For businesses, social networking is all about engaging customers in the hopes that they’ll remember the next time they’re in the supermarket. As it turns out, one of the best ways to engage people is to tempt them with free stuff, which is why contests and giveaways are so popular.
Google, however, has decided that it wants nothing to do with online promotions. The content policy for Google+ Pages states that “you may not run contests, sweepstakes, offers, coupons or other such promotions directly on your Google+ Page“.
Page owners don’t need to panic, however, because the prohibition applies only to activity on the page. Linking to an offer that is hosted somewhere else is acceptable. Here at MakeUseOf, we’ll be giving away an iPhone 4S on November 15th to one random follower of our page. Since we only link to this giveaway here on MakeUseOf, it’s within Google’s guidelines.
This could be an important difference between Google+ and Facebook for some page owners, as Facebook does allow promotions – if they’re contained within apps and entrants agree to absolve the social network of any responsibility.
Google+ does not have any similar policy for individual accounts. However, the policy for pages exists because of the risk of liability to Google should a contest go wrong, which suggests that trying to side-step the policy in that way would not be wise.