Thanks for the feedback. There is no change in SH strategy when it comes to contests.
When a customer is not happy with the contest submissions received , we go out of the way to ensure they find a name that works for them. Oftentimes, this is done by providing additional branding consultation at no charge to help them update their brief or shortlist relevant entries. However, in some specific cases, we source names from outside the SH platform if we believe that the customer has a specific need which can not be fulfilled by the contest or our Marketplace.
The only change is that instead of us trying to source these names manually via outside channels or using hacks such as “SeeComments” prefix, we have created a simple form to streamline the collection of names in these rare situations. The creatives participating in the contest have access to the same form, and the link to the form is available in the contest brief for such contests.
Regarding the specific question about commissions for externally submitted domains, it is more likely that a customer will end up purchasing the domain from outside the SH platform since the domain is likely not pointing to SH name servers. However in the event the name is purchased via SH platform, the standard listing commissions will apply (7.5%)
As a business, an important goal for us is to ensure that the customers walk away with the name that they are happy with, and in some rare situations, we will use this external submission method to source names from outside the SH platform if we believe that it is necessary in that situation.
As a context, we have run about 30,000 contests, and have only allowed external submissions in less than 100 contests. This ratio is not expected to change going forward.