I’m sure by now you have heard about the new FTC guidelines governing reviews and testimonials used on blogs and websites. This has bloggers and affiliate marketers freaking out. Specifically, about the supposed $11,000 fine for posting a review of a product on your site. This isn’t actually the case and has been misunderstood.
The FTC is not trying to stamp out the review process or regulate every aspect of how affiliate marketers write about and promote products. This has more to do with them writing false and unrealistic testimonials that cannot be achieved or duplicated by the vast majority of the general public.
For certain, this will affect affiliates and bloggers, but what they really want to do is curb the “scam” reviews and bring to the light the relationship of the reviewer and the products or companies that are being reviewed. THAT’S the real issue.
Not the review itself, which is what people actually want to read when they search for products. But the material relationship between the reviewer and the products being promoted.
For instance, if you review widgets and do not disclose that you receive compensation for the “reviewing” of the widget, then it cannot be construed as an honest review because your relationship is based on the compensation, and not actually on your true and honest opinion.
Sure, you may actually have used the widget and think it’s just great. But if you do not disclose that your review and relationship is based on compensation, then it can’t be regarded as a completely unbiased and honest review. This is where the problem seems to arise.
The other issue that seems to be prevalent is the false and misleading testimonials attached to many of the promotions being published these days. So, if the product says “hi I’m Mary, and I lost 124 pounds using this weight loss product”, it must also be stated that these results are not typical of the average user of this product. I think this is actually a good thing and will help curb the false and misleading testimonials attached to most products and promotions.
So, if you have a website or blog and are promoting affiliate products, as most of us are, then it would be wise to have a disclosure policy in place. Almost every company on the planet is pushing the products and services of others, that’s the nature of business.
From your bank, to the car dealership, to your mechanic or your drugstore, every one of them is pushing affiliate products. You simply can’t produce everything yourself. But, if you review and provide testimonials for those said products, you have to disclose that you receive compensation for those reviews.
I personally don’t have a problem telling you that almost every banner, link and product on this page is an affiliate product that I will receive commission on if you buy it through my link. I would hope that you wouldn’t have a problem giving me a commission if I have provided some value to you in the way of an honest review or recommendation.
Someone will get paid when you purchase, regardless if it’s from me or another website. That’s the name of the game. So, hopefully, this sheds some light on the subject. Just be honest and transparent and don’t try to hide the facts. This should be part of your business model anyway.
So, just provide honest reviews and disclose your material relationship with the products or companies you recommend. That’s all. I’m not a lawyer so please educate yourself on all aspects of this matter before making an informed decision.
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