Contest Health

May 8, 2008

You might have already noticed the new contest health badges on contests, which show contests as either “healthy”, “caution” or in extreme cases “unhealthy”. If you click the badges (or the more details link) you will get a brief summary of the contest details, along with some indicators of how healthy a contest is, such as when recent feedback was given or whether the contest holder has a history of prize awarded contests.

The system behind this has a long list of things it checks to determine this health score, but it basically all comes down to trying to determine if this contest is a good bet to enter. Initially it is just another piece of information that designers can use to help choose a contest to enter, but depending on how it’s used we might consider actually preventing entries for unhealthy contests.

The rules underneath the hood are actually fairly complex (seems my maths teacher wasn’t lying about needing stats one day), so we will be adjusting them over the next 24 hours or so. Let us know what you think!

30 Responses to “Contest Health”

  1. Telli Says:

    This is great! I hope this encourage the Contest Holders to provide more feedback.

  2. Brian Says:

    I see that D Publishing’s contest(Information Business has died)has now hit ‘unhealthy’. I currently have 2 entries there. I am getting somewhat suspicious of the contest holder’s motives.

    If the contest is deemed unhealthy- and they try to cut and run- what’s to stop them?

  3. roktiv Says:

    That’s sounds good, because about a half of taken contest are dead and has no winner at all

  4. Our stats tell us that around 85% of contests end with a winner chosen under the current system. We’re working to get this to 99%, hense the name – 99designs ;)

  5. The idea behind the new “health indicator” is really just so designers don’t waste anymore time on potentially risky contests. In the past some designers might not have known that a contest was at risk and entered anyway.

  6. MadHat Says:

    Fantastic idea!

  7. Nadia P Says:

    Great feature…. now to add the ‘planned feature’ of knowing that the contest holder has actually paid out to winning designers, it will be excellent :-)

  8. Joel Says:

    Good work guys, keep going with the site improvements :)

  9. BombardierBob Says:

    Nadia the only way that you know if the host has paid out is if you add a feature that the winner clicks it once he/she is chosen or 99designs does it for the guarantee contests.

    I for one like the health status badge however I see a small problem with it. The host has eliminated designs with zero stars and feedback and has left only entries with feedback and stars and the system says the host needs to give feedback. Give it to what, the entries eliminated. See the issue there. It needs to be fixed that eliminated designs don’t exist to be in the consideration of health.


  10. ulahts Says:

    Good point BB.
    The entries eliminated should no longer considered as a part of the system.
    Other than that, really great point here guys!


  11. atrox Says:

    Nice new feature. just one thing, there are some contestst were the CH gives all his feedback on the main discussion board instead of private feedback. Also alot of contest holders don’t even know they can give feedback. So either you oblige them or let them know that there is a private feedback option. Becausethe current system doesn’t take mainpagefeedback into consideration.

    Take care!

  12. abm Says:

    I guess the idea is for Contest Holders to commit rather than put up a contest, get ideas and vanish.

    Maybe contest holders shld pay upfront, 99designs take care of the payments or refunds. That way, the number of ‘healthy’ contests shld increase and more designers will be happier.

    What are the chances that someone can get a logo or web design layout from after a contest, present it to their client, get paid and that’s it?

    Well, he/she/they may be caught a few years, decades down the line but the designer is out there in the cold.

    But this is a feature in the right direction.


  13. Rodney Says:

    There seems to be a small bug with the contest health.

    It is showing the message: “The contest holder has not logged in recently” when I (the contestholder) am actually logged in. I had left a comment less than 2 minutes prior, and it still shows the “CH has not logged in recently” message when you click on the Contest Health stats.

  14. snugbrimm Says:

    fantastic job! it’s simply incredible what you guys can do! i LOVE this new healthy, unhealthy thing. of course there are bugs that need to be fixed but even that you guys came up with something like that, and that it works good on the “beta” alone, is incredible. You guys just keep amazing me. One thing though that still hasn’t gotten fixed is the statuses of old contests in my watchlist and in my contests entered. it just shows a blank box for contests labeled anything other than “ended”. I don’t know if anyone else is experiencing that at all but i would think that to be an easy fix. Keep up the amazing work! I can’t wait to be amazed again!

  15. Createabit Says:

    I keep getting the following error when checking my messages, finding a contest, and looking at an entry.

    Error 503 Service Unavailable

    Error talking to backend
    Guru Meditation:

    XID: 1665258711

  16. sandman6665 Says:

    nice move again!

  17. Shannon Says:

    I hated when the new site was put up, I found it hard to navigate and overall just hard to use. But right now the site is better than ever, extremely easy to use and full of awesome tools to make the site even more interesting and helpful.

    This is just another one of those great tools.

    Good work everyone.

  18. 00ryan Says:

    Good thinking Bob!

  19. BombardierBob Says:

    I think 99designs has a problem, I just got on and noticed that the contest recent designs I uploaded are gone and all the feedback to them on not one but a couple contests and PM a friend and they noticed it as well. What is going on?


  20. snugbrimm Says:

    i was getting that exact same message as createabit when i would try to submit an entry. after trying it over and over it finally went through but now those 5 entries aren’t in the contest at all! so i tried to post 1 of them again and all of a sudden it showed that i submitted one of Sean Farrells designs for a completely different contest!!! maybe next time it will submit one of uhlats’ so i can actually win!

  21. I had the same issue, which I assume the 99designs people are working on. Looks like about 24 hours of information (submissions, votes, comments) are not live right now. Hopefully they can be restored and were not lost!

    Love the site though.

  22. Lyte Says:

    must be a database backup problem. I’m definitely curious on how the fix will happen.

  23. snugbrimm Says:

    i tried to post it in the discussion board that “99designs is clealy going through something crazy” and then right when i clicked submit comment it brought up your guys’, ever familiar, “sorry were working on something” page. Please maybe give us a warning or something of that nature before everything goes nuts? A contest will be ending in a few minutes and just because of these “intermissions” i’ve missed out on a few. at least with like a 15 or 10 minute warning i can know that i might have to enter my idea real quick, you know?

  24. Lyte Says:

    I’m pretty sure they didn’t do an intentional update around prime time hours. I think Palmateer™ broke it with his awesome designs. It never saw it coming.

  25. Paul Says:

    Hi, I leave all my feedback in the main page so my contest has gone unhealthy. It should take into account the main page as I am referencing the designs so it should know that I am talking about them. Thanks.

  26. Pete Says:

    Health badges look like a good concept to me – great work!

  27. pegatinas Says:

    I know of a contest holder that wants to end their contest early but does not know how. Can anyone help?

  28. sketcher69 Says:

    The health buttons are a great addition. Could that feature be added to the main page where the contests are listed? That way designers would know if the contest is even worth looking at.
    Also.. I really hope this ends the abandonment issues. Seems like lately any contest labeled “kids, easy, fun, cartoon” end with no winner.

  29. billgates Says:

    Hi, I’d like to know more about the abandoned contests… I entered two and they ended like almost a week ago… :(

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