April 11, 2014
This week Tricia Meyer(http://www.tricia.me/) hosted a free webinar on the ShareASale blog called “The FTC and You.” For those of you who don’t know Tricia, she runs a rewards site called Sunshine Rewards. She’s also a long-standing member of the affiliate marketing industry who does a great job of keeping everyone informed about the FTC and how its guidelines affect affiliate marketing.
Why is this important? The FTC issues guidelines to prohibit false or deceptive advertising. Because affiliate marketers make money by advertising products and services online, affiliate marketers must abide by the FTC guidelines.
We found Tricia’s webinar to be very informative, and from what we’ve been reading on Twitter and elsewhere this week, we’re not alone.
Here are some highlights of the webinar, The FTC and You:
- Disclosures must be placed “as close as possible” to the claims. If you cannot make the disclosure “clear and conspicuous,” you shouldn’t use the platform for advertising.
- Make sure your ads from the perspective of a “reasonable customer.”
- Don’t use pop-ups for your disclosures as they can be blocked.
- Keep all devices in mind. Will smartphone users be able to see your disclosures?
- Bloggers who monetize their content with affiliate links need to be aware of the FTC guidelines. For instance, if you’re linking to a product or service from a blog post before
- the reader gets to the end of the post, including a disclosure at the bottom of the post is not “clear and conspicuous,” and you’re not complying with the FTC guidelines.
- The rules also apply to social media posts. If you’re using Twitter to promote products/services via affiliate links, you must include a disclosure in the tweet BEFORE the link. Using the word “ad” before the link is recommended. Don’t use “aff” or “spon.”
- Affiliates need to comply with these FTC guidelines, but as Tricia reminded us in the webinar this week, the burden also falls on the merchants and OPMs to create terms of service, educate affiliates and monitor affiliates for compliance.
- The FTC has made it clear that if a complaint is filed against a merchant, the ways in which disclosure is “monitored and enforced” will be taken into account.
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