AB #431 | What Merchants, Affiliates and Bloggers Must Know About FTC Disclosure Guidelines for 2016

Welcome to another edition of The Affiliate Buzz, where affiliate marketers have been coming to be inspired, informed and motivated to succeed since way back in 2003. Arlene is away today, but James is joined by CPA and attorney, Andrew B. Gordon to discuss what merchants, affiliates and bloggers need to know about the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) Disclosure Guidelines for 2016.

Andrew Gordon graduated from the University of Illinois with a BA and Masters Degree in accounting, and went on to get a law degree from Chicago-Kent College of Law. Andrew previously worked in tax at a big-four public accounting firm and clerked at the IRS Office of Chief Counsel during law school. He concentrates his legal work in the areas of tax controversies and compliance, corporate litigation, and FTC litigation and compliance. His dual preparation as a CPA and attorney makes Andrew the person to advise online merchants, affiliates, bloggers, podcasters and influencers about the evolving FTC requirements.

How Did We Get Here?

As affiliates, advertisers and influencers, we all want to make money. At the same time, as consumers we want to be protected and to know that no one is pulling the wool over our eyes. The FTC was established over one hundred years ago to prevent unfair competition and to protect consumers by preventing deceptive acts. Recent actions have made it clear that this applies to the online marketplace including blogs, podcasts and social media postings. The FTC has recently issued new guidance for making effective disclosures in digital marketing.

The Latest (2016) Guidance from the FTC

So what do the Guidelines say? Trying to get your head around government requirements can be a little intimidating. Andrew is here to help us understand the gist of the FTC disclosure for affiliate marketing. In a nutshell, online marketers are required to disclose their relationships with advertisers and merchants in clear and unambiguous language. But what does “clear and unambiguous” mean? It means a lot of things – that you can’t use a minuscule, hard to read font for your disclosure. It means that the disclosure for a YouTube influencer should be included in the video. Even Tweets need a disclaimer and Andrew will tell you how to do it without using up half of your 140 characters. Andrew will explain exactly what how the FTC requirements are applied to different forms of digital media. Listen now to hear:

  • The history of the FTC oversight and how FTC oversight is currently applied
  • What the FTC disclosure for affiliate marketing require
  • What recent case decisions tell us about FTC expectations
  • How aggressive the FTC will be in pursuing small, individual online marketers
  • How disclaimers should differ according to media type
  • Who is responsible for ensuring disclosure
  • How the FTC guidelines apply to influencers
  • Strategies for complying with the FTC guidelines when using Twitter, Instagram and Facebook
  • How advertiser can ensure their affiliates are complying with the disclosure guidelines
  • Why advertisers need an affiliate manager

Want More Information?

If you would like to get more information from Andrew, you can find him at https://www.gordonlawltd.com or call him at 847-580-1279. You will also have the chance to hear from Andrew at the upcoming Affiliate Summit in New York.

And if you want the information directly from the horse’s mouth, here’s the FTC feature articles and guidelines - https://www.ftc.gov/tips-advice/business-center/advertising-and-marketing/online-advertising-and-marketing

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