Let’s take care of the 2nd part first – launch date for Affiliate Genie…
Due to some logistical issues (specifically payment processing & affiliate tracking), and due to some minor tweaks that had to be done (which will prevent what would’ve been an overwhelming support load) - we had to move the launch date to Tuesday, December 8th.
Trust me, this the last thing I wanted to have happen. Definitely not a marketing gimmick.
A last-minute launch reschedule practically guarantees opportunity loss, as some JV partners and promoters won’t be able to juggle promotion schedules.
But it is what it is – and come hell, high water, or the freakin’ apocalypse… it launches on December 8th.
Okay, next item…
What About The FTC’s New Guidelines on Bloggers Reviewing Products?
Is Affiliate Genie “FTC Friendly”?
Let’s get to the bottom of this – and look at the REAL issue…
Product reviews, product-related content, and opinions of products make up a huge portion of the web. These days, most people go to “Google” to research what others say about a product before they spend their money.
Sites like Yelp.com, Epinions.com, ConsumerSearch.com and so on are examples of exactly that.
It’s actually one of the most valuable aspects of the internet, because everything from insurance to hotels to acne cream to, yes, digital products can now be clearly seen for what they are with the internet. (One of the reasons why insurance premiums have dropped so much since the mid-nineties. Consumer awareness drives quality and competition).
So authoritative and accurate content about products – or even opinion – is not what the FTC has an issue with. Those are things that consumers want.
No, instead – what the FTC has issue with is the disclosure of a material connection between the site/publisher, and the products they discuss.
And from the FTC’s own press release:
“Thus, bloggers who make an endorsement must disclose the material connections they share with the seller of the product or service”
That is the real issue. Disclosure.
And it’s one that, from the very beginning of our development with Affiliate Genie, has been integrated into the framework of the application.
Here’s Why Using Affiliate Genie is Actually SAFER Than Current, Industry-Standard Website Builders…
The simple answer is that Affiliate Genie is a just publishing tool that makes it easy for someone to build their own content within a profitable layout. It really is just like a “WordPress for affiliates”. It’s still up to you what you publish using Affiliate Genie.
Which means that so long as your content is legal, honest/accurate and you are clearly disclosing any material connections you have with products you mention – then you have nothing to worry about.
There is NO PROBLEM with publishing product reviews whatsoever, so long as you:
1. Provide Honest, Accurate Content – and
2. Disclose Material/Commercial Connections accordingly
However – we’ve made it even easier to stay safe. Affiliate Genie has a built-in sitewide disclosure statement (which you can customize to suit the nature of your material/commercial connection) that you can easily edit from the admin panel.
And we’ve also included an Accuracy Disclaimer statement on a product-by-product basis that itemizes the nature of any product review you publish (whether it’s based on product testing, research or simply commentary) – which instills even more trust in your content.
It still comes down to what you publish (in general, just be honest and use common sense), but in terms of FTC compliance, Affiliate Genie is currently much safer for affiliates than commonly-used site builders by default simply because the infrastructure for compensation disclosure and accuracy disclaimers is already hardcoded into your sites.
That’s about as safe as we can possibly make it for you without personally “approving” your sites content… which doesn’t make sense logistically or logically because Affiliate Genie is for all intents and purposes, just a “pen”.
What you write with that pen is up to you entirely.
To wrap it up and put it simply…
The only way you could get into trouble using Affiliate Genie – or WordPress, or Dreamweaver, or whatever – is if the content YOU produce is misleading, or if you’re not clearly disclosing a material connection to the products you promote.
If you’re an honest affiliate, there is nothing to fear but fear itself.
(The real hassle with respect to the FTC’s guidelines is more for the vendors who have to control what their affiliates claim, publish, etc.)
Just thought I’d shed some reality on the recent hype…
P.S. Here’s some resources you might want to check out if you’re concerned (or uninformed) about the FTC’s recent guidelines…
Fast Company Interviews FTC – FTC Responds to Blogger’s Fears:
Jim Edwards (from our own little “IM” industry) Interviews Rich Cleland, Asst. Deputy of the FTC