links. Click here for the full disclosure statement.
  3. Instead of adding your affiliate disclosure statement below the fold, add your disclosure at the top of the post.
  4. When you hyperlink to your disclosure page, it is important for you to use clear and easy to follow anchor text. Words like “disclaimer”, “click here”, “fine print”, “terms & conditions”, etc. do not clearly communicate your affiliate relationships to readers.
  5. Track the click through rate (CTR) of your FTC disclosure links. Low CTRs will give you an idea of whether or not your disclosure links are clearly visible.
  6. Add a short affiliate disclosure text widget on the sidebar, and make it fixed. This will make your users constantly aware of it. You can also add it as a pop-up or as an auto-play video on the sidebar to communicate your relationship to consumers as soon as they come to your page. 
  7. Use an affiliate disclosure statement plugin.
    Generate free Affiliate Disclosure Statement Badge Online
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How Adding An Affiliate Disclosure Can Help You With Sales

Jonathan Fields, an entrepreneur and an award-winning author, once did an affiliate marketing disclosure experiment on his website – www.jonathanfields.com.

He wrote down a product review article along with a review video, and posted it on his website.

He put these two different call-to-action links at the end of the post:

Affliate Disclosure Statement Experiment 1 - Jonatham Fields
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Image Source: (http://www.jonathanfields.com/adventure-capital/)

When he analyzed the results, he was quite surprised to learn the results.

After one week of running the experiment:

  • 76% chose the affiliate link.
  • 24% chose the non-affiliate link. 

That’s over 3/4 of people knowingly choosing to give Jonathan Fields an affiliate commission.

The most important thing that came out of this experiment was the notion that transparency in business is a good thing.

It builds trust and makes people feel comfortable interacting with your content. Here are a couple recommended resources to learn more about FTC Disclosure Guidelines:

Here are a couple recommended resources to learn more about FTC Disclosure Guidelines:

Conclusion

Remember that if you are looking to run a business for a long time, then transparency and trust are two important pillars that can lead you to success.

A loyal relationship with your website visitors will surely pay off much sooner (and more fruitfully) than trying to deceive them.

And if you have decided to work as a publisher, then it’s a part of your responsibility to clearly add an affiliate disclosure on your website.

But don’t worry; affiliate disclosures will surely increase trust and transparency between you and your audience.

Just try to provide real value to your readers, and you will automatically see upward growth in sales and traffic.

If you need more information on FTC affiliate disclosures, then read the FTC’s dot com guide here.

How do you go about adding an affiliate disclosure statement on your website? What is your strategy to let readers know that you’re an affiliate marketer? Let me know in the comments below!

Here are a few hand-picked articles that every newbie & experienced affiliate marketer should read:

  1. How To Receive Amazon U.S. Affiliate Payment Using Payoneer
  2. CPA Vs. Affiliate Marketing: The Beginners Guide To CPA Marketing

Like this post? Don’t forget to share it!

Note: This is a guest post authored by Harpreet. All the views expressed in this article are his own & ShoutMeLoud takes no legal responsibility for any consequence regarding the information in this post. You can read our guest submission guidelines here.

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Affiliate Disclosure For Bloggers
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Authored By
Harpreet is an enthusiastic individual who writes at DigitalHarpreet.Com, a platform for aspiring bloggers to learn Blogging, SEO, Affiliate Marketing, WordPress, Make Passive Income from a Blog & more! He's here to share some very cool stuff for you. If you have any idea or request, you can get in touch with him at [email protected] or can follow him on Facebook, Twitter & Pinterest.

34 thoughts on “FTC Affiliate Disclosure For Bloggers: Everything You Need To Know”

  1. SRINIVAS DARIPELLI

    Yes,Trasperency and trust are most important. I believe in shoutmeloud and that is where i h have purchased few products and have seen equal benifit. Thanks harpreet and Thangs again Harsh for encouraging great posts and Best Tips over here.

  2. Hey Harpreet,

    As long as people don’t get their account suspended, they don’t do the proper declaration. I agree with your points and the ways to disclose.

    Affiliate marketing is the fastest growing thing and more people are joining the programs. Adding a link below the post would be great.

    I think you can also add the affiliate disclosure on ever page of your website. Just use the footer area.

    Thanks for the info.
    ~Ravi

  3. Vishwajeet Kumar

    Hello Harpreet,

    Thanks for writing such a beautiful article on affiliate disclosure. I also believe in transparency for doing business online. I also have inserted affiliate disclosure to my blog as well. Some people do not want to disclose its affiliate links. They think that it will drop down there sales, but putting a disclosure will increase trust among the users and it won’t have any impact on sales. I think so.

  4. Hi Harpreet,
    I am New to Affiliate Marketing and yet only Joined Bluehost web hosting affiliate program. this article really going to help me.
    .
    I want to ask a question. i am from india and affiliate program company from us then should i disclose FTC or not.

  5. FTC affiliate disclosure is indeed an vital information for bloggers.Very rightly and clearly given information about displaying your blog and other info. Good compilation.

  6. Adeoluwa Adesanya

    Thanks Harpreet, Most affiliates do not adhere to this. What about having an affiliate disclosure or earning disclaimer at the footer of your website, would that work?

  7. Hi Harpeet,

    How do I control my disclosure if someone else shares my original tweet, pin, comment, or update?

    1. Harpreet Siddhu

      I believe disclosure should be a part of your original tweet, pin, comment or any update. If anyone shares it then the whole original content along with disclosure will go along with that.

      I hope this answers your question. Thanks!

      Harpreet

  8. Hello Sir,

    First of all thanks for such informative article with us.

    I am currently using cuelinks to monetize my blog links, should I have an affliate disclosure >>

    Regards,
    Vinit Patil.

    1. Harpreet Siddhu

      If you are getting any kind of compensation when people buying products from those links then I believe you should need one! But the choice is yours!

      Just an FYI, I am not a lawyer and I do not claim any expertise in this area at all. If you need more information, please refer FTC report here – https://www.ftc.gov/sites/default/files/attachments/press-releases/ftc-staff-revises-online-advertising-disclosure-guidelines/130312dotcomdisclosures.pdf

  9. Hi Harpreet,

    Great that you have mentioned about this, Many new bloggers ignore this disclaimer and some don’t even create disclaimer pages.

    What I think is that a small disclaimer with a link to the disclaimer page should be on every page / post where there is a chance for an affiliate link to appear.

    Thanks
    Niraj

  10. Hi! Harpreet,

    Really Nice Post.

    Transparency is the best way to make people believe in your honesty and thereby establishing an Authority among your visitors which helps in boosting your sales.

    And this post will open many people’s eyes.

  11. You have wrote an good article on affiliate disclosure.I am also planning to do affiliate marketing and it will be very helpful for me.Thank you

  12. Thanks for the article.

    Its making great difference now to understand what’s behind the affiliate disclosure. I’ve been into affiliate marketing for almost a year now and it has changed my life seriously.

    Thanks again for the awesome input.

    Karim

  13. It’s really time consuming to create your own declaimer but it’s worth it. Great post harpreet sir👍👍

    1. Harpreet Siddhu

      Thanks, Santosh!

      You probably can use the Affiliate Disclosure Plugin to add disclosure quickly in your post using shortcodes.

  14. Muhammad Daniyal

    Hi Harpeet!

    One of the greatest informational article I have been ever read. Its very mandatory for any one who want to take his step towards as a affiliate marketer. Thank you Harpeet

  15. Jan Limark Valdez

    Adding Affiliate Disclosures on posts that are either sponsored or affiliated is a must for all bloggers because it gives your readers the truth behind that certain product promotion in the middle of the post.

    Thank You Harpreet for sharing this article.

    All the Best,
    JL

  16. jinka varalakshmi

    I have one doubt for so many days.
    Why big blogs link shoutmeloud or wpbeginner are not displaying FTC disclosure within the post or above the fold. Every blog has a link to disclosure page in the footer only.
    Shoutmeloud or wpbeginner are earning huge income through affiliate marketing. No post has a disclosure statement. Don’t they face any legal issues?
    Will you give any example websites who are using this properly?

  17. Hi Hardeep,

    Great Article, I really liked the Idea of disclosing affiliate Marketing by Jonathan and a bit amazed to see the results too.

    The main thing I understand that users are mostly friendly and want to give credits to Author. If users are willing to purchase something, they want to give credit to whom they get encouraged to purchase the product.

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