Sweepstakes and Vote Farming

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Sweepstakes that encourage user participation by voting for the eventual winner offer an interactive, compelling and effective way of raising brand awareness. Ideally, not only will contestants get involved with the branded contest, but so too will thousands more who participate strictly as voters. However, there are certain important issues to consider when drafting the sweepstakes contest rules for such a voter-driven sweepstakes.

recent article in the New York Times highlights one such issue: how to protect against artificial and other dubious means that contestants may use to inflate their vote totals, such as vote farming or offering inducements for votes. One way to guard against this type of behavior is to include a provision forbidding it in the applicable sweepstakes contest rules. Such a provision should include catchall language that allows the applicable sweepstakes sponsor to determine what constitutes an inappropriate vote-inflating method, in that sponsor’s sole discretion.

If you anticipate offering such a contest, we recommend contacting a sweepstakes attorney in order to ensure that the applicable sweepstakes rules are drafted in such a way as to offer you the maximum protection.

As always, if you are interested in learning more about this topic or exploring your options in connection with sweepstakes contests, please feel free to contact us.

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