It’s a Violation To Run a Contest on Facebook
Earlier this week the good and noble Chuck Gose posted a link on Twitter to an article about things that many businesses do that are in violation of Facebook’s policy. The big one that jumped out at me is that Facebook prohibits running any contest where the method for entering is to take some action on Facebook.
I can’t count the number of contests I’ve seen where you enter by leaving a comment on a business’s Facebook page. It turns out that’s verboten. Uploading a photo to Facebook? That’s a no-no, too. If you read the rules strictly, even telling people to enter a contest by becoming your Fan (or clicking the Like button to use the new Facebook vernacular) is grounds for having your account deactivated.
Are these rules enforced?
No. Not based on what I see happening on Facebook. There are so many active accounts that it would be a monumental task to try to police all the “illegal” contests that are running, but the rules are officially on the books. So Facebook could drop the hammer any time without notice.
The good news is you can still promote a contest on Facebook as long as the action of entering the contest doesn’t occur on Facebook. So we’re running a contest right now where you leave a comment on our blog and you get a chance to win a free copy of Delivering Happiness by Zappos CEO Tony Hsieh. We had been considering allowing people to enter by leaving a comment on our Facebook wall, as well, but decided to comply with Facebook’s stated policy on contests.
So Facebook is useless for contests?
What we can do while still obeying the letter of Facebook’s policy is talk about the contest on our wall. We can invite visitors to click a link to our blog and leave comments over here. That let’s us still leverage our Facebook network and avoid the risk of offending the powers-that-be.
And of course our friends, clients, and business partners can talk about the contest on Facebook, too. ;)