The Federal Trade Commission requires that publishers disclose to readers and visitors of your site when you endorse a product or service and have a “material connection” to the seller. If you’re using affiliated links, with or without Sovrn //Commerce, you have that connection. Publishers are required to include a disclosure statement on every page and/or promotion where an affiliate link is included and/or placed, regardless of format. The disclosure statement should be clear and concise, stating that you are potentially receiving compensation for traffic generated through your review or endorsement. If you have received a product or service free for review, this must be clearly stated in your disclosure.
The FTC provides the following general guidelines about where and how to place disclosures:
- FTC disclosures must be present on every page that contains an affiliate link, promotion, or where the product/service was provided free for the review
- FTC disclosures cannot be solely located in a site’s Terms of Service, Legal, About Us, or any other linked page
- FTC disclosures must be clear, concise, easily visible, and written using language that most consumers can understand
- FTC disclosures should appear before any links, advertisements, or promotions without scrolling required (“above the fold”)
- FTC disclosures are required regardless of promotional method, medium, or location – content site, forum, email, mobile application, software, social media, etc.
- Click through, hover over, pop-up/under, and button disclosures are not sufficient, in and of themselves
For more detailed information and guidelines on FTC disclosure requirements, please thoroughly review the following FTC resources, located on their website:
- FTC guidelines are available online. (Specifically, §255.5: Disclosure of Material Connections.)
The Federal Trade Commission also makes the the following supplemental resources available on their site regarding FTC disclosure requirements:
- The FTC .com Disclosures Press Release
- The FTC Endorsement Guides
- The FTC Guide for Businesses that Participate in Native Advertising
- The FTC Enforcement Policy Statement on Deceptively Formatted Advertisements
In addition to the FTC disclosures mentioned above, publishers are required to comply with all regional disclosure requirements, where applicable. Additional information on regional disclosure requirements for Europe and Canada can be found at:
Amazon Associates Disclosures
Please be aware that if you are affiliating with the Amazon Associates program through Sovrn //Commerce, you will need to add additional Amazon Associates disclosure language. Section 5 of the Amazon Associates Program Operating Agreement stipulates:
“You must clearly state the following, or any substantially similar statement previously allowed under this Agreement, on your Site or any other location where Amazon may authorize your display or other use of Content: ‘As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.’ Except for this disclosure, you will not make any public communication with respect to this Agreement or your participation in the Associates Program. You will not misrepresent or embellish our relationship with you (including by expressing or implying that we support, sponsor, or endorse you), or express or imply any affiliation between us and you or any other person or entity except as expressly permitted by this Agreement.”
Linking to the Sovrn //Commerce consumer disclosure page with one of our badges is a great way to supplement your required FTC disclosure language.
It’s also a great way to participate in the Sovrn //Commerce referral program. If one of your visitors follows one of those links and signs up for Sovrn //Commerce, we’ll pay you 35% of our commission for the first year!
Data Protection Law Disclosures
Publishers are obligated to use personal data in accordance with applicable data protection laws including, but not limited to, the General Data Protection Regulation. It is the responsibility of each publisher to:
- Identify, disclose, and establish their individual legal basis for the processing and disclosing of data subject’s personal data
- Comply with all applicable transparency requirements for their use and disclosure of personal data including, but not limited to, comprehensive information regarding which cookies are placed by the publisher and Sovrn //Commerce onto users’ computers when a user views a publisher web page or clicks on a publisher affiliate link
- Provide data subjects with all relevant information about how users can opt-out of the use of publisher and Sovrn //Commerce cookies
- Provide data subjects with notification of cookie usage, obtain consent from all data subjects on behalf of Sovrn //Commerce, and provide data subjects with the option to withdraw consent at any time
- Comply with all data subject access rights requests, correspondence, inquiries, and/or communication. Publishers are required to pass said requests onto Sovrn //Commerce for processing, as required under applicable data protection laws, including requests for access, rectification, restriction, erasure, or portability