Update to Marketplace

As a background, when the marketplace was first introduced, the main intent was for SH to offer a mechanism for creatives to protect their high quality, unregistered names so that they could continue to submit them in contests without worrying about registration. By having the name listed in the marketplace, the names would also offer an additional monetization option for creatives.

When the marketplace was launched, we saw an exciting opportunity to build a very unique Brandable Domain Marketplace. At the time, there were two options for brandable domain marketplaces:

  • Passive platforms with little or no marketing or traffic sources to support the sale of listed domains.
  • Transactional platforms where the investment risk is taken by the Creative (appraisal fees, listing fees, registration fees) with tons of competition within huge databases of domains.

Many people don’t realize that with these approaches less than 10% of the listed names actually sell.

Our vision:

  • Zero upfront investment for the Creative (all the risk taken on by Squadhelp for SH registered domains)
  • Less competition due to a highly curated marketplace
  • Ability to pitch premium domains to highly receptive prospective buyers (Contest Holder)
  • Unmatched marketing spend, piggybacking on the success of our Contest platform

Since the inception of the marketplace, SH has invested over $500K in building out this concept (a large portion of that investment is marketing and technology costs).

By investing in significantly higher ongoing marketing costs, and by allowing creatives to present their names to several hundred prospective Contest Holders every month, we believe we can offer a much better potential to sell the names in a relatively shorter timeframe - while Squadhelp takes on 100% of the financial risk for each and every domain accepted.

With all this said, we still understand that the current commission rates offered for SH registered names do not work for several creatives.

We would like to address this by making a few changes:

  • While submitting a name, Creatives will now have the option to specify upfront a minimum commission rate that they expect for that domain.
  • Creatives will also be able to specify their willingness to register the name themselves (in case SH is unable to meet their commission expectations for SH registered option). In that case, the creative would also be able to provide a minimum commission percent and selling price for creative registered option.
  • SH will approve the name if we are able to offer the commission rate expected by the creative (either as a SH owned domain or a creative registered domain). If we are unable to meet your expectations, we will reject the listing so you can continue to submit it to contests as an unregistered name or explore other avenues outside SH to list your name for sale.

We will also make an update to our renewal terms. To reiterate, our current renewal terms are $10 for an additional year of listing at the originally approved commission rates (in which case the $10 renewal fee is paid through your Squadhelp account balance, so the fee is only paid by you when you continue to earn from Squadhelp), or in some cases SH may waive the $10 listing fee in lieu of a slightly reduced commission rate. However, moving forward, we will ensure that the commission offered in lieu of the $10 listing fee will never drop below 20%, even after multiple years of choosing the in lieu of option. Also, you will continue to receive the greater of the contest award amount or marketplace commission if your name happens to win a contest.

We believe SH owned option offers a great way to protect your names from registration, continue to submit them in ongoing contests, prevent other creatives from submitting those names, and achieve additional monetization opportunity via a marketplace sale. By allowing you to decide what commission rate works for you, you now have complete control and flexibility to benefit from this avenue under your own terms.

However if you still believe this avenue is not a good fit for you, you can explore other channels to monetize your creativity (e.g. participating in naming contests or only listing creative owned domains).

These changes will go in effect later this week.


Thanks @grant, @darpan and SH staff. Very positive move, IMO, regarding the submission process and giving creatives the option to set a minimum commission and choose whether they want to register the name or let SH register the name.

Regarding renewals of SH owned domains- I stand by what I said in the other thread regarding creatives financing renewals for names which they effectively don’t own, can’t list elsewhere with only the possibility of earning a fraction of the potential profit. I’ll personally drop every name that SH won’t offer to renew because the math of paying $10 for a $200-$300 or even $400 potential profit isn’t an equation that makes sense when as @ablebrands pointed out in the other thread: a hand regged creative owned domain can potentially sell for 10 times that with the profit mostly in the creative’s pockets- so it’s better to renew domains that have a risk-reward equation that’s worth investing in rater than play a numbers game that even in the best case scenario won’t be very profitable.

However, since moving forward the new submission process should raise the commissions, and if SH will lower the commissions just a bit during renewals- then I’ll probably renew most of my domains using the SH renewal method if you guys will offer to renew them (though the ones with low commissions I’ll do somewhat reluctantly).

Much appreciation and respect to SH for investing so much money in the platform and the technology. But when you guys took a fair commission structure- and flipped it around on creatives, it’s definitely not a situation where “SH registered names do not work for several creatives.” All creatives don’t want to earn less (especially when SH is raising the prices of domains and earning more) and with the strict atmosphere in the forum (warning, blocks etc.), many people couldn’t express their concerns. I know that because some of them contacted me privately. So I’m very happy that you guys once again listened to feedback and adjusted your policy. Hopefully it’ll be a great improvement and I hope I speak on behalf of other creatives as well when I say that we’re thankful for that.

Rock on.


Thanks to SH for the very thoughtful and quick response to our concerns. I am very proud of the thousands of dollars of my time (and millions of other creative’s time) that has been invested in the success of Squahelp and the marketplace as well. Time is money, as they say.

I was really pretty happy with the original structure of the marketplace. I guess it remains to be seen how the new changes will impact the structure and net gain moving forward. I have a lot of names in the marketplace and will keep at it. I hope the changes will have a true impact, although I am not convinced. I did not want to have to make decisions about registering more names up front at this point. More investment again and I’ve already invested all I can.


@moretal and @Commulinks - excellent points! I fully agree with what you said.

@ grant, first of all, thank you for taking time and effort to listen to our feedback and to try to find a compromise. I appreciate that. Now could you please clarify a few things:

Will this be optional? I’m asking this because among creatives there are some experienced domainers who will be able to make a well-informed decision and in a way act as your advisors regarding pricing and commissions, and then there are those, who are just starting out and for whom it may be a struggle. Will they be able to leave a field of expected commissions empty and leave it for Squadhelp to decide?

How will this work? When will we have to specify our willingness to register the domain name? After reviewing your proposal or before? In case you decline our proposal, will we be able to go back to your original proposal and accept that? It would be very helpful if you could give us some examples of this whole process.

Thank you in advance.


@Grant, I have a question concerning how SH will issue 1099s as it relates to deductions from our accounts for domain registrations. Will you:
a) Send us 1099s on only the cash we actually receive as you do with the 10% deduction from prizes or
b) Send us 1099s that do not consider the $10 deductions for domain registrations

Just figuring this out for my bookeeping (although there can be tax implications)


I’m glad you’re trying to hear us out and compromise. Thank you! However, like @EliCreative I don’t quite understand how this will work.

For the record, I personally had ZERO problems with the commission structure of SH registered domains or creative registered domains. I just wanted the option to register myself AFTER approval. Not knowing if a domain would be accepted is what made me feel forced to submit before registering which would automatically make SH the owner and massively reduce my potential commission.

If you were to add up the the registration cost of all the domains I’ve submitted that were rejected, I’d be out a lot of money and would have a lot of domains sitting dormant the majority of the time.

My concern with this new way is that if a domain is approved and I choose to register it, the commission you’ll agree to will be drastically less then the current commission structure on creative owned domains. Otherwise, why wouldn’t you just make registering optional after approval and leave the commission structure as is? I’m not feeling 100% confident the new way is gonna solve the heart of the problem, which was low commission rates. But I have faith in you SH and truly hope I’m wrong and just being skeptical!


@Commulinks - 1099 are sent out to US based residents who earn more than $600 on the platform. These are based on actual receipts, the amount you withdraw from your account.

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@Grant if you leave your funds in your account and not cash out (say you have $500 in your account in December 2018, but don’t request payment - does it stay in your account and not show up on the 1099?) So if I wait until Feb 2019 to cash out, does it go against my 2019 tax 1099 or do you guys say it was paid in 2018? Just curious.

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The Marketplace submission updates should be live today or tomorrow!

@EliCreative @Chasity2ku et al -

When submitting a domain that you do not already own for consideration in the Squadhelp Marketing as a Squadhelp Owned Domain:

You will have the option to select “Let Squadhelp determine the ideal commission” or a minimum commission level your are willing to accept. If you select, Let Squadhelp determine the ideal commission, then the process will be the same as it has been in the past: we will consider your submitted domain and provide an offer for you to accept.

However, now, you will alternatively have the ability to select a minimum commission level that you are willing to accept, between 20% and 40% - providing you control over your commission structure.

In either case, you will also have the ability to indicate “I’m also willing to purchase the domain and list it in the Marketplace as Creative Owned” if I can get a minimum commission rate of XX% (where you will choose a rate between 60 and 75%). In this case, we will consider your name submission twice: first, we will consider it for inclusion in the Marketplace as a Squadhelp Owned domain; and secondarily, we will consider it for inclusion in the Marketplace as a Creative Owned domain.

(If the domain is accepted into the Marketplace as Creative Owned, we expect that you will purchase that domain and point the nameservers to us right away.)

Here is an example scenario:

  1. I submit an available domain XYZ.com for consideration in the marketplace.
  2. I choose a minimum commission of 30%.
  3. At the same time, I click a box to indicate that I’m willing to purchase XYZ.com and indicate a minimum commission of 70% and a minimum listing price of $1399.
  4. Squadhelp will review your offer and let you know if either is accepted.

I hope this clarifies how things will work. Once the changes are live, if you still have questions about how they might work, feel free to ask them either in the Forum or via blue button!



Thank you for addressing the creatives’ concerns and trying to improve the Domain Marketplace structure. I think most of the changes are a step forward closer to most of the creatives expectations.

Regarding the rule that says that if a creative wins a contest and sells the domain name, he will only receive the higher of both values, I would like to know why is it this way? Does the CH pay no prize if he chooses to buy the domain? Is his payment (initially sent for the prize) forwarded to the buying of the domain? Is this why the creatives don’t get both amounts?

I still think that the work of submitting entries to a contest is a job by itself that requires time, effort, research, understanding of the contest itself and it’s Holder, etc. The domain marketplace is different subject. Specially in the situations where a creative has payed for the renewal of the domain. In my opinion, the creative should be rewarded for both the contest and for the domain name. After all, it doesn’t happen that often and it would be a nice way to value all the creative’s work.

Best regards!

1099 only reflect the money withdrawn.


Thank you Grant!..

@grant, I need a some clarification, please. This whole Marketplace discussion has got my brain twisted in a knot. So my apologies in advance if this has already been discussed elsewhere. Here goes :
Suppose I currently have a name (s ) already listed in the SH Marketplace for a certain price. Let’s assume I think that price/ domain is undervalued. Do I have an option to change the price, or should a prospective buyer come along, can I refuse to sell at that listed price; until the price is changed by SH to what I would imagine the domain is worth? Does a creative have any control on the pricing going forward, especially, appreciatively once the name has been accepted?
This may have been discussed somewhere before, but I kindly, need it clarified.
Thank you so much for your time.


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You can change your prices on your marketplace dashboard.

Grant will have to further clarify this but I do know that you’re able to change the price a little in your marketplace dashboard. There is a dropdown box for each domain that will give you a span of a couple hundred dollars of prices to choose from. If you think it is still worth more than this and would like the name to be valued at more than these things, that is where your question will need to be further clarified. I am just offering this answer for anyone that may wish a name to not be offered at the price it’s set for when it is first registered/approved in the marketplace. As for them being valued outside of these choice amounts, I am not sure what options there may be.

Thank you @Commulinks, @rareworthy . This is what I am more concerned about, because a couple of hundred dollars difference really does not affect your take home at the current terms, so probably not even worth the bother; or even the value of the domain. It’s when one feels, and probably rightly so, that that domain is worth so so much more, and the creative has approved the listing in the SH Marketplace, mostly for protection, ( and hand regging elsewhere not an option for all creatives because of affordability…etc )

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Soni, the best thing to do is to change your price up immediately upon approval of the domain. So you go through the acceptance process, then once you do that and before it goes live, change the price up. I do that sometimes. (Sparingly)

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Thank you Clinks, but would that be the ultimate solution to high valued domains, “undervalued” ? ( not specifically mine, but in general )

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Thank you for the clarification, it makes sense now. However, I don’t understand why you would approve for one and not the other (creative owned and SH owned).

I’ve inquired in the past if one was more likely to get approved than the other and I was told that it is based on the quality of the domain and that the profit based on who owned it had no factor in SHs decision.

While I appreciate the ability to get approval prior to the creative registering the domain, I feel it might be set up in a way that goes against the previous statement that the registering party plays no part in the decision. I could easily assume you’ve given us the ability to request our expected commission individually for both and get approval separately for both so you can then have a reason to deny one and approve the other that’s more beneficial to SH.

To maintain the integrity of transparency and fairness, I would like for SH to approve or deny domains soley on the quality of the domain and in the event it’s approved, you (SH), leave the creative with terms to reject or deny for creative owned vs SH owned and let us accept or deny your terms.

I’m not saying you are doing us wrong with this new way but it definitely leaves me with questions of how fair it actually is.

For example, if I submit a domain and my expectations are 20% for SH owned and 60% for creative owned (which is the minimum on both) I wouldn’t be very happy if it was approved for SH to register and not me. I’d feel the same if my commission expectations were at 40% and 75% (the highest on both) and you accepted it for SH to own it and not me. Now, if I expected say 20% and 75% I’d be a little more understanding of why it would be accepted for SH to register and not me but it’d still leave me questioning what you would’ve accepted and at that point negotiation is over. So not only would I feel the need to submit with the absolute lowest I’m willing to accept, for fear you say no if I go too high, and thus miss my chance because there’s no negotiation after that, but I’d also continuously be questioning if you accepted one and not the other because of the higher profit you will make but telling me you accepted one and not the other because my requirements were too high on one.

Again, I’m not trying to say this is your intentions but this new way leaves plenty of room for me to consider it, which should be an indication that transparency is lacking in this situation. I just think even if everything is on the up and up this new way could open the door to a lot of creatives questioning your marketplace decisions.

So I ask, what is the drawback for SH saying, “yes, this domain is approved. You’ll get $xxx if we register and $xxx if you register. Accept or reject.” ??

I hope this makes sense. I’m not sure I was able to articulate what I’m thinking effectively. Also, I know how this must sound but please know this is posted with much respect. I’m not accusing, just working through my thoughts and concerns.

Thank you for listening :slightly_smiling_face:


I am not 100% sure I understand your question. Are you wanting SH to reconsider how they value names in general? Or are you trying to figure out what to do in these situations alone?