Tips for Contest Holders

We currently show tips to the CH about how they can improve the outcome of their contests. However as suggested by @Commulinks , we would appreciate everyone’s input on a “Brief” that we should share with the CH to further improve the outcome for the contest. This is what we currently show to the CH:

Please organize your ideas into two sections (Since this is a WIKI, you should be able to edit this post by clicking on the Edit icon on top):

1. Tips to show before a CH launches a contest (so they can properly fill the contest brief)

  • Consider including a domain search in your contest even if you don’t need one. It helps the Contestants to weed out names already in use. If you are not going to need a domain, select all possibilities for extensions.

  • If you do need a domain, please consider allowing other domain extensions if you want a very short name or provide us with information on an additional word that can be used with your name such as “company” or “consulting” or “app”

  • Consider using the SH package that includes a Trademark search for the same reason as a domain search.

  • (SH, this one depends on which changes you make based on other recommendations)-Tell the Contestants what your expectations are. For example, “we are looking for a name that sounds like it has been around for a long time” is a great suggestion or “we’re hoping for the next FaceBook”.
    *Contestants need you to know that it may not be reasonable to expect a name as simple as Going in, you need to understand that many names you are familiar with that are that short were purchased years ago or the company paid a very high premium to get it.

  • The SH system only checks for available names. Some names are actually available through brokers who have purchased them for resale, but Contestants cannot submit those names because the system does not allow it.

  • (SH: This one depends on what other changes you make in the description). Please tell us what you want your great and ideal name to “feel” like. For example, what does a “serious” name mean to you? Would you like a name that is sunny, forceful, etc?

  • If possible, give some example names you have already tried but are not working, and why these names were not a good fit.

  • If you are rebranding from a previous name, please tell us why.

  • List some names you like and why. These names wouldn’t have to be in the same industry. The important, and most difficult, part here is why they like them. Maybe you like Uber because it’s short or you like Amazon because it indirectly relates to something large.

  • You came here for creative ideas. Try not to get stuck on a concept that everyone is using in your industry. Give us some concepts, but try not to get stuck on only your preconceived ideas.

2. Tips to show after a CH has launched a contest (so they can provide better feedback, and engage with the creatives)

  • Please use private comments to tell a contestant what might turn the submitted name into a “love” from a “like” or “On the right track.” Please also try to tell us what “on the right track” means.

  • When you submit comments on your contest as a whole, the Contestants get messages by email. We love that because it brings us back to your contest, especially when you decide to change the direction of your names. You will get more entries if you do this.

  • We can’t emphasize enough how important it is for you to rate the names you get. Contestants run out of ideas or interest in working on a contest when there is no feedback.

  • Please don’t expose the creatives names or ideas submitted. They cannot see others entries but their own,and are trying to submit creative names that are proprietary to them.

  • Focus your attention on the root of the names we give you. Sometimes, there is great value in a URL without some extension to it and sometimes the only way to get you a great “root” name is to add an extension. If you followed the steps when you set up your contest to tell us what extensions we can use such as or company, agency, etc. it will help. But other times a creative contestant comes up with a name with no extension that you can add an extension to without it being in the URL. For example: vs. What’s important is FabName. You can add words to your official company name that you register or a tagline for more definition.

*While you may use the rating system as a sorting tool, please keep in mind it can be more affective if used as a guiding tool for the creatives. We have a lot of ideas!! The ratings, if used as a communication tool rather than a sorting tool, will allow us to hone in on what makes you tick, essentially sorting out a lot of the undesirable entries for you.


@Dan I put my suggestions inside your post. I think that is what you asked for but I want to make sure. Sorry if I did that wrong.

@Commulinks, yes that is correct. Please edit the original post directly so that all changes are consolidated in the main section itself.

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My suggestion didn’t line up right with the body of the section very well…hope it is ok.

I don’t agree with this tip for a couple of reasons but my main concern is:

“Start with “On the right track” and “No, thank you” ratings, let the entries grow on you.”

I don’t want to encourage the CH to rate low. Plus, this is a contradiction because once rated a “no, thank you”, the entry is hidden from the CHs view. So how could it grow on them if it’s basically been deleted and they’re on to the next couple hundred entries, never to be seen again?


@Chasity2ku It was me. I was thinking about ‘stages’ and thought this would be a smoother ride than the rollercoaster. I feel if it’s already going to be this way, “No, thank you” all round anyway, might as well let the CH start simple with only 2 choice and focus on giving constructive feedback on entries. And, "No, thank you"s can win too. But I do think “No, thank you” needs to be expanded this way:

PS. I may be wrong but I think "No, thank you"s are just hidden, CHs can still have access them. Anyway hiding makes more sense than deleting "No, thank you"s

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PS #2. This can also help with abandoned contest winner selection, in the new process, an early single “Love it” can win outright, which don’t make sense to me. The CH are not expert judges, they are here for help. That is a problem of objectivity vs subjectivity. To me, all the “Love it” and “Like it” should not be taken so seriously, so I’d like to see them be used later in the contest after CH have had some time to think the entries through and have done due diligence.

I share a lot of your concerns, but for the intended purpose of the CH Brief I think it would be better to encourage the CH to actually avoid giving “no, thank yous” (unless the name is absolute rubbish) until the contest has ended or they have a feel for whats working and what’s not.

I think often times a CH starts a contest with the high expectation of the perfect name jumping out at them, looking for that “a-ha” moment. This doesn’t always happen, especially in the beginning. I think this results in a bunch of false “no, thank yous” and some names that could have been promising if given more thought to be tweaked etc.

I don’t like the new system in place for abandoned contests either, especially since I’m a late bloomer and often enter contests hours before they end, but I don’t want one fix to cause another problem :confused:

Oh and in regards to the hidden entries, I do think they can choose to view them but maybe they will, maybe they won’t. I’d rather they start doing hardcore cuts after they’ve got a feel for what they’re getting and what they’re after.


I think there have been comments on other threads that point to something lacking in the current 4-Sentences Ratings, they are useful for being specific, but maybe not broad enough, (too confined a space, can’t breath).

@Chasity2ku How do you feel about having a little ‘breathing space’ between “On the right track” and “No, thank you” for a better CH User Experience called, “Hmm…” :slight_smile:

I think we can all agree nothing is certain, “Hmm…” means the CH really don’t know what to do with that entry – at that point of Time. “No, thank you” and “On the right track” don’t make sense in this situation. For contestants, it can be interpreted as “Ok, CH is not sure for now, maybe will get back to the entry later”, it could feel better with that added breathing space.

It’s like arriving at a party, seeing no place suitable to hang your coat, the host is no where to be seen, and you would like a way to help yourself without interrupting the party. The solution is to install a coat rack. The current ratings seem to need something like that.

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I agree with chasity2ku. Not a good tip, in my opinion, about withholding like its and love its. I don’t think contestants should micro manage the way CHs rate and you’re basically trying to instruct them how to use the tools they’re given. On the contrary. Like its and Love its should be encouraged from the get go, if they’re warranted. Personally I don’t get the problem with the nahs. The whole reason for the rating system is to separate things that work from things that don’t work. The 4 options give CHs room to differentiate between different versions of ‘this is right for me/not right for me’. So IMO creatives shouldn’t mess with that. Elaborating on the reasons might be a good idea though this might be an extra burden for CHs that are overwhelmed as it is, but people really need to stop taking these ratings to heart and over analyzing them. My 2c worth.


@moretal I, like you too, do not take ratings to heart, really. It’s naming as usual for me, and I’m sure it’s the same for many. However, I have an interest in Design and UX, that is where I’m coming from. The way I see it several aspects of SH now is on it’s way to a destination (under construction), the process of development is always trial and error. Maybe taking development into this forum is not such a good idea, but without this SH might have to hire a qualified Contest Designer who must at the very least be learned in game theory.

In the old days, things worked. Now too things are probably more or less the same, no one really knows – focus on one part, obscuring another. But it’s been a jungle and just because something appear to work on the surface don’t mean some participants/stakeholders aren’t getting the shorter end of the straw. Now SH is adding better communication to the mix, to afford transparency and a better user experience, and so the process has begun.

A crowd naturally will have many 2-cents. To a certain extend it is a problem in and of itself.

Speaking for myself only. If anyone of you feel strong enough that my entry into the WIKI is not good, please feel free to delete it.


I’m not sure what the right solution is, and I’m no game designer. I’ve noticed an increase lately in chatty CHs who send me PMs commenting how cute or clever my entries are, and then award me :frowning:s for same. So what does one do with that unhelpful information? Praise and ratings ought to correlate a little. Maybe a “clever idea, needs to be tweaked” column?


Thanks, Front. I edited it and put in on hold till more feedback will be given. I strongly feel it should be deleted, but let’s see what other people say.

I personally feel we should be towards the end of these major changes. I think that creatives need to stay away from telling contest holders how to rate because it’s none of our business. Regarding the latecomers to contests… well… SH tried to fix that with best entries, but complainers put an end to that. Now things are back to how they used to be and I don’t think that this matter should be addressed anymore.

You can’t manipulate the contests to suit the availability of each and every person. Using your party example: if somebody hosts a party, he doesn’t delay the party and waits for every guest to arrive. And guests who already arrived don’t tell the host he can’t put on music or hand out drinks until everybody arrives because they’re missing out. The party goes on. Since there are many many parties at SH and there are also prompt invitations about new parties (=e-mail notifications about new contests), then you get to some early, you get to some late. The host will sometimes be around for the entire party and sometimes close the party early and that’s just the way it is. If you’re interested enough to be there, you’ll get to enough parties on time.


@auntshommy That is the exact reason the “no, thank you” should be changed!!

I too have gotten praise over entries, yet the lowest rating. SH, you have to understand this is totally confusing to creatives!!

I’ve even commented back trying to figure out what turned them off, and they don’t reply. The most recent example, I got a one word message saying “clever” and rated a “no, thank you”

I feel confident if " no, thank you" was worded with more direction, such as “please consult brief”, the very same situation would have resulted in an “on th right track” where it belonged, imo. I think the CH would have realized that even tho they don’t plan to use the name, the lowest rating doesn’t fit their reason for not wanting to use it. They’d naturally pick the one that falls in line with how they feel about the entry.

“No, thank you” is too polite and indescriptive. It could literally be the rating for EVERY single entry other than the winner and it’d fit. That’s a problem!!!

Which brings up a question…why do all of the positive ratings have extremely descriptive names, names that resonate a feeling to describe how the CH might feel about the name, and one vague negative rating that offers absolutley no guidance or direction?

Imagine if the “love it” rating was labeled “thank you” instead? That would be unhelpful in gauging their true thoughts about the entry, and so is this!

When the CH isn’t feeling an entry is when we need the most guidance and all we get is a no, thank you and no further response. That’s not helpful, especially when they actually appreciate aspects of your entry.

Again…not trying to beat a dead horse but if something is ineffective I think it’s worth changing. Even when your seeking consistency!!!


Hence, all entries getting changed to “No, thank you” at the end of a contest. That’s the least helpful thing, considering somebody already won. Telling me you didn’t pick mine by way of reducing the rating isn’t doing anybody any good.

The thing is, no person can consider, really truly mull over, 700+ entries. They cannot seriously let that number of suggestions grow on them by first putting them in the discard pile. Out of sight, out of mind. They aren’t sitting down to dinner and wondering how they felt about names 1 - 345 to see if they want to bump up a rating. That’s entirely too much to ask.

They can, however, sit down to dinner and think about what was in the names they more naturally rated high to distill what they really want out of them. But those certainly wouldn’t be “No, thank you” and they might be higher than “On the right track.”

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There’s no point, talking about a thing that is wrong in isolation will end up being wrong again. Something is missing. If you can’t live in a one room apartment anymore, complaining won’t help, time to move to a bigger place with more rooms. :slight_smile:

If you are playing cards, and 4 Aces are missing from the deck, the solution is go get them back in the deck, and not deliberating over what to do with Kings and Queens. The game cannot work anymore. That’s how I see it. There is a big gap between “On the right track” and “No, thank you”. Can anybody see this?

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I completely agree. Why would they ponder “no, thank yous”? But so many times entries are falsely rated with this low rating. This is why we see winning names one letter different from entries that were given the lowest rating. How does this happen?

I think a lot of times (like I said before) the CH is looking for the “wow” factor. Rating everything “no, thank” if it’s not “the one”. (Why? Because no thank you is fitting for anything but the winner!!) Then, when they realize the wow factor might not happen, they start ACTUALLY rating. By this time there could be some promising names in the “no, thank you” section that will never be considered again. Then, 3 days in (for example) someone submits the same thing but a minor variation and all of a sudden this is an entry worth a “like it”, “love it”, or even a win.

That’s a real kick in the gut for the creative that thought they were way off base and changed they’re creative way of thinking only to see they were dead on!!! :open_mouth:

I see it all to clear! But I fear we’re pretty much alone on this.

Oh well…I guess if you don’t see “no, thank yous” that much it’s probably not a big deal to you. But for someone like me who gets them the majority of the time, it’s not helpful. Especially when the winning names are so close to my low rated entry that’s almost a dead match :frowning: that’s also where the whole “resume” issue comes into play for me. I’m sure it’s a combination of several things but I seek to fix the issues that seem fixable!

@Chasity2ku How would 500 "On the right track"s look like without any comments? I think it’s still the same problem. And, if I imagine myself the CH I will strongly resist giving out 500 “On the right track”, because my plate is not that big :slight_smile:

PS. I think we All see "No, thank you"s a lot.

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That’s a really good point!!! But at least that way I’d know if I should change my thinking or not. It’d put somewhat of a defining difference between the two.