"Do you have an FTC Disclosure Policy, and if so what is it?"
The Federal Trade Commission requires
that all sites, blogs, etc which receive cash and or products in
exchange for ad placements and or reviews post a policy disclosing this
fact, and as my web site does in fact receive cash payment for MOST, but
not all of the ads displayed on it, I therefor do have such a policy
You can read the FTC's official laws regarding this matter HERE and HERE.
Basically the short answer to your question is:
Yes, I do show advertisements in order to get paid a commission from companies where I am an affiliate. You can find a complete list of these companies here (this list is constantly being updated and revised).
I primarily use my site for sharing my love of writing, publishing and
helping students, writers, authors, and professors start and/or advance
their own writing careers, I also use it as a source of income. Yes, one
way a writer gets paid to write, is for that writer to write web
content, and than be paid by advertisers to place their ad banners on
those web content pages.
say this right up front: I do use this website as a source for
generating income and if you have a website, I encourage YOU to monetize
your website as well, I even go into detail on how I do it so you can do it too.
Keep in mind that the FTC Law says the following:
- You can’t talk about your experience with a product if you haven’t tried it.
- If you were paid to try a product and you thought it was terrible, you can’t say it’s terrific.
- You can’t make claims about a product that would require proof you
don’t have. For example, you can’t say a product will cure a particular
disease if there isn’t scientific evidence to prove that’s true.
I develop marketing relationships with reputable merchants by placing
their advertisements such as text links, graphic buttons and banner ads
on my website. Below is one such example:
You should ALWAYS assume that I am getting paid by someone if you purchase something from my site. Most merchants are "pre-approved" (hand selected by me), in other words I will not allow any ad on this site for a product I have not personally used or know someone who used it.
This however is not always the case because some programs, specifically Google AdSense, InfoLinks, and Chitika place ads on my site based on their own spider search algorithms and therefor I have no idea what ad they may decide to stick, where or when, and it is not uncommon for them to display ads for products/services/companies which I've never even heard of before or would not normally promote of my own free will.
I have debated whether or not to use Google AdSense, InfoLinks, and Chitika, because it bothers me quite a bit, that I have 100% zero control over the ads they place on my site and in the past I have been deeply shocked and dismayed at some of the VERY QUESTIONABLE ads I've seen displayed by them, on my site (namely the online dating sites, casino gambling sites, the dieting/pill/herbal supplement ads, and a few others.) I have contacted them and told them how VERY inappropriate these ads are, as they do no reflect the topic of my site, and I would never use or endorse any of those products. In recent years, Google has added the ability to "block" ads you don't want showing on your site, and I have blocked several of the online dating, casino gambling, dieting, pill, and herbal supplement ads and fortunately as a result of this, fewer of those types of ads are showing up now. Because of the ability to block ads, Google as been displaying far more relevant ads in recent months.
InfoLinks and Chitika, on the other hand have no such blocking ability and, the ads they display are just total wildcards. I can't make heads or tails out of what logic they use for the ads they display. There seems to be no rhyme nor reason to them, and they certainly don't match the keywords or topics of the site/pages/articles. These two are also the lowest performers (I would assume because of the extreme irrelivance of the ads) and I'm debating if I should just remove them entirely. The money they bring in (less than $10 a month, combined total for them both!) is hardly worth the annoyance of the highly irrelevant ads they are displaying here.
So while the ad banners I personally place on my site I do
promote because I use their product or service, many ads are randomly
generated based on keyword and I may or may not use their product or
Usually if I have placed
the product banner myself, you will also see me mentioning the company
and/or it's product over the course of my regular conversation. For
example, for the past 3 years you have seen/heard/read me saying how
much I love Hootsuite. I use Hootsuite every day, many times every day. I
chatter about it constantly and often mention it in articles I write.
Than after 3 years of talking about how great they are, I found out they
had an affiliate program and I figured, heck, I talk about their app
all the time, I might as well start linking to their affiliate program
and get paid for all this promotion I'm doing of them, and thus as of
September 2013, not only do you still see my telling you how great
Hootsuite is, you also see me displaying a banner advertising their
product. You can see this banner displayed at the bottom of my website (in the mix of 2,000 other banners that display one at a time, each time you refresh the page), for the simple fact I think their service is great
and because I've used it daily for many years now and I mention them so
often in dozens, perhaps hundreds of pages on my site, so I decided it
only fair that I put their banner on every page.
Example of LinkShare & Share-A-Sale Ad Banners: 120x600 Rotating
This is the 120x600 Wide Skyscraper Java Rotated Affiliate Banner. As of March 28, 2015 there are 700 ad banners in this mix. This code is placed in the right-hand side bar, near the bottom of every page on EelKat.com. All banners, companies, and products seen displayed in this mix were hand selected by me. They are all companies and/or products I have personally bought from and/or used, and enjoyed, liked, and would recommend, thus why they were selected to be added to this mix.
I am always on the look out for new affiliates, and this code, is capable of holding/rotating a grand total of 10,000 ad banners, so I am constantly adding to this code, every time I find a company or product that I AM ALREADY USING which has an affiliate program. All of the rotating images and random generators you see on my site are actually just one very simple code, that randomly rotates up to 10,000 items of text, photos, or links.
(And yes, I will put up a how-to page for how to build a rotating image display java code like this. Not sure when I'll get around to it, but it'll show up here eventually. A few people have asked me how I build my java codes for all the weird little "extra things" I do on my site and I plan to add a section to this site to tell you how to do the codes I build.)
On the other hand there are sites like Amazon.com. I love Amazon.com, I shop there every week and have done so since 2004. I used to get paid by them, years ago before the Nexus Law was passed. But I live in Maine, which means that as of October 6, 2013, I am no longer eligible to receive commission from their affiliate program, due to the Nexus Law, but that doesn't stop me from linking to their products even though I'm no longer getting paid to do so. Why? Because, like Hootsuite, I love their company enough to be linking to it whether I get paid or not.
The Nexus Law, for those who don't know what it is, was passed in 11 states, and requires the affiliate host (in this case Amazon) to have a physical brick&mortar store in the state where the affiliate publisher (me and my website) lives. I live in Maine, but Amazon does not have a brick&mortar store in Maine. Maine is one of the 11 states which passed this law. If the host (Amazon, etc) does not have a brick&mortar shop in the state of Maine, they have to pay the state of Maine and import tax, in order to offer an affiliate program to be used by publishers (me and other webmasters/bloggers/etc) who are residents of Maine.
Amazon, OverStock, and several hundred other companies, decided they didn't want to pay import taxes to the 11 states which passed the Nexus Law and as such, I am no longer an affiliate of all of the sites which opted out, and thus I've now removed all of their banners from my site, with the exception of Amazon. The Amazon links and banners are still up, but I no longer receive payment on them and now you know why.
Okay, so let's move on to the hows and whys of the ads I do use on my site.
[NOTE: This section is currently being edited and expanded and will return around 7PM EST on April 3, 2015]
Example of LinkShare & Share-A-Sale Ad Banners: 120x120 Rotating
This is the 120x120 Square Button Java Rotated Affiliate Banner. As of March 28, 2015 there are 500 ad banners in this mix. This code is placed in the right-hand side bar, near the bottom of every page on EelKat.com, just below the 120x600 Wide SkyScraper Banner. It is also used within articles, dropped into the pink "reminder box", where you are seeing it right now on this page.
All banners, companies, and products seen displayed in this mix were hand selected by me, same as for the 120x600 Wide Skyscraper.
As a general rule, I try to match banners to the page topic, for example on several of my pirate topic pages you will see I have placed banners f various pirate themed companies varying from a costume seamstress to children's birthday party plates. I have bought clothen from this seamstress and party supplies from this birthday supplier in the past and therefor feel good about telling my readers: hey, check this out.
Sometimes however, you might see a totally random banner which seems completely off topic, for example the Jelly Belly jelly bean banner you see frequently, usually on pages with nothing candy related at all. Why are they there? Well, so the simple fact that I could not find a product I use which did have a banner that was on topic, so I stuck a banner in for one of my favorite products regardless of topic as a way to not have an empty space on the page. Jelly Belly jelly beans have been a staple in my diet for close to 20 years now. Jelly Bellies are something you would expect to see me munching on, pretty much every day, any time, any place, and as I am the primary topic of this website all about me, it therefore is perfectly on topic for pages to display banners of my favorite candy, in this case Jelly Bellies.
Another example is the SBI banner seen on this site. SBI is the web host and server I use to run this website. Since 1997 I have built more than 200 websites and I have used many hosts and servers over the years, and you will often see me joining the affiliate programs of these hosts and servers and advertising them on any of my sites, even if they are not the host of that particular site, because I run many websites and do use them to host at least one of my sites. In the case of SBI, however, you see me using lots and lots and lots of their banners all over the place, and this is because of all the web host servers I have ever used, SBI is my favorite, thus I promote them to others. They are not a cheap web host however..
Sometimes a friend or a reader will tell me of a great and wonderful product which I have never used, but they can't stop talking about, so I'll add a banner to it, based on their recommendation, without actually knowing the product or service. In some cases I will later try said product and if I dislike it, I will remove the banner from my site, because I refuse to keep banners up for products I would not personally use.
Example of LinkShare & Share-A-Sale Ad Banners: 468x90 Rotating
This is the 468x90 Full Header Java Rotated Affiliate Banner. As of March 28, 2015 there are 300 ad banners in this mix. This code is placed near the lower 3/4 of every page on EelKat.com. It is also used within articles, dropped into the pink "reminder box", where you are seeing it right now on this page. All banners, companies, and products seen displayed in this mix were hand selected by me, same as for the 120x600 Wide Skyscraper.
Although I do my best to work with merchants that may interest my readers, I am not responsible for their advertisements, products, and services since I have no control over them. I do take time to carefully review the products and offers before placing their links on my website. I promise to only include products that I truly believe in and do (or would) use myself. You are not obligated in any way to buy from the merchants that I have affiliation with; I only provide the links for your convenience.
And of course, as I said, I have absolutely no control over the ads which are randomly displayed by Google, InfoLinks, and Chitika. I never know what they'll put in their ads and if it is something I would use myself or not.
And as this is my website, I reserve the right to do and say whatever I want on EelKat.com including updating, editing, and deleting anything without warning or notice. You have this same right on your own site!
There now you have read my unprofessional FTC policy, I will now direct you to the following more professional app generated policy, which basically says the same thing ...