The Internet has revolutionized the world of marketing. In addition to new methods and channels, the World Wide Web has also revived well-known concepts. These include affiliate marketing, which is a commission-based affiliate program. However, how exactly does affiliate marketing work? So what legal requirements must be observed?
What is Affiliate Marketing?
Affiliate marketing is a method from the field of online marketing. Companies rely on affiliates, which advertise for the products or pages and incorporate appropriate links into their online presence. This can be excellent links or banner advertising.
If the user follows this link or does something specific on the corresponding target page – such as purchasing a product or requesting information material – the affiliate receives a commission for this. The following basic affiliate marketing models can be distinguished:
● Cost-per-Click (CPC)
● Cost-per-Lead (CPL)
● Cost-per-Sale (CPS)
With Cost-per-Click, the website operator already receives a commission for the click on the advertising medium – the banner or the link. Cost-per-lead, on the other hand, requires the customer to be contacted or his data to be recorded. If the commission is only due when a sale takes place, experts speak of cost-per-sale.
To recognize which affiliate has directed the user to the respective website, the links are identified using specific codes. This ensures that the right person receives the commission for the referral.
Earn money with foreign content – what may sound frivolous at first has established itself as a lucrative niche in the World Wide Web. The online marketing agency, DeSight Studio, supports affiliate marketing.
Legal framework for affiliate marketing
The legislator classifies the installation of affiliate links on a website or social networks as a form of advertising. According to § 5a Abs. 6 of the law against unfair competition (UWG) the purpose of these links or banners must be recognizable for consumers.
The persons responsible for the content must, therefore, ensure a separation of editorial and advertising content. This is made possible by terms such as “advertising” and “advertisement.” In contrast, the information in English – such as “ad,” “sponsored,” or “promotion” – is not sufficiently clear in Germany. This is because it cannot be guaranteed that every user knows the meaning behind these terms.
If there is no apparent reference to advertising, this can have far-reaching consequences. According to the State Treaty on Broadcasting and Telemedia (RStV), a fine of up to 500,000 euros can be imposed in such a case. Influencers, in particular, have been increasingly threatened with warnings for the lack of appropriate advertising references for several months. However, the fines imposed are usually much lower.