Affiliate link disclosures are a legal requirement, whether you blog for money or for pleasure. So if you’re an Australian blogger, here are 3 critical things you need to know about your affiliate link disclosures.
Affiliate link disclosures will impact you, whether your blog takes the form of an online personal diary, a lifestyle commentary, or even if 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. Promotion can take the form of a direct recommendation or just as a referenced item in a more extensive 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 can identify your affiliate ID from the affiliate cookie.
When that happens – WHAM! You get paid a commission on that sale.
If you 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.
Section 18 Australian Consumer Law requires that you do not make false or misleading representations about your commercial relationships. An affiliate relationship is a commercial relationship.
2. What are the legal implications of affiliate relationships for bloggers?
Australian Consumer Law provides for a general ban on misleading representations in business, and affiliate relationships are captured within that ban.
You are expected to openly disclose when you get money for doing something, including receiving a commission or benefit. Failing to disclose an affiliate relationship is a misleading act by omission.
Ethics in marketing
Affiliate Marketers also need to comply with section 2.7 of the ANAA Code of Ethics requiring marketers to ensure any disclosures about a commercial relationship (including affiliate and influencer relationships) are prominent and visible to your audience.
Affiliate link disclosure is not a bad thing. Transparency builds trust with your readers, and disclosing affiliate relationships are about playing fair.
3. What does an affiliate link 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 statement 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 for managing your affiliate relationships as a responsible blogger:
- Be proactive in disclosing
- 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 symbol. 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
- Show your commitment to transparency and ethical conduct to your audience.
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!
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.