Legally all promotions fit into one of these three categories
and it's important to understand them and the requirements you must
meet to stay in the clear (we'll cover more of the specifics in a
- Sweepstakes are prize giveaways where
the winners are chosen by the luck of the draw. Prizes can be
almost anything you can think of, from handmade cards to an
- Contests choose a winner based on
some merit. The winner is chosen based on some criteria such as
best photo, most votes on a video, best recipe, etc.
- A lottery is a prize drawing where
people must pay money to buy a chance to win. Lotteries are highly
regulated and should not be run without consulting legal
This guide will focus and provide a breakdown for running an
effective viral contest. Contests are especially successful at
creating buzz about your blog/product/service, backlinks and SEO,
and of course, more traffic!