New FTC Rules Require Disclosure of Affiliate Relationships

October 5, 2016

No matter what business you conduct in what location in the world, there are always government rules that can get in the way dictate how you do business. Recently the Federal Trade Commission modified their rules above how those of us who talk about products must disclose relationships. As with most government rules, it isn’t as clear as one would like.

Situations where they are requiring more disclosure is when you have a “relationship” with the product or service in some way. For example, if I am given a product that I review, I must disclose that I was given a product. This even applies if I have to return the product after the review. If I’m paid to write about a product, I have to disclose that as well. Should that happen, it would be the first time I’ve ever been paid to write about something.

Where things most likely apply to mean is if an “affiliate link” is involved. Often the products I write about are sold by Amazon. When I link to the product I use a special link so that I earn a (very) small commission from Amazon. I’ve never tried to hide this from readers. For those who don’t buy at Amazon, I get nothing. Bad for me, but you can buy the product wherever you feel most comfortable. I write about products I like and often about products I’ve purchased. Making a few pennies in commission to me is an added bonus.

As I understand the new rules, I have to declare that a link is an affiliate link somewhere before the link appears. So in the future you’ll see some silly sentence in my posts stating this because the government forces me to do it. While I don’t think this rule was designed for someone like me, there are some shady folks out there who hide their relationships and write good things because they are paid to do so.

The majority of my loyal readers have been reading my blog posts for years. Therefore I wanted to explain this new rules in today’s post so those loyal readers will understand why future posts about products will have the goofy extra disclosure sentence. I do appreciate when you use my links to purchase as it does pay a little bit each month.

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Foster D. Coburn III

Foster D. Coburn III built his first Web site in 1995 and he has been working exclusively in WordPress since 2013. He has used the Divi theme exclusively since 2015. Earlier in his career he was the author of 13 best-selling books on CorelDRAW and has been a contributor to numerous technology and graphics-related magazines. Foster has taken many projects, including this Web site, from the early design stage through to a finished piece. He has been a featured speaker at many graphics conferences.

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