Identifying affiliate links: Have I discovered a best practice?

Bloggers do all sorts of things that earn money or products. Reviews, giveaways, contests, and product mentions are among many common blog post types that may result in the blogger either getting a free product or making some money somehow.

Bloggers get pitched by PR firms to try out products and write about products all the time. Sometimes they get something for doing this, sometimes not. The FTC has decided that bloggers need to disclose/be transparent about where products come from and what is being given in exchange for a mention.

I’ve published a review policy for this blog. It explains how I choose the books I review and the occasional app or software post I write.

I have an affiliate account at If you buy a book with a click from this site I might make a few cents. I’ve experimented with various ways to identify links in order to achieve transparency and let readers know that a link is an affiliate link.

I’ve used alt text with images that are affiliate links. The last book I reviewed, Create Stunning HTML Email that Just Works, had this alt text:

<img src="image.jpg" alt="get HTML Email at Amazon">

Sometimes I use:

<img src="image.jpg" alt="buy this book at Amazon">

If you go back far enough into the archives of my book reviews you find non-transparent alt text like this:

<img src="image.jpg" alt="HTML Email cover">

Recently I decided to add a title attribute. That way people who aren’t seeing the alt text will see the title information in a tooltip popup. I’m working on a review for later this week that will do the following:

<img src="image.jpg" alt="affiliate link to Amazon" title="affiliate link to Amazon">

The thing I like about adding a title attribute is that you can use it with a text link as well.

<a href="somewhere.html" title="affiliate link to Amazon">Book Title</a>

I don’t know that there is a best practice guide anywhere online about how to identify affiliate links in a way that is open, honest, and unobtrusive. I think my idea for disclosing with both alt and title attributes with images is a good rule of thumb. I think adding a title attribute to text links is a good practice. I nominate these two ideas for best practices for affiliate links.

Best Practices for Affiliate Links

  1. Use both alt and title attributes in image links to disclose the fact that the link is to an affiliate site.
  2. Use a title attribute in a text link to disclose the fact that the link is to an affiliate site

What do you think? Are these, in fact, best practice? Should my ideas be modified, expanded, laughed at? Is there a better guideline somewhere?