I would like to share some more context to address some of the concerns related to branding experts.
First of all, at this stage we don't expect more than 2-3 contests in a month (out of several hundred) where we would offer the service of shortlisting entries. As Rachel pointed out, this Beta offering is planned for those companies which are looking for an assisted management of their contest.
Furthermore, whenever we have our branding team involved in shortlisting the submissions, we would state that upfront in the contest messaging section.
We heard from creatives in our previous topic that they would rather not have other creatives involved in voting of entries. We agree with that feedback, and therefore have decided not to engage other creatives in any voting or shortlisting of entries in order to respect the privacy of everyone's submissions.
The role of our branding team is to ensure our contests are successful and in most cases, this will revolve around activities such as professional brief creation, or consolidating the feedback, comments or questions for contest holders and proactively following up with them if we find that there are lot of entries that haven't received rating or feedback.
The shortlisting of entries will only be offered in those few contests where the companies do not have the ability to go through all the submissions themselves and they currently outsource those functions to other consultants. In some cases, this function is currently performed by administrative assistants who are not the final decision makers and we believe that our team can add value in those situations by ensuring a much more comprehensive feedback process.
In order to allow multiple team members to manage the contests, we have also recently introduced a team management feature so that the process of shortlisting and rating can happen directly on our contest page, instead of offline by sharing excel spreadsheets between team members and co-workers.
These changes are not designed to replace the role of creatives, but instead are being done to ensure a higher likelihood of contest success and reduce abandonment.
As far as the issue of transparency is concerned, we are announcing these changes in advance of implementing them so that we can keep the creative community informed about our plans (even though some of these plans can be seen by our competitors). We appreciate and welcome the feedback from the community and we are committed to improving our platform based upon that feedback.