Online marketing builds its foundation on brand awareness. From simple banners to lead generators and multiple listing services, online marketing tools have evolved into more complex forms, taking the form of contests, applications and interactive content. A contest is an attractive marketing tool because it engages current and potential customers through a fun activity.
However, a lot of issues can crop up from online contests, including fraud and gambling propensities. This has motivated governments to impose regulations and requirements on online contests, violations of which can lead to stiff penalties and punishments. Good examples of such regulations are those created by the Canadian government, as Ivor Tossell reports TheGlobeAndMail.com.
Among the pieces of information a contest runner needs to post: Identification and contact information for your company, the eligibility rules, the distribution of prizes, the odds of winning (which is usually covered by boilerplates like “Odds of winning depend on the number of entries received), and disclaimers that help protect you from liability if something goes wrong.
One thing that online contests should make sure to include, however, is a disclaimer that protects them from entries that are fouled by technical difficulties – for instance, entries that are e-mailed and not received, or forms that can’t be submitted because a server is overloaded.
Above all else, though, the number of moving parts involved in meeting the letter of a law means you’ll be best served by consulting a contest lawyer before launch, or work with a contest marketing firm (or platform) that deals with these issues routinely.
Obviously, the main objective of such regulations is to maintain transparency among participants, contest presenters, and the authority. Not only can these laws protect contestants from getting ripped off, but they also help enforce local regulations surrounding gambling.
Complying with these laws have the added benefit of enhancing the contest organizers’ reputation for honesty and reliability. On the flipside, organizers have to keep in mind that one simple mistake can have serious legal and marketing repercussions. To avoid this, it is best to follow Ivor Tossell’s advice, and employ the expertise of contest management services like Skild Inc. to guide such events.
Legal compliance, however, should not deter organizers from holding an effective online contest aimed to catch the attention and encourage the imagination of the online community. Contest management services can help achieve this. These services design and employ programs and software that allow efficient entry submissions, fair judgment and winner selections, and exciting announcements.
A set of systematic contest guidelines and processes can attract more contestants on the Web, consequently increasing a company’s online visitors and enhancing Web presence. A reputable online contest management firm has an array of solutions to ensure a well-run and enticing contest that complies with legal requirements.
(Source: Running an online contest, don’t run afoul of the law, TheGlobeAndMail.com)