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Affiliate success depends on authenticity

Posted 5 years ago by Skimlinks

Commerce content is an essential stream of revenue for publishers, allowing them to earn revenue from the content they write and being less dependent on advertising.

In order to differentiate independent content from advertising content, the the United States Federal Trade Commission and the British ASA have issued guidelines on how implied endorsements and testimonials like affiliate marketing must be disclosed to consumers.

At Skimlinks, we believe it’s critical for publishers to disclose their use of affiliate links not only to be compliant with the regulatory bodies recommendations or rules, but so that we as an industry maintain an honest and transparent relationship with our readers.

If you’re using affiliate links, you need to disclose that you may be paid as a result of people engaging with your content. While this article shouldn’t be considered legal advice, it outlines some standards publishers should apply to their affiliate efforts.

Two simple steps to be compliant with regulators guidelines

1. On your site’s “About” or “Disclosures” page
What you exactly say is up to you, but here are a couple of examples of Skimlinks’ customers that we think have good (and very different) approaches to their disclosure page:

2. A clear description at the top of every article or post

Remember that a general disclosure is not enough. The FTC expects consumers to be able to see the disclosure of the relationship on every article or post that has affiliate links.

Here are more examples from Skimlinks clients that appears at the top of articles:

  • The Inventory by Gizmodo “Commerce Content is independent of Editorial and Advertising, and if you buy something through our posts, we may get a small share of the sale. Click here for more.”
  • Buzzfeed “We hope you love the products we recommend! Just so you know, BuzzFeed may collect a share of sales or other compensation from the links on this page.”
  • The Guardian “This article contains affiliate links, which means we may earn a small commission if a reader clicks through and makes a purchase. All our journalism is independent and is in no way influenced by any advertiser or commercial initiative. The links are powered by Skimlinks. By clicking on an affiliate link, you accept that Skimlinks cookies will be set. More information.”

Skimlinks expects all of our publisher clients to follow the intent of the FTC’s guidelines in the US and the ASA’s in the UK and disclose the relationship in a visible, clear way.

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