Are you a blogger? For money or pleasure? If so, there are 3 critical things you need to know about affiliate link disclosures as an Australian blogger.
Does your blog take the form of an online personal diary, a lifestyle commentary, or do you run a blogging business?
However you choose to show up as a blogger, you may be considering affiliate relationships as a form of making money from your blog.
How do affiliate links work in simple tech terms?
First of all, a blogger becomes an affiliate to make money from promoting a product or service within their blog. This can take the form of a direct recommendation or just as a referenced item in a larger post.
The blogger includes a unique affiliate link to a product or service in the text of their post.
Usually, the blogger has tried or used the item they recommend, but not always. Their readers then use their unique link to go to the affiliate product or service website to buy.
Affiliate cookies containing your unique affiliate ID are deposited on your reader’s website when they follow that link. Then, if they buy, the owner of the product or service is able to identify your affiliate ID from the affiliate cookie.
When that happens – WHAM! You get paid a commission on that sale.
If you are want to use affiliate links in your blog, here’s what you must know:
1. Are you required to disclose affiliate links to your readers?
Yes. In Australia you are.
2. What are the legal implications of affiliate relationships for bloggers?
Australian Consumer Law states that if you receive an affiliate commission for referring customers you must disclose this relationship.
This is not a bad thing. Transparency builds trust with your readers and disclosures are about playing fair.
3. What does an affiliate disclosure statement look like?
It should read something like this:
Disclosure: The links provided in this blog are affiliate links. I will be paid a commission if you use this link to make a purchase.
This is the bare minimum. You can make it as long or as short as necessary. However, much depends on the nature of the blog, the trust your readers have in you, and if the product or service is one you have tried and genuinely love and if you want to convey that message.
Tips to manage your affiliate relationships as a responsible blogger:
- Be proactive in disclosing
- Have a customised template that speaks to your reader about your affiliate relationship in a way that shows your commitment to transparency in your relationship with your readers
- Place your affiliate disclosure statement at the top of your blog post. That way if your readers are not a fan they can leave before feeling like their time has been wasted
- Place a disclosure indicator or reference near your affiliate link using an asterisk or another indicator. Then, repeat the disclosure referenced by the asterisk or marker at the end of the link
- Use clear and direct language to ensure your readers understand that you will get paid as a result of them buying through your affiliate link
- Do not use complicated language that is legalistic or jargon as this will confuse your readers. Some may not understand the nature of your relationship with the business service or product you are promoting
- Use an affiliate disclosure statement on every page where the affiliate link appears
BONUS: Free Checklist
Any website, including simple blogs, requires certain disclosures and legals. Download my free Website Legals Checklist to make sure you are covered!
Lawyer, Contract Specialist, Speaker & Advocate for Women in Business.
Drawing on more than 15 years’ experience as a lawyer and a woman in business, Shalini Nandan-Singh helps Australian service-based entrepreneurs protect their businesses and their bottom lines with empowered legal advice and contracts.
Encouraging listeners to #loveyourlegals, Shalini firmly believes that business legals should be an authentic extension of your business. Her goal is to educate audiences that, rather than confusing legalese, business legals should be an authentic extension of your business, creating positive business boundaries that support you in working with your clients with compassion and understanding.
Disclaimer: This blog is written to support business owners to consider legal requirements and issues that may arise in business. The information provided is for general and educational purposes only. It is not intended as legal advice for your individual circumstances. Please consult your lawyer for advice specific to you and your business.