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Sunday, May 22, 2011

Giveaways Rules Change at Facebook

by Carrie Boyko, CEB
© Carrie Boyko
Has Facebook Boxed us In?
If you're one of my readers that enjoys entering our giveaways, this post is meant for you. While these changes won't significantly affect your statistical chances of winning, I do need to share with you the new facts, as I have interpreted them. Some sites may choose to interpret them differently, but here's my take on things.

You should first know that there is no liability to you in taking part in a giveaway. The liability is all on me. I must follow the FTC guidelines, which I do. This means I disclose whether I have been paid to give a product away or do a product review. For the record, I do not accept compensation for reviews, and the prizes are generally donated as promotional giveaways. 

In addition to the FTC guidelines, I now have to keep up with Facebook's ever changing rules about how our pages on their site may be used to promote or facilitate a promotion, sweepstakes, giveaway, drawing, etc.

This post is simply my way of sharing the rules with you so that I can be totally on the up-and-up with you. No misunderstandings. But let's be clear. You will find different interpretations out there. These are mine.

A few months ago Facebook announced that owners of Facebook pages could not request a page "Like" as a basis for entry in a promotional event of any sort. At that time, no statement was made that led me to believe comments were also out of play. Other sites interpreted it this way as well; some continued to ignore this new rule. Now we have a whole new batch of rules. :(

New rules were announced this past week. You can read the latest guidelines at the link if you're into this sort of legal fun.

These new guidelines specifically mention that wall post "Likes", photo uploads and comments may not be used as entry methods, per item #4 on their list. Although some may interpret this differently, I am choosing to go the safe route and remove Facebook discussions from our giveaway mechanism entirely, with one exception. I will continue to place my giveaway announcement posts and winners' announcements posts on my Facebook page. This will give you full access to click the link to my post and get all the facts.

Entries to my giveaways will now be limited to: 

  1. site interaction via blog comments and comment conversations, 
  2. email submissions when requested (photos, for example),
  3. and Tweets that can be tracked. Specifically, this is a Tweet sent to @AllThingsDog via our Twitter address: These Tweets can be easily located in bulk, rather than checked individually by permalinks. I thank you for using this method to make giveaway entries more expeditious for me.
In addition to the rules guiding my entries, I am also prohibited from using Facebook to notify a winner that they have been awarded a prize. This means you'll need to provide a method of contact in your entry, or make sure you read our winners' announcements. Methods of contact may include email addresses, Twitter handles, blog URLs or websites with contact forms. I will make reasonable efforts to notify you. When prizes are not claimed after 30 days, they go back into the pool of potential new giveaways. So far, I only have one of these. Hopefully we can keep it that way.

The big question for me is "Will this be the beginning of the end of our Facebook page banter?" I hope not. I enjoy your comments, questions, input, silliness, and all manner of entries. 

You may still post photos and links to my page. I have not, and hope never to, disable this function of our conversation. I encourage you to keep in touch and enjoy the fun interaction we have there. I cherish my Facebook 'fans' for this highly enjoyable part of my day.

To wrap this up, let me say that I will still encourage you to "Like" our page or a prize sponsor's page from time to time. This will not constitute an entry into a drawing, but rather a way for you to assure that you are keeping up with what's new. Another option is always available: an email subscription is free, offers a free ebook as a thank you, and takes only a few seconds to apply for. Drop by the sidebar doghouse before you leave and get your subscription right now. You'll be glad you did.


K9 Coach said...

Thanks for being so clear about the new rules.

The one bumper sticker I keep running across in Hawaii that I love...

Not Too Many Rules

I guess with all the ugly telemarketing for not so real "get rich" schemes etc. this is what happens, but never the less it does make one droop their tail for a moment when it was so fun the way it was. :)

cstironkat said...

Thank you for making everything clear. Unfortunately, facebook is getting to complicated. Bring on twitter!

Melissa T. said...

I'm surprised they would get so technical about this. You have a wonderful heart and share your love of dogs, and animals, with us. You don't try to push anything on us.

I realize there are admins out there who are a little zealous but they shouldn't ruin it for others who do follow the guidelines. I'm sorry that you're having to go thru this. How frustrating this must be to you. Thank you for letting us know & deciphering it so we don't have to read the new rules. lol

Don't let this get you down, I'm sure everyone will still be here even if you stopped the contests. And who are you calling silly?? We could take a poll and you'd be the silliest. :) And that's why a lot of us love coming here.

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