The Affiliate Disclosure: Dos, Dont’s, and Best Practices (with Examples)

How do you write an affiliate disclosure without sounding like a stuffy lawyer? This post covers what they are plus examples you can steal.

Matt Giovanisci by Matt Giovanisci | Last Updated: June 14, 2021

Affiliate disclosures aren’t so bad. I mean, they’re mandatory, so you have no choice. But they don’t have to be stuffy, legal, and lame.

They can increase clicks on your affiliate links because you’re showing your visitors that you’re an honest site owner.

Before we get into the rest of this massive, but necessary post, I have to make something crystal clear: I’m not a lawyer. I didn’t even consult with one before writing this.

So, while I’ve done my research, and everything in this article is pretty standard, that still doesn’t make me a lawyer qualified to give legal advice.

If you have questions or concerns about adding legal jargon to your website, find a lawyer who understands the Internet.

That said, I wrote this article within the U.S.-based FTC guidelines, which is known to change from time to time. And if you’re in another country, these rules may apply, but I would reach out to your local organizations for help.

Okay, now that THAT’S out of the way. Let’s continue to write about boring stuff while trying to make it fun to read. Deal?

What Is an FTC Affiliate Disclosure?

An FTC affiliate disclosure is a disclaimer statement that informs consumers or potential buyers (aka your visitors) that you are in a paid relationship with the company or person you’re linking to as an affiliate.

And who is the FTC? They’re the Federal Trade Commission. A government agency that’s supposed to help protect consumers. Here are their complete disclosure guidelines on affiliate marketing.

And if you’d like to know more about the FAQs people have about the FTC’s Endorsement Guide, head here.

And I’ll also assume you know what affiliate marketing is, so I won’t detail how that whole thing works.

All you need to know is that if you’re adding links to your affiliate site to make money, you have to add an affiliate disclosure page. Period. End of story. No ifs, ands, or buts.

Do I Need an Affiliate Disclosure On My Website?

The answer is a resounding and very loud YES!

If you don’t…

  1. You could be fined by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) if you don’t properly disclose your affiliate relationship.
  2. You could be abruptly kicked off specific affiliate programs (**cough** AMAZON **cough**) if you lack proper affiliate disclosure statements.
  3. Your reputation is at risk by not disclosing it. In other words, no one will like you anymore.

Many people practicing affiliate marketing are terrible at doing this. I think they’re missing out on a vast selling and trust-building opportunity.

Add an affiliate disclosure. It’s easy. I’ll show you.

Affiliate Disclosure Dos and Don’ts

To gain some SEO juice, I want to quickly include some very digestible “Dos and Don’ts” content. If you arrived at this section because you’re a skimmer (and trust me, I know who you are because I’m one too), this should satisfy.

affiliate dos and don'ts comparison side by side green and red columns

4 Best Practices for Adding Affiliate Link Disclosures

These things are crucial. You should follow and implement every one of these tips on your website right now if you haven’t already. Let’s go!

1. Place Affiliate Disclosures in Obvious Areas

Ok, maybe these aren’t so obvious for some of you, so I’ll spell it out and try to be as specific as possible.

2. “Always Be Disclosing”

To disclose or not to disclose? It shouldn’t be a question! Like Alec Baldwin in Glengarry Glen Ross says, “Always Be Disclosing.”

If you find yourself asking, “should I add a disclosure here?” The answer is always yes. Avoid legal issues. Be proactive. Disclose.

3. Use Crystal Clear Language

Here’s an easy way to do that: just be hilariously honest. When you try to joke out of how clear you’re trying to be, you end up being crystal clear. Try it!

If you want more guidance because maybe humor isn’t your strong suit, we’ve included some templates below that you can steal.

4. Be Mindful of The Medium

Yes, you have to disclose the use of affiliate links anywhere you add an affiliate link. Yes, even verbally in a video or podcast. You need to say your disclosure out loud.

Yes, even in emails and Twitter.

While you and I might understand what that means, some will not. I provided short affiliate disclosure examples below. Use them.

Protect yourself and be clear with your disclosure wording.

Speaking of short, remember a lot of people see your affiliate links on mobile devices. So this is another reason to keep things short, clear, and legible. And it’s also why I said…

Do You Need a Separate Amazon Affiliate Disclosure?

The Amazon affiliate disclosure says you have to mention somewhere on your site that you’re in a paid relationship with Amazon (in addition to the FTC’s disclaimer).

Per Amazon’s Operator Agreement, you must include the following statement (or something similar) on your site:

“As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases.”

I display mine in my website’s footer for Swim U:

amazon associates disclosure in website footer

How Lasso Can Help You Disclose Your Affiliate Links

Full disclosure, we sell an affiliate link manager for WordPress.

It’ll help you add affiliate disclosures to all your links without having to do it manually.

Lasso lets you add what we call “Affiliate Link Display Boxes” to your posts with the click of a button.

In your WordPress editor will appear a Cactus icon.

lasso cactus icon appearing in wordpress editor in toolbar

When clicked, you can choose how you’d like to display your affiliate links:

six different ways to display lasso links

For this example, I’ll click the “Single” option.

lasso displaying your affiliate links to choose from

Lasso brings up a list of all your affiliate links. You can either use the search bar at the top or jump to another page at the bottom to find your link.

Just click the one you want to add, and it’ll insert a shortcode in your post that’ll render a display box that’ll look like this 👇

Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less
$19.00

The Way of the Essentialist isn’t about getting more done in less time. It’s not about getting less done. It’s about getting only the right things done. It’s about the pursuit of the right thing, in the right way, at the right time.

Buy from Amazon
We earn a commission if you make a purchase, at no additional cost to you.
09/17/2021 08:35 pm GMT

If you look beneath the green call-to-action “Buy from Amazon button, you’ll see a built-in disclosure. If you don’t like our default disclosure you can customize it (or use a global default you can also customize site-wide).

To customize yours, head to any of your product’s pages and adjust the text to say anything you want.

changing the affiliate disclosure text in lasso

Lasso lets you add disclosures to every “Single” URL display box.

Further Reading:

Earn Trust and Get More Clicks

Lasso lets you showcase your affiliate links in beautifully designed displays. When your visitors see a descriptive product box, they're more likely to click because they know where they're going.

Get More Clicks

Honest Affiliate Disclosure Examples You Can Use

I’ve scoured the web for the best examples I could find of affiliate disclosures. People are horrible at this. But both you and I won’t be as bad, right?

Affiliate Disclosures for Single Author Blogs

Here are some of the best I’ve found from both bloggers and brands.

From Amy Lynn Andrews Disclaimer page:

amy lynn andrews disclaimers

An example from Smart Passive Income’s Toolbox page:

smart passive income aff disclosure

And this one from his Disclaimer page:

smart passive income disclaimer page

Alternate Full Disclosure: As an affiliate, I receive compensation if you purchase through this link. 

When you scroll down the page, you’ll see Pat also has a separate disclaimer for his relationship with Amazon.

From Pinch of Yum:

pinch of yum disclaimer

Alternate Disclaimer: Please note that some of the links below are affiliate links and I will earn a commission if you purchase through those links. I use all the products listed below and recommend them because they are companies that I have found helpful and trustworthy. Please let me know if you have any questions about anything listed below. 

Affiliate Disclosures for Brands

Disclosure: We earn a commission if you click this link and make a purchase at no additional cost to you. (Lasso’s default appearing beneath displays):

lasso affiliate disclosure

Disclosure: As a business, we’re financially compensated for the products reviewed by the companies who produce them. All of the products are tested thoroughly, and high grades are received only by the best ones. The reviews are done based on our own opinions.

Example using The Wirecutter’s affiliate disclosure appearing in the Header:

wirecutter affiliate disclosure example header

Disclosure: This blog receives a commission for using “company name” products for the food recipes that we shared with you in our posts. Although we receive a commission for using and linking their products, they are perfect for our food recipes, and all our opinion and suggestions are unbiased.

Here’s how personal finance site, NerdWallet, displays its disclosure:

nerd wallet affiliate disclosure

Disclosure: Keep in mind that we may receive commissions when you click our links and make purchases. However, this does not impact our reviews and comparisons. We try our best to keep things fair and balanced to help you make the best choice.

Disclosure: This site contains affiliate links to products. We may receive a commission for purchases made through these links.

2-Sentence Affiliate Disclosure Satisfying Both Amazon and the FTC

The blog, Grow a Good Life, is an excellent example of how you can combine both Amazon and the FTC into a single disclosure at the top of your posts:

aff link disclosure example

Affiliate Disclosure Generators

Disclosure generators are special tools that help you display the correct legal jargon on your website. In addition to affiliate disclaimers, they can help with writing your:

You can also find help for things other than your blog, including mobile apps, Facebook apps, and Google Adsense. A couple worth checking out are Termly.io and PrivacyPolicies.com.

Adding a Disclaimer Page to Your WordPress Site

If you’re adding a special Disclaimer page to your WordPress site, head to Pages > Add New.

adding a new page inside wordpress

Here’s where you can write a detailed page just like you would a blog post (and even include things such as your Terms of Service or Privacy Policy).

If you have some coding chops, you can add disclaimers to your header or footer manually by heading to Appearance > Theme Editor.

Then choose which area of your site you want to include your affiliate disclaimer.

wordpress theme editor

Of course, there are WordPress plugins that help you with this too. Try a Google search using the term “best affiliate disclosure plugin.”

You can head here to see how I set up my Disclosure page.

Affiliate Disclosure Requirements Recap 

Ok, you’ve made it through an article about a dull subject. I hope it wasn’t too painful.

Or perhaps you skimmed your way down here to get the Cliff’s Notes. Either way, welcome. Let’s bullet out the best of the best from this post.

I hope this post was helpful. There’s a lot of material to cover, but simply following the guidelines we laid out above will keep you and your website compliant.

Matt Giovanisci
Matt Giovanisci has been a self-employed online business owner for over a decade building four profitable websites along the way. He finds it a great way to build brands and write off his hobbies (like his home brewing site). His #1 rule is to have fun, make money, and ignore "best practices." Ok, so three rules.

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