Chances are you’re here because you’re interesting in learning the legal side of things for affiliate marketing. We’ll uncover the truth about… is affiliate marketing legal or is it not?
I’ll be sharing my own knowledge from what I personally do as an affiliate marketer and also based upon the Federal Trade Commission and other reputable sources.
But first, a quick disclaimer.
Legal Disclaimer: This article is for informational and educational purposes only, does not constitute legal advice and does not establish any kind of attorney-client relationship with me. I am not liable or responsible for any damages resulting from or related to your use of this information.
Here’s the quick answer before I get into the details about ways to ensure you’re doing things legally and being compliant with the law as an affiliate marketer.
Affiliate marketing is legal and is a valid business model that can earn you a ton of money. You can practice legal and compliant affiliate marketing by disclosing your affiliate link to promote a product or service and earn a commission for every click resulting in a purchase.
Now, let’s dive deeper into some of the things you need to watch out for when creating a website, using disclosures, and creating ads to run a legal affiliate marketing business.
Ready? Let’s get started. 😃
Is Affiliate Marketing Legal? – A Quick Overview
Affiliate marketing is a legal business model and a way to make money online. As an affiliate marketer, you can promote another company’s products in return for a commission.
However, there are certain legal issues with affiliate marketing that you must be aware of in order to stay compliant.
These legal issues include disclosing any place that you may be putting an affiliate link on a web page such as:
- Blog Posts
- YouTube Channel Description
- Social Media
- Email Marketing
How Is Affiliate Marketing Regulated?
Affiliate marketing is regulated by the governing bodies of a country that are enacting laws and regulations. In the United States, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) regulates the laws centered are affiliate marketing.
Typically, these rights are focused on protecting the consumer of a company’s products. In this way, your audience knows when they’re clicking on an affiliate link and whether or not a company or some other entity is being compensated for it.
The good news is that it inherently builds trust with your brand if you’re open and honest about disclosing your affiliate relationships with companies or whenever you’re doing sponsored content.
There’s a lot of businesses that try to sidestep the law for short-term gains. In the end, the company and business that is upfront and stays compliant by disclosing affiliate relationships will win in the long-term and be much more successful.
List Of Affiliate Marketing Legal & Compliance Issues
A lot of people get into affiliate marketing so that they can earn passive income with very little maintenance or upkeep required to maintain a steady and stable income stream.
It’s important that you run your affiliate marketing business in a legal and compliant manner to help you get to an income of thousands of dollars a month.
Now, let’s take a look at some of the things that are required to stay compliant as an affiliate marketer.
1. Affiliate Disclaimers
The biggest sticking point for most individuals and online businesses is that there are no affiliate disclaimers where there should be.
Since you’re running an affiliate marketing business or are at least planning to start one shortly, you need to recognize the importance of including an affiliate disclaimer.
An affiliate disclaimer should be used wherever you are using an affiliate link to earn a commission. It needs to be on the same page as where your affiliate links are and not require someone to click through to a new page to view the disclaimer. This protects the rights of your audience.
For blog posts, you can either put an affiliate disclaimer at the end of your post, at the beginning, or in the footer of your site. Doing this will help you to stay compliant and not run into any legal issues with your affiliate marketing business.
2. Registered Trademark
Another aspect of your affiliate marketing business or any online business is registering trademarks.
The first place you’ll run into trademarks are setting up and registering a domain name. A great place to identify existing trademarks is using the Trademark Electronic Search System (TESS).
You can use the basic word mark search to look up the domain name you are thinking of purchasing and first see if there’s already a trademark for that name or a similar name which could be conflicting with an existing trademark.
Once your business and brand grow over time, you may want to consider registering a trademark yourself to protect your business.
A copyright protects the rights of creators and authors online and offline.
You can’t use everything online for free. You must either get permission from the copyright owner in writing to be able to use certain content or create original work.
Data security online is critical as an affiliate marketer.
5. Stock Photos & Videos
Stock photos and videos are a critical area of copyright.
There’s a lot of free stock photo sites that you can use but not all of the photos can be used on your own website or in advertisements for commercial purposes.
I recommend using a paid stock photos and videos site or taking your own photos and videos to ensure you stay compliant.
The stock photos site that I use and have found to be really great for finding everything that I need is Deposit Photos.
Legal Implications Of Collecting Personal Information As An Affiliate Marketing Business Online
1. Name and contact details
All personal information that’s being collected needs to be addressed.
Typically, businesses are using an email autoresponder and opt-in forms to collect information.
2. Customer history
Customer purchase history in many ways is critical to determining the ROI (Return On Investment) for your business.
Disclosing how that information is being obtained and kept is also important to share with your visitors and audience.
3. Communication records
Any transactions and communications with customers must be made known and disclosed.
What Steps Are Required To Run An Affiliate Program For Your Product Legally & Efficiently?
Running an affiliate program for a digital product that you’re offering is another aspect of running an affiliate marketing business that you may run in to.
Here are some of the things you need to be aware to be able to run your affiliate program legally.
- Terms Of Your Affiliate Program – The terms and conditions for affiliates are extremely important to avoid legal issues down the line. This can include a description of the program, policies, fee payments, and more.
- Setting Standards For Your Brand – An affiliate application helps to protect your brand. You can narrow down who you want to accept as an affiliate of your products to ensure that they are promoting it because they believe in and have used the product themselves.
Final Thoughts On Whether Or Not Affiliate Marketing Is Legal
Staying compliant and running a legal affiliate marketing business doesn’t have to be difficult to achieve. Remember, always consult an attorney on legal matters for business.
The info provided here should be a starting point on some of the key things that you need to consider when running a compliant business.
Ultimately, by promoting products as an affiliate you need to disclose your relationship with other companies to your audience. This protects the rights of consumers and also helps you in the long run to build a trusted and reputable brand for your online business.
If you’re interested in more posts on affiliate marketing, then you can keep reading by checking out some of the suggested posts below.
I hope you enjoyed this post. This post may contain affiliate links, meaning I get a commission if you decide to purchase through my links at no additional cost to you.