Facing Consumer Backlash, Google Revises Smart Speaker Sweepstakes

Advertising Law

Consumer World declared victory after Google added a free means of entry for a sweepstakes to win a free Google Home Max smart speaker.

When Google sent an email to Google Assistant customers in May promoting the sweepstakes, it offered two methods to enter: either purchase a two-pack of Google Home Mini smart speakers or have a friend make the purchase using a special link provided in the email.

Although the rules stated multiple times that there was “no purchase necessary to enter or win,” Google failed to actually provide a free means of entry, Consumer World said, turning the promotion into an illegal lottery.

The consumer group reached out to Google and Alphabet, its parent company, pointing out the mistake.

Google responded with a new email to customers, titled “Update to Home Max Sweepstakes.” The message notified recipients that Google had “updated the rules of the Home Max Sweepstakes” and included a free means of entry: by mailing a postcard to the address listed, by June 15.

To read Consumer World’s discussion of the sweepstakes, click here.

Why it matters: By failing to include a free means of entry for its sweepstakes, Google could be charged with violating federal and state lottery laws. Consumer World’s effort to correct the company’s promotion—while successful—went without comment from the tech giant, the consumer group said.