As promised and because I’m tired of formulating a plan and just want to have a plan (because I can change it later if I need to…) here is my current plan for compliance.

First let’s talk about a website that has 6 pre-defined association definitions and you can simply link to them. it is www.cmp.ly the listings are numbered between zero and five… zero being: DISCLOSURE OF MATERIAL CONNECTION I have not received any compensation for writing this content and I have no material connection to the brands, topics and/or products that are mentioned herein.

So to tell you that that is indeed my relationship with that website, I could go there and copy and paste this: DISCLOSURE OF MATERIAL CONNECTION: http://cmp.ly/0

The person on twitter, @cmply, who reminded me of this service, added “cmp.ly/4” to the end of the tweet. (Yes, we are supposed to put affiliations in our 140 characters if we are using affiliate links…)  Disclosure 4 is this:  DISCLOSURE OF MATERIAL CONNECTION  I have a direct relationship with a brand, topic or product that is mentioned herein.

So I now know that the person saying to use this service, is part of the company.  I may decide to use it differently than if an unrelated 3rd party, with nothing to gain, were to have suggested it. (That again, is the point of all the hub-bub.)

This could be the answer for Twitter… I haven’t formulated a full plan for Twitter yet.  However, I don’t think this is my choice for blogs.  If someone is reading that doesn’t even know there could be a monetary gain from clicking a link, do I really think they are going to click a link that looks like this? => DISCLOSURE OF MATERIAL CONNECTION: http://cmp.ly/0

Honestly, I don’t.

So what now? How does a blogger balance the need for things ‘flowing’ and the disclosure and transparency that is being required?

When I took the Teleseminar Secrets class last year with Alex Mandossian, he was the poster child for disclosure and transparency.  He would say, “If you are ok with me earning money from your purchase because I told you about it, go here.  If you don’t want me to make money, go through Google… or don’t click my link.”

Pretty transparent, huh?  I so respect that.  I also always thought, “Why shouldn’t you earn commission, just like any traditional sales rep, if you were the first person to introduce me to this product or service?”  And I knew and believed that his personal ethics were in line with mine – if he recommended something, he believed in it, period.  (That’s what I do, by the way – see it under my face?)

The FTC wants us to follow Alex’s lead.  But how do I do it if I’m not on the phone talking to you?

We are finally getting to the plan!

WEBSITES: As you know, I have set up a few “Ask” call websites that I design and maintain for the experts that are involved in the monthly calls.  There is www.AskPaulBrent.com, www.AskJillSeale.com and now www.AskSuzanneCruise.com.  These people have spent their time and shared their expertise without direct payment from me.

They are, however, affiliates.  What does that mean?  If an artist finds the whole ArtLicensingInfo.com family of sites through one of these calls first, then they become referrals of these experts.  If the same artist later makes a purchase, the expert gets a % of the sale.  This is how I can compensate them.  I bet they’d do it anyway, but we are all in business so I think it’s fair to share the wealth.

Do artists know or understand that?  Probably not.  But now they will because on these sites I have added this disclosure in the footer… (yes it is a bit long but in the footer I figured a thorough explanation was ok.)


*Note: To comply with FTC regulations regarding affiliate relationships online, please know if you have never visited any of the “Art Licensing Info” family of sites before, Paul Brent will earn a commission if you decide to make a purchase in the future. This is our way of thanking experts for donating their time and expertise for these very valuable calls.
Site designed and maintained by Tara Reed of Tara Reed Designs Inc


BLOG POSTS

Blog posts to me, are the crux of the issue.  I’m trying to keep things simple (or I’ll forget and mess up the plan) so I plan to use the old “footnote” technique from 9th grade English class.  Remember when you quoted someone or used a concept that wasn’t your own, you added an asterix… * … like that. Then at the bottom of the page you put an * and what you referenced.  But instead it will be the disclosure.

Here are some examples:

* If you click on the link and buy this book from Amazon, I will receive a referral commission.

* I don’t have any monetary interest in this product/service, I just really like it and want you to know about it.

* I was given this book/product for free to review.

Alyice, who posted a comment to part 1, does the following:

I usually include a small blurb that says “your purchase supports this blog” under sponsor ads or amazon affiliate books, like you see here: http://www.alyiceedrich.com/

I wonder if the FCC will make it more complicated than this.

Also a great choice. I think it works for direct purchases but I’m not sure what she does or would do for free products…

IN CONCLUSION…

Really, there is a lot of uproar and there will be some growing pains with this, but I don’t think it’s a bad thing.  Are there bigger problems in the world? Yes. But does that mean people don’t have the right to understand your affiliation if you are recommending something? No.

So I plan to get in the habit of putting my little disclosure footnotes and get on with the work, information and art at hand.

I hope this has helped you sort some of this out make a plan as well.  And if you are my affiliate, please come up with a plan too because I don’t want to be held responsible for your non-disclosure, deal?

Back to art!

– Tara

P.S. I think it is safe to assume that if I am telling you about my product, you know I will make money if you buy it, right?  And feel free! 🙂