The rise of the internet has made it easier than ever for the average joe to make a full-time income online. One of the best ways for someone new to make money online is through affiliate marketing.
An affiliate, also known as the publisher, promotes a product and receives a commission each time someone buys that product through their marketing efforts.
On the surface, it seems simple enough. An affiliate will build a website or make a video to review a product. The viewer buys that product through the affiliate link and the affiliate earns a commission.
However, there are affiliate requirements that need to be fulfilled in order to meet the Federal Trade Commission’s (FTC) laws and policies.
Keep in mind that we are not lawyers, and this should not be considered legal advice. However, we do have a ton of great information that will point you in the right direction. Let’s get started!
Federal Trade Commission Rules and Regulations
All too often, affiliate marketers are unaware of the guidelines and policies that are required in order to remain compliant with the FTC.
The guidelines clearly state that they must disclose the fact that they are paid when someone buys a product they are promoting.
To make sure you stay in compliance, you need to understand these five requirements when you are an affiliate for any product.
Placement of the Disclosure
You must display the disclosure on the website, so it is clearly visible and above the fold. It can’t be shoved down to the bottom of the site where the reader can’t see it or has to scroll down to find it.
Be sure that the disclosure is shown before the affiliate link. Just having a disclosure page that you link to in the menu is not enough.
The Type of Disclosure Changes on Each Medium
If you promote products on YouTube and social media sites, you still need to disclose that you are an affiliate and getting paid when they purchase the product.
If you post on Twitter, adding the word Ad at the beginning of the tweet or #Ad could be sufficient since character limits are an issue.
If you are posting on other social media sites or YouTube, it’s important to place the disclosure at the beginning of the post or video.
Do Not Use Fake Reviews or Testimonials
If you put up testimonials on your site, they must be real. If you pay for the testimonial, you must disclose that fact. If you were given a free product to review, you need to tell the reader that.
Be Aware of Copyrights and Trademarks
You cannot just copy any image online to use in your marketing efforts. Make sure that any image you purchase can be used for commercial purposes. Be sure to read the license carefully.
The same goes for Creative Commons images. There are six types of licenses for Creative Commons images.
Some of these state that attribution or credit to the original owner is necessary, while others allow you to use the image in any way you want with no attribution required. Make sure you understand the license for any image you use.
It’s illegal to collect any information from anyone under the age of 13 without parental consent under COPPA (Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act).
Following Affiliate Requirements Doesn’t Have to Be Hard
In the end, you want people to trust you enough to buy a recommended product from you. It’s important to sell products that you would use and not to be deceptive in your marketing.
Make sure that when you send the readers of your website to a product, they know that they are leaving your site.
Abiding by these affiliate requirements to prevent any legal repercussions is easy when you stand behind every product that you affiliate for.
Affiliate marketing has become a profitable way to make an honest living online. If you would like to learn the ins and out of affiliate marketing, check out our blog to read more.