Mia commented on my blog post: New FTC Regulations Regarding Social Media #Sweepstakes
What I don’t think is fair and which shouldn’t be legal is the referral links. Sweepstakes are meant to be a level playing field, that is why it always states ‘No purchase necessary” Lotteries are where people pay more to get more entries. Referrals are like monetary items because they are likened to advertising dollars. Lotteries need approval from the government to make sure they are legitimate.
Is it fair that a person can pay to have their referral links listed on a bloggers social media accounts? Is it fair that a blogger with over 50,000 followers have their link used? Is it fair that my younger cousin Ashley has 1235 friends and my older Aunt Sally has 52 friends just because Aunt Sally comes from a very small town?
Also, I think all sweeps on Social Media should be ran by a third party, a Prize Company not a blogger, just to keep it fair. How many times have we seen winners with very few tweets or being friends with a Facebook giveaway. I know many bloggers play fair but some don’t. Thanks for letting me vent and hoping that sweepstakes will get back to being won by many not just a few!
I wanted to respond to Mia, along with getting additional input from Rob Postuma of Marketing Beatz, because her points are coming from a frustrated contestor’s perspective, not a marketers. It’s marketers and businesses that run giveaways, so they are created in their favour, not the entrants.
Let us address both points.
ROB: Firstly, believe it or not, giveaways are subject to approval by government Canada, especially in Quebec, where they go so far as to make companies follow certain rules, sign a contract, and pay a fee, which is why a lot of companies do not open their contests to that province.
CAROLYN: Giveaways are subject to state/provincial and federal laws in both countries. The laws were created to protect entrants from scams. There are bodies in place for you to complain to if you feel a company or promotion isn’t following those laws.
- Who Do I Complain To?
- How Can I Tell if a Contest, Sweepstakes or Giveaway is Legitimate?
- Why Some People Think Contests Are Scams
ROB: I think contestors have to stop feeling entitled. Contest sponsors, such as myself, don’t run contests because we’re awesome people who want to give back, we do so for business reasons. Whether it’s spreading awareness of our product or brand, collecting e-mails, creating engagement with consumers, etc. In return for a chance at a prize, we are expecting something in return, your email address, etc. It’s a transaction if you will. From our perspective, a person that has social presence enough to spread our word/message even further deserves more. Think of it as a virtual thank you. No one owes you a contest just because you want to enter contests. When I run a contest, I make people aware up front what the conditions of entry are, so it is easy for them to chose to enter, or not.
CAROLYN: Companies do not run contests out of the goodness of their hearts. It is marketing tactic with an end goal to generate sales. The more people that are aware of their brand, product and services, the more opportunity they have to sell. One way that goal is reached is by viral marketing via social channels, (i.e. referral links embedded in contests). Until companies do not see a benefit from social sharing, referral links will continue to be a part of sweepstakes.
There are three types of links: referral, dirty and tracking. I blogged about the differences, with examples, in my blog post So, What Exactly is a ‘Dirty Link’?. Your comment regarding bloggers is in reference to a ‘dirty link’. Your right. it’s not fair, but as my dad always stated, “Who said life is fair.” You will also notice, just because someone might have more entries, they don’t always win, because:
HOW I ENTER
CAROLYN: You would think, being the Contest Queen, I would gets heaps of people entering off my referral links. For me, the opposite is true as many feel similar to you and don’t want to give me an unfair advantage. I enter referral sweepstakes the same way I enter any other giveaway. I fill the form, share on my social outlets and go to the next sweepstakes. I don’t come back every day to keep sharing. I have won from them in the past, and expect to do so again in the future.
Your Aunt Sally should just enter and focus on winning, vs feeling like a loser. Any negative energy will take away from her hobby and her winning energy.
THIRD PARTY HOSTING
ROB: As for your point about 3rd parties hosting, if that occurs the end result will be less companies doing contests and giveaways, because already companies are annoyed by regulations (such as: what Quebec requires or Facebook’s rules for that matter). If you make it too tough for companies to administrate their contests, guess what? They will stop. Since Facebook stopped fan-gating last year, a LOT of companies stopped social contests completely as they were no longer benefiting.
CAROLYN: Bloggers run two types of giveaways: 1) ones they run on their own to increase their own blog’s awareness and increase site traffic and 2) ones that sponsors have hired them to promote. Most are honest. If you come across a less than scrupulous blogger, either just avoid them or report them to the sponsor. They won’t be an influencer very long if they don’t behave professionally. I run giveaways of both types all the time. I would hate to lose one of the best ways to promote my business, if I was forced to pay agencies the same way large corporations do. I just don’t have the budget, and neither do thousands of other small business owners.
Also, many companies hire ad agencies (third-party) to run their contests, and depending on the marketing program, the agency in turn may hire a handful of bloggers to host giveaways. Should that stop too?
This hobby is ever evolving and you must change how you enter. If you find you are wasting your time with referral sweepstakes, find better odds sweepstakes and focus on those.
Have you won from a referral sweepstakes?