Ever wonder how new bloggers start making money: affiliate marketing.
What is Affiliate Marketing?
Affiliate marketing is a way for bloggers to sell other people’s products and services, and still make money. They are essentially an advertiser for a company or brand.
The normal way for a blogger to get involved with affiliate marketing is either through direct communication with a company, through places like Commission Junction (I am not an affiliate with them, but I do use them for some of my affiliate links), or places like amazon.
How does it work:
A blogger signs up to be an affiliate ( a kind of a spokesperson for a product, service, or a company) and will put links into their blog so that people will click it and buy the product. In return, if a person buys is, then they will get paid a commission.
Sounds pretty simple and a easy and quick way to make some cash from your blog, right?
There are things that you need to know before you go sprinkling your posts and pages with as many links as your blog can handle.
Don’t forget to check out more on What is Blog Law?
What Laws apply to Affiliate Marketing:
The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has some things that you should know.
- Disclose, Disclose, Disclose
Blog law is new an emerging, but it many ways it mirrors some of the laws and regulations that we already have. One of the major things being that the FTC wants you to disclose so that consumers are protected.
Here is a little story to help you understand:
If you went to a store and were casually browsing the aisles, then a nice person walks next to you and you get into a discussion about a particular item that your are holding. He starts to tell you how much he loves the item. In fact, it is his favorite item in the entire store. He uses it on a daily basis. You ask, “would you recommend it?” “Of course,” he responds! So, you rush to the cash register and throw your money at the self check out machine (modern analogy). You take it home, and it breaks almost immediately. You are pissed! So, you take it back to the store determined to get a refund, and guess who is standing behind the counter? Yep, the nice random person who suggested this horrible item. You realize that he was a salesman doing his job, but you, as a consumer had absolutely NO clue. He gave you no indication that he was selling you a product so he could make money. You are angry, hurt, and feel like he is a fraud.
Now, take it from your readers perspective. They start reading a post and you are raving about a product and provide a convenient link, and they buy it. Just like you wanted to know, they want to know that you are being paid to endorse this product as well.
So, disclose your links. Tell you readers that you are an affiliate with this product. And don’t be ashamed either, if you are selling it, then you should be proud to stand behind it!
2. Clear and Conspicuous.
The FTC requires that all affiliate links be clear and conspicuous, but what does that really mean?
Well make it clear what this little link does. If a person clicks on it and buys something, then you get a commission. As the FTC says, not everyone knows what an affiliate link is, so quickly and briefly explain it. Make sure your readers know what’s going on in your post.
Don’t try to bury your explanation somewhere were people can’t find it. Put it up front and center. I like to put mine in italics so it’s distinguished. The key thing is to make sure your readers know that in a way you are acting as a salesman.
Doing affiliate links correctly will help keep you and your readers safe.
What some more resources:
****Hey there sunshine! I just wanted to let you know that yes, I am an attorney, but I am NOT YOUR ATTORNEY. The information above does not put us in an attorney-client privilege contract type setting. Even though you are reading this, it doesn’t mean that I am giving you legal advice as an attorney.