Earlier this year, the Internet Advertising Bureau (IAB) issued new guidelines to the online marketing industry on native or content based advertising. One of the key recommendations was that online marketers and website owners need to provide a way for online users to distinguish between paid for native ads and general website content.
Website owners produce a wide variety of online content that is not only aimed at engaging or informing their users, but also generates consumer interest for advertisers. Content that is based on a commercial relationship existing between a website owner and an e-commerce advertiser is not always obvious.
Native or paid for content on websites is often monetized by affiliate marketing which offers website owners a way to build a commercial relationship with a number of advertisers at once, as well as a sustainable way of maintaining their website.
At Affiliate Window we recommend that some form of disclosure is made on affiliate websites to consumers when the content they are viewing is based on a commercial relationship, even if the content blends into the website and isn’t necessarily recognizable as paid for advertising.
The use of paid for content should be clear to online users in order to gain or retain audience trust. To help our partners do this quickly and simply, Affiliate Window has developed a page that explains the use of affiliate marketing as a method of paid for advertising.
We want to ensure publishers and website owners are clearly indicating that users may be reading or engaging with content that could exist because of a commercial relationship. We recommend that a publisher who
carries content on their site that is monetized by affiliate marketing provide one discreet link to this site anywhere on their page to ensure they are making proper disclosure to their users.
We want to support website owners and publishers to ensure they are providing transparency to online users who engage with native advertising or content that may be sponsored or paid for. This is not an obligation for any affiliate working on Affiliate Window, however it is strongly recommended based on the growing importance within our industry of ensuring consumers can identify paid for content.
Please note, our guidance is intended as such and doesn’t constitute legal advice. Anyone publishing commercial content online is bound by advertising standards outlined in the Committees of Advertising Practice. If you’re interested in finding out about the Advertising Standards Authority who enforce these advertising standards codes and what they have to say about affiliate marketing you can find out more here:
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If you have any questions please feel free to get in touch by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
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