Apple doesn't care for third party giveaways of iPads, iPhones or iTunes gift cards

For most companies, the idea of a group giving away one of their products for free would be a very welcome prospect. After all it's free publicity for their product and its even better when the person or group who gives it away pays for the product before its given out in a contest. Well, that's not the case with Apple. The company, already known for doing things differently, has some very strict rules about giveaways for their products and some people this week ran afoul of Apple's rules when they tried to give away new iPads.

According to CNN-Fortune's story, a local TV station (WTVD-TV in Durham, N.C.) launched a sweepstakes to give away 11 of Apple's hot selling iPads. That caught the attention of Apple who had posted up a list of guidelines for third part promotions of its products last January on Apple's web site. While the guidelines have been posted up since the beginning of this year Apple has apparently started to actually enforce them.

Among the guidelines are that iPads, along with iPhones and iTunes gift cards, cannot be used in third party promotions at all (the guidelines put this bit in italics). The iPod Touch can be used for giveaways but only if the third party decides to purchase a minimal of 250 units from Apple. Also the word "free" cannot be used "in a prominent manner (headlines, callouts, etc.)" for a giveaway and any other use of the word "free" is "strongly discouraged". Finally all materials related to any giveaway of an Apple product must be approved by Apple beforehand.

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