How should we select winners for unawarded contests?


It used to be that the person with the most 5s or whatever number was at the top won the contest. Sometimes, that contestant figured out the “formula” and submitted a lot of varieties of the same thing. You have been there, so have I, many of us have. But then: what if someone was trending in two unawarded contests up for voting at the same time? (it just happened over the weekend.) Or as someone mentioned, they just won another contest or won a number of unawarded ones in the last few weeks? I believe there are also CHs who write contest briefs for other businesses and have run multiple and diverse contests. They may rate for awhile and stop. It won’t be perfect, but I hope as most of us do, that deserving winners win, and that their agenda wasn’t to join SH to “win” a specific contest to avoid payout and then drop out.


I think the submission of similar entries is mostly to defend a similar entry from being suggested. I’ve been guilty of doing that sometimes because as @jackieheraty pointed out, there have been wins here with a variation of one character (an added ‘s’ at the end, for example). I was on the losing side of such contests at least twice. I know that’s an issue SH is aware of and since they’re now using an algorithm that blocks similar entries, I hope this issue will be totally solved. Either way… let’s hope for the best. SH is definitely shaping up as the best naming site out there so I’m optimistic!


@Dan, I, as someone that was not used to write or even read forums, think that when a contest is not awarded and the SH choosing process starts, not only should it be stated here in the forum, but an e-mail should be sent to, to those that doesn’t participate here (for whatever reason they might have not to).

I agree with most things that @moretal says, and even when I’m not one to be often benefited, I think the “ranking system” (giving more weight to those with more 5’s, then 4’s, then 3’s) is a good one, but as the CHs suddenly stop rating, the “best entry” mark is a great resource to point out those entries we think are worthy of winning.

I don’t know if a SH team gathers around a table with the entries and try to decide which one is the best, or what is their method, but my point of view is that they should gather the entries only, without usernames, and when there is a “tie” on opinions about which should win, then they could see who is the user that sent them and look at their “entries rankings”.

Another thing that I wanted to point out is that the “mark as best entry” should not cost points for unawarded contests. They should only take our 50 points when in the ratings process or pending winner, but not on SH choosing. Just my opinion.


yes but I believe it was stated that if there were people with the same ratings they favoured someone who won before- I could find the post if had the time.


Thanks, Jose. I never heard of that and I read the FAQ section about awarding non-awarded contests a few times. It definitely wasn’t mentioned there. If that was ever the case- then I agree that was a bad policy. But I kind of doubt it existed because it doesn’t make any sense, except in a case where a new user is suspected of being the contest holder in disguise or one of his friends. Either way, I guess it isn’t relevant now since the policy has changed.


It was mentioned by Dan when they were changing the system but I cant find the post now - nevermind it doesnt really matter now anyway


I read that too, Jose, however I believe it ended up being an idea that was not implemented.


If they have abandoned their contest, why should we (you) award it? Let it go and save the money. I also like the idea of incentivizing the contest by having them put the prize money up front and it’s not refundable? Are all the CH’s who abandon contests giving up money they’ve put in? Don’t understand that one at all!


Think if its Guaranteed money was paid already, No guarantee means just that enter at your own risk!


In all cases (Guaranteed or Non guaranteed contests), we collect the money upfront. The CH can request a refund in case of non guaranteed contests. We only offer non guaranteed contest option in case of gold package (min prize amount $200). For all unawarded contests we pick a winner (only exception being non guaranteed contests where a CH has explicitly asked for a refund).


I like the idea of “Blind Entries” during winner selection as suggested by @JCaceres.


@Dan I just want to make sure that I understand correctly the policy in the scenario of multiple 4-5 star entries in an unawarded contest. What do you guys look at when you observe multiple 4 star entries, 5 star entries & entries that were starred by users in such a contest? Simply an entry that you collectively decide that you like more than the others or do you consider the number of high entries made by a user and factor that into the decision? I’m asking because if you don’t factor in the number of high entries into the decision- that seems problematic to me.

I want to give an example- there’s one contest that’s awaiting a winner where based on the ratings, which were extensive, I got 2/3 of the 5 star entries and about half of the 4 star entries. Let’s say this contest remains abandoned and gets to the point where you guys have to decide on a winner. Does this info I described come into consideration or not? Based on your definitions of awarding- there’s no explanation to how you decide in these cases and frankly, as a creative who puts in a lot of time and effort- thinking that if in such a case you guys can simply ignore the data based on the CH’s ratings and choose a random entry a user highlighted or a rated entry by someone else- just seems unfair to whoever the leading contestant is, whether it’s me in this case or anyone else in any other given contest.

So can you please explain your policy and what factors into the decision? Thanks & have a great night!


Hi @moretal,

I understand what you’re saying, and it is valid, but consider this: What about when the CH abandons the contest early on after a whirl of awarding good ratings, then other names that are submitted after that whirl (for lack of a better word) which also might be 4 of 5 star material? I would like my (my, in the general sense) to also be judged.

I’m not a KelKat or an AmandaWhite, or a ‘you’ type, where brilliant names comes easily to me. I have to really work at it, and after a couple of days of brainstorming, word balloons (I don’t know what they call it now) word plays, mergewords, looking at images,scouring thesaurus, jargon, et al, I finally hit upon some good names, only then to realize some of the contests, like the summer one, have bit the dust (borrowing a phrase from my generation).

So I hope SH staff will take into consideration those kind of scenarios…


Complicating the matter more is the fact that in the majority of contests favorites are normally chosen during early rounds of submission. That is not to say that the same fate falls upon eventual winners.


@Moretal, Like @LauraE and @Vision pointed out, there are several scenarios that need to be accounted for and there is no simple formula which can be followed. For example,

  1. Did the CH stop rating or abandon mid way through the contest? Even though there are multiple 4-5 star rated entries, if the CH did not review or rate entries received during the final days of the contest, we do not believe it is fair to ignore those entries.

  2. If there was a single contestant who stands out as the one receiving most 4 or 5 star ratings, it certainly gets a higher weightage in deciding a winner.

  3. If there is a single entry, that received the top rating, and we see a consistent pattern of rating through out the contest, then it is very likely that we would select that entry as the winner.

  4. If there are multiple people, who all received same 5 star rating, in that case we try to select an entry that best meets the brief criteria, and seems to be of highest quality. Obviously, this is a subjective decision, and there is no way to quantify why one entry was better than other - we use the best judgement, and select the name that we feel best meets the contest criteria.

  5. Sometimes a CH rates an entry high star, but then leaves a comment that they can not select this name due to trademark issue or some other complications. Therefore, we also review the entry comments in addition to the star ratings.

This is not a process that can follow a prescribed formula, and we do our best to pick a winner based upon what seems to be most deserving given all the different variables. Our bigger goal is to minimize the abandoned contests by fixing the underlying reasons, so that we can leave the winner selection to the CH.


Throughout its life-time an abandoned contest undergoes more profound changes than a contest brought to natural resolution by its originator. It’s only by addressing those fundamental differences inherent in ever changing dynamic of such a contest that we can proceed on to allocating a suitable strategy for selecting a winner as the very last call for justice. Here a contest starts as an expression of the will of a CH (as evidenced by the choice of favorites), it continues in the mode of being aided and abated by the liberties of subjective selection on the part of contestants themselves (as in self-nomination of starred favorite entries), then it takes a sudden u-turn by being subjected to the powers of a final judgement from the SH selection committee. What happens is an amalgamation of three distinct and at times conflicting expressions of a multi-faceted subjectivity.


@vision, I am not sure I fully understood what you said, but it sounds pretty good :smile:


Vision can. You put that In plain English I don’t understand what your as
Saying or trying say its too fancy for me with too many big words ))((


Thanks, Dan for all of those points. I’m glad to hear that you factor all of those elements into the decisions.

@LauraE- I’m in the same boat as you or anybody else. I reach some contests late and I’m certainly no different than anyone here as far as the creative process goes. When I win a contest I very rarely nail it early on. A lot of trial and error, adjustments etc. happen along the way. I agree that it’s frustrating to have entries that haven’t been seen/rated. Been there countless times. But I feel in some cases, especially if the rating has been extensive, that you can’t ignore the CH’s input and what he liked. In the example I described earlier, how would anybody here feel if they would lose after having more 5 stars than the rest and having more 4 stars than the rest (in a contest that had extensive ratings)? That’s why I’m glad to hear that SH factors in all of these parts of the equation because that was an unknown.

As long as everything is done fairly, all the relevant data is analyzed and everybody has equal opportunity based on the skill they demonstrated on a contest by contest basis- then I’m happy with any results.


Some of us find our best successes after many tries. I wouldn’t assume which contestants can do it fastest. I just appreciate great names when I see them!