Author MarionBlack
2014
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Affiliate Disclosures, FTC Guidelines, What to Write, and Where to Put It

Today we’re going to talk about Affiliate Disclosures and FTC Guidelines.

If you want to get paid by the companies that you’re associated with as an affiliate then you’ll want to be in compliance with the FTC guidelines.

Ignorance is no excuse.

If you’re an associate of Amazon, then make sure you watch this video all the way through as Amazon has their own set of rules which we’ll talk about near the end.

Earlier this month I received some emails from companies that I’m an affiliate for regarding compliance with the FTC guidelines. The crux was that if their affiliates don’t comply, then they won’t pay them any affiliate commissions.

Heck, yeah! We want to get paid!


So let’s get down to the nitty-gritty of what is required by the FTC. It’s a long article so we’ll cut to the chase. The bit you’re interested in is "WHAT ABOUT AFFILIATE OR NETWORK MARKETING?”

FTCs Endorsement Guides - What People are Asking

Don’t take my interpretation of the guidelines as definitive, read it for yourself. I am not a lawyer.

But, in short, if you’re recommending a product or service for which you may receive compensation (affiliate commission) then your audience should be aware of this relationship so they can determine how much weight to give to your recommendation.

What to Write

It doesn’t have to have negative connotations. Make your readers want to click the links on your site.

This is one of the disclosures I use on my site:

The link at the end of the paragraph is to my affiliate disclosure page.

Here's another simple disclosure using a Paragraph block with a coloured background:


Feel free to change the words to suit your own style and circumstances.

Where to Put Your Affiliate Disclosure

So where do you put this disclosure? In a separate page on your site? No. In the footer? No. In the sidebar? No.

The guiding principle is that it has to be clear and conspicuous. The closer it is to your recommendation, the better.

So my suggestion is to put your disclosure just above, next to, or just below your first affiliate link.

But do it! Do it on every page that has affiliate links.

If you don’t then you may not get paid.

Amazon Affiliates

If you’re an affiliate for Amazon then use the exact words that they require in their Associates Program Operating Agreement. “As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.” Or any statement previously allowed under their operating agreement.

Amazon Associates Program Operating Agreement

Do not omit, change, or embellish Amazon’s exact wording (“As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.”) or you won’t get paid.

And getting paid is what we’re here for.

The Amazon associates requirements are in addition to the more generic disclosure you’ll use on your Affiliate Disclosure page.

Please note that Amazon requires a clear disclosure to be "near any associate link or product review". So please do what they require for every single link.

I received this email a few days ago:

More info about Amazon rules by DianeScorpio

More of my Videos and Tutorials

As always I'm here to help you,



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Recent messages
Neuman Premium
Hi, thank you for this video, although I have some clarifications. So to my understanding, I am going to make a page of the "Amazon Associates Program Operating Agreement" exact wording, and then put a brief disclosure within each post that has an Amazon affiliate link directly after or as soon as possible after the first affiliate link and have a link to the full disclosure within the brief disclosure.

Question:
1. I see the "Amazon Associates Program Operating Agreement" starts out with "Welcome to Amazon's website...." this is confusing for me to put on my website as a page word for word because of the beginning introduction statement. Technically, if I copy and paste this onto my page, the "Welcome to Amazon's website....:" doesn't make sense to me for wording being on my website.

So based on your recommendation on how to follow Amazon's and FTC rules, I am going to copy and paste the agreement onto a page starting from here:

" Associates Program Operating Agreement

Updated: September 17, 2021. (Current Associates, see what’s changed.)

Welcome to Amazon’s website for associates (the “Associates Site”), where you can manage your affiliate marketing relationship with the relevant Amazon entities as set forth in Schedule 1 (“Amazon” or “us” or similar terms).

Any person or entity that participates or attempts to participate in our associate marketing program (the “Associates Program” and such person or entity, “you”, or an “Associate”) must accept this......."
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MarionBlack Premium
The Amazon's Associates Program Operating Agreement is an agreement between you and Amazon. Your readers do not need to see this agreement, it's just between you and Amazon. What your readers need to see is “As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.” Exactly that and no more (except as stipulated in the agreement which may change from time to time).

Please read the Amazon's Associates Program Operating Agreement, understand it, and follow it through, exactly as they require.

You do need a separate page for your full disclosure. Use the template in Site Content and adapt it to your own style and circumstances.
Reply
Neuman Premium
Hi, thank you! I was able to leverage off of a few resources to get the breakdown of what is required and now I think my webpage is set up correctly. Thanks for the video. :)
Reply
LiveTesol Premium
Hey thanks Marion!
My website has 7 articles, and I am still learning how to organize them. For now, they are on one page, right under each other, meaning if you stroll down you read the first article, then followed by the second, and the next, and so on.
Do I need to paste the disclosure text in every article or just on top of my website page? This way it will be always visible for visitors reading any article. Or do I need to paste it above every first link in every single article I write?

My theme doesn't allow to add a text/widget on top of the website I think.
How to add the text box in my site?
Can you advice please?
Thanks for your help in advance.
Reply
MarionBlack Premium
The first thing I would do, Dutchy, is to change to a different theme that automatically shows excerpts of your posts on the home (blogroll) page instead of the full article. Can you imagine how long your home page could become when you have 30, 100, or more posts? Try GeneratePress, it's easy to use and very customizable. According to the FTC guidelines you need the short version of your affiliate disclosure close to the first affiliate link in every article. Just having a link to the full disclosure in the menu or footer is not good enough.

Remember that your menu, footer, and sidebar are not visible on the same screen as your affiliate link when your reader is using a mobile device. If you are not sure of the FTC guidelines then please read this https://www.ftc.gov/tips-advice/business-center/guidance/ftcs-endorsement-guides-what-people-are-asking#affiliateornetwork
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LiveTesol Premium
Hi Marion. Thanks I'm straight away watching your video how to change themes. Only the problem is I don't have responsive lay out as an option.
Reply
MarionBlack Premium
When the video was made "responsive" was an option, now all up-to-date themes are responsive. Use the search box to give GeneratePress a try and just use the video as a demonstration of how to change themes.
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LiveTesol Premium
Hi Marion. Here's the screen shot of the options I get, no responsive lay out there..
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LiveTesol Premium
Thanks Marion
Reply
LiveTesol Premium
I activated GeneratePress, but the articles are still under each other. How to change this
TIA
Reply
MarionBlack Premium
Please give me the link to your website so I can check.
Reply
LiveTesol Premium
Thanks Marion.
Also I don't know how to add a photo in the header/top of
my website, just like the examples of the themes have.

https://livetesol.com/
Reply
MarionBlack Premium
We're starting to get somewhere, Dutchy. Now I need a picture of what you want your website to look like. A screenshot or a link to another website would be good
Reply
LiveTesol Premium
Thanks. I gotta work. Talk later today. Cheers
Reply
Christine164 Premium Plus
Hi Marion,
I watched your video about the affiliate disclosure form. I attached the form to my website but I am trying to do the little disclosure paragraph like you did with the link to my affiliate disclosure page. How did you add that to all your pages with link?
Reply
LiveTesol Premium
I found out I have to buy the Pro version. The free themes aren't capable of doing what's needed. Changing the header with transparent image for example. There's many more features free themes won't have.
Reply
rjkennedy Premium
Hi Marion, Thanks for the tip. I followed your advice and used what you posted, but changed it to fit my products. But at the end, I put the 'Full Disclosure' link in, but it opens as a Forbidden '403', but Still shows my Affiliate Disclosure info. Is this normal?
Reply
MarionBlack Premium
No, Ron, that's not normal. Contact Site Support and they'll help you sort it out.
Reply
jadeb113 Premium
Thank you so much for this information! It is super helpful, as I didn't know and couldn't find this information before.

I do have a follow-up question - how do you create the little blue box that you put around your disclosure? I can't even figure out how to add lines to either side of my affiliate disclosure to make it clear that it's separate from the article, which I feel like is key when it's in the middle of the article.

Thank you again! You're a lifesaver!
Reply
EmakAmelia Premium
Hi Jade,

This training can be of help: All the best,
Ferra
Reply
MarionBlack Premium
I used Thrive Architect to create that particular content box but you could use a Paragraph block and change the background colour as I've done in the image below.
Reply
jadeb113 Premium
Thank you both for your help!
Reply
PeterN1843 Premium
Hi Marion,

Thank you for this information! I do have a question about cookies. Whenever I visit some sites, I see a banner on the bottom of my screen. "This site uses cookies". Should I have a similar banner on my site? If so, how do I create one? I'm sure it's necessary to include this banner on my site.

Thank you!

Peter
Reply
keishalina Premium
hey hi Peter ... super questions here for Marion's attention ... she's likely quite busy and surely, she will attend to your query as soon as she sees your questions ....

And just from a common sense perspective, if you are loading 'cookies' onto your website, then, yes, of course, you would need to advise your reader that you have cookies installed ... that's just my 2 cents worth here ....

Appreciate your active participation,

Keep well, Stay strong, all the very best to you for every Success .... :)
Reply
keishalina Premium
... Fantastic! ... big chocolate chip cookie! ... thanks for the cookie, Marion! .... 🍪🍪🍪 .... :)
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