Premium Domain Submission Policy update

Moving forward, we will no longer ask Contest Holders if they would like to see premium domains. All contests will be open to premium domains from the Squadhelp Marketplace. This will allow a much more seamless and consistent customer experience, as well as allow creatives to pitch their relevant marketplace names to all contests.

Also, to further simplify issues around premium domains, we will discontinue the -sc contest status. These are contests in which Creatives were able to submit premium domains outside of the Squadhelp Marketplace using (for See Comments), if the domain was listed for sale on a reputable third party platform. This mechanism was causing confusion with contest holders. Additionally, there was a widespread misuse and misunderstanding of the feature with Creatives, in which many of the submissions did not actually align with the submission requirements.

At this point, you can only submit names listed on Squadhelp Marketplace to naming contests (or your owned domain in lieu of contest award). We may announce further updates to this policy in the future.


Love part one, really sad about part two. Sad any time I read that we are losing something because creatives did things that hurt the rest of us.

PS: Did individual creatives KNOW that their submissions didn’t align? Were those who were thought to be be “misusing” the policy warned? Because truly, @Grant, the mantra is “manage for the good people”. If individuals were out of line, then they should have been warned personally rather than all of us losing something. I know that isn’t the only reason you ended it. But those contests were good for Squadhelp in that it keeps SH as the “one stop” whether creatives create their names for them or we do the research to find them the name they are looking for elsewhere.

I hope SH finds another mechanism to serve those customers.


I, too, am disheartened at the change of not be able to offer out names that are just parked elsewhere. SH stands as the place for people to come to get ideas that can’t come up with ideas, aren’t good at ideas, or don’t have time for ideas. If we’re having people come to us looking for ideas for these reasons, then they are missing out on a DAILY parameter narrowing market.

These people are wanting BUSINESS names, not just domain names. For businesses, it is a lucrative strategy to have a website domain that is professional and aligns easily with their business name. With .coms, .ios, .nets, etc being regged everyday, the ability to get those domains that fit this is becoming harder and harder and soon there’s not going to be much option than offering other extensions or 3 or 4 word domain names. And given the statistics we have seen via SH CH’s this would not be favorable to 90% of their desires.

Sometimes a more premium and available elsewhere name would have to be acquired. Guaranteed contests ask CHs to pick a winner of the originator or finder of the idea and pay them the contest award. That contest award, to us, stands as not an ‘award’ but payment for our time, our ingenuity, our research, our ideas. Do you realize that most of us are not out there scouring for ideas on the web – we’re coming up with ideas via research and then when we go to type that idea in the formfield and it redflags as being taken – that’s our first knowledge of that domain being taken. From there, that is when we often open another tab and pull up that domain. Sometimes they are blank – a lot of times they are blank (meaning they are parked) and that means we wasted time, effort, and we thought we had such a great idea and yet someone else came to it first. However, there are those times when we have come to a marketing page where it says the domain is for sale for so much money total or even sometimes offers monthly payments. This name is not being used otherwise – it was only bought for the same reason those on our very own marketplace have been bought for – it was a highly selective, ingenious name that could be TAKEN at a moments notice where there could be money to be made instead.

If this idea was generated doing research and doing all the finger/leg work that the CH couldn’t have had time or know-how to do otherwise, why is it a problem to offer it to them as an idea? We’re going to be offering them our ideas we had a chance to register with SH first or SH got to register for us first in which there is a lot more money involved, how is it any different other than the CH will pay for the contest, because the creative did do the research, did do the work of brainstorming and coming up with an idea only to find out that it’s taken yet it’s not at the same time. Whether we give them the name and its available, we give the name and it can be bought from the marketplace, or we give them the name and it can be bought elsewhere – we are still doing the brainstorming for them and the process and work that goes into it.

You said that a lot of them weren’t aligned right in scope. I have a problem with this, too. It may not have been purposeful. Different people have different ideas when it comes to what can be ‘aligned’ and what may not be. Sometimes creatives have very open minds – we’re doing this daily – hourly – and seeing connections in ways that not everyone may be able to see unless it is thoroughly described. Even then it could be argued that it would be broad, vast, or not a direction someone was expecting. But that doesn’t mean that it was done purposefully to misalign or create misunderstanding. There’s many reasons that an idea can be rejected and it said as being misaligned (price, idea, keywords, connotation, trajectory, brandability, trademark ability, and many other things), so I hope you realize that even some of the creatives that were possibly seen as having misused it becomes a subjective topic.

I have the highest and utmost respect for SH and I – like most everyone here – would like SH to be the best it can be as a business not only for us as creatives but for the clients/customers and for SH itself. And I do apologize if I’ve said anything out of turn, as that is not my intention. Rather, I am wanting SH to see that the approach of giving ideas – marketed elsewhere, created on SH, available on SH, or otherwise is a lucrative offering of idea creation and generation. We are brainstorming for these CHs and sometimes that brainstorming comes to a fork in the road of something that’s been obtained elsewhere for the same reason that SH now has a marketplace. If our ideas landed to that idea that has already been TAKEN just to further market and not use in any other way and CHs wouldn’t have come up with that idea without us, why can’t we offer it as an idea?

I would think that anyone could see the propriety of having a great name and a great domain name, no matter where the name comes from-- the only thing it depends on is what they’re willing to spend. So instead of taking away this feature, why not allow it to work for us for the CHs, and for SH as a whole? Ask CHs if they are open to outside SH marketed names and what their price range for such (outside of the prize amount) is. This way CHs can get great domain names to match their business names, creatives get to be more open in their creativity, and SH truly lives up to being the place of ideas and generation to find and obtain what you need for your business, product, etc.

Again, this is just my input to further the discussion. It’s not my intent for any of this to be out of turn or disrespectful, but rather become a showing of how this feature can help ALL in these situations and how we may be able to use it moving forward instead of getting rid of it.

Thank you everyone. :slightly_smiling_face:


What about marketplace names that are a good fit for a contest and the creative wants to offer just for the contest award, not the marketplace price so they have a better chance of winning? Maybe it is a name that has been unsold for a long time, maybe the creative wants some quick cash or maybe the contest win would be just as good as a marketplace sale for that name.

If every contest allows markeplace domains as-is, this is no longer an option. Can anything be done to enable this option for those who want it?


Just curious…
Will the question “open to premium”
be removed from contests going forward with the changes mentioned above?


Regarding what Rareworthy said about subjectiveness.

I couldn’t have said it better. I just wanted to add that the external domains that weren’t aligned with the CH are the same as our “No Thank you” entries. Everything is subjective.

Squadhelp is a place that offers everything, for every branding needs. And it would be too bad and just unfortunate (for all parties) that external domains would no longer be an option. I choose to be brief, because everyone else expressed exactly what I had in mind, even more than that.


I apologize for the confusion that my statement may have caused.

The issue with -sc was not that domain submissions did not align with the contest brief in general. The issue is that the requirements for -sc were not followed by many Creatives.

For example:

  • In contests stating that domains could be submitted from external marketplaces if there was a clear selling price, many creatives where submitting domains that only had an Make an offer button, but no clear selling price.
  • In a contests stating that domains must be listed for sale on a reputable third party platform, Creatives were submitting domains that did not resolve to a website with comments such as, This might be available.

With thousands of new Creatives and Contest Holder working with us every month, we need to ensure that all of our processes are clear and easy to follow. This is one aspect that was causing confusion for both Contest Holder and Creatives.

We will continue to hone this aspect to provide the best results and experience for Creatives and Contest Holders alike.


@grant, we thank you for this clarification.


Having multiple price points based on how the CH is engaging with Squadhelp was resulting in a poor customer experience and confusion. This is one of the core reasons for updating the policy. However, we will work on allowing Creatives the ability to list their domains at a discounted price. This will be applied in all contests and in the Marketplace.


I’ve been away and I’m no where near catching up on what’s going on yet.

I did want to chime in quickly and thank all of those creatives that spoke up for the rest of us, there are too many to mention and I’m concerned that I might miss one of you out if I listed you so I won’t, but it really is appreciated, thank you. You got results!

I wanted to thank SH too for listening to feedback and taking some positive steps.

@grant I also wanted to add my support to discontinue the -sc contests. I’m a domain owner with many thousands of names not on SH so this one is going to hurt me personally quite a lot! However, the CHs must come first. It is very confusing to have ‘available names’ ‘SH premium names’ and ‘other premium names’, and I’m all for eliminating confusion and building the best experience for CHs that we can give them. I’m looking forward to seeing some future options/experiments that will allow us to get our other owned domains in front of CHs in the future.


If the issue is that requirements for -sc were not followed by many Creatives, maybe the solutions could be to educate the Creatives? Maybe they (we?) didn’t follow the rules only because they didn’t know them or didn’t understand them? So maybe in the case of -sc contests right after clicking the “submit your entry” button and before being able to submit any entry we could see a pop up with very clear rules (with examples) what’s allowed and what’s not. And just like with NDA’s we could tick the check box meaning that we red the rules and will follow them.

I’m a bit concerned that disallowing to submit domain names sold on external marketplaces would result in increased number of canceled or abandoned contests (i.e. CH wanted single word .com domain, four letters .com domain name etc. and could not get that via conest)


Oh man, then I owe you and others an apology because I know for certain that I did this myself! :flushed: When a CH had a really good budget and I found a name I thought was really right, I subbed those. I thought that SH reached out to the owners of those domains to get the prices for the CH. There were some that had huge budgets and I knew that they could get the name for far less than the top of their budget. Yikes, @Grant, I am so sorry! I had no idea that was such a problem. I wish I had known. I always spent a lot of time on those contests, trying to find the right names and also subbing others to choose from that weren’t premiums. Holy cow, I feel bad!

True confessions of a Squadhelp creative, trying to help someone get the right name!


@Commulinks don’t feel bad. You only submitted those names, because you didn’t know it wasn’t allowed. I also might have submitted a few of such domains (I can’t remember for sure) as I too wasn’t aware it wasn’t allowed until now.

After thinking for a while about it, I also remembered one time (at the very beginning of -sc contests) when I submitted a domain name which didn’t have a sales landing page. It was undeveloped. When you typed it in the browser nothing showed up. But when I checked it on there was an email address of the registrant. I thought if needed SH could reach out to that person and ask if they are willing to sell the domain name (maybe their sales page was just temporary down, or maybe they didn’t even know they could sell their unused domain name). I received a comment from SH telling me to only submit domain names that are clearly for sale. Got it. Since then I only submitted domains that were clearly for sale. But I didn’t know that rule before getting that personal comment.


@EliCreative @Commulinks Which maybe further shows we could better define things in the briefs of the contests, in SH rules, a popup as was suggested, or other means. Every week I come across at least one contest asking for real words, short domains, and exact match domains and sometimes all at once which are open to premium names ( before this was removed). These aren’t occasional scenarios. These aren’t things rarely asked for. These things are hard to come by.

I spend more time researching and only to find out I have to start all over again because the domain ideas are up for sale – clearly listed prices in 96% of cases and even have monthly payment plans available. That’s bittersweet. It’s bitter in the fact that CHs are missing out on those names while they just sit and sit and wait and wait. It’s bitter in the fact that I then wasted all that time researching, brainstorming. It’s bitter that I have to start over. The only sweet spot? I came up with an apparently good name – one that happened to be grabbed before I could, another bitter aspect.

I can see merit to the use of outside registered domains though. I understand that the internet of things is no better than real estate and websites are no better than land or developed properties. Sometimes if you want primal location or real estate you have to look and bid into other markets – otherwise you’re settling. Many people don’t like to settle for something as important as their business unless they can’t reasonably provide the resources for it. But, here’s the difference: In those cases they can be willed to understand if they don’t already know – that expectations due to that have to be more fitting to them specifically for what we’re able to do. Sometimes we have to explain how more domain extensions as options could help them, or how exact match-real word domains are a more challenging request, and how shorter domains are usually taken.

There are uses for these external registrations, though, and there are plenty of CHs that could benefit from them if they are clearly defined for usage for both CHs and creatives in the rules, in the contests, and in the briefs. Just like with any feature on SH, we’ve all (CH and creative alike) had to learn somehow. We can only learn where and when guided and how we’re guided.


@grant I’m wondering: I think you mentioned that a high percentage of CHs were opting in to receive premium domain suggestions. However, some of them have been requesting during contests in comments not to get those, so some either opted in by mistake or were opted in automatically and didn’t check off that option. From a CH’s perspective- isn’t it problematic that SH is now “making” all of them accept premium submissions when some are just looking for a $200-$300 name? Naturally I’m all for a lot of marketplace sales, but I can’t help but wonder if those Contest Holders won’t be annoyed that people keep sending them domains from the marketplace, if they don’t have the budget and interest to buy them.


I think that all CHs can benefit from knowing that creatives have thought about their contest and feel that they have marketplace names that are really great for their brand. Sometimes what CHs are asking for really are premium-ish domains on $100 contests, for example. That is why I suggested that SH add a separate tab for all CHs to review marketplace names that we submit. I always feel like we need to “qualify” these submissions more so that CHs understand that what they are asking for is a premium idea. That said, I’ve never sold a marketplace domain this way. Maybe others have. I got very close a couple of times but when CHs see unreg domains against marketplace, then… well…


@commulinks I’m thinking about it from a CH’s perspective. Not a creative’s perspective. Creatives have an incentive to get more money so they have an incentive to suggest marketplace names rather than available domains so it’s definitely not just about a creative feeling they have the right name (that just happens to cost a lot more). Up till this morning, CHs who wanted to pay $100-$300 for a name could get relevant suggestions within their budget. This new decision is a major change to the way SH has operated up till now and it’s basically making all CHs have to browse through expensive domains mixed in with the regular ones whether they want to or not. IMO that could become a problem for some of them.


Maybe then having a separate tab for marketplace names could be a good idea indeed. If the CH is strongly determined not to buy a domain name from the marketplace, they could just ignore that tab. And if they are willing to consider both options, they would have them simply sorted out for them.

A lot would depend on a CH. If a CH is an individual who is just starting their small business on a very limited budget, then that difference of prices might be quite noticeable and maybe even be quite painful. But I believe that a large or a medium company would rather choose to pay more for a name that is a perfect fit than a bit less for a name that is just sort of okay. In the end, it’s a very important investment.


Doesn’t this go against the original primary intent of the marketplace, to help creatives secure their best domains to be safe from registration till the right contest comes along and they can be of value? Most domains are not going to sell, and losing the ability to submit them to the right contests for just the contest prize is a bad idea in general, regardless of the dissatisfaction with multiple price points.

Since CHs are already paying a decent amount, I wouldn’t expect most of them to shell out even more money to buy a marketplace domain name. Then there is the issue of marketplace names being clutter and frustrating CHs who have no intent to go above their budget, and hurting their satisfaction and ability to rate the contest entries in a relevant manner because now CHs have no option to say NO to marketplace names.


With regard to the -cs option, to put things in perspective, this option was applied to less than 1% of all Squadhelp contests. This change will not effect 99% of our overall contests. Also we are looking actively for ways to open submission options that are more carefully vetted for contests where the CH has a very large budget.

With regard to comments about CHs who are not open to premium domains, here are a few considerations: (1) As stated previously, we have seen that the vast majority of CHs are interested in exploring premium domains. (2) It is our experience that if a Contest Holder really loves a name, they will typically move forward with purchasing that name, especially since our domains are aggressively priced, many of them are around the $1000 price point. (3) Still, we have added the ability for Contest Holders to instantly hide all premium domains, if they do not want to see them.

Our goal is to show the full spectrum of naming options available, so the CH can pick a name for their business base on a full range of the best possible options.

We will continue to monitor all aspects of the platform and make updates based on our ongoing learnings.