There are several Blogging Awards out there, two of the biggest are ‘The MADs‘, and ‘The BiBs‘. The way you get nominated / win by either is slightly different –

With The BiBs they accept nominations in each categories, and then the 11 with the most nominations and 5 chosen by BritMums are put through. All of those 16 then receive votes from the public, and the one with the most votes win.

With The MADs, you can nominate the blogs in each category, and those with the most nominations are put through as finalists, and then the winner is voted for by the public.

There’s a problem, right there.

You see, it’s all about the ‘most nominations’ and/or ‘the most votes’, the powers that be ensure you fit into the categories, but what about the decent blogs that have fewer readers? Are the most popular blogs the best ones?

Ultimately the way both awards work means that unless you have a large following who are willing to nominate / vote you’re screwed. Why can’t these awards work like ‘proper’ awards? Where things are nominated, and then a judging panel look at them, and actually JUDGE them? Movies, Music and the Theatre aren’t judged by how big they are, or how many people see them – why are blogs?

Surely working like that would ensure that the smaller, niche, blogs get a chance, because ultimately, no matter how good your blog is, if your audience or following isn’t big enough, you’ll never win an award.

What do you think?

21 thoughts on “Blogging Awards – Time for a change?

  1. Suzanne Whitton says:

    I do think that the winner should be chosen by the judging panel. Excuse my ignorance, but I thought that was how the BiBs worked?! I don’t really like all of the ‘begging for votes’ thing, it goes against my nature, but once I found myself in the final 16 of the BiBs, I couldn’t really not….if I want to stand a chance that is!

  2. Actually Mummy says:

    I agree that you only end up on the shortlists if you have lots of votes. But in both cases you’ve mentioned, the ultimate decision is influenced by judges. I for one will be judging my category very carefully

    • Kip Hakes says:

      From what I’ve seen it’s vaguely influenced by judges, and to GET that far, you’ve got to have (on the whole) had the most people vote / nominate you..

  3. Alex Walsh says:

    Both systems have flaws though- with purely voting systems it’s a popularity contest & the best doesn’t necessarily win, it’s often the person who makes the most noise and with a judged competition you do wonder if certain individuals will ever be “allowed” to win.

    Personally I’d never agree to judge a blogging competition- if one of my chums was a finalist, it would be a catch 22- if they won I’d be accused of picking my mate, if they didn’t, would I have picked someone else purely so I didn’t get accused of cronyism? Lose/Lose IMHO

    • Kip Hakes says:

      Hah.. I didn’t say I had a solution per say, but the way it works is largely a popularity contest before the judges get to see everything, get the judges in RIGHT at the start, sifting through the nominations and picking the best.

      • Sally says:

        We have over 5,000 blogs nominated for the MAD Blog Awards, and 50,000 individual nominations. It’s completely impractical (in our experience) to ask any judge to sift through all of those nominations in sufficient depth to be able to make an informed judgement – even if a judge did nothing but read blogs for 12 hours a day, 7 days a week, it would take years to go through all the nominations!

        I’m always wary of fully judged awards for just this reason – who has that kind of time?

        At the MAD Blog Awards, we assign judges to specific categories and ask the judge to browse through blogs in just one or two categories they already know quite well. This gives us a much fairer process, I think – and means our judges are able to do a good job without having to put their lives on hold for weeks at a time! But as you suggest, this does happen from day one, and during the nomination stage; and then all our judges jointly pick the Blog of the Year winner.

        • Kip Hakes says:

          I understand that no system is perfect, and as I said to Alex, I’ve no real idea of how best to make it better, but it does ultimately grate on me that on the whole those with the bigger audiences will get the awards, because they’ve got the audience to nominate or vote. I understand from what you’ve said in you other comment the judges do pick a handful too, but what is that in percentage terms out of all the other ‘finalists’? Probably 10% The BiBs seem to have more of an allocation ‘chosen’ by judges, which perhaps is fairer, but if there isn’t the audience to ‘vote’ in the end, it seems fruitless I don’t know, maybe I’m just an eternal pessimist! Thank you for replying by the way! 🙂

  4. Capture by Lucy says:

    I agree, but with the #BiBs, BritMums do put forward 2 Finalists, not just the ones with the top number of votes and then they go to a judging panel. I am in both of those awards you mentioned as a nominee and I was over the moon. I am not one of the ‘top baby/parenting bloggers’ my readership and subscriber list is minuscule compared to most! But it felt incredible to be noticed. Yes I did a plug for votes on the bottom of each post leading up to the “voting” deadlines and tweeted about it because who wouldn’t?!!!! We all put in so much time and effort to our blogs, mine is a labour of love and although I feel like a pipsqueak I am so happy to be a name amongst such long established and well know blogs. Great post Kip

    • Kip Hakes says:

      It’s good to hear that a ‘smaller’ blog is noticed, but if you don’t have the ‘fans’ / ‘readers’ to vote like hell for you, you’re screwed (well I hope *you’re* not!!)! I think both systems need to focus on who is ‘the best’ blogger, rather than who can get the most noms / votes.

  5. Sally says:

    Thanks for writing about the MAD Blog Awards.

    We actually think popularity is an important part of blogging awards – ‘quality’ is such a subjective term that I think any awards based entirely on that concept are problematic, at best. There are a number of ways though that we can give all blogs a fair chance in an awards programme:

    1. Having a good mix of categories means blogs that may not have HUGE audiences are in with a shot – such as craft, photography, innovation and ‘new’ blogs

    2. Each year our judges also select 12-15 blogs as finalists who are smaller and may not receive the same volume of nominations. This means smaller, niche blogs can and do reach the finals of the awards.

    3. We do then invite votes but we do our best to showcase ALL the finalists and encourage people to read everyone before voting. Also, our Blog of the Year is selected by judges.

    As Alex says, no system is perfect. Judging panels are inherently biased, and voting is inherently going to favour bigger, more established sites. From what I can see, all the various awards organisations put in place measures to ensure their systems work as fairly as they can, and I’m personally a big believer that it’s better to have something in place that celebrates amazing blogs imperfectly rather than not celebrating at all -although I know some people disagree!

    Ultimately, though, we are always interested in improving what we do, making it better and more fun, and feedback like this is brilliant, so thanks for sharing it.

  6. Victoria Welton says:

    I agree that it should be by merit and not popularity. In each category there will always be people who vote for their friends rather than the blog on its own content. I for one have taken everything into account when reading a blog. For example in the MADs (which I was stunned to get into, how on earth I did I don’t know!), I went to every single finalist to make sure I was fair :).

  7. Misty Bird says:

    It’s a popularity contest pure and simple. I realise that the finals and what not may be chosen by judges, but if you don’t have umpteen followers on Twitter/Facebook/Your blog, you’re not going to get there in the first place. I was bloody thrilled to have been nominated (cheers btw ;)!) but, I’d never get to the finals because I’d never get enough votes. Me & my little slice of the t’internet just aint popular enough.

  8. zooarchaeologist says:

    I’m probably alone in this sentiment, but I think blogging contests and rankings have ruined blogging (no offense meant to Sally who does a great and very difficult job). Before all these started up, and dont get me wrong it was an opportunity waiting to be taken to set up rankings, awards etc blogging was not so audience driven. Nowadays I read very few blogs as they are no longer as personal, much more competitive and there are so many insincere posts purely written to drive hits etc. Blogging used to be very different: discuss…

  9. Helpful Mum says:

    I agree! Last year I asked for votes and made it into the shortlist for the BiBs, which I was pleased with. This year I didn’t ask for votes and unsurprisingly didn’t get nominated. I wish there were awards which we simply based on a good blog rather than a good blog with lots of followers.

  10. Pingback: I'm going slightly MAD! |

  11. Tom @Ideas4Dads says:

    Thanks for this makes interesting reading. Im inclined to agree that its a popularity contest but then if your blogs good then surely that will lead to a higher following. I am still new to the logosphere but hope to enter these awards next year yr.

  12. Capture by Lucy (@capturebylucy) says:

    It just shows that maybe they are fair! Because after writing a comment last year I went on to win the photography category at The MADs. I had a much smaller following than most of the other blogs, less subscribers etc and I was over the moon.

    If you have a smaller readership – I say let them know there are awards! A big proportion of my readers aren’t bloggers so wouldn’t know when the nominations were or what awards there are.

    Good luck this year 🙂

  13. sarahhillwheeler says:

    Good and interesting post. I can see it from both perspectives. I am not enamoured with the “popularity contest” aspect of some of the process, either. I think that can just play to the lowest common denominator. However, quality is subjective and I doubt any system would ever be entirely “fair” or suit everybody.

    Like Lucy says, I think it fair that people promote their own blog (at the end of the day getting, and engaging with readers is, I guess, a pretty big part of what makes a successful blog, or at least those seeking a higher profile voice). I guess there is a fine line between “getting the word out” and shameless self-promotion, and a minefield inbetween.

    I am sure a lot of hard work goes into the awards and they do raise the overall profile of blogging, which can only be a good thing.

    Lucy’s words are encouraging. I don’t really know how the system could be improved, unless, perhaps it would be to give more weight to “quality” quirky or niche sites as well as the most popular and that would always involve a bigger element of subjectivity, although I suspect that it could also increase diversity.

  14. Chloe (Sorry About The Mess) says:

    I would love for blogging awards to be an opportunity to recognise fresh content rather than the same old ‘big readership’ bloggers year on year. There also seems to be a persisting trend for those who run hugely popular linkys to be consistently nominated in those categories, unspurprisingly. Not saying that’s a bad thing, but it doesn’t exactly highlight lesser known blogs.I read some blogs with very small readerships that have (in my opinion) content just as engaging and just as deserving as blog award finalists – blogs that everyone would enjoy reading if they found them.

    I also think that for a judging panel to take the time to read through the blogs nominated rather than leave it solely up to popularity shows a dedication and passion for the art of blogging (which is the thing that is keeping these websites/communities afloat). But I can also see what Sally is saying about it taking way too much time to do this. The BiBs is still the best mix of judging panel and reader votes, but it still isn’t a perfect system. Reading through the comments above, I agree with what you said about not really knowing what the solution is.

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