Guaranteed prize contests

We are trialing a new type of contest called Guaranteed Contests. A guaranteed contest has had the prize paid in full to 99designs and the contest holder has guaranteed that they will award a winner. 99designs will pay the winner directly via a number of common payment methods (PayPal preferred).

You can tell a guaranteed contest by the “guaranteed” badge in the contest status bar, (check out the very first guaranteed contest for Destiny, 1445 entries and counting!). Initially we will be handling most of the details by hand, for instance contacting contest holders to arrange upgrading to a guaranteed contest and organizing the exchange of design and prize money via email, so we are keen to hear your feedback on what you would like to see to make this process easier.

Related articles:
Introducing your new “My contests” page
Introducing a new and improved browse contests page
Let’s celebrate! 99designs hits 200,000 contests
99designs community reaches 200,000 designers

Lachlan Donald
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37 Comments

  1. gandecruz

    :D :D i were waiting for destiny contest page to open up when i submit this message… great job on getting 5k prize for trialing guaranteed contest.. it’s turbo boosting 99designs.com quality :)

    Reply May 1, 2008 at 6:36 pm
  2. kroz

    There’s this contest for the logo of an international investment company called “Tilal” and it has the price of $1,500 up for grabs. It would be nice for this contest to be guaranteed also. :)

    But as for the Destiny Logo Contest, GREAT JOB guys! I’m sure a lot of the designers, including myself, who entered that contest was skeptical about it. Now we don’t have to worry about it anymore and just concentrate on generating the best designs possible. Thank you for this innovation and keep it up.

    Reply May 1, 2008 at 6:47 pm
  3. kroz

    this is a qoute from Omiron, the CH of the Tilal Logo Contest which is worth $1,500:

    “As far as I can tell, the staff at 99Designs were the ones to ask to hold the prize. As for myself, I am more than happy to do the same if and when asked.”

    So he’s just waiting to hear from 99designs to make his contest a “Guaranteed Price Contest”

    Reply May 2, 2008 at 12:00 am
  4. Nadia P

    Great to see the first ‘guaranteed contest’ !!

    What we now need to see is the same type of prize money being offered in the web design category,.

    Quoting from this ‘guaranteed’ contest:
    A designer asks:
    “why does $1k in logo-designs common this days?”

    reply from another designer in that contest:
    “that is because people are starting to realize how much these designs are truly worth.”

    At the moment, it seems that the prize for web design contests are actually going down not *up* which is very disappointing :-(

    Reply May 2, 2008 at 12:41 am
  5. kroz

    Will we be able to see the “Guaranteed Prize Contest” Badge on the Find a Contest List? if not, then maybe this is something that should be considered. :)

    @ Nadia:
    Nice to know someone actually thought my post was worth talking about. :P

    Reply May 2, 2008 at 1:15 am
  6. Lachlan Donald

    Geez kroz, give us some time to catch our breath :) Yes, you will see the guaranteed prize badge (and the fast track badge which you might notice around the place) in the find contest page soon, and hopefully there will be several more guaranteed contests over the next couple of days.

    Reply May 2, 2008 at 1:37 am
  7. kroz

    :) haha! nice to hear.

    Just keeping the feedbacks coming! :P

    Reply May 2, 2008 at 2:27 am
  8. snugbrimm

    I like it! I think you guys came up with a really good solution! I was gonna say that you guys should just make all contests “Guaranteed” or make it so they HAVE to pay you guys up front, but i think that once people start seeing that designers don’t even enter “non-guaranteed” contests, the real CH’s will just be forced to pay up front every time. This is a very good filtering system that, i think, will really boost the professionalism of this site.

    You guys are fantastic! I love your guys dilligence and ability to tackle the problems you’re faced with! Keep the improvements coming! I’m lovin’ it! (I’m not trying to rep McDonalds over here, although their Hot n’ Spicy McChickens are exceptionally tasty sandwiches!)

    Reply May 2, 2008 at 3:32 am
  9. createabit

    I really like this too! Great work. I have to agree with a previous comment about the design contest. The prize amounts seem to be getting lower and the CH’s are asking for more work with the lower prize amount.

    Plus there has been a few that started out wanting a coded website, then changed to uncoded design, and in the final day comments as to who can provide the back end work (coding) would win. Seems unfair to me. But just my opinion.

    Another trend I noticed is the lack of feedback. It has gotten worse over the past couple of weeks.

    I don’t know how to solve the above issues.

    You guys have done fantastic work.

    Thanks so much.

    Reply May 2, 2008 at 11:39 am
  10. createabit

    In the design contest listings there are a few contest listed that have already been won or the contest has been withdrawn. This has been a continuing bug.

    Reply May 2, 2008 at 11:40 am
  11. Yazeed

    Please add a way to filter contests according to their properties, Guaranteed prizes, or a column under Find a Contest along with “Contest Title, Contest, Holder, Created, Ends, Entries, and Prize”

    Reply May 2, 2008 at 4:25 pm
  12. sandman6665

    I just have to say that the guaranteed prize option is a very great move by 99designs, that way, no designer’s effort would be put to waste by abandoned contests and missing CH’s.

    Of course, that move doesn’t just protect the designers, but the CH’s as well… with a guaranteed prize money, they can expect more entries and a really tough competition.

    99designs clearly sees the value of its designers, and I’m just so glad to be a part of it.. Keep it coming.. :)

    Reply May 2, 2008 at 4:52 pm
  13. Lachlan Donald

    We have another guaranteed contest: http://99designs.com/contests/6989

    Createabit: any examples? there is a window of time during which ended entries are shown on that list, but it shouldn’t be more than an hour or two.

    Reply May 2, 2008 at 5:31 pm
  14. createabit

    Hello Lachlan,

    Here are 4 examples:

    contests/6854

    contests/6863

    contests/6963

    contests/6981

    Reply May 2, 2008 at 5:53 pm
  15. createabit

    For the contest holders form, could you add more than one form of payment? The reason I ask, is because a contest holder had payment by credit card and when I asked if they would consider PayPal, this is the response I received:

    “99 only offers us a single choice sorry about that folks”.

    Would multiple forms of payment be difficult to add to the information contest holders fill out?

    Thanks guys :)

    Reply May 3, 2008 at 2:18 am
  16. Jcontrereas

    Great news guys!
    guaranteed prize contests.. WOW!
    99 designs is only getting better…
    Keep up the good work!

    Reply May 3, 2008 at 3:06 am
  17. Lachlan Donald

    createabit: The CH can check as many payment options as they like

    Reply May 3, 2008 at 10:43 am
  18. createabit

    Thank you Lachlan for the info. Just passing on the info the contest holder gave me.

    You guys are great. The first guaranteed uncoded web design contest looks great. He even made a YouTube video for his brief. It was great.

    Thanks to the whole team. :)

    Reply May 3, 2008 at 11:10 am
  19. lanabells

    is there any reason why they can’t all be made guaranteed prizes? (more financial work for 99 designs – taking in and paying out of course).
    I just think the whole concept of people using it as a generation for free ideas is not great. there are some very talented designers on here who deserve to be rewarded for their work.
    (i actually didn’t realise the CH did not have to award a prize until the jewellery one abandaned the other day and it appears a couple of others I’ve entered have done the same – total waste of time and effort).

    Reply May 5, 2008 at 12:10 am
  20. mr.az

    It is good.

    But it should be necessary that not only paypal method
    should be used as many country does not have paypal system. Western union should also be use

    Reply May 5, 2008 at 1:00 am
  21. Nadia P

    From a post by a contest holder:

    “…. I thought it was 150 minimum to create a contest not per page.”

    You really should bring back the guidelines page that points out the minimum pricing.(which should be updated :-) At the moment, we can’t point a CH to a pricing page if they are ‘underpaying’ a contest.

    Reply May 6, 2008 at 12:43 am
  22. Createabit

    Please bring back to guideline. I love the comments I got from the one contest holder who wants a logo and coded website for $150.00 when I said that amount was too low. I was told to quit whining. I wasn’t whining I was stating a fact.

    Also I need help. I entered contest number 6970 for Union uncoded website this weekend and my entry is no longer there. I didn’t withdraw it. My comments are still there and the contest holder wanted to know what happened to my entry. I have no idea. Now if I re-enter the same entry, several of the other designers will think I copied their ideas when in fact my entry was the second in the contest.

    Any ideas?

    Thanks!

    Reply May 6, 2008 at 1:16 am
  23. Rodney

    As a CH, I love the idea of Guaranteed Prizes and I like snugbrimm’s thought of toying with the idea of making everything “guaranteed”.

    If I was a designer, I would love to know that there would be a “guaranteed” winner and that the CH couldn’t just say “no thanks to everything” and move on.

    After I saw the Destiny contest become guaranteed, I knew it would be a good move for the site.

    So my suggestions are:

    - automate the process for CH so they can purchase it as an upgrade/upsell during the contest launching process.

    - allow for a contest to be upgraded from the contest page or the brief page with a few clicks.

    - maybe add a “verified” type seal to the CH profile who does a Guaranteed Contest (or maybe a small icon next to their name or avatar). It might give the CH more credibility to know that they offer Guaranteed Contests.

    Reply May 6, 2008 at 4:36 am
  24. createabit

    I need someone’s advice. Where on 99 Designs to I go to get help in payment from a CH. I was declared the Winner for MaxStaff webpage design run by Activated Marketing almost a month ago. They were having problems with the logo from another contest and the CH told me 3 weeks ago that we would finish up on the next 2 pages within the week. 3 weeks later, contest holder doesn’t reply to my emails, doesn’t return my phone calls, and cannot get in touch with anyone at Activated Marketing. What can I do?

    Thanks!

    Reply May 6, 2008 at 6:32 am
  25. BombardierBob

    I want to jump on the band wagon and say it is good to hear that their is a system up to stop the abandonments from happening. Just think you need to post it up somewhere besides here that what do all the new tag badges mean. I seen the guarantee badge but what is Fast Track badge?

    Next to do is post up the report message button and or, put back up the option to hide a comment like the old site had. Also might want to re-approach the guidelines and rules to have it set up that compliments or promoting of one design should be made via private to only the designer and not the host. Also suggestion is informing your host/clients that they need to provide feedback in on form or another so designers are not waisting time speculating.

    Still good to see that you have the new system just like to know what all the new badges, bells & whistles are on here!

    ~Bob

    Reply May 6, 2008 at 7:18 am
  26. Lachlan Donald

    Thanks for the feedback guys, over the next couple of weeks we will be better integrating the guaranteed contest process into the site (along with some other neat improvements).

    We have two new guaranteed contest:
    Logo for a niche online directory – http://99designs.com/contests/7085
    Logo needed for webbased scheduling tool – http://99designs.com/contests/7095

    Guys, please hold off on the support requests in here, I am going to delete any comments not related to the post to keep the noise down. Email us! support@99designs.com.

    Reply May 6, 2008 at 10:47 am
  27. Nadia P

    May be an idea to set up a new archive for support requests – it’s hard not knowing which thread to attach such a message to :-)

    PS: Lachlan, did you see my post about FF crashing in the other thread (awaiting moderation it apears)….

    Reply May 6, 2008 at 1:15 pm
  28. Rodney

    Hi Nadia…just a heads up. 99designs has a form on their site for bug reports here:
    http://99designs.com/contact

    I submitted a bug via that form and they got back to me within 24 hours.

    It may be better to submit a support request directly via their form instead of in blog comments.

    Reply May 6, 2008 at 2:22 pm
  29. Nadia P

    Thanks Rodney :-)I’ve gone that route when needed, but was thinking more along the lines of a specific post/thread where designers can post support /suggestions/feedback type comments, much easier to keep track of instead of ‘making too much noise’ in other non-related posts.

    Reply May 6, 2008 at 8:45 pm
  30. snugbrimm

    Real quick i just wanted to throw an idea out about the “guaranteed” contests. make the CH’s pay MORE for NOT “guaranteeing” their contests or propose a special discount of some sort or something if they DO “guarantee” their contest.

    Reply May 7, 2008 at 4:59 am
  31. Gandecruz

    snugbrimm Says:
    May 7, 2008 at 4:59 am

    Real quick i just wanted to throw an idea out about the “guaranteed” contests. make the CH’s pay MORE for NOT “guaranteeing” their contests..

    it’s more reason for CH to RUN AWAY :D

    Reply May 8, 2008 at 1:34 am
  32. Terry Bogard

    Finally, after so many frustrating moments we come to a more secure conclusion. I’m just wondering..would it cost the CH more to conduct a guaranteed contest? or its the same process except for the fact that 99 will act a middleman for the prize??

    Reply May 8, 2008 at 2:26 pm
  33. Debra

    I say yay!

    I currently have 4 “deadbeat” contests that I have entered on my list. Maybe this will act as a head’s up.

    Reply May 9, 2008 at 10:57 am
  34. pegatinas

    I know a contest holder that does not know how to guarantee their contest. Is there a button or do they have to contact 99Designs directly?

    Reply May 26, 2008 at 7:49 am
  35. Paul Annesley

    pegatinas: During the trial of guaranteed contests, we were getting contest holders to contact us directly to get their contest pre-paid and guaranteed. The trial is now officially over (and deemed successful), although we may make some exceptions and guarantee some more high-prize contests.

    We are now building the system to automate the process, and expect it to be launched within a week. After that, you can expect to see many more guaranteed contests!

    Reply May 26, 2008 at 11:05 am
  36. BombardierBob

    How long does it take for you to pay a winning entry? Only asking cause I won a contest under this today and now what should I expect?

    ~Bob

    Reply June 3, 2008 at 1:32 am

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