Inkbunny regulates prize promotions for the safety of the site and its members, including:
- Sweepstakes – determined to some extent by chance, which have a free method of entry.
- Contests – determined solely by skill.
If you use Inkbunny to conduct or announce such promotions - including via submissions, journals, stream notifications, on your user profile, or in a comment or PM - you must follow this policy.
- Inkbunny does not permit gambling, e.g. lotteries, raffles, and other promotions where consideration buys a chance to win a prize – including those linked to the sale of goods or services without a free method of entry.
- Inkbunny does not warrant that following this policy will result in a legal promotion. Do your own research on the jurisdictions where you wish to offer it, and restrict your promotion accordingly.
- We may prohibit a promotion at any time, for any reason. This policy is intended to reduce the need to do so. If you are uncertain whether it applies, or how to follow it, contact us before announcing your promotion.
This policy applies only to prize promotions. Inkbunny does not consider the following to be prize promotions:
- Giving those of your choice gifts or discounts, as long as the selection process does not involve chance or a contest of skill. For example, you might give friends a free upgrade, or a 10% discount on your regular prices.
- Offering to upgrade a won prize in return for valuable consideration; the response must not influence the chance of winning, or the prize on offer. For example, you might offer to add a second character for $10.
- Auctions, including "ladder auctions" where the product or service varies depending on the final price.
You may also award a prize without prior announcement to one or more people who have already paid you or done something for you, as they did not do it to enter your promotion. However, if this occurs or is intended to occur more than once, you must treat it as a sweepstakes for the purpose of this policy, including linking to your rules and offering a free means of entry when mentioning the promotion or offering goods or services covered by it.
For all prize promotions, you must provide rules which state in a clear and conspicuous manner:
- Who is eligible and/or not eligible to enter, including restrictions on age, jurisdiction, membership of any free-to-join websites, and whether a person may enter multiple times.
- The date and time that the promotion starts and ends, including time zone.
- A complete description of all prizes on offer, how and when they will be awarded (including delivery times), and their estimated retail values.
- Any restrictions on the prizes, such as things you won't do in a commission, and the date by which they must be claimed.
- An estimate of shipping or handling costs, or a statement that you will pay them, if relevant to the prizes.
- For a sweepstakes, the chance of winning; or a statement that it depends on the number of entrants.
- Your best estimate of how many will enter, based on past experience.
- A complete description of the methods of entry, and any entries which will not be permitted.
- For a sweepstakes, a statement that no purchase or payment is required to enter, that a purchase will not increase the chance of winning, and a description of the free methods of entry.
- For a contest, a description of any consideration required to enter (including any licensing terms and content restrictions), the maximum number of rounds, and the means by which entries will be judged.
- Any other terms and conditions which are to govern the promotion.
You may provide some details on another page, as long as it is clearly linked in your communications and remains up until the prize is awarded. All mentions of a sweepstakes must note that there is a free method of entry.
Your rules form a contract between entrants and yourself. If they comply with the rules, you must deliver the prize. The only charges you may make are those related to shipping and handling, if specified in advance.
If another person will provide the prize, you must say so, and it's up to you to make them do it. If the designated provider is unable or unwilling to produce the prize within the time specified in the rules, you must promptly provide the monetary equivalent (before currency exchange) through some means agreed between the parties.
If, despite your best efforts, prizes are not claimed by one or more winners in accordance with your rules, you may declare those results void and re-run the sweepstakes with the remaining entrants.
You must keep records of who entered and how, and be able and willing to produce these and your rules to us on demand for a year after the promotion ends. You must also provide a list of winners to anyone on request. If you wish to use winners' names in subsequent promotions, you should specify this in your rules. You may not represent that any person has won any prize in a promotion unless this is the case.
If entry may be via submission of content, you must explain what this will allow you to do, and any conditions - such as not using trademark characters. If you want to post it on Inkbunny, you should require that it meets our policies.
If you contact members directly regarding your promotion, you must provide a means for people to opt-out of such contact. You may not tell anyone that they've already won a prize or passed an initial round as part of an invitation to participate in your promotion or to purchase goods or services; nor tell them that they have been "personally selected" unless they have been; nor imply that they or their work has any special chance to win a prize.
You may not give the impression that Inkbunny approves of or endorses your promotion, unless we have made statements to this effect. Merely following this policy does not constitute approval.
When running a sweepstakes, you must take care not to let it turn into a lottery. You may offer entry in conjunction with the bona fide sale of goods or services for money or other valuable consideration (including significant effort). However, any consideration must be proportionate to the sale, not the prizes; and you must provide at least one method of entry which does not require consideration.
Inkbunny considers the following to constitute 'free' methods of entry:
- Contacting you by comment, PM, email, telephone, SMS or post, given no excess cost (i.e. no premium numbers).
- Being present in a chat room or stream at a set time, as long as they do not have to remain there for more than fifteen minutes.
- Watching you or joining a group for the duration of the promotion, as long as a prize may be won within a month.
- Writing a brief post on a free-to-join online platform mentioning and linking to the promotion or your website.
- Completing a simple three-minute survey related to your business.
This list is not comprehensive; however, the process may not be arduous. If you do business online, one of the free means of entry must be online.
The following would not count as 'free' methods of entry, although they might be a means of entry:
- Sending any person any amount of real or virtual currency, or items commonly exchanged for such currency, with or without any tangible return.
- Creating a story or work of art, whether or not it is at your direction.
- Making a long-term commitment to receive marketing, including signing up to a website which uses its members' details for third-party marketing.
- Requiring repeated visits to your website to enter a single draw.
- Promoting specific goods or services on your behalf, regardless of whether you require any sales to result.
- Doing anything that requires more than fifteen minutes.
Free methods of entry must have an equal chance to win all prizes, and must be open for the same period as other methods. There can be no separate category for "purchased" entries, nor may they skip any qualifying rounds. Multiple purchases may result in increased chances only if multiple free entries are permitted over an equivalent time period; this should be documented in your rules.
You may respond to entrants with additional offers, such as a price for an upgrade if they win. You may not offer to trade a prize for a chance at another prize; nor imply that accepting additional offers will influence the result; nor limit winners to those who accept or are likely to accept additional offers.
You may not ask people to do something to enter if it is counter to a third party's terms, or if it tends to deceive others. For example, you may not ask people to click on an third-party ad hosted on your own site, to post reviews of a non-purchased product, or to make false statements so that you do not have to pay fees to a transaction processor.
If you offer entry into a promotion with a purchase, you may not disallow returns, nor withdraw entrants who request a return, unless they separately request to withdraw from your promotion.
Prize contests should have no element of chance; if they do, you must also follow the rules for sweepstakes. This includes randomly picking a person who drew your character to win, picking the person who pays the most money to enter (this is a matter of chance from an entrant's perspective), or playing a game which involves chance – even as a means to settle ties.
You must state the criteria by which you or some other competent judge(s) will pick the winner in your rules, including any preliminary rounds, and stick to them. You should also explain what method is used in the case of a tie, and whether multiple entries are permitted. An example:
Each staff member will select up to ten nominations, based on suitability for a T-shirt, site relevance and artistic merit; staff vote on all nominees using range voting; the five entries with the highest combined vote - or more, in the event of a tie - are winners, and the submitters will receive one promotional item up to US$50 per winning entry, in return for a perpetual license to sell promotional items displaying the work.
You may not condition the award or amount of a contest prize on the number of entries. If you think this will be a problem, offer smaller prizes.
- Your best promotion is your work. Occasional promotions can be a fun way to engage with your audience - and if you have a good product or service, they may introduce it to others - but they are no substitute for quality.
- Offer tangible prizes produced by yourself or others, rather than currency. In particular, art benefits its creator and other members, acts as an additional promotion, and provides proof of your award.
- Don't get hung up about free entry. Instead, explain why it is in your interest or the interests of entrants or their watchers to use methods you prefer. Many will be glad to help you out, or tell their friends about an exciting offer.
- Many jurisdictions - including several U.S. states - do not permit paid contest entry. We may stop such contests if we believe they are being run illegally, or if there is a risk that the prize may not be paid.
- Don't determine a product or service's price based on the cost of a prize and expected number of buyers; you risk running a lottery. Instead, ask how much the market will pay for the product or service itself. If this price allows you to make a profit, it may make sense to attach a promotion to drive sales. If not, consider selling other products or services – and perhaps offer what you were initially going to sell for free, as a separate promotion.
- Think before requiring entrants to 'spam' their watchers. This attracts an audience which values free stuff over their friends' time, which is not necessarily the audience that you want. It may also impact your reputation.
- Avoid using the words 'donation', 'charity' or 'free' in connection with a purchase and/or promotion - e.g. "a donation of $10 will get you a digital copy of my comic and entry to a raffle for a free commission". Such wording may imply that you are running a lottery, or that you hope to avoid fees applied to purchases of goods and services. You can tell people that they may "pay what you want" - but if you seek donations, ask for them separately.
- Follow your rules to the letter - don't try to change them halfway. If you don't like how your promotion is going, make a note to change the rules next time.