Really @NHL? Is It Necessary To Fill The Whole Background With Legalese?

from the read-the-fine-print dept

So, with the NHL season now under way this week, the NHL is running a twitter promotion where you have to guess the winner of each of the games this Saturday. Tweet the correct winners to @NHL and you could win yourself a trip for two to a regular season game of your choosing. The promotion is fine and all, but what I was surprised at was the ridiculous background image that is on the NHL twitter page: an image of the entire legal “Official Rules” in both English and French.

NHL Twitter Page

Seriously? Whose idea was it to fill the entire background with legalese? It is barely even legible. A simple link would have sufficed, but it almost seems like a childish response to a lawyer’s request to put these rules up on their twitter page. Then again, in reading through the extensive rules, I was reminded of my favorite part of any sweepstakes in which Canadians take part, the math question.

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Comments on “Really @NHL? Is It Necessary To Fill The Whole Background With Legalese?”

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Saragon (user link) says:

Actually this seems OK

This is actually relatively legible for me but I’m using a pretty good monitor and graphics card. I’m wondering if the legibility problem isn’t just a “whoops, we didn’t think about people with lower-quality equipment than our graphics department.” Or just people using laptops.

As for the use of the legalese itself — by the very nature of one’s Twitter page there’s simply not any place to put a permanent link to the contest rules. This seems like a pretty clever way around that problem, although it isn’t the best.

Personally I’d set up a simple script to make sure that every 8-10 tweets was a link to the contest rules (well-labeled) and use the custom background for branding. But I don’t have a huge problem with it as-is. (And hey, maybe it is a shot at lawyers.)

Chronno S. Trigger (profile) says:

Re: Actually this seems OK

How big is your monitor and how high do you have your resolution that you don’t have the twitters covering a large portion of the text? Mines 17″ and 1280×1024. I can read the text that can be seen but I can’t see enough to understand (if I spoke legalese). Any lower resolution would see even less text (1024×768 is considered standard and good web developers design for 800×600 as well).

If people are bitching that Google has it’s privacy policy on their about page and not the main page, how douse it look that the NHL has their rules behind two clicks? That, and there’s no indication that one has to scroll down to see the link to the rules after the first click. I got confused for a second clicking on the rules link and getting the news page.

Saragon (user link) says:

Re: Re: Actually this seems OK

19″ and 1600×1200. Which puts all the legalese at the “edges” of the actual Twitter section – i.e. what they wanted. But you’re absolutely right that lower resolutions would make it much worse. Anyone on a laptop that isn’t a widescreen would have real problems, and let’s not even think about the poor netbook users. I think there’s two problems here. The poor web design is one (again, I suspect a simple oversight), but the decision to put the legalese out to the side is another one. The former is worse than the latter IMHO (though neither is GOOD.)

Michael DiLorenzo (user link) says:

NHL Twitter Background

Hi – Grateful to get your feedback concerning our temporary Twitter background. We continue to learn and evolve on social networks as we listen to fans and others talk about the NHL. We do intend to return to our normal background on Saturday.

Just as FYI, the purpose of temporarily changing our background was to: A) let everyone know that as easy as this is to play, there are a handful of rules and guidelines that need to be followed; and B) comply with US and Canadian regulations around contests of this sort (they require that rules be posted in the environment in which the contest is taking place).

So at the end of the day, we simply wanted to include as many fans that want to participate as possible. Hopefully, the 5 days of our temporary Twitter background won’t overshadow the NHL giving away a trip for two.

Always feel free to reach out to me @umassdilo.

Thanks again,

Mike D.
Director of Social Media Marketing

Dark Helmet (profile) says:

Re: NHL Twitter Background

Mike D., thanks for the response, though I do have a couple of questions:

1. If you wanted to let people know there were a handful of rules for the contest, did you really think that the best way to do so was to place barely legible text on the background, part of which was obscured by the tweets? Wouldn’t it be better (assuming it complies with US/Canadian law) to just say so with a link to the rules page?

2. If the other purpose WAS to comply with US/Canadian law, and you indicate that my suggestion above doesn’t do so, how does barely legible text that might be partially obscured accomplish compliance?

In any case, thanks for the direct response, I don’t see enough of it on TechDirt, unfortunately (you there yet, Lily?). I’m looking forward to this season and will make a point to follow the NHL twitter accounts.

Go Hawks!

Michael DiLorenzo (user link) says:

Re: Re: NHL Twitter Background

You are welcome for the response.

You know, they say an airplane never crashes for just one reason. It’s a sequence of events.

Here’s how this came to pass.

First, the contest went live when the story and rules were posted to, yesterday morning.

Next, I took the link and pasted it into our Twitter bio – which is, as you suggest, seemingly sufficient in terms of directing people to the contest rules. However, Twitter kept refusing the updates to our page settings, so the link would not appear. No big deal, right? We’ll just keep Tweeting out the link to the rules …

Except, we discovered a technical issue with the link to the rules. The formatting of the rules in French somehow got garbled on, and they needed to be reformatted and reposted.

So while our team was fixing the link, the rules needed to be posted somewhere for fans to access. And as a “fix” I converted our Twitter background into a copy of the rules.

The link was restored in short order, but I since decided that, just to be safe, I would leave the rules on our Twitter background through Saturday so we would be in complete compliance.

Dennis Yang (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: NHL Twitter Background


Thanks so much for the response. Your explanation makes complete sense, and I was wondering why you keep on tweeting out the link to the rules. That said, the underlying absurdity still remains — the legal tail is wagging the proverbial dog, much to the detriment of everyone.

Case in point, hidden in that huge bunch of unreadable legal text is perhaps the one rule that people should pay attention to:

Once you are a registered user of Twitter®, you must become a follower of the NHL by visiting and clicking “Follow.”

I completely missed that one. That said, kudos to you for individually replying to people who have entered to inform them of this rule.

Best of luck with the promotion. I hope my entry wins.. 😉


Johnny Wrath (profile) says:

Really botched

It is hard to interest casual sports fans in, for instance, the now 45-year-old current version of the Stanley Cup or the unrivaled athleticism and toughness of the NHL’s players when there are almost comical stories breaking regarding the NHL’s television woes and now bad publicity which, in both cases, are completely self inflicted. Add the Commissioner almost losing control of one of the League’s teams over the summer and you have a very Mickey Mouse looking operation. Then again, I would rather bad twitter pub than, say, triple-gun-motorcycle or steroid-era bad pub. Just shows the respect the players have for their game. Go Pens.

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