Do you have to disclose to people that you make a commission? Yes and No…I didn’t promise an easy answer. There is generally no necessity or obligation as such, for you to let people or visitors to your website know that you are making a commission from the sale that they generate. If some countries it is mandatory though so check your local legislation. If you disclose the commission to your visitors you run the risk that some of them might not choose to buy a product through a third party like you. On the other hand being upfront builds trust which as any long term successful affiliate marketer knows is crucial for your online business.
Giving real and valuable information about the product you are selling is paramount. Be wary of simply extolling the virtues of a product you know nothing about. If you recommended it and the end user has issues then you will cope the bad PR. So, it is of utmost importance that you choose a niche you are interested in so that you can easily generate content which will really motivate your visitors to purchase. Offer some goodies to them free of charge like a free e-book, complementary subscription to magazines, freebies or something that is going to benefit them in the long run and would really add a value to your website and your product.
Try to get your website verified by major payment processors like Paypal or Moneybookers which will again add to the genuineness of your business. People are generally very careful about buying products online as they will be disclosing their financial information through your website so, unless your website is well-designed and carries some weight, your chance of making profits decrease considerably. Also if you disclose that you are a third-party selling a product for your profit then you could lose the chance of making a sale. Many other visitors would also think that they might get the product at a cheaper rate if they bought directly from the manufacturer itself, rather paying commission and paying more for the same product.
If you are promoting your products via e-mails then you would be given specific URL/Banners for your affiliate account, which would direct your audience to the vendor’s website and you make a sale. E-mail marketing is not as successful as website marketing, but the beauty of it is that you do not need to tell your audience that you are a third-party, and making a commission out of the sale that your e-mail is going to generate. Unless mentioned specifically in the terms and conditions of your vendor there is no real necessity to tell your audience that you are making a living out of their purchases. Affiliate marketing is a win-win business where the buyers gets good products, the third-party gets commission and the seller saves on promotion costs, time and marketing efforts.