Domain Name Registrations - Important Policy Update

We are announcing some important changes to Domain Name Registrations, and Squadhelp’s role in these matters.

  1. 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.

  2. 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.

  3. 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.

  4. 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.

  5. 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.

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Wow seems like some good stuff here, Thank you for continuing to work on ways to protect our work. Secondly WOW can’t believe someone would stoop that low to win, glad you caught on.Lastly is this policy for all current or only newly started contests. Because I am currently in a situation mentioned above.

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@Dan. Could you put the “number of entries” we have in each contest listed, like you do in the little red parenthesis for the open contests. Thank you…

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Wow, indeed! I really appreciate all this work and clarification. I’d like to add:

  1. A special “omg” that a creative would abuse the system in that way. It’s easy to forget, when you lose a favorite name, that SH can find itself dealing with unprincipled folks on either side of the divide. So a huge thank you for sharing that info with us. It always helps to know what you (not just we) are up against!

  2. I am grateful to have a way to quickly/easily check contests where domain names are disappearing.

  3. Is it okay to request further CH education? On the contest I recently won, the CH posted a testimonial where he said, “I was concerned I would lose the nameS [plural].” The CH must have thought it was okay to buy more than one domain.

I’m also wondering if it would help to reassure CHs that no one is scooping names from the contests – he won’t lose anything by waiting to register his favorite name. But maybe also tell them in a more straightforward way what happens if a name gets bought before the contest is awarded, especially since that may mean they won’t get as many names to choose from in the end.

And speaking of CH education: Then there are the CHs who say specifically that they don’t want the name to reference what they do. I get that everyone thinks they can make “Razorfish” work, but they can be ignorant that good names (from Google to Amazon to Nike) actually DO have meaning behind them.

  1. I appreciate the stats, but you should know that I – and maybe other creatives – don’t contact you every time a name disappears. Also, commonly cited stats say that for every person who complains, 26 others have the same concern but remain silent. Still an impressive record for you all – and I hope it’s because CHs are honest and not because they just don’t want the names. :smile:

  2. One more small point as regards CH integrity. You say, “The kinds of domains that are attractive to Domain Name Parkers are not the ones they would get in a Squadhelp contest,” and for the most part I think you’re right. But there do seem to be a lot of contests where the winning name is not registered, or it shows up as “for sale” when you look it up.

I had a case where one of my winning names was for a CPA firm in Alaska. I entered the name 5/15/15, it was bought 5/25/15 (proxy server), and it’s now the website for a Site Design/Domain firm in Australia. Makes a gal wonder. I honestly want to feel that I’m trying to help real businessowners name their businesses. Not helping some middleman make money.

Again, thank you so much, guys, for being willing to help us work on a level playing field and with the assurance that our efforts will pay off when we hit the mark.

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@seezall, If you are referring to the policy of pausing contests, this would be in effect for contests going forward. We are amending our Terms of Service to introduce the concept of “Refundable Deposit” to cover this scenario, so that the CH are aware of this requirement that they need to send a refundable deposit in that situation to avoid their contest from getting paused.

@CherryPopNames, we have added the counts in case of closed contests as well.

@Stalias, thanks for the feedback. We do educate the CHs about several of these aspects, and we are committed to revising our information to improve their understanding about this issue. We will take your feedback into account as we revise our communication with CH. Regarding the stats, we are not going to debate exactly what % of names were actually reported, and yes there could certainly be some names that were never reported. Maybe the actual % of reported domains should be 0.3% or 0.5% or even 1% instead of 0.08%. However, this does not take away from our fundamental premise that the magnitude of these occurrences when compared to the total names being submitted is extremely small. We also need to account for the possibility that there will always be a small percent of names that get registered purely as coincidence. However, as stated in the original topic, this is our position on this issue. We can appreciate if some creatives do not agree with that view. If they believe that the magnitude of the issue is in fact much greater or if our policies are not sufficiently addressing the issue then this may not be the right platform for them to spend their time on. We will continue to build more features, and communication to bring more transparency and awareness around this important issue.

when it shows taken you will see a pop up there that says report registration click that and fill in info copy and paste who is info

One doesn’t need to despair, because such a scenario triggers two potential outcomes:

  1. In case of a partial match (for a complete match the email of the real CH as provided to the SH at the time of a set-up of a contest SH should also need ideally match that of a registrant as per whois records, which is an impossibility as the creative undertaking such a heist would be in no possession of the info),the ‘Impostor CH’ ( a creative in disguise) would have to pay up the fee amounting a bonus reward for alleged registration. The ‘false’ contest holder would then be contacted by the email provided by the whois data with a request for a compensation or (as would be expected in this case) ´failing to respond,be reverted to the second option.

  2. The registrar would strike the name registered in the name of an ‘impostor CH’ from the registry, thus depriving a conniving creative of his own name so that it can be resubmitted again or registered, but in the creative’s name this time !

Undertaking such an elaborate but a rather futile exercise of a poorly thought-out deception, could, at best, only lead to the domain name being freed from the registry.

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“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 .”
How is this done? I am definitely interested in adding protection to my names so I can get compensated for those that “somebody” just happens to register. Thanks!

Can someone explain how? I want to know as well.

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Think maybe we could add those with bought domains to at least the chance of a Bot pick?!!! Man it sure does sting when that happens, especially so when there’s not even one OK in the contest, ,

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@seezall, having such a rule can lead to some creatives registering their own names (privately) in order to get awarded in abandoned contests. Not suggesting that all creatives will engage in this behavior but such a policy will certainly create an incentive for some creatives to take advantage of the rule and play unfairly.

There has to be some resolution somewhere!, Personally an auto check on our fav names isn’t the answer either, for me it would be a triple slap If I spent points,then be told my name was registered but then its denied, by private registration or the CH denies it .or simply doesn’t respond,

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:fearful: I think we have to be so careful with our wording, and it should go both ways !!!@ Dan

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@Dan - I still don’t understand what this means and how it can help protect our creative names: “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 .”

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I find it a lot ridiculous that a CH is allowed to pick a winner without even responding to a report of a domain registration, unless you have a direct match you wouldn’t have a leg to stand on and all the CH has to do is just not respond I’m sorry but that’s just silly

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@ninjaniktrig, you are allowed to register your own names before submitting to a contest as long as you let the CH know in comments that you will transfer the domain to them at no extra cost if your name gets selected as winner. In order to bypass the domain availability check, you can add a variation to the name and include the details of the name in the comments. Hope this answers your question.

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Can we add a policy that the contest holder has to respond before picking a winner

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Oops, I didn’t see this before I asked the same question. @Dan, so can I collect the cost of the domain from the CH or do I lose that if they choose my name?

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I brought up about adding those names that are reported registered , at least into the mix of a bot pick regardless of ratings, and if a creative wants to cheat and waste 10 bucks on a shot (no guarantee) that’s on them, its these Little things that could help ease some of these pangs!

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@Commulinks,

If you would like, you can include the cost of the original domain registration in the comment to the CH. We do not allow “selling” of aftermarket domains for a profit, but if you would like the CH to pay for the original cost of domain registration, please include that in the comment along with the entry.

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