Are you using Affiliate Marketing? Are you pushing ads to your Affiliates and hoping for the best? Do your contracts indemnify you from their negligent actions? What are your responsibilities for what they put on Social Media, blogs and elsewhere? This guide will give you a few tips to help eliminate risk from Affiliate Marketing.
Advertisers are required to have a monitoring program in place for Affiliate Marketing by The Federal Trade Commission. The scope of that monitoring really depends on the kinds of products or services you are promoting. If you are promoting toothbrushes, your scope doesn't have to be as broad as the scope for selling financial or health related products.
Sometimes, Advertisers believe that if they put in their contracts, "we are not liable for your negligent use of the ad material" that they are covered. Think again.
Federal Trade Commission:
Your company is ultimately responsible for what others do on your behalf.... Ask for regular reports confirming that the program is operating properly and monitor the network....Delegating part of your promotional program to an outside entity doesn’t relieve you of responsibility under the FTC Act.
So, what if you didn't product the material? What if your Affiliate just decides to put some crazy claims out there? Are you off the hook then? Nope.
In a case against LeadClick, a US Court of Appeals upheld a ruling that online advertisers are liable for the content posted by their Affiliates, even if they did not create the content. The Court essentially said that LeadClick had the AUTHORITY to control the content, and did not properly do so.
What can YOU do? You can monitor them and enforce your guidelines. You have the legal responsibility to monitor them. The FTC does not expect you to find every single misstep by an Affiliate, but they do require you to have a monitoring program in place. There are several ways to do just that. 1. You can hire a Compliance Officer that manages all of your Affiliate activity. 2. Have your current staff trained on monitoring all of your networks. 3. You can outsource it.
You CAN avoid costly mistakes AND increase your bottom line. And always remember, compliant companies are successful companies.