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Why are so many contests limited to the continental United States?
August 13, 2009 3:49 PM   Subscribe

Why are so many contests limited to the continental United States?

For example check out these rules ([sic] on the misspelling in the URL) for the Conan O'Brien "Please Blow Up My Car" contest:

Open only to permanent, legal U.S. residents who are physically residing in one (1) of the forty-eight (48) continental United States or the District of Columbia (excluding Alaska, Hawaii, Puerto Rico, Guam, the Virgin Islands and other United States territories)

Now, I understand why you'd want to limit a contest to just the USA, and I can see that there might be legal reasons to limit a contest to states and not territories. But excluding Alaska and Hawaii, which are just as much part of the United States of America as Virginia, doesn't make sense to me.

Now, for this contest which involves moving cars around, you might think it has to do with saving money, but I can't see that moving a car from Juno would be all that much more expensive than moving one from western Maine.
posted by yesno to Law & Government (7 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
 
From a rather rudimentary exposure to contracts, I'm going to guess liability laws have a role.
posted by Toekneesan at 3:58 PM on August 13, 2009


Shipping is actually hugely more expensive for Hawaii, etc. compared to trucking to continental states.
posted by misha at 4:38 PM on August 13, 2009


yesno: Why are so many contests limited to the continental United States?

Without knowing whether you have some observed trend you're pointing to, my answer would be: they aren't. Sample bias aside, it doesn't appear, from a very rough point of view, that a disproportionately large number of contests are limited to the continental (or, more precisely, continguous) United States. Anyhow, Google says:

"contest rules" residents "united states" yields about 73,000 results.

"contest rules" residents "united states" AND "continental" OR "contiguous" yields about 5,160 results.

In other words, only about 7% of the results for "contest rules" (one can presume many of which are actual rules for contests) limit those contests to the contiguous 48 states.

Glancing unscientifically over the results which generally represent contiguous-US-only contests, it seems to me that they're mostly limited that way because the companies don't want to ship prizes too far. A few even allow contestants from all fifty states but warn that they'll only ship to the lower 48.
posted by koeselitz at 4:42 PM on August 13, 2009


There are also quite a few that are worded as "residents of the United States (excluding Alaska and Hawaii).
posted by smackfu at 5:01 PM on August 13, 2009


I can't see that moving a car from Juno would be all that much more expensive than moving one from western Maine.

Assuming you mean Juneau, Alaska, and not the small town in Tennessee called "Juno", it doesn't take much to open up a map and see that there are a few places in Alaska (read: 90% of the state) that are considerably farther away than Juneau is, and the state isn't exactly covered in major highways.

It also requires transit through Canada and, therefore, a few trips through customs. Even cherry-picking destinations, though... Portland, Maine is 3k miles from Seattle. Juneau is 1400. Even still, it takes almost as long to drive from Juneau to Seattle.

That's before you consider that there are lots of places in Alaska that are just damn near impossible to get to short of chartering your own private hauling contract.

So, yes, getting things from most of Alaska to the lower 48 is more expensive and time consuming than moving things around inside of them. Considerably so for most of the state.
posted by toomuchpete at 6:24 PM on August 13, 2009


I can't see that moving a car from Juno would be all that much more expensive than moving one from western Maine. (yesno)

Well, you know, Juneau is effectively not accessible by car, so that might make it a little difficult.
posted by ocherdraco at 6:38 PM on August 13, 2009 [1 favorite]


My day job is transportation. The above comments are correct-shipping to Alaska and Hawaii is much, much more expensive than shipping within the 48 states.
posted by Chrysostom at 7:53 AM on August 17, 2009


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