In its decision of 16 May 2019 (Case 6 U 14/19), the Oberlandesgericht Frankfurt am Main held that advertising with ratings generated by a company through the organisation of a sweepstake was inadmissible. Justification: A customer who makes a recommendation must be free and independent in his or her judgment of the recommendation. Even if there is no payment in the actual sense for ratings generated in the context of a sweepstake, the ratings given are nevertheless not to be regarded as objective because the reviewers were ultimately rewarded by the opportunity to participate in the sweepstakes. The average consumer, however, assumes that only satisfied customers give a positive and at the same time independent rating. In addition, the number of positive reviews allows a conclusion to be drawn as to how well known a company is in the market. Both expectations are disappointed however, if the evaluations straight such a connection are missing, straight because these were given only, in order to receive from the evaluated enterprise a suitable reward.
Thus, if positive ratings are generated by a sweepstake and are subsequently advertised with these ratings, this advertising constitutes an impermissible business activity which can be cautioned by competitors or the competition headquarters under competition law.