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  1. #1
    Comfortably Numb John Powell's Avatar
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    Botanic Choice Is Serious About Disclosure.
    Botanic's email of 12/09 reads:
    If you're writing your own copy, testimonials and endorsements based on your own experience or that of others using our products, you MUST disclose that you are a paid affiliate of Botanic Choice.

    This disclosure has to be in the same print size as the rest of the ad, and near enough to the claims that it is easily associated with the claim. It must be on the same page as the claim and it must be large enough for the consumer to easily read. Under the new guidelines, as a paid affiliate, you are legally responsible to disclose your connection with Botanic Choice.
    Legally responsible? Did anyone else get that from the reading of the FTC rules.


  2. #2
    ABW Ambassador simcat's Avatar
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    Unfortunately... the way affiliate marketing works... I can see 100 different merchants interpreting this FTC thing a 100 different ways.

  3. #3
    Affiliate Manager
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    Hi -
    We interpreted this as applicable to affiliates who are clearly posting testimonials or reviews about our products that appear to be "independent" as a way to inform customers that there is a business relationship in place.
    Julie - Botanic Choice

  4. #4
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    There are some merchants who now want affiliates to have a "Authorized Affiliate" badge. I am sure there will be many different interpretations. And different requirements will follow from different vendors.

    Its not practical to meet all those requirements. If I promote 20 different vendors form one site, or may be all 20 from one price comparison page, how do I satisfy all these new requirements. Put a badge for one vendor, put a disclaimer for another and so on.

    Why can't one site wide disclosure page, like one privacy policy page or one t&c page work.

    The disclosure page will state something to the effect that its an affiliate website, we make money (big surprise since we live in a capitalist country) by promoting certain vendors and their products. The reviews are strictly the opinions of the website owner and may be biased. And then it may also list all the vendors.

  5. #5
    Comfortably Numb John Powell's Avatar
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    Welcome to ABW Julie! It's just that affiliates support so many merchants that if we have an independent solution for each one it would make our sites look a little crazy. I'm going with a Disclosure statement linked from every page next to my Privacy link.

    Edit: Me and sam_park where typing on the same thought wave.


  6. #6
    Beachy Bill's Avatar
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    Hi, Julie. Welcome to ABW.

    You seem to have "missed the point" of simcat's post. However, Sam and John have summed it up quite well.
    Bill / Marketing Blog @ 12PM - Current project: Resurrecting my "baby" at South Baltimore..
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  7. #7
    Moderator bibby's Avatar
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    I have an endoresement message near the top right of my forum, explaining that sales from all Admin posts receives a commission. I'm being careful, even though 99% of the posts aren't testimonials.

    I feel that this is enough, since the endorsement message is on a prominent part of every page and every post.

  8. #8
    Member Anat's Avatar
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    The whole disclosure issue is in accordance with the American FTC thing, right? I wonder why non-Americans have to comply? I have nothing against fair disclosure, just don't want to be forced to do it in specific ways by another government's regulations.

  9. #9
    Analytics Dude Kevin's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Anat
    The whole disclosure issue is in accordance with the American FTC thing, right? I wonder why non-Americans have to comply? I have nothing against fair disclosure, just don't want to be forced to do it in specific ways by another government's regulations.
    I think the challenge here is that at the end of the day, it's the merchant that's on the hook, not the affiliate. So even if you're overseas, if you're representing American merchants to American shoppers, the merchant is going to be very interested in compliance.

    That said, we're getting a lot of different interpretations already as to what "compliant" is.
    Kevin Webster
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  10. #10
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    No affect on me since I just post coupons for them.

    As far as disclosure for "testimonials and endorsements"

    I can't picture a page being flooded with disclosures, badges and such since if you're doing more than 1 or a few per page, you're probably not being really targetted.

    "Its not practical to meet all those requirements. If I promote 20 different vendors form one site, or may be all 20 from one price comparison page, how do I satisfy all these new requirements. Put a badge for one vendor, put a disclaimer for another and so on."

    Price comparisons is not "testimonials and endorsements"

  11. #11
    ABW Ambassador
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    Price comparison pages aren't only just "Prices".

    Some of my price comparison pages and other price comparison pages I have seen elsewhere have either a Store Rating (a 1 - 5 star rating system) or a user rating (star rating system) or both.

    Both the above two ratings can have some text (reviews) in the background which display in a box when hovered.
    These ratings can be considered as short reviews.

    If I have multiple vendor's products on a price comparison page with short reviews that display on mouse over, I will need to put a badge for vendor#1, a disclosure for vendor# 2 and whatever vendor#3,4,5 came up with.

  12. #12
    ABW Ambassador
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    That's not what they're meaning by testimonials and endorsements. They gave some examples in the 80+ page pdf. http://www.ftc.gov/os/2009/10/091005...esfnnotice.pdf

  13. #13
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    I think they are just trying to cover their asses as much as possible.

  14. #14
    ABW Ambassador simcat's Avatar
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    I think if you take a common sense view of this, the merchants that are going to be most sensitive to this are the sectors where the FTC has gotten the most complaints. Things like:
    diet pills and diets
    'herbal' and natural supplements
    get out of debt easy programs
    get rich by working on the internet
    and so on.

    FTC isn't going to make an example out of someone selling baseball hats or remote controls.

  15. #15
    Analytics Dude Kevin's Avatar
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    Great point, SimCat.
    Kevin Webster
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