Ready to push “go” on your Facebook contest, but unsure of what rules and regulations you need?
You’re in the right place.
In this article I’ll show you nine of the most important rules and regulations that you should include in your Facebook Contest.
In your contest rules and regulations, you’ll want to clearly discuss the following:
#1. Disclaimer of any contest sponsors and/or judges
If a company is sponsoring your contest, you want to be transparent and let prospective entrants know. People want to know any and all organizations that are influencing an event or activity they are looking to participating in.
#2. Requirements for who is eligible to enter the contest
Remember that there are now over one billion people on Facebook. So while your contest may initially just be seen by your local audience, it can easily spread around the world to audiences you never expected.
So be sure to set specific eligibility requirements, especially around age and geography.
You especially want to use geographical restrictions if you only sell through a physical location, like a restaurant or spa, or if you are giving away a physical product and don’t want to have spend hundreds of dollars to ship your product across the world.
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#3. Contest entry and voting periods
Provide the both start and end dates, including exact time and time zone, for when:
- People can enter the contest,
- People can vote on contest entries (if applicable)
- Over what time period judging will occur (if applicable)
- When the winner will be chosen and announced
#4. How the winner is selected
There are four commonly accepted ways to choose a winner for your contest. These can each be used on their own, or in combination with one another:
- Random selection
- Selection by a panel of judges
- Most votes submitted by the public
- Selection by the contest owner of the entry that best exemplifies the entry requirement
One thing you always want to include, no matter which type of winner selection method you choose, is a caveat that you have the right to disqualify any entry. This is important if you need to disqualify an inappropriate or fraudulent entry.
#5. How the winner will be contacted
The best way to contact the winner after a contest is via email. So make sure to ask for email on your entry form and to tell entrants to watch their inbox for an email from you after they enter.
Also, it’s best to tell entrants when you’ll be sending the email - otherwise they may get annoyed that they need to check every day over an extended period of time.
You also need to provide a time limit for how long a winner will have to claim their prize before you skip them and move on to the next entrant.
You want to be able to announce the winner in a timely fashion, or else entrants will forget or start asking you about it. As a general rule, give 3 - 7 days for the winner to respond to your email before selecting another (be sure to let the original winner know you’re doing so by email).
Regulation Tip: Facebook actually requires you to inform the winner of your contest before you can post about it to the other entrants on their platform. Don't forget!
#6. How any personal information will be used
With the tightening of email privacy legislation, such as CAN-SPAM in the U.S. and CASL in Canada, you need to be explicit in telling entrants how their personal and contact information will be used.
If a person enters a contest, you will want to add an optional opt-in checkbox to allow people to opt-in to receive emails from you after your contest is over. You don’t want to just automatically add contest entrants to your newsletter list after they enter.
And if you want to provide the entry list to any contest sponsors, be sure to include an additional checkbox on the entry form so that entrants can opt-in.
#7. How you will deal with suspected contest fraud and cheating
It doesn’t happen very often, but there is a small chance that someone may commit some kind of fraud in order to increase their chances of winning.
The type of fraud we see most often is vote buying: This is when people pay others to vote for their entry when a contest winner is decided by number of votes.
Now, it can be almost impossible to prove 100% that a person has bought votes, but it’s easy to see when someone is doing it. Here are a few warning signs that a person is buying votes:
- One entry has far more votes than any other
- One entry is getting a large number of votes from people who live in different countries.
Here’s one way that you could write your terms of how you will deal with fraud:
We reserve the right to disqualify any entrant that we suspect of vote rigging or vote buying.
#8. Disclaimer that the contest is in no way associated with Facebook
This one is explicitly listed in Facebook’s Promotion Guidelines. You must include a written disclaimer that must include the following:
- A complete release of Facebook by each entrant or participant.
- Acknowledgement that the promotion is in no way sponsored, endorsed or administered by, or associated with, Facebook.
Here is the one that Wishpond uses by default in all of its Facebook Contest Apps:
This promotion is in no way sponsored, endorsed or administered by, or associated with, Facebook. You understand that you are providing your information to [Your Company Name] and not to Facebook. By participating in this promotion you agree to a complete release of Facebook from any claims.
#9. Any regional/state/national or international contest laws
Just about every state and national government has their own legislation on how to administer a contest, how contestants can enter and who is eligible to do so. This is generally due to their laws on lotteries and gambling.
This is why in Canada, for example, many national contests cannot be won by residents of Quebec, because they have very strict contest laws that differ from most other Canadian provinces.
While there are many rules for each region, the most common one to steer clear of is charging people for entry to your contest. This is because most governments consider this type of contest a lottery, which can only be administered by approved bodies.
Thanks for reading! I hope you find this useful in writing the rules and regulations for your Facebook Contest.
Are there any rules & regulations that I missed?
Let me know in comments below!
To learn more about Wishpond's contests, check out these free courses from Wishpond Academy:
- $5,000 in cash
- An interview with the author in Writer’s Digest
- One on one attention from four editors or agents
- A paid trip to the ever-popular Writer’s Digest Conference!
- A one year subscription to Writer’s Digest Tutorials
The First place winner in each category will receive $1,000 in cash and $100 off a purchase from the Writer’s Digest Shop
The Second place winner in each category will receive $500 cash and $100 off a purchase from the Writer’s Digest Shop
The Third place winner in each category will receive $250 in cash and $100 off a purchase from the Writer’s Digest Shop
The Fourth place winner in each category will receive $100 in cash and $50 off a purchase from the Writer’s Digest Shop
The Fifth place winner in each category will receive $50 in cash and $50 off a purchase from the Writer’s Digest Shop
The Sixth through Tenth place winners in each category will receive $25 in cash
All top winners will also receive:
- A one-year Writer’s Digest VIP membership, which includes a one-year subscription (new or renewal) to Writer’s Digest magazine, access to WritersMarket.com for one year, discounts on Writer’s Digest University workshops and discounts off of purchases made at WritersDigestShop.com.
- The Grand Prize winning piece and the 1st place winning piece in each category will be published in the 87th Annual Writer’s Digest Annual Writing Competition Collection.
- All other top winners will have their names listed in Writer’s Digest, on WritersDigest.com and in the 87th Annual Writer’s Digest Annual Writing Competition Collection.
All Honorable Mentions receive:
- 20% discount off of purchases made at WritersDigestShop.com
- Their names listed in the 87th Annual Writer’s Digest Annual Writing Competition Collection.
- Inspirational Writing (Spiritual/Religious)
- Memoirs/Personal Essay
- Magazine Feature Article
- Genre Short Story (Mystery, Romance, etc.)
- Mainstream/Literary Short Story
- Rhyming Poetry
- Non-rhyming Poetry
- Script (Stage Play or Television/Movie Script)
- Children’s/Young Adult Fiction
How to Enter
- Enter online or submit your entry via regular mail. Offline entries must be accompanied by an Entry Form, and the required entry fee (credit card information, check or money order made payable to F+W Media, Inc.). If you are entering more than one manuscript, you may mail all entries in the same envelope and write one check for the total entry fee; however, each manuscript must have its category indicated in the upper left-hand corner. You may enter online even if you are paying with a check. All checks will be cashed within 60 days of the competition final deadline. Entry fees are non-refundable.
- Your entry must be original, in English, unpublished* and unproduced, not accepted by any other publisher or producer at the time of submission. Writer’s Digest retains one-time nonexclusive publication rights to the Grand Prize and First Place winning entries in each category to be published in a Writer’s Digest publication.* Entries in the Magazine Feature Article category may be previously published. Any piece posted online, anywhere other than a personal blog, is considered published. For poetry, poems posted online to poets’ personal blogs, social media accounts, or online forums (like the comments on the Poetic Asides blog) are eligible. Anything posted online by a third party is considered to be published.
- If you are submitting your entry via regular mail (NOT using the online entry form), the entry must be typed on one side of 8-1/2 x 11 or A4 white paper. Scripts and poems may be either double-or single-spaced; all other manuscripts must be double-spaced. The competition category and word count/line count must appear in the upper left-hand corner of the first page —otherwise your entry is disqualified. The first page should also include the entry’s title. As judging is blind, do not include your name, address, phone number, email address or other identifying information in the upper left-hand corner of the first page.
- BE SURE OF YOUR WORD COUNT! Entries exceeding the word or page limits will be disqualified. Type the exact word count (counting every single word, except the title) at the top of the manuscript.
- Mailed entries that are more than one page in length must be stapled.
- Due to U.S. Government restrictions we are unable to accept entries from Syria, Iran, North Korea, or Sudan.
- For more information visit our Preparing Your Entry Page or our FAQpage.
- Click here for the offline entry form.
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