ClickBank Knowledge Base /General Account Help/Policies

Vendor Promotional Guidelines

Melissa
posted this on December 26, 2012, 13:23

In order to better serve our vendors and affiliates, ClickBank has developed these Vendor Promotional Guidelines to help clarify what kinds of advertising (messaging, claims, imagery, testimonials, etc.) are and are not allowed be used on, but not limited to, ClickBank vendor "Pitch Pages", all product related copy and collateral, and all other promotional materials. These are general guidelines only and are intended to supplement the information provided in our Client Contract

We at ClickBank value our customers, so we take Federal Trade Commission (FTC) regulations on advertising very seriously, and require that our products vendors and affiliates do, too.

Please note that promotional advertising, sales copy, product messaging and materials, express or implied, are always subject to ClickBank approval. Please note that ClickBank reserves the exclusive right to update and amend these guidelines at any time, without prior notice, and reserves the right to approve or reject products, marketing, copy, labels, and any other sales related collateral, at its sole discretion.

Truth in Advertising

When consumers see or hear an advertisement, whether it’s on the Internet, radio or television, or anywhere else, federal law says the ad must be truthful, not misleading, and, when appropriate, backed by scientific evidence. In addition to these guiding principles and specific regulations, ClickBank will take into account the overall “net impression” of the advertising message, which includes, marketing, copy, labels, and any other sales related collateral.

Deceptive advertising, advertising that is likely to mislead consumers in any way, likely to affect consumers’ conduct or decision with respect to a product at issue, or could cause consumer injury, are all potential FTC violations, and we may require immediate changes to new or existing products or marketing, deny new or existing products or marketing, or even suspend or terminate account(s).     

Testimonials and Endorsements

All use of testimonials and endorsements must comply with Federal Trade Commission (FTC) guidelines. This means that vendors cannot use false or deceptive statements in their written copy or video promotions.  All specific advertising claims about a product’s performance or quality must be capable of substantiation—that is they must be real examples based on actual experiences.  A statement that not all consumers will get the same results is not enough to qualify a claim. Testimonials and endorsements can't be used to make a claim that the advertiser itself cannot substantiate.

Connections between an endorser and the vendor that are unclear or unexpected to a customer also must be disclosed, whether they have to do with a financial arrangement for a favorable endorsement, a position with the vendor, or stock ownership.  Expert endorsements must be based on appropriate tests or evaluations performed by people that have mastered the subject matter.  

Also, affiliates cannot pose as neutral third parties evaluating two products so they make a commission on selling one of them.

Disclosures & Disclaimers

Any and all product disclosers and disclaimers must be clear and conspicuous, and not likely to cause consumer confusion. This relates to any kind of disclosure, disclaimer, terms of sale, etc., related to any product or advertising activity on or otherwise related to ClickBank. What does “clear and conspicuous” mean according to the FTC?

To make a disclosure “clear and conspicuous,” advertisers should use clear and unambiguous language and make the disclosure stand out. Consumers should be able to notice the disclosure easily. They should not have to look for it. In general, disclosures should be:

  • Close to the claims to which they relate;
  • In a font that is easy to read;
  • In a shade that stands out against the background;
  • For video ads, on the screen long enough to be noticed, read, and understood;
  • For audio disclosures, read at a cadence that is easy for consumers to follow and in words consumers will understand.

A disclosure that is made in both audio and video is more likely to be noticed by consumers. Disclosures should not be hidden or buried in footnotes, in blocks of text people are not likely to read, or in hyperlinks. If disclosures are hard to find, tough to understand, fleeting, or buried in unrelated details, or if other elements in the ad or message obscure or distract from the disclosures, they don’t meet the “clear and conspicuous” standard.

Please also reference FTC Guidance: How to Make Effective Disclosures in Digital Advertising.

Telemarketing

We do not allow “call to activate” products, or products that require a customer to call in and purchase another product in order to make their initial purchase through ClickBank work. Do not call customers who are on “do not call” lists, and please respect if they opt out being contacted. Please do not attempt to coerce customers on the phone. 

Environmental Marketing

Companies are offering consumers an ever-growing assortment of “green" options. But whether your environmental claims are about the product or the packaging, you'll need competent and reliable scientific evidence to support what you say. Find out more by consulting the FTC's Green Guides.

Email Spam

It’s your obligation to understand how you can, and cannot, use email to contact customers. The CAN-SPAM Act establishes requirements for those who send unsolicited commercial email. The Act bans false or misleading header information and prohibits deceptive subject lines. It also requires that unsolicited commercial email provide recipients with a method for opting out of receiving such email and must be identified as an advertisement.

Dietary Supplements & Food Claims

In addition to the FTC’s regulations regarding health claims, foods, dietary supplements, cosmetics, ingestible products, etc., ClickBank takes the regulations of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) seriously. If your product is regulated by the FDA, it is your responsibility to understand every regulation that may affect the production, manufacturing, and marketing of your products.

Among the claims that can be used on food and dietary supplement labels are three categories of claims that are defined by statute and/or FDA regulations: health claims, nutrient content claims, and structure/function claims.  Please be aware that ClickBank will at times ask vendors to substantiate their products’ health claims when applicable. 

Health Claims:

In addition to conveying product claims clearly and accurately, marketers need to verify that there is adequate support for their claims. Under FTC law, before disseminating an ad, advertisers must have a reasonable basis for all express and implied product claims. What constitutes a reasonable basis depends greatly on what claims are being made, how they are presented in the context of the entire ad, and how they are qualified.

The FTC, and therefore ClickBank, require claims about the efficacy or safety of dietary supplements to be supported with "competent and reliable scientific evidence," defined in FTC cases as "tests, analyses, research, studies, or other evidence based on the expertise of professionals in the relevant area, that have been conducted and evaluated in an objective manner by persons qualified to do so, using procedures generally accepted in the profession to yield accurate and reliable results." This is the same standard the FTC applies to any industry making health-related claims.

 Nutrient Claims:

The Nutrition Labeling and Education Act of 1990 (NLEA) permits the use of label claims that characterize the level of a nutrient in a food (i.e., nutrient content claims) if they have been authorized by FDA and are made in accordance with FDA's authorizing regulations.

Structure/Function Claims:

Dietary supplements also may carry claims in their labeling that describe the effect of a substance in maintaining the body's normal structure or function, as long as the claims don't imply the product diagnoses, treats, cures or prevents a disease. The FDA does not review or authorize these claims. An example of such a claim is, "Product B promotes healthy joints and bones." When a dietary supplement is promoted with a claim like this, the claim must be accompanied with the disclaimer, "This statement has not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent disease."

Made in the USA

A product has to be "all or virtually all made in the United States" for it to be advertised or labeled as "Made in the U.S.A." See FTC guidelines for more detail.

Video Requirements

Vendors must submit a full video script prior to shooting the video. Videos will not be accepted without a script pre-review.

  • Allowed:
    • Videos and testimonials containing actors who portray consumers and describe their success using the product are only allowed if the video accurately portrays a typical customer experience, and includes disclaimer appearing with the actor making such a disclosure (ex: “Actor Portraying Real Purchaser”). 
    • Clearly and conspicuously disclose the generally expected performance in the circumstances shown in the ad.
    • Videos and testimonials containing actors telling the vendor’s actual experience/story (either 1st or 3rdperson) are allowed, but must include a clear and conspicuous disclaimer identifying the fact that it is an actor portrayal. This disclaimer must be accordance with FTC Guidance on Disclosers and Disclaimers. Please also see the section above entitled Disclosers & Disclaimers for more information. A text disclaimer alone is not adequate.
    • Videos and testimonials containing a spokesperson describing the product’s actual attributes (must use a disclaimer).
    • Videos and testimonials containing an actual customer telling their actual story (does not require a disclaimer, but vendor must have signed documentation from the customer on hand in the event a regulatory agency would want proof that the story is a customer’s actual experience).
    • Videos and testimonials containing the actual vendor telling his/her actual story (does not require a disclaimer).
  • NOT Allowed:
    • Videos that portray or reference a fictionalized individual or life story, where a vendor makes false claims as part of the product pitch, are prohibited.
    • Videos that portray or reference the vendor him or herself, where the vendor makes false claims about his earnings, are prohibited.
    • Videos that don’t allow viewers to exit or pause are prohibited. Endorsements without substantiation are prohibited.

Any claims contained in the video must be capable of substantiation. Vendors must understand that if the FTC, private litigant or other agency asks for substantiation, the vendor must have proof to back up any claim made in the vendor’s video. If ClickBank learns that a product violates these or any related regulations, or causes significant customer issues, based on our discretion, then we’ll require immediate changes to new or existing products or marketing, deny new or existing products or marketing, or even suspend or terminate account(s).   

False Scarcity 

ClickBank expressly prohibits promoting false scarcity. False scarcity messaging is when there is no actual scarcity of the product. For example, “Only 300 copies” when there are actually unlimited copies, time tickers running down to incentivize a purchase, or listing products as a “one-time” or “today only” opportunity, when they are, in fact, not.

  • Allowed:
    • Scarcity messaging is allowed only when actual quantity/time limitations exist, and must be communicated to ClickBank during the Product Approval Process. 
    • ClickBank will monitor and limit sales at the appropriate unit or time limit. The offer then cannot be used again for 7 days.
  • NOT Allowed:
    • Any messaging that states or implies that the product is only available for a short time, when in fact it is not, is prohibited.
    • Any messaging that states that a product is only available for a short time until discontinuation, when in fact there will be other opportunities to buy in the future, is prohibited.

Pricing:

 Prices must be presented clearly and conspicuously. ClickBank expressly prohibits deceptive pricing in any fashion, and reserves to right to require vendors to prove the validity of MSRP/ or “pre-sale” prices.

Pricing for a standard, one-time fee product must be displayed near the first payment link on the Pitch Page in a clear and conspicuous manner.

Pricing for a recurring billing product must contain the initial price, frequency of rebill as well as the duration of the subscription near EACH payment link that is presented on the Pitch Page.

Allowed:

  • Real and genuine discounts from the normal price.  
  • Clear and conspicuous pricing, billing options and terms. Product pricing and purchase options must be clearly intelligible “at a glance”.

NOT Allowed:

  • Pricing that suggests a product previously sold at a higher price, when it really never was, or does not currently, is prohibited.
  • Deceptively presenting your pricing, total cost of purchase, and options to purchase, is prohibited.  Again, product pricing and purchase options must be clearly intelligible “at a glance”. Any pricing presentation that is confusing to customers, at our sole discretion, is prohibited.
  • You cannot invent a higher MSRP or “pre-sale” price.  For example, a vendor cannot invent the $99 price, just to claim $79 is a sale price when it has always been sold for $79.
  • Recurring billing products (included trials), that do not clearly and conspicuously present the terms of that sale and recurring billing, directly near the initial price, are prohibited.  If it is at all unclear that your product is a recurring billing product, or if it takes any extra effort for a consumer to reasonable understand this about your product, ClickBank will require changes to the pricing presentation or reject the product.

You can see an acceptable rebilling pricing presentation below. The initial product is $9.95, and then $37 for four (4) subsequent months. Note the minimum 12 point font size and contrasting color or pricing to background color(s). Example:

Pricing_Vendor Guidelines KB article pic.png 

 

If ClickBank learns that a product violates these or any related regulations, or causes significant customer issues, based on our discretion, then we’ll require immediate changes to new or existing products or marketing, deny new or existing products or marketing, or even suspend or terminate account(s).    

One-Time Offers, Upsells, and Down-sells

Your initial product sold must be a standalone product of value to your customer. Loss leaders are acceptable, but “bait” products are unacceptable and considered deceptive. Upsells and down-sells products must be either an enhancement to the initial product, or a complementary product to the initial product.  Requiring an upsell and/or down-sell product purchase to make an initial product work is unacceptable and will result in suspension or termination of your account.  

Upsell or down-sell decline links and buttons (“No Thank You” links) must be displayed clearly and conspicuously on the page according to these standards:

  • A minimum of size 12 font, but larger if needed to be conspicuous with other text or images. Be conspicuous. The decline or “no thank you” button or link must be clear, obvious, and difficult to miss.  Customer should not have to read the page top to bottom to see this button. 
  • Font in contrasting color to background color.
  • Decline link must be on the same page view as on a standard 1024 x 768 display, or on any mobile device screen, as the link/button to accept the offer.  In other words, no scrolling should be required to see the “Yes” and “No Thank You” links/buttons.

Promotional Techniques

NOT Allowed:

    • ClickBank does not permit marketing tactics that incite or otherwise evoke in any way, fear, panic or chaos, etc.
    • ClickBank does not permit marketing tactics that discriminate on the basis of religion, culture, nationality, race, sex, gender identity, sexual orientation, or age, etc.
    • Major brand/corporate logos on vendor any marketing collateral, including Pitch Pages and Thank You Pages, except credit card logos next to payment links, are prohibited unless the vendor has documented permission, by said brand or corporation, to use their intellectual property.
    • Unauthorized use of the ClickBank logo is prohibited. For authorized usage, see our Trademark Use Guidelines article. 
    • Qualifying criteria when no qualifiers are truly necessary to purchase the product, are prohibited. Qualifying criteria must have a demonstrated disqualifying criteria.
    • Statements that infer that the product is significantly easier to use than it really is (for example, “one push button to make money” or “three simple words will provide you income") are prohibited.  ClickBank requires that pitches make reasonable attempts to reflect the actual or typical effort required to achieve typical results. Salesmanship is encouraged, but do not over-embellish; it’s generally unreasonable to assume that someone with little or no experience in Internet marketing can achieve a 6-figure income with an hour or less of effort per day. It is more reasonable to assume that with attention, effort, and spare time, the average person with little or no Internet marketing experience can achieve a supplemental income.
    • “As Seen On… “statements without documentation showing that the product was seen on the stations, TV shows and/or magazines that are listed (not required for the product approval, but will be asked if they have it to provide if requested).
    • "Blind offers," which are defined as sales pitches that make promises about what the customer can earn or achieve without any specific details about how the product accomplishes these claims. ClickBank Pitch Pages, particularly in the Internet marketing/make money online niche, must be clear about what techniques or tactics the product teaches or utilizes to achieve results for the customer.
    • If ClickBank learns that a product violates these or any related regulations, or causes significant customer issues, based on our discretion, then we’ll require immediate changes to new or existing products or marketing, deny new or existing products or marketing, or even suspend or terminate account(s).   

 

 
Topic is closed for comments