Can a Free Entry Win When Tokyopop Requires an App Purchase?

Tokyopop has announced a Hetalia Chibi Carnival Game Contest!! (Punctuation theirs.)

Hetalia app image

For a chance to win the first two series volumes plus “a special Hetalia Bonus prize we can’t reveal just yet”, you have to buy the game app on iTunes, then play for a high score, then take a picture of yourself showing the score, then post on their Facebook page. (That’s an awful lot of hurdles. Tokyopop is obviously aiming to improve some of their online stats in terms of purchases and posts.)

I was surprised most of all to see a purchase requirement for the contest. I didn’t think that was legally allowed. When I checked the official rules (link no longer available), I saw that they agreed.

No purchase is necessary to enter. A purchase will not improve your chances of winning.

They go on to provide an alternate method of entry, sending a postcard. However, since the contest says that “we’ll randomly pick 2 winners out of the 10 highest scoring people”, and since postcard entries won’t have a score, does that mean that you can enter without purchasing the app, but you can’t win? Or is this just another case of someone having a clever idea but not running it by legal first?

I also noted that this contest is open to U.S. residents only, although the contest page doesn’t mention that.


  1. The whole purchase an app to enter for free certainly sounds conflicting to me. If you want to get technical needing to pay to send a postcard isn’t exactly purchase free either.

    All of Tokyopop’s contests are open only to US residents which is always very frustrating when it’s rarely ever stated anywhere on their contest pages. I like posting about contests on my site but don’t do so with TP’s contests for this reason.

  2. In this case, it’s particularly ironic, since the series is all about internationalism.

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