Google bans promotions and competitions on Google+ Pages for brands


As the dust settles on Google’s launch of Google+ Pages for brands and businesses yesterday, we’ve dug a little deeper into the terms of service that each brand must adhere to on the network and found something very interesting.

One policy of Google+ Pages states that brands and businesses “may not run contests, sweepstakes, offers, coupons or other such promotions” directly on their pages. Instead, brands must link to contests on external websites or alternative social networks. Many brands, including ourselves, run competitions directly on networks like Facebook and Twitter so this may come as a surprise.

Google say they’ll take a hard-line with any offenders. Additional terms of service for Google+ Pages states that Google reserves the right to delete such promotion content from Google+ Pages, or even block or remove a brand’s Google+ Page altogether.

Earlier this year, Google came under fire for their real-name policy on Google+, which they were later forced to relax. It’s unclear as to why Google wants to prevent brands from using promotions and competitions directly on Google+ to interact with users, and even more unclear as to how they’ll police such a policy.

Another interesting but more agreeable term of service for Google+ Pages will possibly see inactive pages deleted after nine months.

So why not Circle us on our brand new Google+ Page? We won’t be running any competitions but we do promise to shamelessly link to our own content and engage with those that leave a comment.

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Facebook has the same terms about running contests & sweepstakes, you actually run the contest on a application that links outside of Facebook and it just appears that you run it on Facebook. If you use If you are running a contest directly on your Facebook Page wall you are in voilation of there TOS also. So that part in understandable, yes it's a legal protection thing. Now the word 'offers' is an odd one, so if I say 'come into my ice cream store between now and the next 4 hours and get 1/2 off ' then I could be banned?? That seems very strange, what's the point of having a page if you can't offer those who 'circle' you something?

Great article by the way!!


@TheSocialGarden Exactly my thought. Facebook insists you use a third party platform for contests. Though I am wondering if that applies 100% because I just saw a video contest being run (post your video, we'll pick the winner for a $500 coupon).


@LindaSherman , yes there are contests run on Facebook all the time that are outside the TOS, no doubt about it!! I don't know how many of them are caught but I wouldn't want to take the chance, that's for sure.I saw one on a very respected and trusted internet marketers wall that said 'be the first to guess where I am and I will Paypal you $100' (it had a photo obviously)....totally outside of FB TOS yet he does it over and over!! Crazyness. If the 'giveaway' applies to everyone and everyone equally can get it (like a bumper sticker you will send out if they comment on a post) then that is A-OK to post on your wall but if their is only a 'limited' amount (1st, 2nd 3rd prize) to be given away that it is supposed to be run on via an app. outside of their platform, which is understandable in our 'sue happy' society, they are just protecting themselves. What do you think about the part of G+ using the word 'offers' in their 'banned' statement??

thecodebenders 1 Like

I'm seeing all these people complain about the way google has done business pages in the first two days they've been launched and it's almost starting to make me think we've all been a little spoiled or something. When Wave came out, I remember people figuring out the coolest ways to use the feature-set provided to them, not bitching and moaning about how it worked or didn't meet their particular needs.

As for brand pages, I really think google is going a lot of these things to not become a facebook replacement/competitor, it doesn't really suit their model. They want the web to stay the way it is, where companies have web pages that they host themselves and google index's, searches and drives traffic to. Google+ seems to be a social network that tries to promote that model . It's largely a discussion platform that centers around going out to the web instead of trying to wall everything in. Google doesn't seem to be rushing for the "how many friends can you get" metric but rather trying to build a platform for companies to use to reach out to their customers and discuss the world that surrounds their product. Can you imagine the FAQ's that could be generated from google plus discussions? The community on google plus is chattier than any else I've found on the web so I could argue that google+ is achieving exactly what it needs to. The communication features from what I've been reading need some work as well, but I wouldn't be surprised if that's where google focuses they're UX efforts for brand pages and not into fuctionality like contests and coupons that will potentially turn up in


Erm, weird, I swear I didn't end my post that way, you get the point. (Am I missing an edit button around here?)


"...real-name policy on Google+, which they were later forced to relax.".

Didn't they just re-evaluate and found it to be too harsh? I dont remember hearing anything about google being "forced" to change the policy.

darrenmccarra moderator

@logix Forced may be a strong term, but the people spoke and Google had to change their initial name policy. The are plenty of great arguments for relaxing this too.


Unclear? It's very clear. They don't want to have the same mess as facebook where you have a chance to win something only if you like. Or some battlefield bad company demo that didn't get released until the trailer had 500000 likes on facebook. Likes should be triggered by liking only, not forced by giving the user bonuses. That way it can be used as a good measure of actual page value of sites instead of only pages with contests being on the top-list.

Replace "like" with +1 or whatever they call it.

WarrenJoseph 2 Like

You've obviously put thought into this, but not from the standpoint of a business in a competitive industry. So what if you have to run a promotion to get people to like or circle your page? They can just as easily unlike or uncircle but you have their attention for the period of that promotion and most likely much longer. That you can't AT ALL use any such marketing tools is beyond stupid and makes Google Pages for business pretty useless.


You can get people to circle you from your website page with the special G+ button - just the same as a Facebook Like box or button on your site. No incentives required other than running a business that is of interest for people to engage with.


I couldn't agree with you more. There's nothing wrong with an incentive- they're used every day in many aspects of business. It's then the job of the business to keep that person engaged. @WarrenJoseph


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