For several years now, the FTC here in the United States has required that bloggers and website owners (basically all content creators) disclose to their audiences when they are being paid for an endorsement on their site or via social media. Thus, we need to have an ad disclosure on our websites if we allow advertisements. You can read my Ad Disclosure here.
I know some have freaked out over this as if it’s a bad thing, but it doesn’t have to be.
My view is that being open and honest with readers is a good thing. I have always mentioned that I was given a free sample of something for a review. It simply felt like the honest thing to do.
Do I Need an Ad Disclosure?
If you have any kinds of affiliate links on your website, you need to disclose to your readers that you will be paid if they purchase what you are recommending. The FTC has said they will start going after content creators, regardless of the size of their audiences or their affiliate payouts.
You can read in more detail about their requirements from their own website — the best place to get the nitty-gritty details!
My view is that it’s better to be safe than sorry. You are not harmed by having some sort of ad disclosure and being transparent with how you earn money with your blog. If anything, most people appreciate the transparency.
How to Write an Ad Disclosure
So, how do you write an ad disclosure?
I use two methods on my own site. I wrote a generic ad disclosure on my website. In it, I cover all the different ways I monetized this site with ads from Google. I also write about using various affiliate marketing programs.
Then I have a more specific notice which I use at the bottom of any post that contains affiliate marketing links in it, or a review that included me receiving a free copy of the materials.
When this issue first came up, I wondered if I needed to create a disclosure with legal type language. You know the kind that reads like a long, boring terms and conditions declaration. The answer to that is no. I personally think it’s best to use friendly language in your own voice. Simply explain how you use affiliate links on your site.
Don’t make writing your ad and affiliate disclosure complicated. Instead, just state the facts. Write how you are using affiliate marketing and ads to earn a living from your website.