We are announcing some important changes to Domain Name Registrations, and Squadhelp’s role in these matters.
Going forward, if a name is registered in a contest, we will send a notification to the Contest Holder, asking if they registered the name. We will also remind them about their obligation to compensate the creative in case they registered the name, This notification will be sent regardless of whether or not the Who Is information matches the Contest Holder. If the reported domain was entered in multiple contests, we will only send the notification to the CH of the most recent contest.
All creatives will now be able to see contests where a domain registration has been reported by selecting a filter on Active Contests page. Please click on “Reported Domains” checkbox on the bottom left section of the Active Contests page. Please note, that the same name could be reported in multiple contests. For example, there are cases where the same name XYZ.com was submitted by a creative in 35 contests. If it was reported in all contests, all 35 contests will show a reported domain in that case.
SH team will no longer be involved in “guessing” whether a CH has registered a name based upon Who Is information. We have consulted our legal team, and determined that we can not accuse a Contest Holder of registering a name, and demand compensation if we have no direct evidence. Using the “Who Is” information, to try and match the CH is also not definitive because we’ve had at least 2 instances where a creative registered their own names and then used the Contest holder’s first and last name in Domain’s “who is” record. This was done by guessing the CHs name based upon their screen name. The names were later found to be sold on an auction site by the same creative.
If a CH acknowledges that the name has been registered, we will immediately pause the contest until a bonus is sent to the creative, or a refundable deposit is sent to SH (which would be payable to the creative if a different winner is selected). If the CH ends up picking the same name as winner, the deposit will be refunded back to the CH.
As mentioned previously, we now allow creatives to register their own domain names before submitting to the contest. Although currently it can be done in a round about fashion, we plan to streamline this functionality so that it is easier to submit these types of pre registered names in the contests. This option can be used to add further protection if you are concerned about your high quality names getting taken after registration .
We will not make any exceptions to this policy and will follow it strictly going forward. We’ve had several situations recently where some creatives have chosen to use unprofessional language to discuss these matters with our support team. While we can appreciate that these situations are undesirable, please note that the support team is working on YOUR behalf to follow up on these issues.
I would also like to share some important facts, so that we can put things into perspective. Since January 2016, creatives have submitted a total of 585,599 entries into contests. During this time, we have received 460 reports of domain registrations. During the same period, CHs have sent 117 bonus payments. Note - reported registrations do not mean that the Who is information matched the CH. So, in other words, 0.08% of the submitted entries have been reported to be registered over the past 6 months. We also need to remember that when we are talking about half a million names, a small portion of those names will get registered purely as coincidence by someone, somewhere in the world. There is lot of discussion in the forum about this issue, and we certainly do not want to imply that this is not an important issue. However, at the same time, I hope we can put all of this in perspective, and apply our own judgement in determining the magnitude of this issue.
We believe most CHs come to Squadhelp with good intentions. They have a real need to find a name for their business and they are spending hundreds of dollars upfront, in good faith without the ability to get a refund in most cases. Yes, there can always be exceptions, but most CHs do not come here with the intention of scooping names to avoid paying $50. Also, some people have asked us if some of these contests are being launched by “Domain Name Parkers” with an intention to scoop names. If you are not familiar with the Domain Name Parking industry, I strongly recommend to read some articles about it. The kinds of domains that are attractive to Domain Name Parkers are not the ones they would get in a Squadhelp contest. They would certainly not pay several hundred dollars to launch a contest, with a hope of finding a domain name, that can give them immediate search traffic for monetization. Most of those names are already registered and are only available in “after market”.
We have several measures in place in order to protect the hard work of our creatives and we will continue to work on your behalf to enforce our Terms of Service. However, if you feel that these measures are not enough or if you genuinely feel that the scope of this issue is much larger, then we urge you to not participate in this platform.
As always, we appreciate your ongoing feedback in improving the platform, but we can no longer bring up individual/ anecdotal issues of domain registrations in the forum. These issues tend to misinform other creatives, and lead them to believe that the scope of issue is much larger than it actually is. Please ensure you comply with the forum posting policy about these issues going forward.
We have several enhancements coming up in the near future so that our platform continues to build upon our mission to offer a fun experience for our creatives while delivering serious business value to our customers. We hope that many of you will continue to participate in our journey.