A Minefield For Affiliate Marketers

Posted by Neville on September 13, 2011 under Blogging, Money | 2 Comments to Read

Have You Disclosed Your Interests?

Affiliate Marketing is one of the major activities of many bloggers. It is often the reason for establishing niche blogs, to be able to provide content based on the topic of that niche, so that readers are attracted to the site, and then may buy from the links and advertising on the blog.

Some recent events may have made that strategy just a little more difficult.

I have had my attention drawn to the tactic at Clickbank, where if your account has not attracted sales in a particular payout period, a small amount is deducted from your balance. See this article by Rieke that alerted me to that practice. At the rate at which these penalties are being applied it will not take long for a account that is dormant to be completely stripped.

Clickbank have also been notifying their clients (Advertisers with products listed at Clickbank) that there are new guidelines for Pitch Pages, videos and affiliate sites. From my reading of those guidelines I would assume that many of the products that have been available at Clickbank will either be not available or the promotional materials associated with them will need be significantly edited to become compliant.

My guess is that these updated guidelines are the result of some recent action by regulators (like the FTC in the US) in cracking down on promotions that are misleading, make unsubstantiated claims and generally lack integrity. For example, under FTC regulations, all health related products are meant to have disclosure statements indicating that any commercial agreement (affiliate agreement?) between the seller and the endorser exist.

Some fields, such as Health Related Products will be closely watched, but in the interests of using Best Practice, it might be time to ensure that at all times promotions and promotional material have the characteristics of quality and integrity. Where a disclosure statement is required, the Advertiser should make that clear to their affiliates, but in the end it is the affiliate who is responsible for declaring their interest and connection. Neglecting to do that could lead to steep fines.

The message here is pretty clear: If your niche requires a Disclosure Statement for the affiliate products you promote, make sure it is in place, and clearly states the connection. It does not have to be on each link, and a disclaimer on a separate page within a site can provide blanket coverage.


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  • Philippe Moisan said,

    Hello Nev,

    I had seen Ulrike ( Rieke ) article a few months ago, but I needed to read on the subject again to understand the full impact.

    If I compare the dormant CB products to the obscure corners of retail stores, even these products are trashed or put away to make place for more recent products. So, it seems logical that CB wants active vendors. And I say it as someone who has ( had ? ) a product at CB.

    Some clean up is coming in the online marketing world. I can’t wait til they go after the money making miracle programs too.


  • Neville said,

    Thanks Phil,

    It seems to me that CB is taking the big stick to affiliates who are not active. Their approach of taking $1 or $5 out of earnings will soon empty out some accounts.

    I need to check that when the account balance reaches $0 there will be no more deductions.

    It will also be interesting to see if having to add disclosure statements will make sales even harder.