Jeff Johnson alerted me to this page from the FTC regarding the practical implication of the endorsement guide.
Of particular interest is the section called “How should I make the disclosure?”
That section states that:
“Would a single disclosure on my home page that “many of the products I discuss on this site are provided to me free by their manufacturer” be enough?
A single disclosure doesn’t really do it because people visiting your site might read individual reviews or watch individual videos without seeing the disclosure on your home page.”
So putting the disclosure about your relationship with featured products or services on the home page isn’t enough.
The section further states:
“Would a button that says DISCLOSURE, LEGAL, or something like that be sufficient disclosure?
No. A button isn’t likely to be sufficient. How often do you click on those buttons when you visit someone else’s site? If you provide the information as part of your message, your audience is less likely to miss it.”
So having buttons linking to a disclosure page or pop-up isn’t sufficient either.
But what about a specific page describing your relationship with specific merchants or merchants in general – would that be ok?
The FTC has this to say about placement that kinda hints at what not to do, but doesn’t specifically address the use of a Disclosure page:
“As for where to place a disclosure, the guiding principle is that it has to be clear and conspicuous. Putting disclosures in obscure places – for example, buried on an ABOUT US or GENERAL INFO page, behind a poorly labeled hyperlink or in a terms of service agreement – isn’t good enough. The average person who visits your site must be able to notice your disclosure, read it and understand it.”
If I have a Disclosure page prominently linked to in the general menu of every page on the site that can hardly be described as an obscure place, it’s not burried behind poorly labeled links, so the average person visiting my site should clearly be able to notice it.
That’s at least what I think – but what if the FTC doesn’t see it that way?