Features & Services

What is the Difference Between a Contest and Sweepstakes?

Sweepstakes and Contests are fundamentally different in one way: How the winner is selected.

Sweepstakes are a game of chance: The winner is randomly selected.

Contests are a game of skill where judging based on criteria determines a winner.

Prizes are the whole reason to run a promotion. They serve as the incentive for consumers to participate in a promotion, and we happen to think they are the best part!


No Purchase Necessary Sweepstakes: Can I Require a Purchase for Entry?

Yes, but there are a few steps to take to ensure it isn’t ‘consideration’, the main characteristic of an illegal lottery.

Sweepstakes are a great way to incentivize a purchase and trial of new products. If you are using a purchase as a qualifying entry, you must have a free means of entry set up to accept entries.

We refer to this as Alternate Means of Entry or (AMOE). This is a fully managed service we offer in our standard compliance package. The process looks like this:

  1. We become your sweepstakes administrator and draft your official rules.
  2. We set up a mailbox to accept mail-in entries.
  3. We wait for 5 days after the end of the promotion for all mail-in entries to arrive (for compliance purposes)
  4. We merge the database of mail-in entries with your online entries.
  5. We conduct your winner drawing (removing any last possibility of consideration from your sweepstakes).
  6. We can verify and notify winners or you can choose to.
What is a sweepstakes administrator?

What is a sweepstakes administrator?

A sweepstakes administrator generally ensures that all logistics for a promotional campaign are in line with national and international sweepstakes laws. This includes:

  • Official rules
  • Winner verification methods
  • Prize recipient tax paperwork
  • Advertising statements made in association with the campaign

At Realtime Media, we are specialists at the entire promotions process. We serve as a partner to brands and agencies to take care of all legal compliance details. As much as we have mastered the legal aspects of promotions, we were actually born to bring promotions online.

To this day, we remain a leading technology and strategic partner providing our clients with superior value in our full-service model and flexible technology platform.

What are official rules and why are they required?

Many brands, marketers, and agencies make the mistake of selecting easy-to-use sweepstakes software to manage their promotions, often forgetting to include a proper set of rules.

Official Rules layout the compliance of your entire promotion – this set of rules must align with local, state, and federal laws. While there are many templates available online to draft your own rules, we advise a proper legal consultation to ensure full compliance.

We recommend considering a full-service option from a sweepstakes management company – While the perceived external costs may differ, you can ensure your promotion is completely compliant and avoid even costlier legal ramifications.

At Realtime Media we handle the tedious details to increase your team’s capacity to launch fully compliant promotions.