The FTC's Endorsement Guides (Have You Read This?)
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?
What are your thoughts on my idea above?
Wishing you a wonderful weekend,