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10/18/2017

Facebook Contests vs. Google Plus Contest

Facebook Contests vs Google Plus ContestsContest on Facebook are quite the rage whereas they are practically non-existent on Google Plus and I wondered why.  I had read a few blog posts that said Google rules prohibit contest and decided to dig deeper because I was interested in creating a contest to promote my Google Plus page.

I first checked Google’s Policies and Principles and item 15, the very last rule, stated:

Do not run contests, sweepstakes, daily deals, coupons or other such promotions directly on Google+. For additional details about this policy, visit the Contests and Promotions Policy page.

There it was.  It did say, do not run contests directly on Google+.  But it also had a link to additional details on the Contest and Promotions Policy Page so I thought maybe there was still a chance.  I checked out the Contest Policy Page.

There it stated:
You may not run contests, sweepstakes, daily deals, coupons or other such promotions (“Promotion”) directly on Google+. You may display a link on Google+ to a separate site where your Promotion is hosted…

That sounded encouraging.  You could have a contest as long as it wasn’t on Google and you could even promote it from Google+ with a link to the off site page.

However, it also went on to say:
Your Promotion must not be run or conducted in a way which conflicts with the Buttons PolicyPrivacy Policyor Google+ Pages Additional Terms of Service and cannot use Google+ features or functionality as a required part of the Promotion.

There it was, the show stopper. It said you can not use Google+ features or functionality as a required part of the promotion.  I could understand that Google wouldn’t want a contest based on +1′s or sharing a post because that might throw a curve to some algorithm that one day might be used to determine the quality of web content and the author who wrote it.  But all I wanted to do was ask people to circle my page as a requirement for winning the prize.  It seemed reasonable.  That’s how Facebook does it.  Many Facebook contests require a person to like a page.  In fact, that’s the main reason people at Facebook have contests, to get more people to like their page.

So I decided to look at Facebook to see what their contest rules said.  And I was quite surprised.  Facebook had a rule that stated:

You must not use Facebook features or functionality, such as the Like button, as a voting mechanism for a promotion.

This in essence was the same rule Google had.  That you couldn’t use features or functionality as part of the contest process.  And yet Facebook has contests that require a person to click the “Like” button on a fan page to get started.  This is so common that there is a term for the procedure called Fan-gate.  It sure sounds like you are using Facebook functionality as a part of the contest.

Or is it OK, because it isn’t a factor in determining the winner, it’s just a requirement to enter the contest.  Maybe asking people to circle “follow” a page is ok because it isn’t a requirement to win the contest, just a requirement to get information about the contest.

But again, Google says the contest must be completely staged on a different site.  And the penalties are quite steep, termination of service, tantamount to death for a marketer in today’s world.