2024 Guide to Navigate Affiliate Marketing Regulations

2024 Guide to Navigate Affiliate Marketing Regulations
Affiliate marketing regulations

Affiliate Marketing

Written by



March 26, 2024


Affiliate Marketing

Affiliate marketing may sound like the Eldorado of easy money. Some even say it’s the best way to make money with the least day-to-day investment.

Still, it requires a great deal of care and respect for certain rules to make a proper living out of it. Plus, as the years go by, those rules are becoming increasingly important. But thanks to us, you'll have the perfect guide! 


First things first:

Because we said we’d guide you, let us tell you a little story: In the bustling world of affiliate marketing, there were rules that every marketer had to follow.

Picture this: a digital landscape where marketers and product owners danced a delicate tango, aiming for mutual success while staying within the lines of these rules.

Now, let's delve into these rules, shall we?

Imagine yourself navigating a labyrinth of government regulations. Yes, even in the wild expanse of the internet, rules are rules.

Take the U.S. Federal Trade Commission, for example. They demand nothing short of truthfulness in advertising. Picture a knight in shining armor, valiantly defending consumers against misleading claims and dubious endorsements.

But wait, there's more! Communication is key, my friend. Some affiliate marketers find themselves hobnobbing with product creators, forging alliances to conquer the digital realm. Think of it as assembling your Avengers team, each member bringing their unique strengths to the table.

Ah, now, onto the thrilling saga of terms and conditions. Picture yourself embarking on a perilous quest, carefully reading through the fine print. These terms are your map, guiding you through the treacherous waters of affiliate marketing.


And what's this? Product research, you say? Imagine yourself as an intrepid explorer, venturing into the depths of the internet, seeking hidden truths and buried treasures. It's a journey fraught with danger, but the rewards are worth it.

But remember, honesty is the best policy. Full disclosure is your shield against the dragons of deceit. Picture yourself standing tall, proudly proclaiming your status as an affiliate marketer, your disclosures shining like beacons of truth in the murky sea of digital advertising.

A 12 steps program to stay compliant with affiliate marketing regulations


Now that you cannot wait to embark on this adventure, we have to give you a practical guide. And this guide can be resumed in a quick 12 steps program:

1. Understand affiliate marketing regulations pertinent to your region and industry.

Depending on whether you live in Texas or Romania, the rules won’t be the same! 

2. Disclose affiliate relationships transparently.

Not only does the law require it, but it’s also a stamp of trust for your audience. You have to specify the nature of your post. If you did or did not earn a commission. 

3. Use "no-follow" links as required by search engines.

If you don’t, it might negatively impact your SEO. No follow is a tag that tells search engines to ignore that link. 

4. Avoid deceptive practices.

Your content should always represent what you’re promoting (yes, it seems pretty obvious)

5. Provide honest product reviews.

Don’t fool anyone. It could backfire! Good and bad must be told.

6. Comply with FTC guidelines (USA only)

If you followed the previous story, you know all about them! 

7. Maintain thorough records.

Well-organized documentation is a crucial way to show your dedication to compliance.

8.Periodically review affiliate programs for compliance.

Be sure they adhere to compliance standards. You only want to be affiliated with ethical programs.

9. Seek legal advice if needed.

If you have a question about legal matters, someone has an answer for you! Our CET and Affiliate Managers are here to help you with those questions with our internal legal department. 

10. Stay updated on regulations.

Webinars, communities (such as STM forum), events, news… Don’t miss anything! And to be sure you don’t, we’ll make sure to keep you updated! 

11. Educate your audience about affiliate marketing.

Informed consumers are faithful customers. There’s nothing to add.

12. Prioritize ethical practices for long-term success.

It’s all about integrity. You wouldn’t buy something from an unethical person, would you? Well, the same applies to you!

Major Regulations Affecting Affiliate Marketing in 2024


In this land of rules and regulations, here are the most important ones to keep in mind:

Privacy and Data Protection:

Affiliates are required to handle customer data responsibility through regulations such as GDPR in Europe. Short for General Data Protection Regulation, it’s a European Union regulation on information privacy in the European Union and the European Economic Area. 

 But also CCPA in California. The California Consumer Privacy Act of 2018 gives consumers more control over the personal information that businesses collect about them. The CCPA regulations provide guidance on how to implement the law.

In Canada, there’s the Canada’s Anti-spam Legislation (CASL) ,which protects consumers and businesses from the misuse of digital technology, including spam and other electronic threats. It also aims to help businesses stay competitive in a global digital marketplace. 

Advertising Standards: 

Rules against misleading or false advertising ensure that all marketing claims are substantiated. The keyword here is disclosure!

  • Affiliate disclosure of material connection on any blog, post, or publication between the affiliate and a company.
  • Affiliate disclosure language. The affiliate must include affiliate disclosure language in all of their content. They must clearly indicate that there is a material connection between the affiliate and a company (including the nature of the connection using terms such as“Paid ad” or #Paid, “Ad” or #Ad, “Sponsored” or #Sponsored.)
  • Placement of Affiliate Disclosure. Affiliate disclosure of the material connection with a company must be:

    • Clear
    • Prominent 
    • Made in close proximity to the claim(s) to which it relates.

Rules and regulations tied up to adult content:

Adult sites need to have 2257, DMCA, anti-spam rules, and keyword compliances in order to be legitimate.

For those who might not know what 2257 is, well, it’s short for 18 U.S.C 2257, which sets the guidelines for keeping records related to the production of sexually explicit materials.

Adult content providers must collect proof of age for each model and maintain records that must be made available to the U.S. government on request. 

There are two groups of producers under this law: primary producers who create the content and secondary producers who publish or reproduce it.

And if you’re wondering what DMCA means, it’s short for Digital Millennium Copyright Act. This federal law is designed to protect copyright holders from online theft, like unlawful reproduction or distribution of your works.

Affiliate Marketing Pitfalls You Should Avoid

Affiliate marketing is a lucrative opportunity for online business owners and content creators. However, it can be challenging to succeed without the right resources. Here are some common mistakes that affiliate marketers should avoid: 

  • Wrong platform choice: Your choice of platform can make or break your affiliate marketing efforts. Choose a social platform that is used by your target demographic.

  • Being too sales-y: Your audience can tell if your content is overly market-y. Instead, aim to persuade your audience by sharing how the product helped you and how it can help them too.

  • Quantity over quality: Strive for a balance between quality and quantity. Don't publish low-quality content just to meet engagement quotas.

  • Ignoring SEO: SEO is crucial for affiliate marketing success. Optimize your content with title tags, meta descriptions, and attractive headlines. Have a good structure of the content by using well curated terms or jargons. Having internal / external links to provide helpful content for the audience would be ideal. Keep your website optimized, secure, and speedy. When your SEO metrics improve, so will your SERP rankings.

To end this long journey across this article, here’s a mantra to remember: Making money with affiliate marketing can be easy. But it will always be easier if you follow everything we just said. 


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