Why do people have to announce affiliate commissions in websites?

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There are some cases where people write about a brand, and then make disclaimers stating that they earn a commission from whatever sales they make from the website.

Why do they feel the need to announce it all the time? it’s almost as if it’s a law (if so, then why is it a law?)

Can’t they just earn their commission in silence?

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Hi /u/Cold_Chemical5151!

A reviewer who earns a commission from affiliate links has a vested financial interests in getting people to buy the product via the affiliate link. Therefore, the review they write is likely to be less forthcoming about negative aspects of the product, thereby rendering the review less useful for the consumer.

In other words, earning a commission is a conflict of interest between writing an honest review and earning money via people buying the product that is reviewed. Announcing that the reviewer is earning money from affiliate links is disclosing this conflict of interest.

Laws regarding the disclosure differ from between countries and jurisdictions.

>it’s almost as if it’s a law

Nailed it.

[In both the US, UK,](https://www.ft.com/content/26d91166-6d3d-11e6-9ac1-1055824ca907)

[and many states in the EU- effectively all of them. ](https://www.google.com/amp/s/inflownetwork.com/influencer-marketing-laws-in-europe/)

[also in a few countries in the Middle East. ](https://inflownetwork.com/influencer-marketing-laws-in-the-middle-east/amp/?_gl=1*1v19tc5*_ga*YW1wLVJPN2xSZGVFUm1LSWlzck9sLURMeGJPSU1HNDVWeUcwbURDXzBlRVVZWGRRMEM2M0FjdHlrT1lDLWJ3T1lPUkk.)

[And in China, likely in other Asian countries as well. ](https://www.asiapacdigital.com/digital-marketing-insight/china-digital-advertising-regulations-all-brands-need-to-know)

I could go on but I think the point has been made that there are laws about how companies can advertise, what they can advertise, and how they can do it in pretty much every country.
An influencer advertisement is still an advertisement.

Why do these laws exist?

It is in the best interest of consumers and a government’s people to not be lied to.
Claiming to use a product by lying either blatantly or by omission(by explicitly not stating they’re being paid for it) is misleading to consumers. Pretty much every country has laws about advertisers not being allowed to just straight up lie.

An advertisement lying to consumers about being an advertisement is still an advertisement lying to consumers.

From the FTC
> the FTC noted that sponsored messages are deceptive if they mislead consumers into believing they are independent, impartial, or not from a sponsoring advertiser itself. Specifically, the agency notes that sponsored content that is not prominently represented as such is problematic because it can lead consumers to give greater credence to advertising claims or to interact with advertising with which they otherwise would not have interacted

Let’s say you are going to buy something, it could be anything. You are a responsible consumer so you do some research and narrow it down to two versions hat are slightly different but have -for you- pros and cons you consider equivalent and they cost basically the same. You just can’t decide without additional information. Seeing it in person would help, most people can make a decision after handling an item in person.

But you can’t see it in person. For whatever reason, they are both custom items or must be ordered internationally, etc..

So you go to a review, if you can’t handle it personally before purchase why not get the opinion of someone who already has the item! Next best thing right?

So you find a review of both items from the same person! Great! That way even if you disagree with their points at least the opinion comes from the same person, the same starting point. Hopefully you can glean something.

You watch the videos and the reviewer is quite happy with both items, saying that achieve their purpose and appear to be well made, no issues. In one video they recommended buying item A. In the video for item B….they recommend buying item A.

So you buy item A.

And it turns out great. Yay!

But what if it didn’t?

Well if item A isn’t actually as good as item B…why did the reviewer recommend it?

Because they were paid to review item A and not item B. Or they make a small commission when people buy item A and they do NOT make a commission when people buy item B.

Wouldn’t you want to know that?