MPA Offers Sweeps Guidelines

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The Magazine Publishers Association, yesterday released its new ethical business practices guidelines for sweepstakes marketers. Highlights include:

* Terms and conditions of sweepstakes offers shall be easy to find, read and understand.

* Representations that a person has won a prize shall be avoided unless true, taking into context any qualifying language.

* Solicitations shall not represent that an entry accompanied by an order will be more likely to win.

* A prominent statement that no purchase is required to enter shall be included in the official rules.

* The procedures for entering with or without an order shall be easy to find, read, understand and accomplish.

* The estimated odds of winning each prize shall be clearly stated in the solicitation materials or in the official rules.

* Sweepstakes entries not accompanied by an order for products or services shall not be subjected to any disability or disadvantage in the winner selection process to which an entry accompanied by an order for products or services wouldn't be subject.

* Existing subscribers who submit an additional order with their sweepstakes entry shall be reminded in writing of the length of their existing subscriptions and offered the opportunity to cancel the order if accepting it would result in extending the subscription excessively.

* Publishers should use best efforts to identify customers who have ordered an excessive number of subscriptions to the same title. If the subscriptions have been ordered through a sweepstakes promotion, the consumer shall be contacted and offered the opportunity to cancel excess subscriptions, as well as be reminded that no purchase is necessary to enter a sweepstakes.

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