Are you good at following the rules? When running a mobile sweepstakes, it certainly helps. In fact, it’s vital to follow the rules to avoid a problem that could cost thousands. We’ve written before about the legal documents for a mobile sweepstakes and text message marketing rules, but there are still other special issues that may arise.
Here are some special issues that will need extra consideration.
Is it Open to Entrants Outside the US?
Is your sweepstakes open to residents of Canada? Mexico? Other countries? If so, make sure your official rules comply with the laws of that region. In Canada, for example, it’s illegal to run games of pure chance with a random draw (i.e. a sweepstakes). It’s best to add a skill-testing question to make it more of a contest. In Mexico, any prize of more than US$5,000 has to be delivered in the presence of Mexican authorities. Be sure you’re aware of the legal requirements of the region.
Sending Direct Mail?
This is less common these days, but if you’re using direct mail to promote your sweepstakes, you’ll need to make sure you have permission to send mailings to those recipients, per the Federal Trade Commission. The Driver’s Privacy Protection Act and HIPAA are other legal protections that prohibit the use of mailing lists from DMV records or medical facilities for direct marketing purposes.
Will it Involve User-Generated Content?
Are you asking entrants to enter with photos, videos or other material? If you’re making use of user-generated content as an entry requirement or also for promotional purposes, put terms in place to cover their use with regard to copyright.
Are You Targeting Children or Minors?
When targeting children or minors, you’re adding another layer of rules and complexity. You must take privacy into account and other issues. If your mobile sweepstakes will target that audience, make sure you’re in compliance with federal and state laws, including the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA) and FTC rules.
Mobile sweepstakes should be carefully structured to ensure maximum participation, while minimizing the associated legal risks. Before beginning your mobile promotion, consider the legal aspect. While we assist with creating official rules for a sweepstakes, legal counsel is always best. We can help you get that professional guidance.