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Affiliates Could Get Amazon in Trouble with Feds

Public Citizen called on the US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to investigate Amazon for what it calls an “apparent failure” to ensure members of its affiliates marketing program disclose they receive commissions on sales generated, specifically related to Prime Day endorsements.

According to the organization’s press release on Citizen.org, “Although Amazon instructs associates to disclose online their relationship to Amazon, this instruction is often not prominent on the associates’ website, and it appears to be frequently and routinely flouted.”

Public Citizen called the practice “disguised advertising,” and its president Robert Weissman stated in the press release, “When people see a recommendation for an Amazon Prime Day ‘best buy,’ they have a right to know if the person or company making that recommendation is getting a cut on the sales it is generating – but all too often that information is not disclosed.”

In its complaint, Public Citizen says it compiled a collection of Amazon Prime Day recommendations and attached the list to its letter, “including 15 web-published articles that include no disclosure, four web-published articles that contain non-prominent disclosures, and 53 Instagram postings that include no disclosure and 22 with inadequate disclosures.”

In reporting on the complaint, Business Insider said an Amazon spokesperson told it that any associates who don’t follow its guidelines are subject to action and could see their accounts closed. “The spokesperson also said that Amazon monitors associates to ensure that the rules are being met.”

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Pesach Lattin

Pesach "Pace" Lattin is one of the top experts in interactive advertising, affiliate marketing. Pace Lattin is known for his dedication to ethics in marketing, and focus on compliance and fraud in the industry, and has written numerous articles for publications from MediaPost, ClickZ, ADOTAS and his own blogs.

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