As an industry, affiliate marketing can occasionally get a bad rap for not being transparent with users. We believe there’s no reason why this can’t be a thing of the past if you follow some good practice and open communication principles. Whilst there are some poor websites out there that abuse affiliate marketing, there are also many content-rich editorial sites created by dedicated people who just want to make some money from what they love doing by using affiliate links.
This is a win-win-win marketplace, with publishers making money from content, merchants making more sales, and consumers getting honest recommendations and finding new products; but it’s important to be transparent as to how you make your daily bread.
As a leading player in the affiliate marketing space, we encourage all our publishers to comply with the FTC guidelines that state “the post of a blogger who receives cash or in-kind payment to review a product is considered an endorsement. Thus, bloggers who make an endorsement must disclose the material connections they share with the seller of the product or service.”
We recommend that you read through the FTC guidelines yourself to see how they apply to your site; however, to help you on the way, we’ve created some handy tools and tips to make disclosure easy for you.
Disclosure can be performed in a number of ways:
Skimlinks Disclosure Badges
- Minimum: Disclosure text included in the ‘About us’ or ‘Privacy’ section of your site
- Recommended: A link in the footer or navigation bar to a dedicated disclosure page or acknowledgment of monetisation of links in each article
Available to all Skimlinks publishers, to help you maintain an honest relationship with your users, we’ve created some smart Skimlinks badges that can be placed on your site and will disclose your use of Skimlinks technology in a small info pop-up.
These badges are also part of our new Referral Program
helping Skimlinks publishers to comply with FTC guidelines
while simultaneously rewarding you for referring other high quality content sites to Skimlinks. We’ll have more on the Referral Program soon so keep your eyes on our blog, or register now and we’ll contact you when it is live.
Keen to get started? Here are some websites using affiliate marketing with good examples of disclosure statements:
NPR.org explains their merchant relationships and that the links on their shopping site are affiliate links with the money they make helping to fund their service. They also make contact information readily available to users. On Jangro.com, Scott Jangro tells his users that his site uses advertising and some links within content that may earn him a commission, but that his content is not influenced by the advertisers or affiliate relationships.
What great disclosure examples have you seen? We love seeing how publishers retain transparency with their users. And if you have any questions about our Disclosure Badges or new Referral Program feel free to contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Mark Macdonald is the Account Director at Skimlinks. You can follow him on Twitter here: @markofmac