Online voucher codes

Guidelines for the fair and transparent use of voucher codes within the affiliate industry.

Code of best practice

The aim of the IAB’s affiliate marketing council code of best practice for voucher code sites is to ensure that traffic from affiliate sites sent to merchants is not done in a misleading or confusing way and that consumers receive a good user experience. To this end all of the undersigned networks are committed to enforcing the following guidelines:

1. Affiliates must not use a mechanism whereby users are encouraged to click to interact with content where it is unclear or confusing what the outcome will be. For example:

  • Using “click to reveal code” and opening the site when no valid code is present or an offer/deal/sale is presented instead, without this being made clear before the click.
  • ii) Using “click to copy code” and opening the site when no valid code is available
  • iii) Opening the merchant’s site without making it clear that this will occur

2. Voucher code affiliates must clearly detail the nature of the voucher or offer/deal/sale before a user clicks to interact with it (by revealing, copying, visiting the merchant site etc)

3. A valid code is defined as a code that has been legitimately issued by a merchant for your use online. This code will have an activation date and, where provided, a deactivation date. When a code has expired it must either be removed or the fact that it has expired must be clearly stated in writing, not simply by listing the expiry date.

4. Sites displaying voucher codes must contain clear categorization and separation between deals/offers/sales and voucher codes.

5. Any affiliate judged by one of the participating networks to be contravening the code will be referred to the IAB’s Affiliate Marketing Council and all members will agree on a course of action. The discretion of the council will be used when determining what is judged as misleading or confusing and is not confined to the examples above.

FAQ’s

Do these changes come into force as of 1st Jan with affiliates then given time to change or are affiliate sites expected to be compliant on 01/01/09?

The code will come into affect on January 1st 2009 and affiliates will be expected to have become compliant by that time

What is a “valid voucher code”?

A valid code is defined as a code that has been legitimately issued by a merchant for your use online. This code will have an activation date and where necessary a deactivation date.

What about affiliates with blogs where voucher codes are offered amongst many other ‘offers’ of various sorts, sales etc. They’re not improperly describing any of the offers, and I wouldn’t want them removed from our clients campaigns.

As long as they are not using “click to reveal” where there is no valid voucher code then this is fine. Offers/Sales etc. need to be clearly labelled as such and not mislead the user to click believing they will receive a voucher code. In such a situation re-labelling the link “click to reveal site” is perfectly acceptable.

What are the consequences if a site does not adhering to these rues?

The site will receive a warning from their network to change the site. If this is not followed within 7 days a further warning will be sent which if ignored again will result in the publisher being reported as breaking these rules and suspension from the signed up networks.

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