Last week on 1st December the FTC (Federal Trade Commission) released its new guidelines for which Internet Marketers, Bloggers and Affiliate Marketers and all product owners and vendors must adhere to.
Ive been researching this for the last few days so I can make sure that Im in compliance, and also to gather info to make this blog post, so that my readers are aware of the changes too.
On my travels I came across a very good webinar recording, which was an interview between a top Internet Marketer, Jim Edwards and Assistant Deputy at The Federal Trade Commission, Mr. Rich Cleland.
You can listen and watch the entire recording here, theres also a full transcript and MP3 version too, but you will have to sign-up to Jims list to get the transcript.
For those who havent got time to watch the whole recording (which is quite long) Ive taken some notes on the parts that will concern us the most, and some of the notes are from other various sources.
Before I go any further I should probably state that Im not a lawyer, and this is not legal advice. So before you apply anything you should seek legal advice from a lawyer or attorney. These are just notes that I took from the above webinar recording that you can watch yourself, and other various sources.
The Main Points That Will Concern You
What It Means For Product Owners
Your sales page must show the customer that any results and testimonials displayed are not typical.
Just including the wording results are not typical is not deemed as clear enough to the customer.
— You must disclose what the average results are.
— Finding out the average results figure is hard to do, so the best way to protect yourself is to just remove/not include any examples of monetary results based testimonials and claims from your sales page.
— You need to take certain steps to make sure any affiliates that promote your product, are doing so by following the new disclosure guidelines
What It Means For Affiliates and Bloggers
You need to disclose any connections you have with the vendor of the product you are promoting, recommending or reviewing.
– For example:
If you have received a free review copy from the product owner, you need to disclose that in your blog post/email etc
— You need to disclose any commission you get from referring the sale.
— Any affiliate links in blog posts and emails needs to have a disclosure notice near it.
— If you have affiliate links or ads in your sidebar, then you need to add a little message to appear in your sidebar stating that you are an affiliate for any products advertised.
Does This Apply To You If You Are Outside The USA?
Yes! If you sell or promote a product on the internet, then it is possible that your customers might be from the US.
– This is especially the case if the product you are promoting is priced in US dollars, but will also most likely still apply even if it is another currency.
Clickbank, CPA networks, eBay, Amazon and several other large affiliate networks are US based, and they adhere to these rules and regulations. So it is in those companies best interests that you follow the guidelines, or they will not shield you from any liability.
That is just a brief summary of the changes, and I really recommend you listen to the entire interview which I mentioned at the beginning of this post.
Ill leave you with an interesting write up regarding the FTC guideline changes, its a blog post by one of my favourite Internet Marketers, Jonny Andrews:
FTC Crackdown: The REAL Death Of Affiliate Marketing
I hope my post and the links Ive provided help you understand the new FTC changes a little better, and also helps to reassure you that its not all bad news.
The changes are there for us as consumers and I actually think they are a good thing, and I dont think theres anything wrong with full disclosure marketing anyway In fact I think it is the best way, and my preferred way of doing things.