Wednesday 28 August 2013

New rules for Facebook comping!

Facebook have announced new rules about how a page can run a competition on Facebook. Until now, even though they were very popular, "Like and Share" competitions, or any other competition that made use of the page's Facebook functionality, were against the rules. Legitimate competitions had to be run through an app such as Rafflecopter, Easypromos or Woobox, which collected the entrant's details, or the page had to tell entrants to enter by email, or direct them to a web page or blog where their entry could be collected. And pages weren't allowed to notify the winner by naming them on their timeline - they had to contact them by email.

I know, I know, pages were ignoring all this in their droves. And getting confused by it too - for instance, many page owners thought they couldn't name winners at all, and were refusing to answer "Who won?" questions, when the rule was actually that the contact to tell them they had won was to be done away from Facebook, and there was nothing to stop them naming the winners once they had been properly contacted.

So Facebook says it has made it easier to administer a competition on Facebook. The announcement is here

While use of apps is still allowed, now a page can run a competition by
  • getting you to Like a page
  • getting you to comment on a page
  • getting you to Like a post
  • getting you to comment on a post
  • getting you to message them
  • collecting votes by using the Like button
What they can NOT ask you to do is to Share a competition on your own timeline, either as your entry into the competition or as a way of collecting extra entries. They can also NOT ask you to tag a photograph, unless you are actually pictured in the photograph.

One rather worrying feature of the complete new page guidelines is that they have removed the part that says pages must contact winners directly so it is now fine for them to just post the winner's name on their timeline and hope that they will claim.

The new guidelines will certainly make things easier for small business pages, many of whom were uncomfortable with the idea of using an app, even a free one, to collect entries. But it's also something of a "Cheat's Charter" - it's going to be an awful lot easier for people with multiple accounts to win, especially when it comes to the dreaded voting competitions.

The part that worries me most is the fact that winners don't have to be contacted directly. Even before the new rules, far too many pages were announcing winners on their timelines. That meant in order to know you had won, you had to be watching EVERY post on EVERY page you follow - and many compers follow over 1,000 pages. Or you had to be lucky and have a friend who happened to see the post, and would tag you to let you know. Or you had to belong to one of the groups that have sprung up to check for winners and see your name posted there, or be tagged by a friend. Now that is going to happen in even more competitions, and I'm sure many compers will miss out on prizes because of it.

Naming winners on the timeline and expecting them to claim has one very sinister effect - it attracts cheats who quickly set up a fake account in the name of the winner, claim the prize and then vanish, leaving the real winner, who comes along later, bemused and distressed when they are told the prize has already been claimed. There seems to be no mechanism in place to prevent this unpleasant practice.

The idea of these new rules is to simplify things for page owners, and that have done, but they must still be a work in progress. How, for instance, is a page owner going to spread the word about their competition if sharing is still not allowed? One suggestion is that people will see it in their friends' tickers - maybe so, but if you have a lot of friends your ticker moves so fast that following it is impracticable, especially if any of them are Farmville fans! Maybe this is a revenue raising move by Facebook - pages will be urged to pay to have promoted posts that will show in people's timelines. Whatever the motive, it seems odd to me that a network that is based on the concept of sharing is refusing to allow it as a means of promotion. Anyone can share a cute cat photo or a saucy joke, yet we can't share the competition being run by a housebound mum who is creating hand made jewellery to make ends meet!

What do you think? Are you going to make any changes to the way you comp? Are you going to monitor every page to see if your name turns up? Are you going to complain to pages that still ask you to share? Or are you just going to wait and see what happens? My feeling is that these changes have been hastily put together and may well change again before long. So I'm joining team "Wait and See"


  1. My position remains the same, Face Book is last on my list of places to comp - only more so now.

    I've lost at least one prize to a fake claimant - only a pair of socks so it wasn't the end of the world -!

    I expect there will be bedlam on there, I'd rather calmly pootle away at comps elsewhere and feel I have a better chance of winning.

  2. It seems to me that Facebook don't really think it through entirely before they make a move, then have to make counter move upon counter move.

    I'm most concerned re the fact that wins will be announced on their pages only, for the reason that you have given, that other folk can claim the prize. I changed my name details to include my maiden name as my middle name, so that I was more easily recognisable - however even that has back-fired recently when one company just stated Denise S on their page on Friday (thankfully they sent an email on the Monday), and one Rafflecopter prize announced that Denise R had won!

    I am going to have a serious re-think, and join the "wait & see" team too. I will be far more involved in the house during September, and hopefully move in by the end of it, so I comping will seriously slow down, and when we move stop for a while as there are no phone lines installed.

    I will only be able to comp via my mobile if I can get wifi, postcards, texts etc so I'll see what occurs when I return.

    Thanks for the update :-)

  3. Its another fine mess. FB have not thought it through, its awash with scamming possibilities as you mention. Plus the ask entrants to share breaching new policy seems to be picked up by the users but not the brands. I see entrants still sharing like mad today and I suspect it will be those that get blocked before the promotor.
    It cannot be policed as a share comp is often way down a timeline.
    Peeves me as the apps made it possible to win,latest win today was via an app.
    Plus as you say how can you check for a win, I like 5000 pages,a friends name I spotted on a page was two months old and they refused her prize,though it was not redrawn. Ah well it will all change again I'm sure.

  4. In the last few days I've found two wins on facebook that I didn't know about, one from 2011 and one from March last year. Both times they wrote my name on their wall without tagging so I had no idea :(


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