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Affiliate Program Advertisers Must Take Care Not to be Misleading

Many businesses run affiliate programs.  That is, a publisher or blogger will receive a commission for referring people to the website of the business.

For example, The Circle is a good novel that considers the future of social media, and I will receive a small commission if you buy The Circle from Amazon via this link:  https://amzn.to/3pawSJK  Or better still, buy my book!  https://amzn.to/3vl85Dy

There are even affiliate programs for bitcoin purchases https://app.bitcoinlatinum.com/invite?ref=UD03527

Amazon recently emailed the following to their affiliate program members (which they call an Associates Program), to ensure that the affiliate is not acting in a misleading way (which is not uncommon):

This is a recurring reminder that any time you share an associate link, it’s important to disclose that to your audience. They will trust you more if you are transparent about where you are directing them and why. To meet the Associate Program’s requirements, you must (1) include a legally compliant disclosure with your links and (2) identify yourself on your Site as an Amazon Associate with the language required by the Operating Agreement. 

To comply with Federal Trade Commission (FTC) regulations, your link-level disclosure must be: 

1. Clear. A clear disclosure could be as simple as “(paid link)”, “#ad” or “#CommissionsEarned”. 

2. Conspicuous. It should be placed near any associate link or product review in a location that customers will notice easily. They shouldn’t have to hunt for it. 

In addition, the Operating Agreement requires that the following statement clearly and conspicuously appears on your Site: “As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.” For social media user-generated content, this statement must be associated with your account. 

To read more about the FTC Endorsement Guides, visit: https://www.ftc.gov/tips-advice/business-center/guidance/ftcs-endorsement-guides-what-people-are-asking#affiliate. 

Visit this page on AC to bookmark this information about disclosures.

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