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What Is the FTC Affiliate Disclosure in Affiliate Marketing?

July 28, 2020

If you are an affiliate marketer and promote the products and services of companies that are based in the USA, the UK or Canada, you need to know what the FTC requirements for affiliate disclosure are and why it is so important. 

SEMrush is one of those companies as our HQ is in Boston, Massachusetts, USA. Hence, as our affiliate, you are obligated to follow the FTC guidelines when using SEMrush affiliate links. 

In this article, let’s talk about the affiliate link disclosure, how to effectively follow the guidelines and keep on performing well with affiliate sales.

1. What is FTC disclosure?

In 2009 (and in later updates), the Federal Trade Commission (FTC)  placed guidelines for how affiliates and influencers should promote products and services to reduce consumer deception. 
So what is an affiliated business disclosure? The main purpose of the rules and guidelines is to ensure that anyone looking at an affiliate’s or influencer’s content is immediately aware of the material connection to the brand they’re posting about. 

In other words, if you promote a US-, UK- or Canada-based brand on your blog, videos, Twitter, Facebook or anywhere else, you would need to disclose your affiliation. If you do not follow the guidelines, it is considered to be illegal.  

2. Who has to follow the guidelines?

The FTC explains “material connection” as “a personal, family, or employment relationship or a financial relationship – such as the brand paying you or giving you free or discounted products or services.” Hence, anyone who endorses the products or services of other companies and gets either monetary or non-monetary rewards in return has to include the FTC (affiliate) disclosure. 

3. How do you effectively include the disclosure? 

You can follow four basic practices of disclosing your affiliation: 

  • Don’t be too formal, use simple and clear language. 
  • Reassure your audience you’re still being honest in your opinion of the product.
  • Write one clear and short message (on each of the content piece where you promote SEMrush)
  • Please don’t include only notations like (affiliate), (affiliate links), #affiliate, etc. as, according to the guidelines, it is not enough to mention to meet the requirements. Please make sure to get familiar with all the guidelines, rules and other resources to act in accordance with the law.     

Here are some of the examples of the FTC (affiliate) disclosure, that you can use to create your own one: 

A. On your website: 

Source: https://www.cosmopolitan.com 

This message is shown every time you read an affiliate content, but still, they indicate they are being honest with their readers. 

Source: www.stylefactoryproductions.com 

If your blog is your main earning resource or one of the mains, there is one more way to show your affiliate disclosure. You can simply put it in a sidebar of your website, like in the example above. 

B. On Twitter: 

Remember that any social networking site is also a place where you need to add your affiliate disclosure. You can learn more about the legitimate ways to disclose your affiliation in the “Disclosures 101 for Social Media Influencers” brochure made by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and in other resources that we provide you with in the part “Other resources to get familiar with” below.

Note: please remember, as an SEMrush Affiliate Program affiliate, you are obligated to add the FTC (affiliate) disclosure to any promotional materials. This article is provided for informational purposes. It is your responsibility to study the FTC requirements in detail and to include an affiliate disclosure. 


Other resources to get familiar with: