Imagine the following scenario: A local car dealer says he is going to hold a drawing and randomly choose one person in town to receive a free automobile. It may be a publicity gimmick, but it’s a pretty good one; we’d rightly call this a smart promotion, and the dealer in question is likely to more than make up for the cost of the car in terms of goodwill, name recognition, and foot traffic coming through his lot.
Now imagine a second scenario: Another dealer in town says that he is simply going to give a free car to every single family in town, no strings attached and no questions asked. At this point, we’re no longer talking about a promotion; it’s sheer lunacy. Call it what you will, but it probably goes without saying that this dealer is going to lose money.
All of this to say: There’s a fine line between what’s promotion and what’s not—and on the Internet, the opposite of promotion often tends to be piracy.