Who Regulates Affiliate Marketing?


Today I was thinking about who regulates affiliate marketing? Just like you, I want to know who is looking out for me? I also want to make sure I’m promoting a helpful product and that I’m going to get paid.

Lastly, I want to make sure I’m not going to get into any trouble as an affiliate marketer.

The government regulates affiliate marketing and this can change in every country. Beneath the government are the product creators and marketplaces that regulate affiliate marketers. At the bottom, the affiliate markers regulate their own business. 

Keep reading and I’ll share how you can protect yourself as an affiliate marketer. The top unethical affiliate marketing practices and how not to get cheated in this business. 

Plus, I’ll share a good way to ensure your promoting a helpful product. 

The Government Regulates Affiliate Marketing?

In the United States, the federal trade commission regulates affiliate marketing. Before I start I’m not a lawyer. I do recommend you consult with an attorney licensed in your jurisdiction before making legal decisions. 

I’m just an affiliate marketer like you who is trying to feed my family. If you live in another country other than the U.S. Then you should consult a legal professional in your country. 

In the U.S. the main thing that the FTC wants from affiliate marketers is that we are transparent.

This means we tell people we make money from referring a product. 

You will notice that on my blog I mention this on every single page and it’s built into the theme. If you have a blog then I think it’s a good idea to do the same. 

Feel free to rip off the legal message I have right below the “about me” section. 

The reason the FTC decided that this is a good idea is that some people are more skeptical of paid endorsements than they are of those freely given. 

Perhaps the FTC in the U.S. decided that if someone was getting paid to endorse a product, but didn’t tell others they were getting paid, then the affiliate marketer is deceiving them. 

It’s better to error on the side of caution and put on your website that you’re an affiliate marketer. If you’re marketing products on a social media account then simply state that you’re an affiliate marketer. 

Next, up what other legal things should we be including on our website?

Terms and Conditions

You may notice that some websites have terms and conditions and wondered if that is required by law. I’m not a lawyer but the point of the terms and conditions is to limit your liability if someone takes you to court. 

It can also protect your rights to the content on your website. It’s a good thing to have, but you’re not required to have the terms and conditions on your website.  

If you ever watch TV shows that involve ghosts you may have seen the phrase “for entertainment purposes only.” Have you ever wondered why that phrase is there?

You will notice that on my site I state that “all information on this site is for entertainment purposes.” The reason for this is to inform the reader that I’m not held responsible if you do anything with the information. 

If you’re wondering how to get terms and conditions for your website I discovered a free tool that generates it. You can view this free tool to create by clicking on this link HERE.

All you have to do is enter your website name in and it generates the terms and conditions. I just saved you lots of money from an attorney with this free tool. 🙂

Next up is a privacy policy. Have you ever seen a privacy policy on a website? If you collect personal information from your website visitors then you should have a privacy policy. 

This privacy policy is a statement contained on the website that explains how the owner will collect, store, and protect personal data from its users. 

Personal data includes names, email addresses, or anything else. 

I’m not sure if you need a privacy policy if you’re tracking where a website visitor is coming from. Still, it’s only going to help you, so I decided to put a privacy policy on my website. 

Also, if you have a website and you’re going to generate any income through advertising then you are required to have a privacy policy on your website. 

If you’re looking for an easy way to generate this privacy policy then you can use this free tool to generate a privacy policy. You can view this tool by clicking on the link HERE.

Again, I’m not a licensed attorney I’m just sharing some things I learned about who regulates affiliate marketing and how to protect yourself if you’re an affiliate marketer. 

If there is any other information you need then you should consult a licensed attorney in your area. Next up, how the product creators and affiliate marketplaces regulate themselves?

Affiliate Marketplaces Regulate Marketers

Yes, many affiliate marketplaces and product creators have their terms. As affiliate marketers, we work for these creators because it’s their products we are marketing, NOT our own. 

The good news about this is we don’t have to deal with processing payments, shipping, customer service, or anything else. 

All we do is post a link and if someone clicks on that link and buys something we make money. This is why I love affiliate marketing. 

Every product creator and affiliate marketplace has its own rules. The main thing is NOT to lie so that you can get a sale. 

There was a story about an ad placed by affiliate marketers for a free trial ending up on a website that offered a product trial for $1. 

$1 is NOT free, still, it’s not a lot of money. The problem was that when someone purchased the product trail for $1 they ended up being charged almost $200 a month for a second product they didn’t want. 

Follow the golden rule “treat others like you want to be treated.”

Would you want that to happen to you? If no, don’t do it to others.

The Worst Things to do as an Affiliate Marketer?

Some marketers are getting desperate and this can backfire. The WORST thing an affiliate marketer can do is use an approach called “cookie stuffing.” 

NO cookie stuffing is not eating all the cookies in the jar. 

Cookie stuffing or cookie dripping is when someone goes to a website and the user receives a third-party cookie from a website unrelated to that visitor by the user. 

The visitor is not even aware of the cookie. If the user later goes to the target website the cookie stuffer is paid a commission.

The person who stuffed the visitor with the cookie did not encourage the visitor to visit a website. Yea, this method of affiliate marketing is unethical.

Affiliate marketing can be a great way to market a product or service, but it’s easy to be abused. 

When someone abuses this system then this can give affiliate marketing a bad reputation. Affiliate marketers abuse the system by being too greedy. 

Promoting ANY product that pays the most amount of money is another example of being TOO greedy.

Just try to be as helpful as you can and you will win the long run.

Lastly, is spam comments. Spam comments are unrelated comments that don’t help anything. If I make a video on fishing and someone leaves a comment trying to sell a loan with an affiliate link, this is not helpful. 

If the comment is being helpful, then I don’t think that is spam. 

It’s better to think of affiliate marketing long-term and focus on giving as much as you can.  

How to Ensure Your Promoting Good Products 

The only way to truly tell if you’re promoting helpful products is to use the product first. If the product sucks and you’re promoting it then that is not helpful. 

This is why I’m a fan of promoting just a few products. If you purchase the product and use it then you WILL be more helpful.

You don’t have to buy and use every product you promote (even though it’s a good idea). It’s not like the cashier at Wal-Mart used every single product in the store. 

It could be a good idea to admit that you didn’t use the product if you are promoting it. You could just be honest and share why you would buy it. 

If the product you’re promoting has a money-back guarantee then that is great as well. All products on Clickbank need to have a money-back guarantee. 

I do think it’s a great thing to have. Too bad college education doesn’t have a money-back guarantee, but the world is not perfect, right?

On the flip side, some people are just assholes and constantly refund products. They get the product for free and refund the price. 

Many affiliate marketplaces treat fraud seriously and do prevent serial offenders from purchasing products just to refund the price. You can get banned from these marketplaces by doing this too much. 

Conclusion 

I think it’s healthy to take personal responsibility as a marketer. Anything that happens to my business is MY fault. We as marketers have power and with power comes responsibility. 

As a marketer, you also want to protect yourself from getting cheated.

The saying “trust but verify” is the one I like. 

This means you can track everything. You can use Google Analytics to see how many people are visiting a site. There is a way you can track who is clicking on a link. 

If you feel you’re not getting treated fairly, then you can “always” market another product. If you’re a good marketer then you have the power. 

I hope this post on who regulates affiliate marketing was helpful to you. Have a nice day. 

Kevin

Affiliate marketer for 10 years, domain investor for 2 years, a recent crypto guy, and part-time surfer. Hopefully, this blog can benefit you.

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