One more reason why I don't do giveaways Empire blogs

Proceed with cuation © by Ev0luti0nary, used under Creative Commons license.
We stopped doing giveaways on all the Empire blogs a couple years back because they were a huge pain in the ass to administer, made my websites liable for other people's products, gummed up our commenting systems, and weren't really of any lasting value in terms of traffic or promotions.

But a reader just emailed me about this post which details the way in which many blog giveaways are actually legally sweepstakes, and as such they're subject to a LOT of rules and legislation. This means, if you do a giveaway wrong, you better LOOK OUT.

Liability concerns were just one of the reasons I hated hosting blog giveaways, but it looks like it's an even bigger issue than I knew. Bloggers: proceed with caution.

  1. NOW. If you want to spend the money, there are companies that will handle the legal mumbo-jumbo for you. These are great for promotions where you're hoping to generate a LOT of short-term buzz, like an iPad giveaway.
    To do a "giveaway" of a few pieces of a sponsor's product, however, it doesn't really seem worth spending extra money, unless it's a term you can work out as a part of the sponsor package price.

    • Yeah, I totally get that if it's a big promotion with a lot of value, it'd be worth taking care of the legalese to do it — but most blog giveaways aren't even PAID. The bloggers are only getting free merchandise, which already feels like a racket for companies ("We'll give you a couple packets of laundry detergent if you do free PR for us!") and THEN there's the added liability issues? GLURG. No thanks. 🙂

      • SO true. My boss has a lawyer on retainer, just for stuff like this, and it STILL comes back to bite us once in a while. Most blogs can't afford that luxury.
        A lot of people have this attitude of "Oh, who cares? Who's going to find out?" but all it takes is the wrong person looking at your blog, a hater snitching you out or your own blog server catching you in the act. The results range from getting slapped with a fee to having your whole blog shut down if it violates the terms of service–and a lot of times, it DOES.

  2. I had no idea about the legal issues with giveaways. Sounds like a smart move for Offbeat Empire to nix this.

    There's nothing that happens on the internet anymore than no one finds out about (that sounded convoluted). Everything is too easily spread to keep quiet. At the same time, that's why the internet is so fantastic! Just gotta watch your ass and not stomp on anyone's hang-nailed toes.

  3. I was wondering what happened to the giveaways. I never entered, I just realized one day that I hadn't seen them in a while. Totally makes sense now.

  4. Does this apply if you are giving away something you made – like if you have an Etsy as well – or if you have a cooking blog and give away cookies or a recipe? You know, not "merchandise" as such?

    • No idea. I'd see if you can find some legal advice on it either online or via a lawyer.

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