The FTC's Endorsement Guides (Have You Read This?)

Last Update: June 21, 2019

Have you ever clicked on the link provided in the Disclosure template to read the FTC's article about disclosing the nature of your relationships to the information (namely, products) you present on your website?

To be honest, I hadn't checked it in a while. No need here, really, as Kyle and Carson make sure it is up-to-date and provides what's necessary for all of us to stay compliant (as with everything else they research and keep up-to-date for us).

I happened to notice though while exploring other sites for some new research, that many bloggers include a Disclosure Statement on each post (not just the Disclosure Page, wherever you may have decided to display it).

One Page Only or Add Multiple Statements?

The quote below is from the Affiliate Marketing section of the FTC's Endorsement Guide:



"WHAT ABOUT 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. What do I have to disclose? Where should the disclosure be?

If you disclose your relationship to the retailer clearly and conspicuously on your site, readers can decide how much weight to give your endorsement.

In some instances – like when the affiliate link is embedded in your product review – a single disclosure may be adequate. When the review has a clear and conspicuous disclosure of your 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. You could say something like, “I get commissions for purchases made through links in this post.” But if the product review containing the disclosure and the link are separated, readers may not make the connection.

As for where to place a disclosure, the guiding principle is that it has to be clear and conspicuous. The closer it is to your recommendation, the better. Putting disclosures in obscure places – for example, buried on an ABOUT US or GENERAL INFO page, behind a poorly labeled hyperlink or in a “terms of service” agreement – isn’t good enough. Neither is placing it below your review or below the link to the online retailer so readers would have to keep scrolling after they finish reading. Consumers should be able to notice the disclosure easily. They shouldn’t have to hunt for it."



It continues with several other common questions and answers, as well as this statement:

"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."

Minimum Necessary vs Maximum Effort?

Is it worth it?

Though it may be unnecessary, I started to contemplate reasons why it may be beneficial to have the additional statements. After all, in most cases, it's only a sentence or two.

Here's one question I asked myself:

How often do readers actually click on the link to read the full Disclosure Page?

I think, not often.

But, for the few readers who do, what would the benefit be to me?

Well, for one, it's serves it's obvious purpose. My relationship with any product link is made very clear. The reader has an understanding that I receive a small commission when the provided links are used.

But, two, and this is a stretch... as I said, I don't think many people actually click through to the Disclosure Pages... but if they do, it would increase the time spent on my site, just as when they click through to any other page by way of an internal link.

So, I'm thinking I may go ahead and add them (with my newest SAC site and going forward), on the off chance that the few people who click through will only benefit me. I see no reason not to do it.

I'm curious to know, how many of you stick with the one clearly visible Disclosure Page, and how many of you include a Disclosure Statement in each post that contains affiliate links?

And...

What are your thoughts on my idea above?

Wishing you a wonderful weekend,

Cris

Join the Discussion
Write something…
Recent messages
FKelso Premium
Cris, on my cat website, under my "about" heading I have my "about me" page, a privacy policy page, a terms and conditions page, and an affiliate disclosure page. Also, if I sell any products from Amazon I put a short disclosure statement at the bottom of the website, because Amazon requires you to do so. Hope that helps.
Reply
N33 Premium
Hi Fran,

This is exactly what I did 3 pages under one page. Only the short disclosure statement is missing. Does it have to be from Amazon alone, or how do you do that?
Reply
FKelso Premium
There used to be a disclaimer page with site comments that we could use, and that is where I got mine. I don't know what happened to it. I don't think it's there any more..
Reply
N33 Premium
Thank you, Fran, I don't know either, but anyway I shall have it in French, so I will investigate more.
Reply
cris1018 Premium
Hi Fran!

So, in the FTC quote above, it says that putting our disclosure inside of an About page "isn't good enough", but I think if you are also presenting it at the bottom of your site as you are, independently, than that should be clear and acceptable, right?

I had mine clearly visible in a Footer link, but now am adding to my posts, too, cuz now that I've tried it, I like it :-)

Thanks for the reminder about Amazon. I don't know if I knew that before. (or maybe I forgot)
Reply
RosanaHart Premium
On my newest sites I have an above-the-fold line in the theme so it shows on every page and post. It's above the header and it says:

I may make a commission on things you buy through this site. More info: click here.

The link takes them to the page that has the usual Amazon boilerplate and other writing.

An example can be seen by going to my profile page and going to my site that begins with the letter Z.

On my older sites I do something similar at the top of the sidebar.
Reply
cris1018 Premium
Ok. Thank you, Rosana! I will definitely take a look at your Z site and check that out.

I considered the sidebar option too, which would serve the same purpose for themes where the sidebar is always visible. But then I thought if I change the look, or the theme altogether, then I may end up going back and adding to my posts anyway. Sooooo, posts it is. Fast, easy, always there.

Thanks, again :-)
Reply
cris1018 Premium
Just wanted to say that I checked out your Z site with the above-the-fold disclaimer. Now that I see it, I recall that I noticed that on a few other sites as well. I like that as another option. Thanks again for sharing!

If anyone else is wondering what this looks like, go to Rosana's site to see an example!
Reply
RosanaHart Premium
I put it up high because the FTC wants it very visible, according to what I've heard. Putting it in a footer is not really all that likely to be noticed.
Reply
cris1018 Premium
Yes, according to their quote above, they want clearly visible statements, and there's no such thing as too many!

(Before this I was only using my Footer. :-/ I left the Footer, but now added to the posts as well.)
Reply
DValentine Premium
I've seen some sites that have the words "Paid Link" on a button directly before the affiliate link - that button (if clicked) takes the reader to the disclosure page.

I might try this on my next site - see if it affects CTR in any way
Reply
DValentine Premium
Not 'site' I meant 'post' - apologies
Reply
cris1018 Premium
Ahhhhhhhh. I don't recall if I've seen that variation before, but I wasn't really paying attention to all this until I realized I was seeing so many post statements on other websites.

Yeah, I'm definitely not expecting to see a great difference in click through, but I figure if a couple people take the time to view it, then it's a couple more than it would have been!

I went with the italic statement just after the intro look, and I like it! I'm going to continue with that for a while, I think. Although, the 'paid link' button may raise more curiosity. Hmmmm. Keep me posted on that :-)
Reply
Jollysteet Premium
PS: Maybe it will have the readers interest and they will investigate to see what WA is all about and earn a referral!
Reply
cris1018 Premium
Hey! There we go! Best case scenario. Love it! :-)
Reply
SaraPoyner Premium
We were having this discussion in chat the other day. I think there are so many different variations out there on websites and so many different wordings, it can get incredibly confusing for us new guys. So thank you for sharing Cris
Reply
cris1018 Premium
Yes, I've seen many variations as well. I think as long as you have the word 'disclosure' in there somewhere, you're good to be creative with your own statement.

It seems like overkill, really, to have it in every post, and the main thing is to just make sure you have the Disc Page clearly visible on your site, but now that I've played around with it a bit and implemented it into my latest post, I like it!

I'm not expecting much to change as far as click through (I know I never look at other people's disclosures) but you never know. Can't hurt, and doesn't take any extra time or effort, right?!
Reply
bleumoon Premium
I have it in my top menu with the privacy policy titled legal papers.

I had started on my recipe site having it at the top of every post going to change it to the last few lines of the intro I usually also put it in italics as to distinguish and bring attention to it.

I really appreciate this post and thanks for helping to keep me compliant. I am going to put it into my SAC site on each post as well.

Blessings,
Lynda
Reply
cris1018 Premium
Similarly, I just implemented this on my latest post in italics just after my intro. I like it! I think I'm going to stick with that.
Reply
bleumoon Premium
I did too..
Reply
Jollysteet Premium
Thanks for bringing this up. I'm new with WA and in researching where I want my own interest to be I saw this type of statement on an Amazon affiliate website and wondered about it. Thanks again, Bob
Reply
cris1018 Premium
Welcome to WA, Bob! :-)

As you continue through the training, Kyle walks through customizing the Disclosure template, and adding it to your site as a Page. That is the main necessity.

These ideas are additional, and, as you've seen, vary from site to site. It's always good to see what others are doing and how / why/ etc. Helps you on your own journey! (and keeps us all on our toes!)
Reply
TimMoto Premium
This is timely as I’m in the process of overhauling my site and will place the disclosure at the end of and as a part of the post, not in the footer. Up to now, I was not consistent from post to post to be honest, although I do have the disclosure statement as a separate post, which I’ll maintain as well. Thanks, Cris.
Reply
cris1018 Premium
You're welcome, and thanks for sharing your plan of action as well!
Reply
N33 Premium
Haha, you are right, we should lead our reader to check and read the disclosure in full and put it in a smaller font to stretch the view time...

I have mine as a page under Privacy Policy though.
Reply
cris1018 Premium
Hey Anne!
You may want to pull up the link and double check on having it placed within another page. I think it specifically says we need to have it independently displayed, and not inside of another page ?(unless you've also displayed it on your Homepage? I know you can choose more than one area)
Reply
N33 Premium
Thank you, Cris, I will have to consider that, so I put it on my bucket list as from Monday!
Reply
cris1018 Premium
Ok. Let me know what you end up determining after your research and interpretation... so nice to have additional sets of eyes on things and share opinions. Thank YOU! Have a wonderful weekend :-)
Reply
Fleeky Premium
Great share
Well written
Trully enjoyed
❤️
Reply
cris1018 Premium
Well, thank you :-) I appreciate it!
Reply
lesabre Premium
Hi Cris, Thank you for sharing this information

Michael
Reply
cris1018 Premium
Hey Michael! Thanks for stopping by :-)
Reply
bellison0828 Premium
Hi Cris,

I haven't gotten that far in my training yet. But now that I know, I'm ahead of the game.

Thanks
Blessings~
Brenda
Reply
cris1018 Premium
Welcome to WA Brenda!

Yeah, the necessity is that we have the Disclosure Page in a clearly visible spot on our site. Honestly, mine is usually a Footer link.
But, why not use it as an extra internal link? Just food for thought, and curious to see what others here do. Keep an eye on this post, and hopefully you'll see some more comments!
Reply
Joes946 Premium
Great article Cris. I have been happy with the one spot. May need to rethink that.
Thanks
Joe
Reply
cris1018 Premium
Same here, Joe. I usually just have a link in my Footer, but I'm going to try the additional internal link thing and see if I get any extra clicks.
Reply
Top