I don’t often write posts to do with blogging, actually I’m not sure I ever have before! But lately I had a great chat with a few others bloggers about giveaways, and how so many people actually break the rules. I was really interested so decided to look further into it and I was shocked at some of the things, and it made me realise that I have never entered a blogger giveaway before that didn’t break a rule one way or another. So this blog post is essentially about what you ought to include in your giveaway, and what you should avoid.
Let’s start with the basics. What do you need to include before your giveaway starts?
1. Identify the prize
2. Who can enter
4. How to enter
5. How the winner is chosen
6. Technical Issues – (for example deleting duplicate entries, etc)
Prize, Chance & Consideration. To avoid being classified as an illegal lottery, sweepstakes must ensure that at least one of these elements is missing.
Prize – Without a prize, the giveaway wouldn’t be worth entering!
Chance – Pure luck.
Consideration – Something of value. Often it is money, but it doesn’t have to be.
If your giveaway winner will be chosen at random then this means it is a sweepstakes (prize draw), and so you should comply with the laws regarding sweepstakes.
You cannot extend the time period of a giveaway, and there are very few exceptions to this.
“closing dates should not be changed unless circumstances outside the reasonable control of the promoter make it unavoidable. If they are changed, promoters should take all reasonable steps to ensure that consumers who participated within the original terms are not disadvantaged” – CAP Code
You must include “no purchase necessary”. An obvious statement when you think about it, but commonly forgotten. This clear statement is very important as it declares that it is a legal sweepstakes, and that you can enter the promotion without purchase.
You cannot publicly announce the name of the winner on social media – unless it was stated in the T&Cs before the time of entering that you would do so. If you choose not to announce the winner, you must tell the name and county of the winner if it is asked upon request.
“Promoters should either publish or make available on request the name and county of major prizewinners and, if applicable, their winning entries. Prizewinners should not be compromised by the publication of excessively detailed personal information” – CAP Code
You have to give everyone a free entry. On Rafflecopter this is simple as there is a “create your own option” feature, and you could ask them to ask a question or anything. Even if they don’t answer the question and they write something irrelevant, it still counts as an entry. The point is that everyone must have the opportunity for a free entry, and additionally this should be the only mandatory entry.
There are few things more valuable than followers when it comes to blogging, so requiring an entrant to ‘like’ your page or ‘follow’ you could be classed as consideration. Even more important, asking an entrant to go to a third-party site, and then report back to your site is even more likely to be considered as consideration, and so placing your giveaway into the classification of illegal lottery. As a precaution, if you decide to choose to have a mandatory entry, make it a free entry just to be on the safe side.
Anything to do with using Google+ as an entry is a violation of their terms and services (eg liking/commenting/sharing).
“Publishers may not promote prizes, monies, or monetary equivalents in exchange for Google+ button clicks” – Google+ Buttons Policy
Weighting entries isn’t fair. Although some believe it isn’t fair, there is nothing to suggest that in the UK giveaway entries should be weighted the same/have the same value. The weighting should be declared by the promoter.
Facebook ‘Likes’ cannot be used as an entry. Although this used to be true, Facebook have since updated their policy. With promotions, fans are able to ‘Like’ or ‘Comment’ as a means of entering. However, you are still not able to require fans to ‘Share’ a post on their personal Timeline or with their friends as a means of entering a contest.
“Personal Timelines and friend connections must not be used to administer promotions (ex: “share on your Timeline to enter” or “share on your friend’s Timeline to get additional entries”, and “tag your friends in this post to enter” are not permitted” – Facebook Promotions Guidelines
If you are a Facebook Developer (app creator), please refer to these guidelines (4.5), that states you may not use incentives for ‘Likes’. So this means that platforms/apps such as Rafflecopter cannot use ‘Likes’ as a way of entering. Following on from this, if you use Rafflecopter to host your giveaway, you cannot use Facebook ‘Likes’ as an entry, and it is also an admin violation.
“you shall not: use the Rafflecopter Site for any illegal or unauthorized purpose” – Rafflecopter T&Cs
Excluding comp accounts is okay. Wrong! Excluding ‘compers’ or ‘professional competition entrants’ from entering your giveaway is unfair and could lead to an ASA (Advertising Standards Authority) complaint. If you really don’t want comp accounts to enter, then make sure your giveaway isn’t listed on competition websites, or get creative with your giveaway and tailor it to your target audience! You are however able to set certain restrictions to entries –
“any geographical, personal or technological restrictions (eg location, age, or the need to have access to the internet” – CAP Code
Giving the winner 48 hours to respond, or a new winner will be picked. Stop right there! The CAP code stipulates that promoters should give at least 28 days for winners to claim prizes that aren’t time-critical.
“Promoters must conduct their promotions equitably, promptly and efficiently and be seen to deal fairly and honourably with participants and potential participants. Promoters must avoid causing unnecessary disappointment.” – CAP Code
If you have any questions regarding anything in this post feel free to leave a comment, and I’ll do my best to get back to you!
Disclaimer: This post contains suggested guidelines and does not constitute legal advice.
These rules are applicable to the UK.