Affiliate Link Disclosures: 10 Examples, Templates, and Best Practices
Do you know when affiliate marketing first began?
The honor goes to William J Tobin, who launched the first internet marketing program on the Prodigy Network in 1989. Today there are countless companies and platforms that offer everyone the chance to earn money through affiliate sales.
If you’re thinking of setting up an affiliate business or blog of your own, you need to know about affiliate link disclosures. In this post, we’ll explain everything you need to know to write your own affiliate disclaimer for your website.
Keep reading to learn more!
What Are Affiliate Link Disclosures?
First and foremost, affiliate link disclosures are not optional. They’re required by law and mandated by the Federal Trade Commission.
You can get into serious legal trouble if you have affiliate links on your website without disclosing that fact to visitors. The same rule applies to sponsorships, endorsements, and other online marketing strategies.
Why does the law require this? For one thing, it’s a way of ensuring fair business practices.
Even more importantly, it creates transparency for your company and allows you to build trust with your audience. Considering only 3% of people find salespeople and marketers trustworthy, you want to do everything in your power to earn that trust.
So, what is this disclosure, exactly? It’s a written statement on your website that informs visitors about your relationships with the brands or products you publicly recommend. You’ll have a separate page on your site that explains your full policy, along with a small disclaimer on every page or post that contains affiliate links.
Affiliate Disclosure Best Practices
It might sound complicated, but affiliate link disclosures are mostly short, sweet, and to the point. Let’s dive a little deeper with some best practices for writing yours.
Make It Obvious
Don’t view your affiliate link disclosures as punishment or something shameful you need to “hide.” In fact, the FTC mandates that your disclosure must be obvious and clearly visible to anyone who lands on your site.
You can (and should) have a dedicated page with your full disclaimer, but this isn’t enough to qualify as “obvious.” You also don’t want to bury your link in a footer or at the end of a post where few will see it.
Most bloggers write a short disclaimer that appears at the top of each post or page. Alternatively, you could include an asterisk beside each affiliate link that directs users to your disclosure at the bottom of the page.
Keep It Simple
You’re not Shakespeare. Save your flowery prose and fancy jargon for another time.
Your affiliate disclaimer should include clear, simple, and easy-to-understand words. There should be no room for uncertainty or doubt in the minds of your readers.
If in Doubt, Disclose
It doesn’t matter whether you’re making money through a blog, social media, or another platform. If you’re an affiliate, you must disclose that fact anywhere you promote or endorse a product.
This also applies to paid reviews and sponsorships, as well as your regular affiliate links. If you use the same links on different pages or in different posts, you need a disclosure with each page or post.
If you’re ever unsure whether you need a disclosure, do yourself a favor and include one anyway. It’s better to be proactive than to risk a legal nightmare down the road.
Good Affiliates Disclosure Examples
So, now you understand what affiliate link disclaimers are and why they’re so important. What should you actually say in yours?
Here’s a roundup of samples and examples you can emulate.
- “This post contains affiliate links. If you use these links to buy something we may earn a commission. Thanks.”
- “Our blog is reader-supported. When you buy through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission.”
- “This post may contain affiliate links. You can read my full affiliate disclosure here.”
- “Disclosure: This is a professional review blog. I am an independent blogger and the reviews are done based on my own opinions. I receive compensation for the products reviewed by the companies who produce them.”
- “Many products featured here are from our partners who compensate us. This may influence which products we write about and how the products appear on a page. However, this does not influence our evaluations. Our opinions are our own.”
- “If you buy through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission. This keeps it 100% reader-supported and free of advertisements or sponsorships. Thanks for your support!”
- “Our independent research projects and impartial reviews are funded in part by affiliate commissions, at no extra cost to our readers.”
- “We might receive commissions if you click on our links and make purchases. However, please know this does not impact our reviews and product comparisons. We try to keep things fair and balanced to help you make the best choice for your needs.”
- “Disclaimer: We partnered with [company name] to bring you this post. All opinions are our own and are not influenced by [company name]. Thank you for supporting the brands that support our blog.
The way you structure yours will depend on the type of site you have and the products or services you endorse. You can put some of your own personality or even some humor into it, as long as you clearly make the point.
At the very least, you need a separate page with a sitewide disclaimer. You don’t need to disclose the exact links that are affiliates or which networks or companies you’re partnered with (unless you want to).
You’ll also need a disclaimer somewhere near the top of each post or page that contains affiliate links. If you don’t want a written disclaimer at the top, you’ll need to place some sort of indication beside each paid link.
Remember: Transparency is key to building trust with your audience!
Write a Great Affiliate Disclaimer for Your Site
Affiliate link disclosures might sound intimidating, but they don’t have to be.
You can keep yours short and sweet, or you can have some fun with it. Either way, make sure it’s displayed in a prominent location on your website and somewhere in every blog post.
Now that you know all about affiliate link disclosures, what’s next? Check out our list of the best places to add affiliate links to make more money in 2020.