Part of the explanation appears to be that many more designers submit designs for logos -- they're probably much less work -- and payouts tend to be about half the payout for a website design, so designers opt for the logo projects.
One approach to designing a successful project:
If you sort the webpage designs by the number of designs that were submitted, you can find projects that received more designs than projects that offered to pay more. Sometimes these high-marketing / low-cost projects beat out projects offering to pay nearly 3x as much! These disproportionately successful projects suggest a few takeaways:
- Tell designers that there's a possibility of ongoing work in the 2nd line of the project description
- Projects that get lots of designs often offer a high payout but don't guarantee the project. Some of the projects that do guarantee a payout didn't get many designs. There doesn't seem to be a clear association between guaranteeing a project payout and the number of designs submitted.
- Making the project "blind" -- ie designers can't see what other designers have submitted -- doesn't appear to be correlated with the number of design submissions.
Here's what I'm going to do in the future:
- Make an effort to "sell" the project, both by describing how tricky a project it is, and by approaching designers directly and asking them to take a crack at it (see the tips in the links at the bottom of this post).
- Don't buy separate logo and webpage design projects for the same website.
- Give feedback to everyone, even if you only give personalized feedback to the folks whose designs you like. My guess is that designers look at whether or not a contest-buyer gives feedback to everyone before they decide which sites to design
- Avoid the "blind contest" option like the plague. I understand that designers love it, because it prevents less talented designers from stealing their best ideas. However, as the buyer, I kind of like designers riffing on other peoples designs. You probably get more designs overall, and more of them are going to be appealing. Plus, (granted with only two data points) I had about 1/10th the number of designs submitted in my "blind" contest.
Other tips for 99Designs Contests: