League City, TX asked in Business Law, Intellectual Property, Internet Law and Trademark for Texas

Q: If I write product review articles online under the persona of a fictional character, how would I disclose that?

I am starting an affiliate marketing website to write product review, comparison, advice-type articles but creating a character which I want to credit the articles to instead of using my own name and likeness. I am trying to find out how to do this without misleading my readers but I don’t want it to be an in-your-face disclaimer.

1 Lawyer Answer
James L. Arrasmith
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  • Consumer Law Lawyer
  • Sacramento, CA

A: When creating content under a fictional persona for your affiliate marketing website, it's important to maintain transparency without overwhelming your readers with disclaimers. This balance is key to establishing trust while respecting your creative approach.

A subtle yet clear way to disclose the use of a fictional character is to include a brief statement in the website's footer or 'About' page. This statement could mention that the content is authored by a character created for entertainment and informative purposes. It should be phrased in a way that is easily understood by your audience, without being too prominent or distracting from the content itself.

Additionally, consider having a dedicated section or a link on your website that explains the nature of your fictional character in more detail. This provides an opportunity for interested readers to learn more about the character and the reasons behind its creation, further enhancing transparency.

It's also important to comply with any legal requirements for affiliate marketing, such as clearly disclosing affiliate relationships in your articles. This can usually be done at the beginning or end of each article, indicating that you may receive commissions for products linked or reviewed on the site.

Remember, the goal is to be open about the fictional nature of the character and the affiliate relationships, while still preserving the integrity and appeal of your content. By finding a balance, you can maintain credibility with your audience and adhere to ethical marketing practices.

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