BEWARE of Posting Affiliate Links on Your Blog-Part 2

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29 thoughts on “BEWARE of Posting Affiliate Links on Your Blog-Part 2

  1. Great Article Arindam. I read you first post on this topic and your advice helped me a lot. In fact I was thinking to remove all affiliate links from my blog. Then I got your sample disclosure page. But do I need to add disclosure for all the affiliate links and review in my blog? I a, planning to keep one link to disclosure page at the bottom of post. Waiting for your advice on this..

    1. >>But do I need to add disclosure for all the affiliate links and review in my blog?

      Right now, a sitewide disclosure of all networks/vendors you are affiliated with (check the mamablog's example http://www.mamablogga.com/about/disclosure-policy/), tagging the regular "affiliate ads" as "sponsored ads" (take inspiration from Google Adsense if you need to), and adding a short disclosure at the bottom of your affiliate product reviews are all you can do until the ACTUAL FTC guidelines come out! Their press release is as vague as any Google algo, on purpose of course! ;)

      Here is one example of how you can add a disclosure at the end of your blog article (as you can discern from reading the comments there, people indeed appreciate openness and honesty since it is a rare quality in this day and age):
      http://www.chrisbrogan.com/why-rackspace-cloud-is-my-host/

  2. I don't think this is a massive deal.... It's simple really, just don't be a liar! If you keep that rule and disclose things you will be fine....

    I like your viewpoint and I hope it does cut down overhyped rubbish...

  3. I don't have any testimonials on any of my sites, never have.
    Besides I never bothered to read them if they were on a product site that I was purchasing from.
    I'm in the UK but the majority of my stuff is in the US, as are my customers.
    I am dreading the thought of having to change any links but if that's what must be done then I most certainly will.
    But if the FTC are going to do this to Affiliate Marketers, what about the Salesmen in certain showrooms who do use material which does extend the truth about How good something really is. Are they going to jump all over them?
    Somehow I don't think so!

  4. Hi Arindam,

    This FTC ruling is interesting in that it may help clear out a lot of garbage from the internet. I get tired of reading all the testimonials from people who have tried this or that system or product or all the rags to riches stories. Sales pitches should stick to the benefits of the product or service. Right now, I can just imagine all the dishonest affiliate marketers running off to get fake paypal or clickbank results pages. Google and Clickbank it seems will also need to crack down on all the PPC advertiser landing pages that are full of so much of this type of hype. All this just in time for the Christmas shopping season.

  5. Hi Arindam,

    Very good post and quite helpful in portraying the different ways one could understand this ruling.I think it's going to be interesting to see what products are going to suffer from this because they just aren't as good as the testimonials purport them to be.A lot of advertisers are going to have to rethink their marketing strategies now.thanks for a great informative post.I didn't think it was all that boring because it is useful.

  6. >>I think it’s going to be interesting to see what products are going to suffer from this because they just aren’t as good as the testimonials purport them to be

    Whatever FTC does, I am confident it cannot keep me from writing loooong boring articles! :D That is safe from any FTC rules ;) (kidding)

    Speaking of testimonials, I have soo many to add to my Nuttiezine optin page that I got from subscribers (unsolicited of course; when do I get time to solicit testimonials, lol :D ); have not had time to add them to that page, yet. That has not affected the conversions though! ;)

  7. Hi Arindam

    Well, looks like we have to stick to tell the TRUTH in our reviews and actually BUY what we will review :-)

    Seriously, I think that this will HELP the honest and serious marketers, while it hurt's the slacky ones which are in for a fast buck.

    Take it as a positive move to help you with your task to get a authority.

    G.

  8. Hi... Randy here...
    As a mostly full time blogger and an affiliate marketer, I must say that I'm a little up in the air with the FTC's proposals. I'm going to have to do my homework, as should anyone who works in this area.
    Thanks for the references and links to the information. I'll probably spend most of this weekend looking up all that cr*p.

    Thanks again,
    Randy

  9. Ok, so your article did put me to sleep, not once, but twice :-) But I did get all the way through it.
    On a serious note though, I certainly appreciate you keep abreast of new information like this. If it weren't for posts like this, I wouldn't know about what the FTC is doing to waste the taxpayers' money.
    Thanks for looking out for our businesses...
    Alex

  10. Hi Arindam,

    While I rarely post anything on anyone's blog, as an internet marketer this an issue near and dear to my heart, as it should be to any internet marketer.

    Now, I will try to refrain from expressing any of my personal, politically motivated oppinions over this issue. To do so would deffinately offend somebody. I will however, try to get my point accross. Bye the way, that comes from a military veteran...

    Okay, I just read an FTC article published at http://www.ftc.gov/bcp/edu/pubs/business/ecommerce/bus28.shtm regarding this very issue. It is a long article stock full of links to various other publications that I haven't even begun to explore yet. I will given time. That being said however, I now have well over 500 publicly accessible sales pages I have to review and edit as needed per the proposed FTC guidelines.

    In short, this is what I gather from the FTC article linked to above: If you don't tell a potential customer that you will profit by them purchasing a product you sell as a vendor, you can be fined and / or imprisoned.

    Tell me... Have you ever purchased any goods or services without understanding that by completing the purchase, somebody was going to money from it? Duh!

    From the time my mother gave me that first penny to buy a piece of candy, I understood that I was giving somebody money for something I wanted. It all makes as much sense to me as those warning labels on cigarette lighters that say "Warning: Flamable..." No duh!

    I used to do a lot (a LOT) of affiliate marketing. When the whispers of the propossed FTC changes first came about, I changed all of my affiliate marketing pages. Now I need to make another change to them that says "I may or may not profit from it, you may or not profit from but..." I've halted all but one affiliation. Long story short, take a look at http://home.earthlink.net/~soft_surfer/ and you will get my drift. Bye the way, that page has gotten a lot of attention.

    Oh, and the free products I promote.... Nevermind... That's a whole different story. I do have to add a disclaimer regarding them, though.

    When is enough, enough?

  11. Actually, I am going to disagree with one point you make: that the FTC will go after little guys like us. Before getting into this (and I am so new that I do not even have my 1st 'real' site up yet; though I have playing around on the net for a few years and giving any proceeds from ads to charity) I was in the car biz. While I was in that biz, two large FTC rulings came out. The used car stickers that are supposed to disclose the exact warranty and then the Privacy laws. In both cases, the FTC went after large multi-dealership conglomerates with big name lawyers and lots of cash. Why? The USDA (United States District Attorney) is a big fan of investigations paying for themselves. It is rare that they will spend thousands (and usually millions) of dollars to prosecute an entity that has little chance of paying as much of the final fine to at least cover their costs. In many cases, owners of large corporations paid huge million dollar fines while their employees did jail time. (The employees usually didn't have the money to make a deal.) As far as I know, no small dealerships have even been targeted even though those are the ones with the most violations.

    As to going back and re-doing posts with affiliate links in them, Because they were 'published' before the law went into effect, they are 'grandfathered'. The only exception to that might be a home page, but even if there are no changes to a home page, I believe it would also be exempt. (But just change one word and you better comply!) At least, that was the ruling in '04 during the DMCA uproar about copyright. (Can you see a Cosmopolitan representative coming to your house in case you had an old Cosmo magazine after a law that effected them was passed? Lol.)

    As far as I can tell, if you have ANY testimonials on your pages, you MUST include a disclosure that states what a 'TYPICAL' buyer's result is (not USER)! Same for any claims, outrageous or not.

    The other thing I am understanding is, that the disclaimer must be on the same page, within a 'reasonable' proximity of the affiliate link. The disclosure tool results in almost half a page of disclosure. That would mean if you had one affiliate link on each page, half your content would be there just to satisfy legal obligations! (talk about duplicate content! :)) Linking to a disclaimer in small font at the bottom of a page with an affiliate link would NOT be satisfying the current draft of this legislation. Neither would linking to it anywhere in any size font. The current draft clearly states a local and complete disclaimer on the same page as the affiliate link.

    The best way around the testimonial part is to leave out any specific results. Testimonials will likely be more like "I was really impressed with Jack Off's system. It worked really good for me." Lol.

  12. Hi Arindam,

    I wondered how the FTC could apply their rules to people from countries other than America, but your information cleared that up for me. Thank you! I guess we'll just have to see what they come up with on Dec. 1st. Thanks also for the sample disclaimers.

    Renee

  13. >>As far as I know, no small dealerships have even been targeted even though those are the ones with the most violations.

    Thanks Mark. If what you are saying indeed is true, then we can all sleep better at night lol. As far as I know, I am too "little" a guy to get noticed, but we won't know anything for certain until the judgement day comes-1st of December :D

    >>As to going back and re-doing posts with affiliate links in them, Because they were ‘published’ before the law went into effect, they are ‘grandfathered’.

    I thought so too. I am not going to do it anyway, and don't think anyone else should unless they have nothing better to do ;)

    Yes, the disclosures are a bit big; they are designed to work for their PPP business, not anything else. ;)

  14. I hope the FTC is going to crack down on the drug company's and corporate advertisers that lie about their testimonials with actors and actresses pushing dangerous drugs on the public. I think that is far more harmful to people than a guy selling a product on the internet.

    Seems like they are targeting the Guru's ....not us little guys.

    As long as you post your disclaimer...and don't break the rules you should be okay.

    Since I make my own products- I know what they will and won't do and I don't sell products I haven't tried myself. Rule of thumb "Cover your butt".

    Hopefully this will clear out the big guru's who are making outrageous claims.

  15. Arindam,

    This post is anything but boring. You really hit the bullseye. The FTC ruling is not really a bad thing. I think it levels the playing field. Most people are honest. Some are not. Tough tootsies for them.

  16. I agree-they should go after Google first-they have spammy links all over the place. Google has deep pockets too-a very easy target. No more spam from Google. Has a good ring to it.

  17. I do not agree with our government getting involved in anything, but unfortunately the rules are here and it is something we have to live with if we are to continue as affiliate marketers. Such is life in our business, everything changes and we must adapt or die.

    I think what really spurred this on were the offers where you pay $1.97 one time, but in the fine print you will then be charged $97 per month after 7 days. I never did agree with these offers and I do not promote them unless I have used them with success myself.

    If the scammers would have stopped making false claims, then we wouldn't be dealing with this. Unfortunately, we are and we'll have to cope.

    BTW, I did make it all the way through your post. I did find myself scanning instead of reading and comprehending too much though :)

  18. It isn't just the scammers. Most people (I believe the figure is almost 97%, but don't quote me.)of people that buy an IM or 'work at home product either fail to read it or do not implement it AT ALL.
    While there are a good number of IMers that will actually design a product to fail, and at the newbie's most vulnerable point in the process; most of the systems have at least one good idea that IF IMPLEMENTED will improve the buyer's bottom line. Some take a few months to make a difference and some start making a difference right away.

    Then after not reading or implementing the product, the buyer buys a different product he also fails to read or implement. Eventually local congressmen and senator's email folders are full of lazy people looking for a magic pill to solve their problems and feel they need to do something or face a beating at the polls the next election.

    That is not to say there is not a lot of evil going on on the net. The net has come a long way since 1991, but there are still areas that could be classified as 'the wild west'. Because of the money that can and is being made in IM, that is the current 'Gold Rush' and it attracts all sorts of 'characters' both good and bad.

    Doc Nielsen and Frank Kern are great examples of 'characters' that use their powers for good. (I love Frank's blog!) For every good, it seems there is at least one 'bad one' that gives IM a bad name.

    In this current economy, there is a glut of people turning to the net to try to find an income. It also happens to be true of me, but for different reasons; I was in a car accident and can no longer work a 'real' job. I bought a ton of 'crap', but I also have some really good stuff, much of it worth more than I paid for it. Part of my 'implementation problem' was I could tell some was crap and I didn't know which product was accurate or which would lead me astray.

    I have finally (with help) figured some of it out and am currently embarking on my 1st project. After it is up and tweaked, I'll be able to revisit some of the items I bought and glean some good things to do to improve what I am doing. (Then of course, I'll do it again...and again until I am making enough to feed the dogs and pay the mortgage)

    It doesn't happen overnight and it doesn't happen without work. I understand the frustration a laid off person feels coming into this biz for the 1st time. Suddenly everything he does and every decision he makes decides his fate! And truth be told, no one really cares if he is a success or not, (although there are those that, though they sort of really do care, they are not going to mail him the rent check this month, either). In the past all he had to do was his little part in a big company and now he is CEO, Secretary, Treasurer, middle management and worker! It can be overwhelming and it can be scary, especially if feeding a 10 year old child is on the line.

    The current FTC ruling will likely scare more newbies from even trying to internet market than it will do to protect them. The 'bad ones' will find a way around it and a few Gurus will get 'hit' as an example, but for most of us, other than changing a few words in our posts and pages, not much will change.

    As I see It,
    Mark

    PS-Arindam, you didn't have to do that. It was nice and heartwarming, but I come by here because I like you. Thank you, when I get what I am doing going, I'll drop you the link and you can come say hi to me once in a while. Lol. Thanks again,
    Mark

  19. >>Arindam, you didn’t have to do that. It was nice and heartwarming, but I come by here because I like you.

    Thanks. I know, but it was a token of appreciation for your hard work. I know you don't need that, lol ;)

  20. Good marketers are moving towards a more open and honest approach towards their product now.

    Personally I prefer to buy from people that I feel I can trust and they tend to be the people that are honest in the description of their product or service.

    If somebody tells me I can make money within a week the alarm bells start to ring for me.

  21. @Sean,

    Well you definitely CAN make money in one week IF:

    a) You have lots of assistants to work for you for cheap (slave labor, that is)

    b) You have gobs of money to spare ;)

    Those are the (bitter) truths I have hardly read in any salespage so far (for obvious reasons), but once you know the game, you would never, I say never look at those salespages in the same way again!

  22. Hmm... I read blogs on a similar topic, but i never visited your blog. I added it to favorites and i'll be your constant reader.

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