Live from DMA2010: Affiliate Marketing Best Practices From Compliance Expert
1. Have a thorough understanding of truth-in-advertising law and regulations. Advertisers doing affiliate marketing programs must be aware of truth-in-advertising law and all of its updates and changes to make sure their campaigns are compliant, Corcoran said. Since laws change often, "it's important they work with an affiliate marking network that has a strong compliance team," she added.
Recent laws and guidelines that Corcoran said advertisers should be aware of include the Federal Trade Commission's updated guidelines that require anyone paid in cash or in-kind to provide an online endorsement to disclose the financial relationship to the audience.
She also said advertisers should be aware of a recently-added amendment to the FTC's Telemarketing Sales Rule that prohibits debt relief companies from collecting advance fees. And, she mentioned that part of a U.S. Department of Education bill could limit the amount of advertising that educational firms do to students and prospective students.
As a result, Corcoran said the DMA's Education Marketing Council (EMC) recently released its Best Practices Code, which was developed to encourage excellence among education marketers based on the Direct Marketing Association’s longstanding Guidelines for Ethical Business Practice.
"This is an effort for the educational marketers to self-regualte prior to the passing of any sweeping legislation,"she said.
2. Have a strong understanding of your promotional channels and how they address campaign objectives, and be very specific about how you want your ads to look. Corcoran addressed how advertising on social networks is free-form now, with no specific guidelines, so advertisers need to be clear about how they want their ads represented when communicating with their affiliate partners.
"Social media is the new frontier for advertising, but the same rules still apply," she said. "Advertisers need to provide marketing guidelines, which follow truth-in-advertising law, to their affiliate parents, so the partners now what to do when creating ads for them that will appear on social networking sites."