Good.ly and Disclosure
Good.ly wants to ensure that you use our links in a responsible manner and with the right form of disclosure.
Good.ly is a charitable service, so it’s a bit fuzzy about how disclosure guidelines apply, but we’ve provided the information below so you can make a decision yourself about whether to disclose.
Why do I need to be responsible?
To recap, Good.ly earns commissions from online retailers and service providers if people buy products and services through Good.ly links. 55% of those commissions go to charity, with the remainder funding the cost of the service. Because there is a monetary commission involved there is a degree of responsibility with using these links.
What is disclosure?
It means telling your audience that you are potentially receiving some sort of benefit from the content or links you are writing about.
Give me an example
For example if someone owns shares in a company and writes about them, they should disclose they are a shareholder. Or if you promote an affiliate link to people you should disclose you may receive a commission if they go to buy that product/service.
Why would I disclose?
From a moral standpoint, it’s right to disclose when you are marketing online or through word of mouth if you stand to benefit from an opinion, comment or recommendation.
So why does it concern Goodly – its for charity right?
Since Good.ly uses affiliate links, we recommend that if you can, use some form of disclosure when using Good.ly links to recommend products and services to people.
Ultimately its up to you, your intent, and who your audience are: you might argue that you aren’t receiving anything and that its going to charity so you don’t need to disclose, or you might argue that Twitter doesn’t need disclosure as people can unfollow you if they want – you make that decision.
Note: if you are just using Good.ly as a URL shortening service, and the link isn’t an affiliate link by which a charity can benefit from then there is obviously no requirement for a disclosure message.
How do I disclose if I decide I want to?
This is the difficult bit: If you are using Twitter, you don’t have much room in 140 characters – one suggestion is to use a hashtag e.g. #$ or #aff. The problem is there is no standard yet, so it may be confusing to your audience.
It has also been suggested that you make a disclosure note in your Twitter profile, or a link from your Twitter profile. If anyone has some good ideas please get in contact.
When you are disclosing on a website, it’s a bit easier – we recommend one of the following based on what you feel is best for your audience:
- A disclosure message somewhere on the page of content
- Have a disclosure page linked from your main menu/navigation bar
Are there laws about this?
There aren’t any set rules or regulations on Twitter and other social media about the use of affiliate links, however the FCC in USA has rules about word of mouth marketing whereby you should disclose if you are receiving some form of benefit from your content/links. You can only promote testimonials of products/services if they are genuine and verifiable.