Ethical Use of Affiliate Links

This page details the use of affiliate links on my website. As a dedicated advocate of ethical living and sustainability, I’ve embarked on a journey over the past 7+ years to promote sustainable brands and values without any financial incentive. However, times have changed, and the landscape of online content creation has evolved. This page outlines my reasons for incorporating affiliate links into my content, the considerable effort that goes into creating meaningful content, and the unwavering commitment to honesty and integrity that guides my brand partnerships.

Legal Requirements for Declaring Affiliate Links: Ensuring Transparency and Compliance

Affiliate marketing has become a prevalent practice in the digital age, providing opportunities for content creators and brands to collaborate. To maintain transparency and compliance with both UK, US, and global laws, it’s essential that I clearly disclose affiliate links to you. This section outlines the legal requirements you should adhere to when declaring affiliate links.

CAP Code (UK):

In the United Kingdom, advertising regulations are governed by the Committee of Advertising Practice (CAP) Code. When it comes to affiliate links, the following points have to be considered:

  1. Transparency: Clearly disclose any affiliate links or financial arrangements that could affect the content of my posts.
  2. Prominence: Disclosures should be noticeable and placed where you can see them before you engage with the affiliate link on my content.
  3. Language: The language used for disclosures should be easily understood by you. Unambiguous terms like “Affiliate link” or “Ad” can help avoid confusion.

FTC Guidelines (US):

In the United States, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) mandates that disclosures of material connections between content creators and advertisers are clear and conspicuous.

  1. Clear and Conspicuous Language: Disclosures must be easy for you to notice, read, and understand. Avoiding vague language or burying disclosures in fine print.
  2. Placement: Place my disclosures as close as possible to the affiliate links. If the link is within a blog post, the disclosure should be within the same post and not just on a general disclosure page.
  3. Visibility on All Devices: Ensure that disclosures are prominently displayed on all devices, including mobile phones and tablets.
  4. Unambiguous Language: Use clear and unambiguous language that my audience will readily understand. Phrases like “This post contains affiliate links” or “I may earn a commission if you make a purchase through my links” are straightforward and effective.

How to know when an affiliate link is in use on my site

Look out for a notice saying *Affiliate Link in Use above the link or button where the link may be placed. This is positioned in a way that makes it obvious that the link you are about to click is an affiliate link.

Underneath any promotional content you’ll also spot a sentence like this:

**This post contains affiliate links, and I may be compensated if you make a purchase after clicking on my links.

Why I’m Using Affiliate Links:

For years, I’ve championed sustainable brands without seeking compensation. My commitment to sharing ethical and sustainable choices was fueled by passion alone. Occasionally, I have received gifted items, without any expectation to promote or review them. These have been featured on my site and marked as gifted products.

However, the shifting dynamics of the industry have led me to reevaluate this approach. An increasing number of small sustainable brands seek exposure without compensating content creators for their efforts. This unsustainable trend has prompted me to integrate affiliate links, ensuring the viability of my business while continuing to promote authenticity and share brands and products that are genuinely aligned with my values.

It’s important to note that I do not operate as a conventional influencer with set payment fees; my ethos remains rooted in the brands’ alignment with my values. I promote sustainable styling, repairs, upcycling and shopping preloved above purchasing new items. My primary channel is my blog and I create evergreen content that can be found in a search on Google. Supporting social media channels are Instagram and Pinterest.

The Work Behind Reviews, Research, and Content Creation:

Creating content that upholds the values I stand for requires substantial dedication. Crafting insightful reviews, conducting in-depth research, writing compelling copy, capturing high-quality images, and even producing and editing videos demand substantial time and energy.

These endeavours extend beyond mere creation; they involve investments in various tools and subscriptions. In addition, the painstaking effort put into optimising content for search engines (SEO) is a labour-intensive process that ensures the information reaches and benefits those who seek it organically.

Recommending Brands and Products with Honesty and Integrity:

My commitment to honesty and integrity, as exemplified by my Roberta Style Lee values, remains unwavering. Any brand featured on my platform aligns with my ethical principles and sustainability criteria. I categorically avoid associations with brands that do not uphold strong ethical and sustainable practices. My clients and readers’ trust is paramount, and I am dedicated to maintaining that trust by being transparent about the partnerships I engage in.

Selective Features:

The brands I choose to feature undergo a rigorous selection process, in alignment with my stringent criteria. These criteria include qualities such as high quality, strong aesthetics, sustainability in production, a commitment to ethical practices, timeless designs, and an eco-friendly ethos. Brands that promote trend-free, timeless pieces that contribute positively to the environment and society find a place in my content.

Affiliate Links and their use within my Content

Integrating affiliate links into my content marks a strategic shift, driven by the changing landscape of content creation. This decision as of August 2023 ensures that I can continue to offer valuable insights and promote ethical brands without compromising authenticity. The effort invested in producing authentic content and adhering to my core values reflects my commitment to readers who share my passion for style, sustainability and ethical living.

By adopting affiliate links in an ethical and transparent manner, I strive to not only sustain my platform but also foster a community of conscious consumers who make well-informed, ethical choices that align with their values.

The right people won’t judge

I have come to realise both my clients and readers will not think less of me for using an affiliate link here or there. I realise that my clients and the wider audience would not begrudge seeing me rewarded with a small commission if they click on a link on my website, and then decide to buy something I have promoted.

How Affiliate Schemes and Links Work:

Affiliate marketing has become an integral part of the online business landscape, offering a mutually beneficial arrangement between content creators and brands. This section will help you understand what is meant by affiliate marketing. There are two common approaches that I have agreed to use on my website to offer you useful content and at the same time be rewarded for my efforts. Read below to understand Related Affiliate Marketing and Involved Affiliate Marketing.

Related Affiliate Marketing:

In this approach, I am happy to promote products or services closely related to my niche or content. For example, I might choose to partner with a sustainable jewellery brand, something sustainable for the home to better organise a jewellery collection, or sustainable beauty products and devices.

There must be a natural alignment between the affiliate product and my content, which enhances the value and relevance for my clients and readers.

Where I have selected a brand to work with, I will incorporate unique affiliate links provided by the brands into my content. When a user clicks on these links and makes a purchase, I will earn a small commission based on the sale. This method capitalises on my authority as a Sustainable Style Expert and expertise within my niche of sustainable style, fashion and lifestyle. By advocating for these brands they understand that I am using my reputation to help foster a sense of trust among my audience.

Involved Affiliate Marketing:

This approach involves me being more deeply involved with the products or services I promote. This might include creating comprehensive reviews, tutorials, or other content that offers an in-depth perspective on product features, as well as any drawbacks and areas of concern /improvement. This style of affiliate marketing helps build stronger connections between my clients and audience, myself and the promoted product.

Using this approach I have a more intimate understanding of the product, allowing me to address potential concerns or questions from my clients or online audience. The transparency and authenticity that come from my personal experience contribute towards greater trust in the product and brand, as well as higher engagement and conversion rates.

Timeframes for Valid Link Clicks:

It’s important to note that not all link clicks and subsequent purchases translate into commissions. Brands typically set specific timeframes during which link clicks are considered valid for commission purposes. Two common timeframes are:

  1. 7-Day Attribution: Some brands offer a 7-day attribution period. This means that if a user clicks on an affiliate link and makes a purchase within the next 7 days, the content creator will receive a commission for that sale. This attribution window recognises that customers might take a few days to consider their purchase before completing it.
  2. 30-Day Attribution: Other brands provide a longer 30-day attribution period. This extended window acknowledges that purchase decisions, especially for higher-priced items, may require more time and research. If a user converts within 30 days of clicking the affiliate link, the content creator is credited with the sale.

These attribution timeframes are designed to fairly reward content creators for their influence on a purchase, even if the transaction doesn’t occur immediately after the click. For me, however, these are even less relevant as I encourage my clients to wait months, sometimes more than a year before purchasing anything new. The use of specific attribution periods, such as 7 or 30 days, is in place to ‘try and ensure’ that creators are appropriately compensated for the impact they have on guiding consumer choices. This window of time however does not reward a content creator such as myself.

Affiliate Marketing Conclusion

In conclusion, affiliate marketing for me here at Roberta Style Lee is in operation, yet it remains to be seen if any results will incur due to the vastly different dynamics of my content and that of ‘influencers’. Whether through non-affiliate content, Related or Involved affiliate marketing, my goal remains unchanged: to help you make a conscious decision about your purchases that aligns with your values.