Open letter to the South African Blog Awards organisers

by Jeanne on September 30, 2010

in South African blog awards

Dear SA Blog Awards organisers,

Firstly we would like to thank the organisers of the SA Blog Awards 2010 for doing what by all accounts is a thankless job. Whatever gripes any of us may have with the organisers, the process, the outcome or the ceremony, nobody can deny that there is considerable effort that goes into arranging and running this type of competition. Rather than hang about and wish that South Africa had an award to rival the Bloggies, these guys actually get up and do the work to make the awards happen. Secondly we would like to congratulate all the category winners in this year's awards. Blogging is a lonely and sometimes frustrating hobby and it is a great feeling to be recognised by your peer group for this thing that you put so much time and effort into and that has your family shaking their heads in incomprehension. Whether or not one agrees with the choices, we all need to realise that the winners are not to blame for the judging/voting process and any criticism of the process should not be taken in any way to belittle the achievement of the winners – well done to you all.

We have been blogging since shortly after the Middle Ages (or so it feels sometimes!) and have been keen supporters of the SA Blog Awards from the outset. Between us, we have been winners, finalists and runners-up, and have sponsored prizes. With any award, there will always be a certain amount of controversy about the process for choosing the winners, and the winners themselves. But it seems that the grumbles that have followed the awards in previous years have reached a crescendo this year and distressingly, a lot of the "suck it up and go away" comments are coming from category winners, while a lot of the harshest criticism is coming from those who did not make the finals. The danger is that the criticism is seen purely as sour grapes and not taken seriously, so as runners-up (podium finishers, as somebody put it on Saturday!) we felt compelled to write this letter.

At the risk of sounding lawyerly, we are great believers in the fact that justice must not only be done, it must be seen to be done, and much of the commentary that follows is based on this motto. The organisers may have been 100% happy in their own minds that the process was fair, but on many levels that's not how it appeared to voters and nominees – and appearances do in fact count. And because there is nothing we like less than people shouting criticisms from the sidelines without making helpful suggestions, we have suggested ways in which we think things could be improved.

1. RULE CHANGES

When the rules originally went up, each e-mail address could only nominate and vote once. But somewhere between that day and the day that voting started, the rules were changed to allow voting once every 24 hours. There is absolutely no excuse for changing the rules once they have been put up. It creates an unprofessional impression and makes people wonder what else is being changed behind the scenes.

SUGGESTION: if you want to change the rules that have already been published, then wait till next year's competition! Changing the rules after they have been published is a sure-fire way to upset all and sundry.

2. THE VOTING PROCESS

One of the biggest gripes was that each e-mail address was allowed to vote every 24 hours over a period of three weeks. The argument from the organisers is that this benefited people who post regularly and "highlighted" those who have lots of loyal readers. Wrong. Despite the fact that both of us DO post regularly and DO have lots of loyal readers, we both feel that all that the multiple vote system meant was that each and every shortlisted blogger managed to annoy the hell out of their friends, family and readers by bombarding them with daily requests for votes via e-mail, Facebook and Twitter. Obviously this was not compulsory, but as soon as the first blog did it, others had to follow or risk being defeated by an aggressive marketing campaign. It did NOT force people to post more often and it did not drive traffic to blogs – all it did was force bloggers to trawl for votes on social media sites to try and keep up with the competition, and forced hundreds (if not thousands) of people to visit the Awards site daily. Which made everybody wonder what sort of per-click ad revenue the Awards site might be getting from all this…

SUGGESTION: the way to weed out blogs who do not post regularly is to set a minimum number of posts per month over the past 6 months or similar. And the way to find out who has lots of traffic and loyal readers is to make Alexa traffic stats and FaceBook/Twitter followers a mandatory criterion for judging. The 24-hour voting rule did nothing to improve the quality of SA blogs or blogging – it just turned us all into vote-whores. Please don't use it again.

3. THE JUDGES AND JUDGING PROCESS

Much has been said about how the voting turned into a popularity contest, and how the judging was too subjective (and erratic). We feel strongly that both components are necessary: some sort of public vote is needed because taking note of a blog's popularity should be a criterion. But some sort of judging process is also needed, if for no other reason than to make sure that blogs fit in their category and adhere to the criteria for being nominated; and to make sure that the entire process does not solely hinge on popularity but also on some judgement of quality. The main criticisms of the judges were that their qualifications/expertise to judge were not immediately obvious; and that the criteria they applied were not clearly defined or publicised (the first mention of the criteria came only after the event, as the Awards organisers moved to defend themselves against criticism). 

SUGGESTIONS:

a) Would it be too much to ask that beside each judge's name there is a one-line bio as to who they are and what their field is? Seeing that "Joe Bloggs" is judging my category does not fill me with hope. Seeing that "Joe Bloggs – Head of new media communications at Woolworths" or similar is far more reassuring.

b) Publicise the criteria right from the start (e.g. reader stats, site usability, content, frequency of blogging, reader interaction), not only to the judges but also to the contestants.

c) Make the judges write a one-line reason as to why they chose one blog over another ("good design but posts too infrequently", or "great content but no search function and no About page" – whatever takes their fancy) and publicise this when the results are announced. It may take a little more time, but if each judge only looks at one category, that would still only have been 10 lines to write.

d) Allow the top 10 finalists in each category to rate the blogs in their own category (excluding their own blog). That way nobody can accuse the judges of knowing nothing about blogging – it will be a jury of their peers! The final tally can be weighted, say, 70% public vote, 15% peer judging and 15% official judging. All you need is one good spreadsheet for all judges to enter their scores and it should be able to calculate the final results instantly as the scores come in. Anybody reasonably proficient in Excel should be able to set this up. The Does My blog Look Good in This food photo contest runs every month with 50+ entries and at least 5 judges inputting scores in three categories for each photo into a spreadsheet, generating fair and universally accepted results. So it can be done…

e) To prevent the same people winning year after year, make each category winner a judge for their category the following year and therefore ineligible to enter the competition for one year after their win, but free to enter again in 2 years time. 

4. COMMUNICATION WITH CONTESTANTS

From the perspective of a contestant we have to say that the communication with contestants was pretty shocking. (People complained that the announcement was made only on Twitter but we can't get excited about that. Folks, in previous years it was not even made on Twitter! You just found out about it via the grapevine, so no real change there !). Our major gripe was that, despite registering on the site very early on so that our correct details were on file with the Awards organisers, communication was not very forthcoming and often long after a public announcement had been made. Again – not the way to project a professional image! The rules stated that the top 10 finalists would be notified ahead of a public announcement whether or not their blogs had made it, but this was not the case. I (Jeanne) kept checking for an e-mail that never came and eventually wandered over to the Awards site where I found I was in fact a finalist. I think the e-mail finally turned up 2 days later. After the final 2 in each category were announced, mail went out to the 10 nominees saying that the voting had closed and if they did not receive a further communication then they had not made the cut – leaving people guessing. Despite receiving this mail and seeing that I was a finalist, no further correspondence was forthcoming. I could not understand why, as a finalist, I did not get an invitation to the ceremony. Finally I contacted Chris Rawlinson and searched my spam folder where I found a pre-invitation mail. According to this, I was a finalist but if I did not respond to this pre-invitation mail saying I was likely to attend, I wasn't even going to receive an invitation to display on my mantelpiece. Nothing like that to make you feel warm, fuzzy and special.

SUGGESTIONS:

a) If you say you will notify people in advance of a public announcement, then make sure that you do so, even if it means delaying the announcement by a day until you have sent out all your e-mails.

b) How hard can it be to send slightly less generic e-mails to those who did not make the final two, thanking them for participating and telling them they have not made the cut, rather than leaving them waiting for some other notification that they might have gone through (and which might end up in their spam folder!). Communicating information by saying nothing is never a good idea. I know that would have meant a fair-sized mailshot, but surely not insurmountable?

c) Having to pretty much RSVP before you even get an invitation is needlessly complicated and gives the impression that organisers are secretly hoping you won't attend. Just send invitations to ALL the finalists!

5. PRIZES & THE AWARDS CEREMONY

There has been much grumbling about the organisers' decision to change from previous years' format and not to invite all top-10 finalists to the awards ceremony; and about the mystery of more sponsors but fewer prizes this year. As the chances of my (Jeanne's) ever attending an SA Blog Awards ceremony seem very slim (!), I do not have strong feelings about the format. However, if part of the stated aims of the SA Blog Awards is to promote blogging in SA and presumably networking between bloggers to create a stronger and more vibrant community, then surely a more inclusive ceremony might be better? As for the prizes, if you look at the amount of bitching and nastiness that has accompanied these awards where people were competing for nothing, can you imagine how much worse it will be if there are cash prizes involved? The point of the awards is not to benefit from them financially – it is to promote good blogging in South Africa and for bloggers to feel recognised and appreciated by their peers. We say return to the days when the prize was a token R20,10 (or R20,11 next year!).

SUGGESTIONS: 

a) Seeing as there can only be a very small number of winners, attending the awards ceremony is the highlight of the event for the majority of participants. So why not include as many people as possible? Limit the numbers with a strict 2 persons per invite rule, and invite ALL the top 10 finalists. Not all of them will come, and the organisers get to look magnanimous. Set a limit on the bar tab if that's the worry.

b) Instead of using sponsor money to fund prizes, use it to fund the awards ceremony. Yes, this will irk some people who are not able to attend the awards, but handing out prizes just gives everybody something more to bitch about.

6. BEST BLOG

There is no way that you can meaningfully say "this is the best blog in South Africa" – or any country for that matter. Other than the obvious ones like traffic stats and frequency of posting, a food blog, a politics blog and a lifestyle blog have different criteria for determining quality of content. Comparing them is unfair and bound to lead to unhappiness and a result that nobody can ever agree on.

SUGGESTION:

Just drop this category. It serves no purpose other than to generate controversy. Having a category winner in each of the categories is plenty, and a far fairer comparison of like with like.

7.  PAST WINNERS/FINALISTS ON THE WEBSITE

Before the site redesign for this year's awards, there used to be links available to pages listing finalists and winners all the way back to the first awards in 2005.  Now, these have all disappeared, except for the 2009 winners.  This year the top 10 finalists in each category were only visible until the winners were announced and now only the winners are listed.  This is not great for the morale of the finalists (who are, by definition, the majority of bloggers who took part).  It is as if the message is "if you didn't win, you don't count". Surely this is not exactly going to promote any sort of community feeling among bloggers in South Africa but will more likely exacerbate the current us/them, winner/loser mentality?

SUGGESTION:

You've paid for the shiny www.sablogawards.com domain.  Adding a few pages of pure text will not be kill you cost-wise or effort-wise.  Why not add a page for each year of the awards, simply listing the category finalists and winners, just like you have done for 2009.  Spread the awards love around.

We hope that organisers and contestants alike will take the points that we have raised in the spirit of constructive criticism in which they were intended and give some thought to them before this competition runs again.  We continue to support the awards and believe that they give bloggers in South Africa a chance to be recognised by their peers (seeing as international blog awards seem to think Africa stops approximately at Egypt!), but we truly hope that future awards can be less about controversy/sponsors/prizes/complaints and more about blogging.

Bloggers are already a tiny lunatic fringe… umm, I mean minority in South Africa. If we can't even have one awards ceremony a year and be civil to each other, then how on earth do the Awards work in raising the profile of SA blogging? We just look like a playground full of petulant children throwing sand at each other, and that's generally not seen as a good look.

Once again, thank you to the organisers for their efforts, congratulations to all the top 10 finalists, and happy blogging to all.

Jeanne (http://www.cooksister.com) & Tertia (http://www.tertia.org/)

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{ 22 comments… read them below or add one }

barbara October 1, 2010 at 1:09 am

This is excellent Jeanne. I don’t participate or vote in any awards for many of the reasons you discuss. The ability to vote once every 24 hours from a single email address says more about how many email accounts you have and how many people you know rather than how good your blog is.
I like how you have offered ideas for improving the SA Awards. Hopefully others with take them up also.

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nina October 1, 2010 at 4:25 am

Well done Jeanne, I secomd this totally. I have just 1 more thought. If you take Alexa rankings into account, does that not reflect the public vote already? You would not have good fankings if it was not for your popularity with the public!

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Blackdelilah October 1, 2010 at 6:03 am

Well said! As a fellow blogger & participant in the voting “process” I finally gave up and lost interest for all the reasons you stated. Let’s hope that the organisers actually read this and other posts…

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Barbara October 1, 2010 at 6:14 am

Well thought out and written! Hopefully they will take on board your excellent suggestions.

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Rosemary October 1, 2010 at 6:57 am

This is a great post – I have really enjoyed reading your comments and suggestions. Well written and perfectly clear. Let’s hope SA Blog Awards take all your suggestions under consideration, to make a great idea (the awards) into a great and credible event.

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Michelle @ Greedy Gourmet October 1, 2010 at 7:34 am

You said it! I know I got a nomination or two but after seeing what I had to do to win (begging) I said a big fat NO and went my merry way. Now let me carry on with my skipping. *tralaaalaalalaaaa*

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Marisa October 1, 2010 at 8:16 am

EXCELLENT post Jeanne & Tertia. The suggestions you make are a big improvement over the current system and I really hope the organisers take it into account for next year’s awards. The Blog awards have so much potential, but unfortunately I don’t think it came close to being realised this year.

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Tandy October 1, 2010 at 8:45 am

This is the first year I have blogged and so my first experience with the awards. What really got to me, is that this award has put people off voting for other awards. I hope your letter is read and that your suggestions are taken on board. Have a great weekend :)

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Chris Rawlinson October 1, 2010 at 9:22 am

Read and taken on board, Thanks for the letter and would love to organise a meet up and go through it, you make some good points. Will be in touch, and have a stunning weekend. Chris

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Colleen October 1, 2010 at 9:50 am

Wild applause from the cheap seats!!! Very well thought out and written letter Tertia and Jeanne. Well done. I personally chose not to go ahead with the award process even though I was nominated….and as I have read all the controversy I was so glad that I chose as I did. And it is grand that those who count are reading and appreciating what you have to say! Good on you Chris! Have a grand weekend ladies xx

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saaleha October 1, 2010 at 11:10 am

This is really cogent.

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Charlotte October 1, 2010 at 11:50 am

Very well said. I voted, but lost interest in voting every day. Why? Seemed like a totally pointless waste of time to me, which meant that some of my favourite bloggers suffered.
Fix it up, guys, or lose your credibility with the bloggers.

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Aslam Levy October 1, 2010 at 11:53 am

Well worded post.
Chris, please respond to Jeanne’s suggestions on a post viable online.
I do beleive that the awards can be saved, but action needs to be taken soon.
Thanks

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Chris von Ulmenstein October 1, 2010 at 12:06 pm

Well done for the very balanced analytical “review” of the SA Blog Awards 2010 Jeanne.
This is what I wrote on Sunday, and I am still waiting for any of the organisers to respond, even warning JP Naude the night before that the blog post was coming: http://www.whalecottage.com/blog/cape-town/sa-blog-awards-2010-have-devalued-sa-blogging/
Chris (the other – controversial- one)

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nina October 1, 2010 at 12:08 pm

I look at the time I posted my comment and it can somehow explain all the typos!!! I appologize!

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Rob. Gobey October 1, 2010 at 12:43 pm

Excellent post – I truly hope the organisers take note and the changes are put forth next year. Well thought out and clear and unemotional.
Sadly, as unique as we are, our community does tend to lean towards the adage you can’t please everyone all the time, perhaps this is what makes us unique? You just have to look at Letterdash’s platform to see the infighting and disharmony on a regular basis. Too often those that are the loudest protesters are those who are protesting emotionally and selfishly without looking at the bigger picture.
This comment is not intended to detract from your excellent post, I wholeheartedly concur with what you are putting forth, but it is more of a comment on blogging society in general and one wonders if they will ever change? The question is .. even if the Organisers effected the changes, would the Society be satisfied?
Just a thought
Have an awesome day

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SABFact October 1, 2010 at 12:55 pm

Some of your points are valid and should be taken into consideration but here are some things I would like to add.
You don’t like the voting every 24hours but you want to take alexa, twitter and facebook into account.
Alexa is not a very accurate system to base ratings on, maybe if you understood how alexa works then you would change your opinion.
Alexa ranks your site based on many factors but the larges factor being how many people browse your website with the alexa plug-in installed.
Not many people know about the plug-in, so not many have it.
Alexa Ranks
1. Simply Delicious – 616
2. My Easy Cooking – 755
3. JamieWho – 2720
4. Cooksister – 3160
Facebook and Twitter
Facebook and Twitter are the worst, I could open a Facebook account today and by the end of the day have 1000’s of “Friends” So many people I know add random people just to say “hey I have 3000 friends.”
I personally hate social networks and don’t even have twitter I also check my Facebook maybe once every 4 months. Does this make people with accounts better than me?
Facebook is also not the only social network out there, what if I prefer Google Buzz or MySpace must the judges take all these factors into account?
I am not sure why the voting was change from a single vote to voting every 24 hours but this is what I think.
In the nomination stages the organisers could clearly see the winners in each category based on 1 vote per user. When all you need is one vote from a user you will contact every Uncle Bob and Aunty Bettie to get as many people you ever met to vote. Joe Nobody who you met at a club last week may give you his one vote. But I can promise you now he is not going to come back every 24 hours to cast anymore votes. I don’t think this is the best process to use but I do think it works out better then only one vote.
Allowing the top 10 finalists to vote for another blog in that category? You find fault in everything the organisers did but you don’t find fault in that statement? Ok well this is a really bad idea due to the fact that a lot of the bloggers are friends so they will vote for a friend making it a popularity contest again. It could also land up making the worst blog win, why would you cast your vote for someone that has a great blog when you can cast it for a bad blog giving you more chance of winning. So 9 votes go to blah.com coz everyone thinks they can win against them….
I love how you suggest the winners this year should not be allowed next year, I think it is a good idea but I love how you say it now when you didn’t win after winning what 5 years in a row now?
Communication between the organisers and the bloggers was bad and really needs to be looked at in future awards, so yes this is a good point.
People need to realise that when you have a competition it will almost always be surrounded with negativity and people that think they can do it better. If you think you can do it better then do it and if you think the awards suck then don’t enter. What needs to stop is all the complaining the awards are over people move on let the winners do their little dances.
I would also like to know what the people are on about that are complaining that the sa blog awards was a popularity contest….
IT IS A POPULARITY CONTEST
I guess you guys that think it’s not also think Idols is not a popularity contest.
This was not an attack directed at Cooksister it is meant for all that have an opinion.

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Jeanne @ CookSister! October 1, 2010 at 2:09 pm

@Barbara – thanks. The 24-hour voting system is probably the one thing that annoyed people the most. I can see there are arguments for and against it, but readers just got annoyed with the constant requests and from a personal point of view, I would like to see it scrapped. And I am inveterate maker of suggestions for improvement ;-)
@Nina – I think the public should have a direct say as well, but I am still undecided whether this should be at nomination stage only, or at nominations and subsequent voting. As another commenter points out, Alexa (and indeed any ranking system) is not perfect so it can’t be the only yardstick of public opinion. (and don’t worry about the typos!!)
@Barbara, @BlackDelilah @HomemadeHeaven @Rosemary @Michelle @Marisa – thanks for your support. I also hope that changes can be made next year so that there can be more focus on blogs and blogging, and less on the process and complaining. I want to feel part of a community, not a combatant in a war zone!
@Tandy – I think that the advent of social media platforms like Twitter and Facebook have made the whole vote-whoring thing worse. In previous years, you’d have the link on your site and ask readers, and maybe mail family, to vote but now with each award that comes round (currently Project Foodblog) half your Twitter feed and FB wall is taken up with requests to vote, often repeatedly! I think you are right and readers are getting voter fatigue… :o)
@Chris – thanks for taking the time to read & respond. I look forward to our chat when we both have more time.
@Colleen – thanks, angel! You know how much I value your support.
@Saaleha – by far my favourite comment :) I don’t care if people agree or disagree but I’m thrilled if what I wrote makes sense!
@Charlotte – well said, and I suspect you were not alone.
@Aslam – thanks. I will definitely report back on Chris R’s responses as and when we get to chat.
@Chris – thanks. This is about as controversial as it gets here at CookSister HQ – I usually leave it to the professionals ;-)
@Rob – thanks for your thoughful comment. I am constantly struck by the amount of infighting in the blogging world (and on Twitter!). Am I naive, or can’t we sometimes just try to get along?! It’s exhausting and energy-sapping to be constantly at war with each other…
@SABFact – thanks for taking the time to write such a long and obviously heartfelt comment. Just a pity you felt the need to make such forthright statements without revealing your name. C’mon – fair’s fair – my name is up there for all to see, why not have as much courage in your convictions?
At no point was I comparing the ACCURACY of once-per-day voting and Alexa etc. Neither method is accurate in any sort of scientific sense. The best you can hope for is to get a flavour of a blog’s popularity, whether by public vote or looking at selected ranking sites. I said (and still maintain) that from a personal point of view the 24-hour vote rule was an unnecessary annoyance to my readers, friends and family, and that we should look for an alternative. I’m afraid you are way ahead of me in understanding the workings of Alexa but fair point if that’s the case. I’m sorry to hear you hate social media. No, it does not make your blog (I am presuming you have one, given the vehemence of your argument?) worse than mine, but again, it does not give you some sort of moral high ground either. I never intended for FB or Twitter to be the ONLY yardsticks to consider in measuring a blog’s popularity – they are merely the ones I know best and came to mind first as illustrations. Of course judges could choose to look at GoogleBuzz or Myspace, but presumably you hate and avoid those too?
I think the chances of some random person you have met once voting for your blog are close to nil, and the chances of a blogger having an army of such randoms to call upon to vote for them, enough to sway the results, is smaller than my chances of winning the Lotto. So sorry, but I still think the 24-hour vote rule should be reconsidered. Even if you only allow one vote per e-mail address, the blogs with the most regular readers are STILL going to come out on top, because the regular readers will be the only ones who notice your “vote for me” badge; and the ones who can be bothered to click on it. For example, my post might get thousands of hits in a day from a listing on Foodgawker, but these hits are people just looking at pretty pictures. They will not go to the hassle of clicking on a link, voting, and then clicking on a second link in an email.
Re. allowing nominees to vote in their own category – I really cannot get excited about this. Do people really sit and plot this sort of strategic voting, when there isn’t even a financial reward at the end of it?? Wow. It also presupposes a degree of co-operation among the other 9 finalists that I think has clearly been shown to be lacking by all the bitchiness following the awards :o). On a lighter note, if you scrapped the 24-hour vote rule, you could minimise this effect because each plotter would only be able to cast one vote strategically ;-) Serously though, if it would increase public confidence in the process then by all means, stop the nominees voting in their own category. But if there really are plotters out there as determined as you suggest, surely they will just ask all their friends & readers to vote strategically on their behalf??
Re. previous winners being judges – yes, I have won. Four times, to be precise, and I am proud of it. You may want to check your facts though – I was runner up to the lovely & talented Sophia Lindop in 2007, so I’m afraid my perfect run was besmirched ;-) And not a word of complaint escaped my lips then. The reason why I am saying something now is that the SA Blogosphere just seems to me to be an increasingly fragmented and cliquey place full of angry people with no filter between their brain and keyboard, and I don’t like it. I get the distinct feeling that the big elephant in the room this year is that the awards organisers were keen to see some new blood winning awards and a lot of the procedural faffing that went on was engineered to achieve this. I think it would be a far better idea to be honest and say “you won this year, you can’t enter next year, just to give the newbies a chance”. And I really do believe that making past winners judge their category can only be a good thing.
At no point have I said that the awards suck. I have always and do still support the idea of the awards – I just want them to be conducted in a more transparent and less shambolic way next year. I am happy to help in any way that I can (the organisers know where I am!) but no, I am afraid I will not be taking over the awards or running a rebel awards ceremony any time soon. I have a day job and there are others far more qualified.
And yes, I agree – there is no way that the awards (or any blog awards) can get away from being a popularity contest and it is naive or people to think otherwise. Blogging is a public activity, so what the public thinks of your blog is a vital component of the adjudication process. The judges are over a barrel here: if they have a purely judged competition, the public will clamour for a say and call the awards elitist and unfair. If they have a competition based purely on the public vote, then everyone says it’s unfair because it is a popularity contest allowing blogs of questionable quality to win. I think the awards organisers are on the right track, combining the vote with a judging process. All they need to sort out is far clearer and well-publicised criteria, and judges that have more credibility within the blogging community.

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Acrazymonkey October 1, 2010 at 2:43 pm

I agree with all your points…except for one:
“And the way to find out who has lots of traffic and loyal readers is to make Alexa traffic stats and FaceBook/Twitter followers a mandatory criterion for judging.”
These are VERY bad criteria to go by. Please give me a moment to explain. Firstly, Alexa stats are seriously flawed. Only people with Alexa toolbars installed will affect your ranking. If you ONLY drive SA related traffic to your site, then the majority of your visitors will not have Alexa toolbars (comcast). I have driven 8500+ UNIQUE visitors (95% SA visitors) to my site last month during the awards and my Alexa rank is still lower than 2 Million! Some sites like 2oceans easily have a high alexa rank because half – or even more – of its visitors are outside South Africa.This is the S.A Blog Awards. Not the U.K or U.S blog awards. Catch my drift?
As for Twitter….well…do you really think a great blogger has to have thousands of followers or even have a twitter account in order to be seen as a fantastic content producer. I don’t think so.

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SABFact October 1, 2010 at 3:50 pm

Me again :)
I don’t see how posting my name is john and I disagree with what you have to say makes things fair. Awesome you now know my name lets throw a party :)
Anyway, my post above was not an attack directed at you it was a post for all to read. I have seen this same post on hundreds of other bloggers sites that are upset they did not win and I chose yours to reply on.
At the end of the day nothing can be changed to make everyone happy, Oprah could run the SA Blog Awards tomorrow and put millions into making sure it runs flawlessly and you would still have people complaining. What makes it worse is the complaining from respected people such as yourself, I can understand when its the little 17 year old girl crying because her blog about how she got such a nice tan didn’t win anything but come now. Are we not mature enough to leave all this pettiness off out blogs and off twitter. The first thing someone said on her twitter after losing was “I was robbed” don’t you think thats a bit childish? Another person said “OMG my blog is so much better then the F***ing blog that won”.
The blogging community needs to stand together and support one another, this is what makes it a community. If someone else won maybe its really because they have a great blog, you could possibly learn something from them which is what a community should be doing. All this fighting just creates tension between everyone and noone actually benefits from the awards.
I would also just like to add that not all people that made the top 10 spammed the social networks with asking for votes and by the sounds of things the more you asked the less you got which makes sense.
Once again this is not directed at you so when I say “you” in the post I am referring to the reader :)

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Jeanne @ CookSister! October 2, 2010 at 3:58 pm

@ACrazyMonkey – Thanks for your comment. As I said in my response above, I did not mean to hold up Alexa, Twitter or Facebook to mean the be all and end all measures of a blog’s popularity & I’m sorry if that’s how my (clearly simplistic!) suggestion came across. I merely mentioned them because they are applications that I look at myself, and because the traffic stats on Alexa are visible, as opposed to Statcounter where most people keep their stats private. I could just as easily have included Afrigator and Amatomu. In fact, if traffic rankings are to be a specific criterion for judging, I would say look at as many sources as possible, and weight their value to get rhe fairest picture from a South African perspective.
More than happy to defer to you re. the workings of Alexa rankings – interesting about the toolbar, which I did not know. And yes I catch your drift that it is the SA blog awards, but do you then mean to say that somebody like My Easy Cooking who is patently South African in every sense of the word but has an international audience and an excellent global Alexa ranking should be sidelined because her visitors are not predominantly South African? I don’t think that was ever the intention of the awards?
@SABFact – Clearly we have to agree to disagree about anonymous comments.
I am not saying that we can make everybody happy by changing some things about the way the awards are run – but it is ridiculous to say that there is no room for improvement.
I think you’ll find that, if you have bothered to read my comprehensive response to your previous comment, far from disagreeing, we agree on the point that there was way too much back-biting and nastiness inthe wake of the awards, especially on Twitter.
And much as I am thrilled that “this same post” (!) appeared on many other blogs and you chose to grace little ol’ CookSister with your responses, I think we have taken this correspondence (with its confusing intermingling of the word “you” meaning sometimes me and sometimes the blogging public at large) about as far as we possibly can. Over and out. :)

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Marie October 25, 2010 at 7:25 pm

Amen, Sister. I thought it was a fiasco, from inaccurate urls to absolutely awful communication. Asking blog readers to vote every 24 hours was embarrassing. I did not post the finalist badges on my blogs as I think the process is too flawed and open to corruption to be given any nod of approval.

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