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FTC/ASA Disclosure Guidelines for Blogs, Content and Editorial Sites

What You Need to Know

Disclaimer: The information and opinions within this content are for information purposes only. Guidance is based on personal interpretations and in no way represent legal advice.

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Disclosure is important not only to be compliant with our Rakuten Marketing and advertisers' policies, but to ensure you are compliant with all relevant governmental regulations. Disclosures are required for anyone who is making money from these ads -- including using affiliate links.  The purpose is to help consumers understand that the publisher may earn money from clicking on a link.

Disclosures should  be:

  1. Frequent
  2. Clear
  3. Conspicuous
  4. Require No Actions

Other key elements of disclosure guidelines:

  • Disclosing your relationship to the brand is another way you can be sure you are compliant.
  • The disclosure guidelines apply to influencers as well as publishers.
  • Disclosures in “About Us,” “General Info,” “Terms of Service,” or “Privacy Policy” sections do not meet the criteria for clear and conspicuous.
  • A “Buy Now” button might not be understood that the person placing the link is getting paid for purchases through the link.
  • If a publisher's affiliate links appear on someone else’s website or in user comments, a disclosure should be included anytime a product is endorsed and the publisher receives compensation.
  • A disclosure is not required if there is no material connection.
    • For example, if you want to promote a brand’s product on your own, and you are not partnered with that brand, and only share it simply because you love it, you don’t need to add a disclosure.
  • Posting an image of an advertiser's product on social media could be seen as a material connection and would require a disclosure to accompany it.
  • It is important to include both an audible and visual disclosure on videos or live streams as consumers can enter and exit a video/live stream as they please; therefore, a clear and conspicuous visual disclosure should be available.
  • All the above information for disclosure guidelines applies to mobile sites and apps.

Digital marketing and disclosure guidelines will continue to change and evolve, so it is important to be aware of any changes and be sure you are always being transparent with consumers.

Follow the suggested guidelines above and do your own research about other guidelines that may apply to your specific site content.

Additional Information and Resources

Federal Trade Commission Guidelines:  

Advertising Standards Authority:

Rakuten Marketing Affiliate Network Policies:

FTC and CAP Code are not the only regulatory agencies enforcing the rules. Other countries will have their own marketing and advertising laws and regulatory bodies that publishers will need to adhere to.  We highly recommend that you refer to the rules and guidance applicable to each jurisdiction as this will allow you to make sure that you are not breaking rules on advertising. 

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