Legal Situations You Should Know About Affiliate Marketing
For twenty years, affiliate marketing has been a growing part of the internet and a way for certain individuals to thrive at earning incomes. You no doubt have been subjected to affiliate marketing many times over the lifespan of your internet usage; from those surveys and ads that claim “you’ve won”, to websites that cater to one particular product or niche, affiliate market is a consistent presence in the world of e-commerce. As time has progressed beyond the days of the Wild Wild Web, more and more legal regulation has been passed to protect consumers and require more from affiliate marketers. Are you aware of these conditions? Below, we’ll discuss some of these legal situations so that you can be aware of what the law states.
Sales Tax Situations
In the early to late 1990s, federal authorities weren’t innately concerned with the loss of revenue that was occurring through e-commerce. After all, a vast majority of commerce was still occurring through brick and mortar sources. As time has progressed, however, an increasing percentage of traditionally in-person transactions are now occurring online. This has led to many states proceeding to enforce online sales taxes as a way to recoup the funds. In most cases, however, you are only subjected to sales taxes if you are selling a product directly – and if the person purchasing that product lives in the same state as your facility operates. Nevertheless, sales tax situations can vary from state to state, so be sure to investigate this element further to ensure you are not breaking any laws.
Affiliate Disclosure Requirements
The FTC passed regulation in 2013 that requires anyone who uses social media or blogs to promote products that earn them revenue to report that information. There are also guidelines that require you to act in certain ways when promoting products through one form of marketing or another, but many do not know about these current regulations. You can find the entire summary of the law on the FTC’s website. It is very important to note that pinging URLs that contain false or otherwise misleading information can now result in penalties. One notable example is leaving false reviews about a product – whether that be on a review site or on a stand-alone blog. There have been cases already where individuals have been given hefty fines for engaging in this sort of behaviour.
Email Marketing to Other Countries
While you may have relative freedom to use email in affiliate marketing throughout the US, not all countries take the same laissez-faire approach. One notable example is Canada, who passed the strictest anti-spam legislation in the world to date this summer. In order to market to individuals in this country, the person in question must have engaged in a consumer relationship at some point within the past two years or inquired about a purchase or opportunity within the past six months. These types of laws are throwing wrenches into the process of pinging URLs without solicitation. While US affiliate marketers may not be in the worry right now, be sure to check international laws and the laws of your own country (if outside the US) before sending out any unsolicited emails.
Though few parts of this article need much explanation, it is a must-read content for those who are planning to start affiliate marketing.