Is it okay to use affiliate links on YouTube when you talk about various products and services in your video? Like, your Amazon Associates link or otherwise? Most people say affiliate links are not allowed. However, after some research through YouTube's Terms of Service, their policy, help section, and consulting with a lawyer, I feel as if it IS okay to use affiliate links. Here's why.
In YouTube's Terms of Service, section 4.D., it says, "You agree not to use the Service for any of the following commercial uses unless you obtain YouTube's prior written approval: ... the sale of advertising, sponsorships, or promotions placed on or within the Service or Content..."
I consulted with a lawyer who specializes in working with online creators. His opinion is that, "The sale of promotions," is vague as to whether an affiliate link is considered a sale.
The problem I see with this is that MCNs actually make the bulk of their revenue from promoting other brands across their network. Brand integration is becoming more and more common.
YouTube's Partner Program Policy Guidelines says, "Do not embed third party advertising, sponsorships, or promotions placed on or within your video content. YouTube does allow you to upload paid product placements provided you give us notice first."
The first part of that is spelled out in more detail on the Paid Product Placements help page. It means that you cannot create your own pre-roll or mid-roll ads and permanently make it a part of the video file when a comparable YouTube ad unit already exists. To me, this seems to be an example of what section 4.D. of YouTube's Terms of Service is referring to.
The second part of the Partner Program Policy explicitly states that paid product promotion in your videos is totally fine as long as you give them notice first. When you upload a video to YouTube, it gives you a box to check to let them know that the video contains paid product placement. According to their Help section, this is how you notify them of paid product placement.
What is considered product placement?
"Paid product placements are defined as pieces of content that are created specifically for a sponsor and where that sponsor's brand, message, or product is integrated directly into the content. A typical example of a paid product placement is one in which a marketer pays a partner to specifically mention their product or brand in what would normally be the editorial part of the content."
It makes sense to me that affiliate links would be considered paid product placement, so check that box and you should be set.
Remember, I'm not an authoritative voice on this matter. This is just what I think based on the research I've done. If you use affiliate links, you do so at your own risk.
YouTube's Terms of Service
Policy Center: Spam, deceptive practices, and scams
YouTube Help: Paid Product Placements
YouTube Partner Program Policies
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Question: YTB calls for a disclaimer at the beginning of a vid that promotes a product, right? Do I need to include it with affiliate marketing video? I don't think I've ever seen a disclaimer like that on any video.
Youtube will allow affiliate links in the videos and You can also have paid product promotions in your videos as long as Youtube has been notified AND that information is disclosed in the video. I have done several reviews and product promotional videos on our Channel. As long as you follow their guidelines, Youtube will not bother you.
They will only allow the sell of products/services from approved merchant storefront sites or an associated website/domain that you own. You can also link to an approved crowd funding site. If you were paid to have a product in the video, you must disclose this to Youtube when uploading the video and it must be disclosed in the beginning of the video.
So if I'm approached to review a product I would use but was sent a free sample and I do the review in a vlog form instead of a static review. Obviously I would place a link in the description or an icard, would I have to mention I was approached to do the review and it was a sample? What if I don't mention that part? Would this work if a %off was offered to future buyers even if it isn't an affiliate product??
I think the easiest way around this debate and staying trouble free is just using the landing page most affiliate products/services offer and embedding them into your own domain (or a link for that matter)... Hope that helps.
Thanks Tim :) how about on facebook page? Are we allowed to post affiliate links there? Or do you have a strategy on how to properly post affiliate links on facebook? Or if not then how can you properly earn with afilliate links using facebook? Thank you so much :)
To me I think I learn the hard way. I think Youtube allows other copyrights owner to views anything that other people may be using copyrighted materials from their products listing on the webstore to promotes on youtube and linking that affiliate link to that product. Because Youtube don't have times sorting copyrighted materials online since there are so many uploading videos on Youtube.
Youtube has a copy materials match up detector on their site. If you're using the same material like song or video it will detects if the owner of the same material already have it on their account on youtube.
Go to your video manager, look on your right>> click on copyright, look at all the details and read what the Claimant says if he or she or the 3rd party person if they allowed you to use their copyrighted contents for monetization. If they allow you then you're okay to use their copyrighted materials. If not then they may have reported your video and it would have been pull down . SInce Youtube have a contents play match up detection in their youtube manager. Anything you added from musics to images is match up as a profile or whatever that is matches to the same materials on youtube will be monitored and the 3rd person will allows you to use their materials or not allows you to use it. If they won't let you use it on your video then your video will be pull down or ask you to pull down or delete your video that was using their copyrighted materials.
Hello Video Creators, I enjoy your videos and am spending alot of time learning about affiliate marketing. Thanks for all the guidance thus far. I joined my first program with a friend of mine who runs and owns an online writing services company. He created an affiliate program recently on his website. My question is do you join alot of programs or are you very selective with them? I am a bit discouraged at the thought of taking months and years to develop a serious following on social platforms.. Any advice where to start with my my affiliate link so that my time is best spent?
Question. In a bus conversion video I recently viewed the elderly couple opened with their version of Amazing Grace It was absolutely beautiful. I posted them back saying how much I enjoyed it...and posted a link to an orchestra doing another rendition of it I thought they'd enjoy. A minute or two later I went back to edit my post (needed to ask a question about the conversion) and my entire post was gone. WTF? Is just posting a song illegal? They wipe your entire post out? Have you ever heard of this?
There are a few I came across that call themselves an affiliate advertiser or an afilliate advertising agency. Since an advertiser and advertising agency are in the business of promoting products for an income and it is an intrical part of their business it would seem in that case it would be permitted. Since they are promoting their business in doing their business by posting affiliated links. The ones I have seen also run a brand ad of their business as well. As for others it would be a sketchy situation and gaining permission before acting on it may be best. Since I do not have the permission of the ones I have seen as an advertiser and a advertising agency I refrain to mention who they are. I for one do not want to be flagged for privacy issues either. YouTube is getting stricter on certain things and I for one will try and not break ant terms or policies.
Are you specifically talking about just adding a link to an Affiliate product in your video descriptions? Or in your video directly? Or both? This doesn't sound very safe. I just signed up for Amazon affiliate program but... youtube would be my only forum for doing this...other then my facebook.
If they try to stop every creator who uses Affiliate links in their video description area. I think the YouTube ecosystem will come to a swift close. Just my thoughts as most creators I know of and subbed to do it. More do it the wrong way then less.
Not sure if I'll get a response but I was wondering, if I had my own website that has my YouTube videos embedded and on that website, I have affiliate links, does that violate anything with YouTube?? Thanks in advance.
You really have to follow the rules to the letter otherwise you run the risk of being fined a thousand dollars for something simple or even eventually lose your home if you fail to make payment in time. Have a nice day.
YouTube will shut you down at their whim without any copyright strikes. I have had 2 channels shut down without any strikes just before I was to be paid by them. YouTube is not what it use to be. Never again will I do business with them.
It sounds to me like clicking the '...contains promotion...' box is not necessary for affiliate links, but that simply disclosing that it it is an affiliate link in the description is sufficient. I Especially if I am just making a how-to video, and I just want to share what tools I am using. Anyone want to expound on this, lawyers or laymen?
Hi Tim, if the affiliate links are not allowed then, why YouTube does this unconditionally or, without proof:
"Angle brackets aren't allowed in your description".
I am not endorsing anyone or a business, and I have no affiliation with anyone. There is a reason why non-affiliates are not allowed to paste links in their video description? Thank you.
P.S. 6:41 , wow! Really? So, anyone could be flagged guilty prior any proof.
Does it count if you are recording a video using a trial of screen recording software, that constantly displays a watermark? That would be advertising commercial software (although I know the windows 'magnify' tool can probably zoom-in to get it out of site if you don't need the entire screen, or you could edit your video using other software to block out the logo). To be fair, users mention commercial software in comments all the time, and it's not really something an owner is often going to complain about (free advertising?) unless it's music or cinema media content
Can you do a video on using creative commons materials from various source and how to give proper attributions in video description?
For instance, if I'm doing a Top 5/10 video using creative commons materials (videos/audios/images) from various source that requires attributions. Am I allowed to add multiple links (10-50) in the description for the source materials I used on the video? will this be considered as a youtube policy violation as this may drive traffic to other websites like wikicommons, flickr, vimeo etc.where the source is originated from?
It will be helpful, if you share any information regarding this matter.
it feels like the answer to this is yes you can use affiliate links as long as they are relevant to what your video is about. As soon as it's just random links that are not related I think you'll get notified by YouTube and could get suspended? and as you put your link there will be some people in some cases that will flag your video because they believe it's not allowed. I think you can use links you just have to be careful and make sure it's linked to your content!
I read the YouTube policy partner paid affiliate sections, and all ad sections, what I gather is if you click the box letting them know you have paid product placement and put it on the end screen portion of the video, you should be okay, but then again I am new to this, lol... I did pick up an affiliate advertiser so I am just going roll with it and take corrective action if the YouTube police come and get me...lol
Hi Tim, thank you for the valuable information. You have been a huge asset for me since starting my first channel. Touching on this video, i am wondering if it would be considered paid placement if you are only receiving revenue from purchases related to an affiliate link or whether it refers more to those placements by advertisers who pay creators directly for placement. A link can be obtained independently by myself simply by searching for products to promote. (I only do this for products that i have purchased and have an honest opinion of).
Also, i am trying to determine how it works with Facebook. If i share a YouTube review video to Facebook with an affiliate link in the description, how would Facebook treat that?
This video and this info is 3 years old, lots has changed, Lets go back to the original question > Does youtube allow an insert AFFILIATE LINKS YES OR NO Please answer the question instead of putty the fear of GOD in this video. Thanks
I am pretty happy with the information in this video. It doesn't fully answer my questions but lets not forget that Video Creators is just another channel just like our channels. They don't have a responsibility to us!
But what if I am doing a video on say, "Home Brewing" And during the video, I use a device that I built. Then I say (Or run a self-created ad) at the end of the video, "I am selling this item if you want me to build it for you."? Is that allowed?
i watched your entire video and i still have questions, you covered lots of information and not to the point!. it's like being in a classroom when they go over a complete lecture without explaining the one thing you want explained :D. or maybe that one thing was lost between all the data you covered.
1 - is a product link in description allowed or not?
2 - is a product link in the video (annotation list) allowed or not? (i believe this is not alloweD)
Watch time has only been a thing recently. It used to be directly about ads viewed or clicked on the specific video. When this video was made, it was calculated the old way! The old way saw individual videos earn money for ads that were viewed or clicked on that video. Nowadays, it all goes into a kitty and gets distributed based on watch time!
I'm Surprised to hear that. I am starting a travel channel and I have more work to do before I go to affiliates but I have started reading already and I can't remember reading of amazon cancelling because of low subscribers count. Try a different source, it is not only amazon, almost every big website has an affiliate program. I think I will go with Magiclinks ->
You just paste the link of the product and they give you a monetized link. Looks simple and I won't need to register with different sites if I decide to.
Btw your banana bread looks great and I am jealous I don't have bananas in my backyard:)
Well, I signed up on amazon affiliates and started adding links in my videos. It was very exiting to see that people started buying stuff. then all of a sudden amazon canceled my account because i did not have enough subscribers to my channel. So sad try again when I'm bigger.
This was my question yet after several searches and nothing, yet I stumbled onto this video and the guy mentioned nothing, finally someone has the same question as me. Theres very few of us with this very important question!
Thank you so much for the video. I am a new youtuber and this video cleared up a lot of questions for me about affiliate links. I will be doing crafting tutorial videos. A few of the crafting items that I will be using in my videos are not available in regular shops or are hard to get. I was going to use Amazon, Ebay, and Etsy links so that my viewers could get the right item for the crafts regardless of wether I was a affiliate or not. I am thinking about becoming an affiliate. I would not use links in all my videos because most items can be found at a local walmart or micheals or hobby lobby. I was really worried about getting in trouble and having my channel taken down.
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