How should we select winners for unawarded contests?


I don’t think choosing a winner from “those who have been on the website for longer” is necessarily fair, either. But I do support choosing a winner from the highest-rated entries for this reason: Sometimes the CH is unfamiliar with the winner selection process and forgets or neglects to choose one. If you’re the contestant with the only 5 or 4, and someone else’s unranked entry wins, you’d feel this frustration. But I do like the new idea of asking everyone to pick their two best entries in contests that were never ranked (and I’m seeing fewer of those contests these days!)


Some points I’d like to add.

  1. What if… a CH was overwhelmed by the 1000+ (sometimes 2000+) entries and simply gave up on the whole thing and left the contest unawarded, but Not before first registering a domain name or two that he/she liked.

  2. I know it can be hard to strike the right balance between the user experience of CH and contestant. How many total entries is ideal for a first time CH? How many is too many? Quantity vs quality. Obviously, more entries means greater chance of getting a good name, but I think we are an eager bunch, and collectively we can be a formidable horde even if the CHs do not realize it at first. It appears many CHs are first timers and not experienced, many are also busy people, did we unwittingly chase some of them off? They may love it at first, but later drop out when it gets too much. I remember we used to get about 50 participants per contest, now that number has doubled, what if in the near future that number doubled again? With just 10 tries, along with withdrawals and resubmits, It’s not hard to foresee CH having to deal with 3000+ entries, what kind of UX would that be?

  3. So for winner selection, how about combining a number of criteria:

    • Star ratings
    • Number of words in name, syllables count, word length, etc (based on objective criteria, good naming guide, etc)
    • Consider the total entries submitted by a contestant (less is better, this includes withdrawn entries), per point (1) and (2) above, it may encourage more thoughtfulness and maybe help decrease the (±)1000 entries typical these days, in favor of quality names.
    • For domain contests, per point (1) above, check if the domain has been registered since the contest ended, and use that as a deciding factor. Paying close attention to the registration date, the reg date should be in conjunction with the contest, and not been registered before the contest had even begun. Also, this could be yet another let down for the CH, to see many great names only realizing later they are unavailable for purchase.
  4. I like the community kitty suggestion from @seezall and others, and the possibilities that can bring.

BTW, I think SH is doing a great job. Thanks for reading :slight_smile:


I would be ok with 3 star or below as well as unranked contests to go to a two best option, Also contests with the (multiple) 5 and 4 starred entries that go unrewarded all go up for a vote , but I def agree with auntie if you are the only 5 star by default you win the unawarded contest or only 4 star for that matter


I think that the option to highlight your two best entries is a wonderful idea and I think these two should be considered by SH staff in case a contest is unawarded by CH.
I am a new user, I love the idea behind this website but I was already starting to feel discouraged. I might have been unlucky but so far I haven’t got a rating from CHs for those I think are my best ideas and I have a lot of expectation, whereas my worst entries always get a 2.


unfortunately there are a lot of clever people on this site lol- I suppose we all think our names are the best until you hear someone else say them lol


We don’t need to complicate this so much.
4 & 5 star entries should be in the running and everyone’s top two selected entries whether rated or not.
SH admin picks the best of that group.


I’m with Jackie and thanks Annie for the great suggestion. I now see that the select-your-best-entry option has been added. That’s what brought me back to this forum. That’s cool. But just so I’m clear on a couple of things. Say I have a couple of four or five star entries. Those would automatically get looked at, correct? So would it be wise to select two other unrated ones with my points to add to the “possibility pool” or should I still use points to “best entry” a name that already has four or five stars? Secondly, I don’t always know when I’m finished entering in a contest. Sometimes I think I found the perfect name only to think of something I think is even better days later. With contests starting and ending at different times, would there be a way for SH to have a “ending-very-soon-contests-that-you’ve-yet-to-star” link in the “my contests” tab?


Front brought up a lot of good points. I just saw the Best/Names-50 points option today. Some of us have many points to spare, but a new contestant who’s still trying to increase his/her points in order to submit more entries may not want to make that gamble. Also: I’m sure people will decide to wait to star their entries to see if the CH changes the brief. At the end, they may be too busy to pick 2 entries or just forget about it (or sound asleep!) But I especially agree with Front that SH is really trying to make this site as user-friendly for everyone as possible. Thank you for allowing us to help work out the bugs with you!


@Front’s point about quantity vs quality is very valid. In fact we are hearing this feedback from contest holders as well. Therefore, we are addressing this by implementing several changes.

Firstly, the Best entries option should allow higher quality entries to automatically bubble up and stand out from the rest.

In addition, we will be announcing changes to our point system, which would provide a greater incentive for those who submit high quality entries. On the contrary, there will be a greater penalty (point reduction) for those who submit larger number of entries but consistently receive low ratings.

In case of winner selection for unawarded contests, we will consider all 5 star, 4 star and best entries. If there is only one 5 star entry in a contest, it is likely that we will select that entry as the winner. However, if there are multiple 5 star, 4 star entries, we will review all “Best Entries” in addition.


The issue I have with reducing number of entries is when a contest holder doesn’t rate on a regular basis. I know I submit a diverse array of entries. Funny, professional, quirky, mish-mash and plain bland. When the CH doesn’t rate anything for days and then finally comes and rates a ton, then I know what direction they like better. If we get limited at the beginning and they don’t rate for days, there is really not enough time to change direction (or they don’t come back for days again after rating say the first “10”). It limits our creativity, especially when they really don’t know what they want. Like they change the brief numerous times. Or they say they only want two words, but rate the three word entries higher. Without putting in different options in the first place, I think it leaves us in a standstill when waiting when we could have had more options for them upfront.


Sometimes the most difficult part of the project is knowing what the client wants and wishing he/she felt differently. Or trying to read his/her mind! Hang in there – there *are * CHs who appreciate wit. Sometimes the “straightest” names are the hardest. I bet you’re up for the challenge.


I have a hard time with the concept of “high quality entries.” Since quality is in the eye of the beholder, it’s hard to quantify; for every BstName4U I hate, there’s someone who thinks it rocks.

I understand that CHs don’t want to waste their time, and that they find it frustrating that we can’t read their minds. But honestly, we have so little to go on that we have to have latitude to take shots in the dark, as @JackieHeraty mentions.

In addition, CHs preferences are often totally verkachte. As are some of the briefs. Unless you’re going to use a moderator, volunteer or staff, to comb through the names as compared to the brief and the CH’s ability to both communicate effectively and rate early and often, it doesn’t seem fair to let the CHs determine our value.

Thanks for your consideration.


I think there should be one free “best entry” for each contestant and that the CH has to rate all the best entries before he decides a winner (we are only talking about 100-150 entries at the most).
This way, at least we would know that somebody took the time to read what we wrote.


ive done a contest at another site - 150 ratings is quite a lot , I think I did about 2000 and still got complaints


@Stalias, I understand your point related to subjectivity of contest holders. However, at the end of the day, since they are the ones who are expected to select a winner, we think it is appropriate for them to rate the entries according to the brief they have set. What we want to avoid is excessive over submission in contests at the expense of quality.

Contestants have the right to submit all the allowed entries for the contests. However, we do think that if those submissions are done without a serious thought and effort, there must be some penalty. As you said, quality is in the eye of beholder, but if the contest holder rates an entry as 1 star because it did not meet the brief, we think its fair in that case to use that rating as a basis to deduct points for that entry. Similarly, a 4 star or 5 star rated entry should result in substantial number of points being awarded.


But, we also have to submit numerous entries for plural and singular entries. We (most of us) have lost many contests by one letter (adding or not adding the “s”).

So we have to enter “JoesSurfBoard” and we have to enter “JoesSurfBoards”
if we only enter one and wait for ratings, someone else will enter the plural in the meantime.


we have to see how it works …and then we can complain about it lol


I do agree with Jackie. I use all 40 of my entries often enough, and I do a lot of editing. That has made a real difference for me.


@Dan as long as the Ch follows SH ratings suggestions maybe a welcome letter could do this?
Hello Ch, our experience shows that by following this rating system (put SH rating System here) and providing updated comments through out the contest as to what you are or are not liking will greatly improve your chances of getting the best name/tagline for your business sincerely SH
On a few contests I posted Sh recommended ratingsin the comments to find out they were un aware of this system or the stars meanings here is one example look in comments here


I agree with @seezall on this one.

Maybe add this, along with other useful info into a handy CH’s Starter Guide in PDF format, link to it from the CH’s account page. This way they can download the guide and have it opened along side the contest at all times, and not have to look for a page on a busy browser. Also, this style might be able to suit executive/business people more.

I remember seeing @VanjaPetrovic version of the rating outline. It looks fun, more from the CH’s point of view, so might be good input too. And, how about giving a short meaningful name to each star rating, not just a number.