FTC Disclosure Rules for Affiliate Marketing

Navigating FTC Disclosure Rules for Affiliate Marketing

The U.S. Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has specific rules around disclosing affiliate relationships. All publishers and advertisers in affiliate marketing need to understand these guidelines to ensure compliance. Failure to properly disclose affiliate links can result in hefty fines from the FTC.

The core requirement is that any content which contains affiliate links must clearly inform the audience of the financial relationship. Consumers should be aware when recommendations result in affiliate commissions for the publisher.

The FTC looks for clear and conspicuous disclosures. Simply stating a website participates in an affiliate program is not enough. Every individual page or post with affiliate links needs a visible disclosure.

Common ways to disclose affiliate links include:

  • Starting a review post with a statement like “This article contains affiliate links. I may receive a commission when you make a purchase after clicking my links.”
  • Placing a disclosure in the author bio of a blog that affiliate links are used. But this must be on each page, not just the home page.
  • Using text such as “Paid link” next to each affiliate link so users know that specific link is monetized.
  • Adding a website-wide affiliate disclaimer page that is easy to find and prominently linked in the footer of every page.

The language can vary but should clearly state when the content creator has a financial incentive or affiliation with a brand being recommended. The key is transparency with the audience.

Ambiguous statements like “sponsored” or “promoted” may not be enough according to the FTC. The relation should clearly be identified as an “affiliate” arrangement.

Affiliate marketers need to monitor updates from the FTC, as disclosure requirements do change over time. Stay compliant by proactively implementing disclosures across all content using affiliate links. Make it abundantly obvious to visitors when monetized recommendations are being made.

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