FTC guidelines: Tips on how to embrace the change

•    Have you read the new FTC guidelines?
•    Are you aware how it's going to affect you as an affiliate?

Here are a few tips on how to embrace the change such that it doesn’t affect you in a negative way. But before that let us understand the change that the new guidelines are likely to bring. The new FTC guidelines will make it tougher for spammers and unethical marketers that deceive their visitors. As everyone will now have to disclose their earning potential, honest and genuine marketers as well as publishers are also likely to be affected negatively. Read more about FTC Guidelines and Affiliate Marketing.

Make sure you don’t let the new FTC guidelines affect your business and hamper your conversions, with the help of following rules:

Rule no 1: Say only what you can deliver

If the merchants give you a guarantee that product will give you XX % of change in your life then only mention it on your site. Otherwise mentioning that you can lose XX% of weight or promising something that isn’t true won't be tolerated. This will be like deceiving the visitor, because neither you nor the merchant/manufacturer can guarantee that. Adhere to strict honest policy; promote products with genuine benefits rather than fake promises.

Rule no 2: Don't oversell just work on marketing (pre-selling)

Being a publisher/affiliate your role is to market the product and not to sale it. So leave the responsibility of selling the product on the merchants and you just work on marketing.

Rule no 3: Create smart disclosure on your site

According to the guidelines you need to disclose what you're getting which is to be easily visible to the visitors. By saying that it does not mean that you need to mention on every affiliate link that how much you are earning from this link. But you should be clear enough in your disclosure that a consumer can understand that you as an affiliate or marketer will get the commission if they click and buy a product. But now the issue is where to put such disclosure? You can create a new page of compensation disclosure and give link of that page on your homepage on top menu (if possible). Also you can put those links near to affiliate links so that it is easily visible. This may serve both the purpose: following FTC guidelines and lure visitors to buy the products without informing them how much you are earning. Ideally many visitors who are interested in buying products would not look out for any disclosure on your site even if it is compensation disclosure.

Later when the commission comes up with few steps on how to put the disclosure you can later on change according to their norms. By following these three rules, you wouldn’t have a lot to worry about.

Also you may look for new merchants, which are not based in the US and be on safer side.

FTC guidelines : Disclosures by affiliates/publishers

On 1st December 2009 new FTC guidelines were implemented for all those doing business on the internet with U.S. consumers/entity. It means any one being paid by US based company or where any part of online business or transaction takes place in US, the changes to the FTC guidelines will be applied to them. So publishers or affiliates promoting any US based merchants or targeting US customers have to follow the new FTC guidelines.

The new guidelines want affiliates to disclose their financial relationship with the merchants whose products they are promoting. Also next they want is to stop misleading and fraudulent testimonials which is the usual trend being used by affiliates to deceive visitors.

Many believes that the later part will hardly affect the affiliate marketing in whole but yes rogue marketers, spammers and unethical marketers would certainly have to be on alert. Those providing fake and fraudulent testimonials of  products will have to revamp their marketing strategies or else they would be in a big trouble. This may even give genuine marketers or affiliates an opportunity to get more conversion due to the trust they will built with visitors.

However disclosing how much they are earning is something affiliates are worried about. This disclosure can be as short as "Disclosure: Compensated Advertising" or "Paid Advertising". However the point is that the disclosure must be clear and conspicuous. It should provide an idea to the reader that there is a connection between the endorser and the seller. Usually FTC will not be applied unless there is an endorsement/recommendation, so affiliate marketing involving in any kind of straight advertising would be safe however if they are endorsing or recommending any products they have to provide a compensation disclosure.

Where to put the disclosure is again a big question. FTC wants affiliates to put disclosure that is easily and clearly visible to the visitors. Of course this does not mean they want affiliates to put this disclosure just as affiliates links. Obviously that is not the intention of these regulations. Their main intention is to create transparency in partnership between affiliates and merchants. It should clarify to the people the difference between advertising and non advertising. However how to put a disclosure is not yet clear. Lets hope to see some news on it soon.

People not following the guidelines would be charged $11000. So all the affiliates or publishers working with US based entity will have to make sure they properly follow the FTC guidelines. If you have any issues of query you may call them directly or mail them and find out. That would give you the better idea and help you to be safe from any kind of issues.



What should one look out in Health Affiliate Programs?

Health Affiliate programs is a very broad segment for affiliates interested in promoting health care related products and earning handsome commission. You can type “Health Affiliate programs” in Search Engine and you will find a long list of directories and websites promoting health care related products and their affiliate programs on SERP. The reason is very simple and that is the lucrative market available on the globe. People are coming online to research or find health related information and since they find health care products at significantly low price, they get lured to buy those products online rather going to the physical pharmacy and wasting their time as well as money.  Genuine online pharmacies or online health stores provides same products that are available in physical stores at cheap price. So for affiliates there is a huge market to earn money with health affiliate programs where affiliates can get commission ranging from 10% to 50% of product price.

More are the options more will be the confusion – Which health affiliate programs are best? Which affiliate programs are genuine? Who will provide highest Commission? Many such questions would be running in a mind of affiliate and we hope this article will help you up to some extent.

First of all you as an affiliate have to decide which market you want to target – natural products, Rx products, sexual health products, weight loss products. Sexual health products (Viagra, Cialis) and weight loss products (Reductil, Xenical, Proactol, Hoodia) are one of the highest selling products on internet and so are  their affiliate programs - sexual health affiliate programs and weight loss affiliate programs. Certainly you will get good amount of competition if you are trying to promote sexual health or weight loss products, so if you are new you can start with other products like women’s sexual health (Intrinsa) or smoking cessation (Champix) where you will find less competition. If you are well versed with Internet marketing techniques you can directly start with those products.

Once decided with the target market, you need to focus on websites providing those products and their affiliate programs. Checking for products is very necessary as you may find many generic version of products which are either not allowed or sometimes may not sold as much as brand products (you may find many generic version of Viagra, but they are not sold as much as Viagra is getting sold and the simple reason to it is the trust build on brand Viagra). Thus always prefer online stores providing brand products or brand as well as generic products but never prefer those selling only generic products. Apart from getting involved in genuine business, the added advantage of preferring brand products is that you usually get more commission on brand products compared to generic products and their conversion rate is also very high.

Find out legal information of the online store. It may be a possibility that online stores selling pharmaceutical products today may not be in existence tomorrow. So always ask for their legal information and try to get as much information as possible like their physical existence, their registration number, their phone number, from where they ship the products, etc. from their website and affiliate manager. Read more on why legal information is so important for affiliates: Getting Legal Information of Online pharmacy.

Usually affiliates make mistakes by getting lured seeking percentage commission value of an affiliate programs. There are many online health care stores claiming to give you commission up to 50% or even more. But always try to find out the actual commission value instead of commission percentage value. Calculate the commission value you will earn by selling one product and compare this with others. For example there can be two genuine online health care stores A & B selling two different products. Store A provides 50% commission selling generic product priced at $50 so commission you earn is $25. However Store B provides 20% commission selling brand products priced at $150 so the commission you earn with Store B is $30. Also the conversion rate of brand products is always higher compared to generic products.

The above factors would be visible to you before joining any affiliate program and thus you can make a smart choice of working with good and genuine Health Affiliate Programs using above factors.

If you find all the above factors good, sign up with them work with them and see what banners and promotional tools they provide. Find out how affiliate manager interacts with you. See what is the response time from affiliate team? Are they providing payments on time? Write about them and let other know about their affiliate program. If they are good let other know about their positive points if you find them bad complain about them.

Fake online pharmacy report

The biggest flaw of affiliate marketing is that affiliates unless don't get their money cannot assure wheter they have actually earn that money or not. Many affiliates have complained against fake online pharmacy for not paying them the actual commission earned by them. They could see thousands of dollars in their account in affiliate panel but when time comes for getting their amount, their account either get suspended or the pharmacy itself gets closed.

I have recently read a comment by an affiliate for one such online pharmacy called RxPayouts.

"Rxpayouts pharmacy affiliates. Nov 2, 2009 I sign up as an affiliate to this pharmacy affiliate site. I began sending them orders (around 12 orders daily) i sent them a total of around 50 sales and they never paid me a dime." - Paul (Manila)

You can check out the complete record of the complain on: Ripoff Report

Usually this kind of pharmacy affiliate programs tries to keep their threshold limit very high: $400 or even more. So by the time affiliates reach their threshold limit they can either stop their their account or stop the completer website of online pharmacy. Thus try working with pharmacy affiliate programs who have less threshold limit or are paying you in weekly or monthly basis. Again some may claim to pay you weekly but they keep their threshold very high which is difficult to achieve. Always try to find out their threshold limit and their legal information before joining any pharmacy affiliate program.

Read more on how to find out legal information of online pharmacy.


Health Affiliate Marketing: In house affiliate programs and affiliate networks

Health Affiliate marketing is a boon for affiliates. Affiliates are earning handsome commission from health affiliate marketing. However many are confused between affiliate networks and in house health affiliate programs. 

Usually big affiliate networks on internet are not working with online pharmacy or health care products, there are very few affiliate networks that are participating in health care products. However there are many health care merchants which are generating good amount of revenue using their in house health affiliate programs. With this amount of information let’s discuss some pros and cons of health affiliate networks and in house health affiliate programs.

Being an affiliate, the first thought that comes in a mind is that "if I move to affiliate network then I can get more merchants and thus more product options to promote." But we usually forget the level of competition existing in affiliate network. Thousands and millions of affiliates would be promoting the same products and getting same commission and sometimes one of them or all of them could be strong competitor to you. So this could be one of the disadvantages of joining health affiliate network, but at the same time the advantage of joining a network is getting more products to promote. If one product or merchant does not work you can shift to other very easily in a network.

You cannot have a full transparency in affiliate networks, whereas in an in-house affiliate program you know whom you are working with? What products they are selling? Are they genuine? Usually affiliate networks do take care of some of these points but while working for health care products you yourself should interfere and try to find out the genuine information about the health care merchants.

With affiliate network you are always assured of getting payment. However with in house affiliate program once you don't work with them or know from someones experience you cannot be assured of getting your payment. However in health care related products, usually who are involved in genuine online consultation and selling of genuine medication, they always makes sure that they will never do anything that can hamper their reputation. But usually the credibility of payment is more in networks compared to the in house affiliate programs.

Usually the super affiliates find difficulty in working with health affiliate networks as they cannot provide many times what super affiliates demands. This is very easy to achieve in an in-house affiliate program. Affiliates can easily demand in an in-house affiliate program and they request is easily & quickly fulfilled by affiliate manager for that in house affiliate program. The reason is that the affiliate team working for in house affiliate program has nothing to do expect make that one in house program better and better, however affiliate team for an affiliate network handles so many merchants account and cannot fulfill demands of all the affiliates as convincing third party is always a difficult job.

In an affiliate network, affiliates work becomes very easy. Just log in to one panel and you can access large number of merchants and their products; also get consolidated reports on all the merchants and products. Whereas in an in-house affiliate program, they have to log in to individual affiliate programs to get access to each of their affiliate panel and get the reports.

In an in house affiliate program you usually finds niche targeted segment. Thus usually pharmacy affiliate programs or health care affiliate programs are not working much with affiliate networks, they have their in house affiliate programs preferably. Advantage of getting into niche segment is higher conversion rate and better result. Apart from that the journey from a newbie affiliate to super affiliate is fast and easy in an in-house affiliate network compared to any affiliate network due to less competition in former.

Rx Weight loss Affiliate Marketing

Looking at current survey figures, Obesity is the biggest epidemic of the world. Many people are seeking weight loss treatment and it is very obvious that weight loss treatment has enormous market for business. Once decided to promote Weight loss Affiliate Program, the next step would be selecting what type of treatment to promote: Prescription or Non-Prescription. Both of them have their pros and cons, which were already mentioned in article: Prescription and non prescription weight loss affiliate program. If your preference is to promote Prescription treatments for weight loss you need to make selection among the medication available as there are several prescription weight loss treatments available in market. 

Each prescription weight loss pills has some active and inactive ingredients, the proportion of which varies in every pill. Therefore they work differently and have different side effect as well as contraindications. There are different medical criteria that are used to prescribe those treatments. Hence, everyone can not be prescribed all/any weight loss pills randomly; one may be benefited from a prescription weight loss pill while same pill may be harmful to someone else. It varies from person to person depending upon the medical condition of an individual. So, one should consult doctor before taking prescription medication.

There are various types of prescription weight loss pills in the market depending upon their working methodology in body. Some are fat blockers, which blocks fat from the body and don’t let the fat absorbed in the body. Other could be appetite suppressant, which will make them feel their stomach is full. So, one will not like to eat; consequently one will not eat food and lose weight. It is preferable to understand the working methodology of the medication along with its criteria to prescribe the medication; including their side effects and contraindications.

Prescription Weight loss Pills are not for everyone, it is only for obese people. One who is overweight with BMI less than 26 should generally lose their weight with diet and exercise. People with BMI above 26 can select the prescription medication depending upon their medical condition, as everyone cannot take all prescription medication available in the market. Your GP will be the best person to advice you for correct weight loss pills.

It is better to follow set of laws and mention all details about prescription medication on the site, before promoting any prescription weight loss affiliate program; this will save you from getting into legal issues in future.

Success Criteria for Pharmacy Affiliates

Many people want to be rich overnight and that too without any efforts. Pharmacy Affiliate Programs provide one of the easy way of earning, but it does not provide an assurance of making people rich overnight  that too without any efforts. Being an Pharmacy affiliates you should understand your responsibility and if you work hard in correct direction, this is the most attractive and easiest platform to earn  money. Below you will find few Success Criteria for Pharmacy Affiliates:

Look out for genuine online pharmacy affiliate programs: Before starting or joining new online pharmacy it is always better to check their legal information and find out how they work? These two questions will give you an idea about the credibility of online pharmacy. It might be a possibility that you may end up joining very new pharmacy affiliate program, but if it is genuine you don’t have to worry any more. Commission will follow automatically once you put efforts correctly whether you are working with veteran online pharmacy or very new online pharmacy. What is more important is the credibility of online pharmacy and selling capability of their products.

Check out their products, pricing and commission rate: Don't get lured looking to the percentage commission, usually generic online pharmacy may claim to give you up to 50% of commission, but if you look at their product price you may not be earning even $30 per sale. So always check out for commission rate along with the products and their price. Calculate earning per sale and compare it with other programs. Also ask for conversion rates, it might be a possibility that some online pharmacy may provide less than 1% conversion rate. Register to the program and check out for the affiliate panel, to see the banners and other promotional tools being provided in affiliate programs.

Try to share with affiliate manager:  Always make sure you are transparent with affiliate managers. They can provide you help on various factors apart from basic affiliate promotional techniques. Some affiliate manager are active and frequently provides you information about best selling products, high conversion rate providing products, new offers, new banners, etc. If you don't find anything in affiliate panel ask to affiliate manager. The response from affiliate manager will give you an idea of how far he/she is capable to help you. Usually good affiliate manager respond within 1 working day, if they take time there must be some problem. Provide feedback to affiliate manager about their affiliate program, this will in turn provide an opportunity of improvement to both, an affiliate program as well as affiliate.

Ask to deliver: If you don't find a suitable banner in any affiliate program but you find that their product is really capable and you are confident that you can get good commission, ask for banners from affiliate manager. Unless you won't ask you will never get. I have observed many affiliates register to affiliate program and on finding the program new and lack of banners or ads, they immediately switch to other programs. Ideally, if you join a new affiliate program you have lesser competition and thus you can have higher probability of earning. So always ask for whatever you need to promote their products instead of leaving them and promoting other affiliate program. You never know, you could be the highest earner in that affiliate program in future.

Use all Internet marketing channels to promote their products: More you promote, more will be the commission. This is the simple thumb rule to get success in affiliate marketing. Instead of promoting various brands or products on your site, focus on niche, stay with one affiliate program for few months and promote them religiously. As I said earlier, if online pharmacy is genuine, you are bound to earn good. You may usually loose the opportunities if you try to mix up more products and more merchants on same page. Try to use all possible marketing channels, like email, twitter, social book marking and networking sites, banners on website, SEO, PPC, etc. This will not only improve your web presence but will increase your probability of earning commission.

Don't promise that you and online pharmacy cannot deliver: Don't make fake promotions by decreasing the price on banners or increasing the cash back offers or discounts. Show whatever the affiliate program is offering, otherwise you will not only loose the opportunity to earn commission but you may also loose valuable visitors. If you want a specific banner or template to promote their products ask from the affiliate manager instead of manipulating the existing banners or your site.