AMOE stands for Alternate Means of Entry or Alternate Method of Entry. By law, a sweepstakes in the United States must have a free method of entry, so if a sweepstakes asks for a purchase to obtain an entry or a code for an entry, then the rules should always list a “no purchase” or AMOE method of entry. Whether you are running a sweepstakes or entering one, here is how to make your AMOE count.
The following are some of the various AMOE methods that a sponsor or brand could use in their sweepstakes:
The traditional AMOE method is the mail-in method of entry. Most people are familiar with this method where typically you mail in a 3” x 5” card or similar to a post office box or physical address. If you are thinking about this method of entry, you will need to have your PO Box or other address set up to receive mail prior to the start of your program (especially if your sweepstakes needs to be registered). You also will need to have very clear parameters as to how many entries can be submitted per person and per day – and what information you need included on the mail in card. Another thing to consider is if you want to have someone data enter the handwritten entries into a database, which could be additional cost for you to consider.
Some sweepstakes will ask that you send your intent to enter via email to a special email address set up for the promotion. If you utilize this method for your sweepstakes, be sure to consider the email address you use to receive these entries and the data you ask people to provide. You could get hundreds or thousands of entries by this method and if the email address is shared, it might be hard to distinguish what is regular mail and what are entries. It may also be time consuming for the person tasked with handling or counting the entries, especially if your email system puts emails with the same subject line into threads of similar emails.
Some sweepstakes allow AMOE entries to be submitted online. As with any other online sweepstakes, the free method of entry should collect personal data securely and have clear links to official rules and privacy policies, as well as sufficient hosting to handle web traffic and validation to prevent fraud.
There are brands that still believe in doing things the old fashioned way and having people sign up in person. Beware, as some states consider requiring a trip to a store location for entry to be consideration. You may want to check with an attorney that specializes in promotion law when drafting your official rules if you require a store visit as your AMOE.
This is the newest AMOE method that is fast becoming a favorite with brands. If you don’t require a purchase of a product, the next best thing may be to have people engage with your brand on social media either by sharing or posting about you. If you use this as an AMOE, you will need to be specific in the rules as there may be instructions like following the brand on the social channel they are using, or including special hashtags in your post in order to count it as an entry. Another thing to consider is how you will collect entries or engage with winners who entered via social channels since you will only have their social username.
Special notes about requiring Codes
Sometimes brands like to require a code to enter a sweepstakes, and will make codes available for purchase with the AMOE being that you can get a similar code by mail, by filling out a web form, by email or by listing a generic “no-purchase” code in the Official Rules or on social channels. All of those methods are acceptable, but the method must be clear in the Official Rules for how to obtain a free code. Don’t make the code so hard to find that a court could consider it unfair.
For help crafting the perfect AMOE for your next client promotion, contact us!
And for consumers out there, here are some things to know to make Your AMOE count:
- Legibility matters. If you hand write your name on a mail-in entry or in-store entry form be sure it is legible. If they can’t read your name or phone number they may not be able to find you to let you know you won!
- Provide the right information. If you don’t provide your phone number or email when we ask for it, then we can’t contact you.
- Follow the rules. If the rules say once per day or other instructions to make your entry count, then by all means do it! We have seen many people not make the final cut because they had entries disqualified when they tried to enter too many entries on a given day or made up fake names or emails.
- And especially for mail-in entries: Decorating your envelope does NOT get your entry noticed over others, but be sure to attach enough postage to your entry or it might not get counted at all!
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