Giveaways and Sweepstakes – What a Wonderful thing

We are all aware of the fact that giveaways and sweepstakes are something that is excellent for a blogger to get more views and, as they say, more “buzz” on a web-site. Frankly speaking, having loads of potential customers browsing around a web-page, or stopping by the retailer’s store can be nothing but beneficial. Apart from that, they can build up an e-mail list, advertise their content at a pretty much reasonable cost, and improve the relationship that the company has with the customers and the precious market research process is done during. However, there is some legal mumbo jumbo that you should be aware of before you go into participating in such an event. You should go through the following piece of text, just so that you can avoid setbacks. Believe me – you want to make sure that your giveaway is a successful one, because an unsuccessful one can lead to a number of very bad things.

At the very beginning, let’s take a look at some formal definitions:

Sweepstakes are, in their essence, a prize giveaway. The winner here is chosen randomly. For instance, if you want to participate you can sign up by filling in a piece of paper with the required information, or  simply post a comment on the blog, and the website owner uses something that will generate a random number – the number is the winner. That’s it! The prize itself can be anything that you want it to be, but be sure that everything related to taxes is done accordingly.

Contests are different than sweepstakes only in the sense that participants have to show some sort of virtue to get the prize. When it comes to blogs, the most common thing that people go for is a “best photo” competition, or “the fastest one gets the prize”, or something like that. It is very nice to host a children’s party, with adequate party themes, where there will be a “best costume”, or “best poem”, or “best drawing” competition (each child can get a complementary gift, and you can arrange to have more “serious” prizes for the 1st, 2nd and 3rd place). Wouldn’t it be nice to find such a contest? Browse our website.

A lottery differs from a sweepstake because of the fact that participants have to give something away in order to participate. The winner is chosen randomly, just like with a regular sweepstake. Now, the thing that participants give away is formally called “a consideration”. A consideration can be something tangible (like money), but it can be almost anything that people consider to be of value (like tweets or even time, for instance). You should be aware of the fact that the laws that govern lotteries are different from state to state, and it can be very risky to participate in such an event, so either make sure that the website owner is well aware of everything that has to be done in order not to break the law,  or avoid lotteries altogether.

After reading everything stated above one can pose this question: When you enter a contest, you have to give something away – a photo can be considered as something of value – so, how come a contest is not a lottery? Well, the prize is not awarded randomly. You see, a lottery consists of 3 things: a consideration, chance and a prize. If you have two of the three in your event – it is not a lottery (sweepstakes have chance and a prize, contests have a consideration and a prize). How it is named is unimportant in the eyes of the law. If you call it a contest, and it has all the elements of a lottery – it’s a lottery. It is as simple as that.

To conclude, here is some advice…

I will leave you with some tips connected to what one should do in order to participate in a successful giveaway. They are mainly connected to how the rules should be explained.

Make sure that you see defined what a participant has to do in order to take part thoroughly. Research everything to the last detail so that there are no (or just a few) possible additional questions.

1      A limit should be defined, meaning that each participant can apply a predefined number of times. On most websites the first entry is free, and then for any other entry, a participant has to do something (like, share, tweet).

2      The time limit or more frankly speaking, how long the event lasts, should be predefined and followed accordingly.

3      The terms in which the winner is chosen should be clear to everyone.

4      You must make sure that you have a clear distinction to who is eligible to participate. For instance, website owners don’t want someone from South Africa to win, if they are a citizen of Australia. Therefore, you should see participants limited to just the ones that live in your hometown, for instance. Furthermore, an age limit can be added, or it can be an only male or only female contest. Be sure to check that out before applying.

5      And, last but not least, you should make sure that everything is legal, and that all the tax considerations of the winner are taken care of.

Now, feel free to visit our website and participate!

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