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When Life Hands You Lemons...

This is the second year that I've run the Weblog Awards. Twelve months have passed since the first installment, and frankly I'd forgotten a lot of the bad parts of the unpaid job. There's questioning of motive, methods, and agendas, all because I dare to offer a contest which highlights blogs - big and small. You see in certain quarters of the snobosphere only sites of certain vintage are considered worthy of being lionized. If you're too new, or too political, too different, or not different enough then you're nothing to the snobosphere.

The Weblog Awards live in the here and the now. If you won last year you still had to be nominated this year to have a chance to be a finalist. If you stopped producing, chances are that you were passed over for younger blood. The whole thing happens from beginning to end in the span of one month, and is as open a process as I could devise. Does winning a category mean that one blog is better than another? Of course not. It means that blog got more people to vote for it. That could mean that they have motivated, engaged readers or that they're wildly popular - who knows...

Of course there's always a segment of any population that will find a reason to complain. Already there's a line of people who want to know why certain sites aren't finalists (hint - 3,000 nominations for somewhere over 400 finalists slots), why certain sites they don't like were included (to expand your horizons), and a bunch of others with a myriad of other gripes and complaints.

LA LA LA LA... I can't hear you... See I'm determined to make lemonade out of the lemons this contest has a history of handing me. You see my real super-secret agenda is to introduce several hundred blogs (over 400) to a new, and wider audience. Ideally people would be able to see the 2004 Weblog Awards for what they are; a good old-fashion vote-whoring traffic-fest. If I accomplish that goal of increasing the readership of those hundreds of blog I'll be satisfied, regardless of who "wins."

So tell the media, who have noticed that the word "blog" is the word of the year, that there's a contest running that can introduce their readers to hundreds of different worldwide examples of "blog."

To that end I'm interested in ideas for different ways to presenting the finalists. Would an OPML file for import into a newsreader, a Bloglines import, a browser favorites import file, etc. be of interest? I have the HTML links in a text file and would be glad to send it to anyone who has an interest in producing something useful with it for the whole blogging community.


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Comments (29)

Rock on, Kev!... (Below threshold)

Rock on, Kev!

You're doing a great servic... (Below threshold)
Dan:

You're doing a great service through your efforts and, obviously, not hurting your traffic in the effort. That's a deserved byproduct. And it's unfortunate if some folks can't take it for what it is, applaud your effort and leave it at that.

As I haven't seen anyone rising up to put on another similar event, I would consider any criticism in light of that. If some think they can do it better, they either should - or shut their freakin' yap!! Just my opinion.

Hire some of the Hooters Gi... (Below threshold)
IR:

Hire some of the Hooters Girls to march around Times Square with sandwich boards announcing the winners.

Or, on a more serious note...shotgun a press release to all the media outlets you can think of...you're bound to get a few takers...especially if they can needle CBS in the process...

PS: send CBS two copies of the press release...

When I set up my support-tr... (Below threshold)
Freemarkets Forever:

When I set up my support-trading website to traffic in nominations and votes for your Weblog Awards competition I thought thousands of buying bloggers and countless selling visitors would register and I would get stinking rich off my 10% cut.

But how is an honest broker supposed to make a living when you bloggers are too poor and cheap to invest in a shot at fame? (And those three trackbacking resellers who pitched camp on my site and started hoarding? The commissar had them shot.)

You NEED to <a href="http:/... (Below threshold)
Beth:

You NEED to see this...puts it into hilarious perspective!

(From Mamamontezz ... I think she just spaced the trackback.)

Kevin, no matter what you d... (Below threshold)
Omni:

Kevin, no matter what you do or how you do it, people will complain; every person who nominated a blog, every person whose blog was nominated, thinks that that blog should have made the final cut, and many of those who failed to make it will be unhappy.

MY blog didn't make it in any category, but I got a bunch of hits from the nomination threads, so I consider myself to still be ahead of the game; hopefully, most other non-finalists will see that too.

Bravo! to you. Weblogging{h... (Below threshold)

Bravo! to you. Weblogging{humm is that a word?spellcheck anyone?} is difficult, whether you are old, new or in-between. All of "it" should be fun. What you have done here is to that end. If folks complain, someday "they" will get lost in the shuffle. Each and everyday I learn something. Reading blogs is one way I do that and try to make a difference. You have helped enlighten me with new places to read. ~thanks~ I hope you stay sane, as you seem to be.

I'm glad you run them.... (Below threshold)

I'm glad you run them.

Thanks for all your hard wo... (Below threshold)
Jane:

Thanks for all your hard work in creating this for us.

I like it, and think you're... (Below threshold)
Jay:

I like it, and think you're doing a great job. That despite having seen last year's that started it all as at least partially a traffic producing gimmick of the kind you've always liked. So what! If it's cool and amazingly well done, draws lots of attention to blogs and attention to blogs many of us have not seen before, all the better.

I found that to be the case when I voted. I remarked to Deb how sad it was I'd never heard of most of the blogs in the tech category. So I visited them and bookmarked most of those for future reference. At that point I was sending appreciation rays in yout direction. There were a lot I never heard of in other categories too. If there's no other reason for anyone to visit the voting page, it's an excellent exploratory tool for finding new reads.

It is no mere quest for traffic that made you one of the top blogs out there. The same quality is reflected in the awards, which have been as well handled as I suspect anyone possibly could for something with an open, public nomination and voting process.

Oh please...From the sliver... (Below threshold)
eric:

Oh please...From the sliver of a hair of help I offered in the run-up to the voting I can only imagine the enormity of your workload...How anyone could have the audacity to complain is truly beyond the realm of decency. Fuck 'em.

Blogs are all about poking ... (Below threshold)

Blogs are all about poking holes in the false pride and arrogance of the MSM. To begin the trappings of the MSM's awards like Pulitzers and such only beginds the long, slow crawl into hypocrisy.

Bloggers should stick to what their heart tells them as to how they're doing. Or, at least, how the PayPal receipts stack up. Seeking external justification will only cause stratification and the planting of the seeds of the medium through which bloggers will be hunted and brought down Dan Rather-style.

Awards are not going to cement the foundations of this open-source endeavor we all engage in. They will only destabilize it and contribute to the fossilization of the entire structure, making it that much easier to shatter later on.

I, for one, do not believe in Karl Popper-style systems where a paradigm is built specifically to be brought down and replaced b ythe next in some eternal struggle of discovery. The Blogopshere is built on foundation of cooperation, self-correction, adaptation, and conflict. It is constantly rebuilding itself. Good and bad blogs are ultimately measured and determined by content, links, ease of use, and impact. Artifical attempts to influence or amplify that system with awards will only destabilize it and eventually bring it down.

Turn back now, Kevin, before it's too late and we end up with Red State, Blue State thuggery as seen in the Vibe and Grammy Awards. Nobody wants to see Kos throwing signs at Reynolds while Oliver Willis shivs John Hawkins.

Nobody wants to see Kos ... (Below threshold)

Nobody wants to see Kos throwing signs at Reynolds while Oliver Willis shivs John Hawkins.

I beg to differ. I'm thinking PPV...

Seriously Kevin, thanks for... (Below threshold)

Seriously Kevin, thanks for doing this, and don't take the criticism seriously. It's really, really hard to put this together without some oddities and omissions, and on the whole it looks pretty damn good.

I am incredbily grateful th... (Below threshold)
-S-:

I am incredbily grateful that you, Kevin, are managing this process. It would not at all be the same, nor as WELL DONE, if you were not Managing/Editing the Awards process.

You and all the volunteers involved have done an incredible task and the naysaying that follows...you know, it is always there, unfortunately. Some people never contribute, they only arrive later than most and criticize what they find.

So, forget it...my philosophy this morning. Just take it in stride -- although I share an initial upset at receiving complaints -- and forget about it. Because what you are doing and have done is superior in time, effort and talent compared to nearly anyone else (perhaps charles/lgf gives you competition but in an editorial capacity only) (but it's the best sort of competition, built on comraderie, not destruction of others).

MY ONLY SUGGESTION (since you asked) about the process would be that there was a mailed award with a pair of pajamas with award embroidered on them. And, if the Blog Awards make television, that everyone has to wear pajamas (well, that last part could be optional, I guess).

Maybe some manufacturer/retailer would like to contribute a set of pajamas with embroidered Award on them and then make a selection available for purchase for others who want them with a generic "2004 Blog Awards" embroidery...dunno...it'd be fabulous if some media person (FOX, please take note here) or source could recruit an advertiser who'd make the "Award" with a respective pair of embroidered pajamas...after all, we are...the Pajama Hadeen, Jammies Brigade...Editors in Pajamas...

Some retailer needs to get involved here. Maybe FOX will step in and offer, what with all the radership and viewers that us Jammies people generate on their behalf.

BUT I GET TO DESIGN THE LOG... (Below threshold)
-S-:

BUT I GET TO DESIGN THE LOGO, na-na-na-na-na.

[dicreetly slipping Kevin a... (Below threshold)

[dicreetly slipping Kevin a small envelope]

I think the nominations were perfectly fair ;-)

I must say, a part of me di... (Below threshold)
Jay:

I must say, a part of me didn't care about the whole thing (I didn't even come over an nominate anyone, let alone myself), and a part of me was waiting to see if I got nominated by anyone for anything. I haven't crawled through all the nomination categories in which I'd have qualified (overall, group, either 250 or the next one in Ecosystem - haven't looked lately, conservative, and new), but if anyone nominated us, we didn't make the finals and there has to be a little disappointment there. Oh, no! Horrors! It must be rigged! :>

People can be silly.

It looks like there may be a business blogging awards of some kind, since that category isn't here. I'm busy enough that I shouldn't be spending time commenting here, but Jeremy proposed it at http://www.ensight.org/archives/2004/12/02/business-blogging-awards/ and it seems like a good idea to me. And something I should get behind, as Mr. Carnival of the Capitalists.

I thought it was quite grac... (Below threshold)
-S-:

I thought it was quite gracious -- if not studly, even -- that Wizbang wasn't included among the nominees, given Kevin's presence as organizer of the Awards and more.

In other words, it speaks quite well that Wizbang wasn't included in those Categories, which means that it indicates that Wizbang has reached a standard suspended above the process...which means, that, people regard well Wizbang and the contributors here. My take on that, anyway.

Plus, it's always really st... (Below threshold)
-S-:

Plus, it's always really stressful to have to select between LGF and Wizbang, as to "best overall" or similar. LGF and Wizbang have approached the sound barrier, or, perhaps, surpassed as to blogging. I believe you and LGF can now be regarded in your own categories, some new permuation past Blogging General.

I'm having lots of fun with... (Below threshold)

I'm having lots of fun with the awards and, if increasing traffic to new and little-known blogs was the intention, then Pajama Pundits is evidence of success - since the voting began, I've evolved from a Crawly Amphibian to a Slithering Reptile!

So, I've won even if those warm-blooded cat lovers do claw me into cold-blooded submission ;-)

Thank you to Kevin and your... (Below threshold)
DTG:

Thank you to Kevin and your team. You're doing a great service to the entire blogosphere with these awards---we all win, in the end.

I have one question: how were the finalists chosen? You had to narrow it down from 3000 to 400, so how was that done exactly? Did you have a committee that voted on the nominees or what? I'm just curious about that part of the process, because I haven't seen it explained anywhere.

For some of us, a snarky at... (Below threshold)

For some of us, a snarky attitude is the only defense against the certain knowledge we're not going to win.

Or maybe that's just me. ;-)

The competition's lists hav... (Below threshold)
Rugrat:

The competition's lists have let me visit blogs I didn't know existed. For me that's a plus no matter which one gets picked.

Just wondering - should blogging PJ's have feet? Or an optional hood with ears?

- Rugrat - Rumor has it Kev... (Below threshold)

- Rugrat - Rumor has it Kevin prefers a French maid outfit for blogging.....

Hunter: the truth is that ... (Below threshold)
-S-:

Hunter: the truth is that I have these teddy bear slippers for when it's really chilly - they have giant fuzzy teddy bears on the toes, are cozy as can be, padded soles, all faux fur, of course. People laugh when they see me wearing them. I think I understand why.

-Suzy- They sound delightfu... (Below threshold)

-Suzy- They sound delightful but I have to cool it a bit...After the episode with the giant talking elephant head I'm keepin a low profile....

when life gives you lemons,... (Below threshold)

when life gives you lemons, kick it in the balls.

Minding Daniel's advice (^^... (Below threshold)
-S-:

Minding Daniel's advice (^^), the additional, FINALIST logo graphic files are now available for the 2004 Weblog Awards, at this page.




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