If you run giveaways or sweepstakes on your blog, you should know that there are many giveaway rules for bloggers that you have to follow. The FTC and other organizations have set forth many laws and rules with regard to giving things away. I know, it should be waaaay easier than this, but you really should know this stuff before running a giveaway. I am by no means a lawyer or legal expert, but this is information gathered from companies who do have legal experts and is accurate to the best of my knowledge.
Here’s a quick read from the Small Business Administration about giveaways:
How to Use Contests, Sweepstakes, and Giveaways as Marketing Tools – While Staying Within the Law.
First up, some really basic things to keep in mind:
• be clear about what you are giving away and how many people will win
• keep your giveaway open to those 18 and older.
• if in the U.S., keep the giveaway open to U.S. residents only. Same goes for the UK and other countries. Every country has its own weird giveaway rules. Did you know that in Canada, you cannot run a giveaway purely based on luck? I used to collect baseball cards and they would have contests and they would always require Canadian residents to answer a simple mathematics question as part of their entry. I thought it was a joke, but nope. Like I said, weird laws are everywhere and you’ll keep yourself sane by keeping your giveaway within your own nation.
• state how you will choose your winner and how you will contact them
• state how long that winner has to respond
• state what will be done if the first (and possibly subsequent) winner(s) don’t respond
Some other things to note:
- If your giveaway contains a product review, make sure to disclose that fact and clearly state who will be providing the prize.
- If you’re keeping your giveaways to a small prize (specifically under $600), then things will be a lot easier. When you go over $600, you have to send the winner a 1099 tax document at the end of the year and they are required to pay taxes on that. You are required to let them know that. So try and keep it under $600!
- If you are asking for a Twitter follow or Facebook like or whatever as a method of entry, disclose that your giveaway is “not associated with (insert network here) in any way”.
Once again: I am by no means a lawyer or legal expert, but this is information gathered from companies who do have legal experts and is accurate to the best of my knowledge.