Additional Changes to Best Entry/Winner Selection Process

We have done some additional research to understand why contest holders abandon contests. We spoke to some Contest Holders to get their direct feedback. One of the reasons they stated was that they get overwhelmed with the large number of entries, and feel they do not have time to go through so many options. We believe if we help them shortlist the entries, there is a much greater chance that they would select a winner themselves.

Therefore, we are introducing few additional changes, which will likely increase the CH’s involvement. We will implement these changes in two phases. The first phase, which is effective immediately is intended to engage CH in the winner selection process if they have not selected a winner for more than 30 days. Most of the process remains the same as before (with the exception of random winner selection in the end):

  • We will continue to invite Best Entries in case a winner has not been selected for 30 days by CH (same as before)
  • We will shortlist the entries from the pool of top rated entries as well as Best Entries based upon the criteria previously mentioned (same as before)
  • Instead of randomly selecting the winner from the shortlisted entries, we will contact the CH again with a list of the shortlisted choices and ask them to pick a winner from this list. We believe that by giving them 5-10 curated options, they are much more likely to pick a winner.

If we find that this approach works well, we will also implement the Phase 2, which will offer a complimentary service to Contest Holders, where they can ask for our team to help shortlist the entries as soon as their contest has ended. In that case, we will follow the Best Entry/ Shortlisting process immediately after the contest ends.

Our goal is to minimize contest abandonment and we are now going to focus more on eliminating the root causes of contest abandonment instead of inventing new ways of winner selection for abandoned contests.


@Dan, Spot on ! Last week, one of the options i was considering was an option of asking CHs to shortlist names down to the list of manageable 10-20 entries out of which the SH would chose the final winner.


I still think 30 days is too long to wait to declare a contest abandoned. Maybe add a panic button for the CH inside Squadhelp so we can pre-empt abandonment and start the process earlier.


Good point because what would be the gustation time added on between the 30 days, sorting a best of list for the CH , The CH then having time to get the list(s) and review, are we now in for a month and half or 2, perhaps start the process at 21 days?

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As stated in the original post, we will work towards implementing the phase 2 of this change which would allow the CH to seek our help with the shortlisting process immediately after the contest has ended.


Are we going to know if it was the CH or the bot that chose the winner?


With Best Entries, Shortlisting of entries, CH followup and Randomization, the process for winner selection in case of abandoned contests has become quite complex and resource intensive. Our goal is to simplify the process and focus our resources and efforts to proactively step in as early as possible so that the CH can have the final say in the winner selection in most cases.

We will do our best to provide as much information as possible about the winner selection (l.e. if the CH had a final say in winner selection) however our focus for next few weeks is to successfully implement the new process. The next few weeks are more of a “pilot” phase to test this new process and make any necessary adjustments. If it works well, we will make this process permanent and start including additional details along with the winner selection (i.e. if the selection was done based on CH input).

We will keep everyone posted as we make further changes to simplify the process and implement additional communication.


@Dan, with all due respect, 5 “curated options” is very rigid restriction. I think, that at such situation we will see the same avatars in winners again and again. Perhaps, it is better to make 10 at least?

@shelton, the number of shortlisted options will be between 5 and 10 in most cases. The actual number of options shortlisted will vary from contest to contest, but we will try to keep them as close to 10 as possible.

Will all “love it” ratings be automatically short listed? I was concerned in a recent contest that the “love it” ratings were not shortlisted. In the total contest, I think there were 11 love its. I had 2 of those. Only one of mine was short listed. I feel that if a contest holder loved it, then it should be short listed as a contender.


There is no guarantee that all “love it” entries will be automatically short listed, however there is a good chance they will be (especially if the contest received less than 10 Love it ratings).

Since a contest was abandoned, it is safe to assume that the CH has not found a winning name so far (even though they had given Love It ratings). Therefore, our goal is to provide CH some additional curated choices (in addition to the entries they have already seen or loved), so hopefully they can pick a winner from that list. Since we do not want the shortlist to exceed 10 names, we may not be able to include all Love It entries, especially if there are too many of them, and there are other names to be included as well.

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So has this process started? In a current contest that I was notified I was shortlisted in…will that be going to the CH, or still be autobotted? thanks

This process has started, and all shortlisted names will be sent to the CH for winner selection. We will wait 48 hours for their response, before proceeding with winner selection.


So we get two days to get them in still?, then you guys review , Curate and send to the CH? If no response after 2 days it goes to D.A.R.W.I.N. (Data Assisted Randomized Win) Otherwise the Bot


@Dan, While you await for a response after the shortlisted names have been forwarded for winner selection to the CH and before proceeding with SH final winner selection if no response is received, will the contest be removed from the dahs-board/list of pending contests so as to prevent creatives from continuing with best entry selection submissions beyond the initial 48 hours time-frame given to best entry marking after sending the best entry invitation reminder ? What will happen if, provided the contest is still displayed for access of best entry selection after the shortlisted entries have been sent to the CH, the creative would decide to change the choice of best entry by selecting an additional or deselecting an already selected best entry and replacing it with a new one ? Or worse yet, if the shortlisted entry being primed for a winner by the CH, would be the one the creative would choose to replace with a new best entry while the contest is still in the displayed phase pending winner announcement ?

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@seezall, correct, you still have 2 days to submit best entries. We might revisit the randomization step, based upon how this process goes in the next few weeks. It may be better to include extra entries in the shortlist for CH consideration, and in that case, applying a random criteria to all of those entires may not make sense. As stated earlier, our goal is to simplify this process and we will implement additional changes in next few weeks.

@Vision, contestants can not change their Best Entries once they have highlighted them. They still have 48 hours to submit all best entries and any late entries may not be considered because we would have already sent the shortlist to CH. We will consider adding an additional indicator on the contest page to communicate that no more Best entries can be highlighted once the shortlisting process is complete. However we will hold off on making these changes for next few weeks.

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@Dan, thanks for answering. By changing the Best entry pick i meant to express deleting the existing entry and highlighting a new choice of the best entry. If this were the case, would the CH be able to select as the winner the old shortlisted best entry removed thereafter during the shut down time-frame for best entry submission when the window of opportunity for submission of a new best entry is no loner available,? In this situation the only entry visible to the CH will be the originally shortlisted one but it will no longer be showing as being a part of a active list of submitted contest entries.

I’d like to propose that if there are 12 or fewer Love It’s or if no Love It’s and 12 or fewer Like Its - those entries should be included in the short list to the contest holder. In another particular contest that was abandoned, there were 10 Like Its with no Love It’s. 2 of those were mine. Neither entry was short listed. I think that’s unfair.


Agree, happened to me, too,
That contest was rated until end.
That is why I suggested. …no Best entry required for totally rated contests.
Even if there was only one high rated entry…it is obvious winner…

@Anjy @VelocityGirl, there are some options available that could be based on a dynamic formula, though the final decision must be left to @Dan’s judgement.

  1. The total number of best and high rated entries must not exceed a certain ceiling (capped at 16-24 entries).

  2. Only the highest ranking of the high rated entries will be considered, provided the pool of entries is sufficient at its source for it to be matched to the extent satisfying the broadest representation. For example, if there are 12 love it entries and 4 like it, only the former will be shortlisted.The next step is calculating what percentage of total entries has been rated to ascertain the grand total of shortlisted entries needed to complete the picture… .

  3. The number of high entries will be matched proportionally by the creme de la creme from the pool of best entries.For example, if the contest is rated to 50 % of it capacity and the number of love it entries is 8, they will be matched by a selection of 8 best entries. Should the number of love it entries be 0 and like it 12, with the 2/3 of all entries rated, the number of like it entries will be matched by 6 best entries to add up to a total of 18, etc…Conversely, the number of the highest rated entries may be downsized to accommodate the parameters: if the number of love it entries is 18, but the max allowed shortlisted entries is 24, with 50% of entries rated, the number of the highest rated entries will diminish to 12.

  4. The figure used to compute the percentage of rated entries in a contest is not absolute, but it based on realistic assessment of what percentage of actually rated entries can qualify to be constituted as a 100% fully rated contest. Even in the best of worlds dealing with exemplary contests, we can’t expect 100% of entries to be rated. So, here,using historical rating data from SH, the most optimal figures can be extracted for usage as a measuring stock of max values. .: