It seems like every day there is yet another voting contest showing up. I have several reasons why I can’t stand these things, and since I haven’t posted a rant in a while. . . Well, here you go.
Popularity vs. Quality
It’s rather obvious that in a voting contest, the most popular folks are the ones who will win. That isn’t always a good thing, though.
If you’ve ever watched American Idol and remember the likes of Sanjaya, you’ll have a vivid reminder as to why popular isn’t always better.
Justin Bieber, anyone? Yeah.
I’d rather see contests and awards go to people, sites, etc., who actually deserve it for the hard work they put into creating solid content. There are some really fabulous blogs out there, like Sally’s blog. Some perhaps just don’t have the following and/or don’t want to hassle their readers for constant voting.
Many bloggers put a lot of heart and soul into their writing. They work hard to make their posts interesting, readable, entertaining, and informative. Others just throw up whatever they can just because they want a lot of “freebies.”
Some people often write posts that are specifically designed to generate traffic to their site and to increase their rank in searches, rather than focusing on quality.
While these reasons aren’t inherently wrong, per se, these types of contests and competitions have no way of sifting through people who are actually writing for their audience versus using techniques to simply increase the number of hits to their sites and therefore increase the number of trips, marketing opportunities, and dollars they earn.
Are those really the “best”?
The grief factor
Recently a blogger experienced a horrific tragedy in her life. There is currently one of these voting contests going on, and some rather well-meaning people felt others should vote for her blog as a means of “supporting her.” Obviously, a blogging award isn’t going to make up for the tragic event in their life. If I found myself in a similar situation, I would appreciate the thought, but I would personally feel awful if I knew I won a blogging award simply because I experienced tragedy in my life.
And, frankly, I may not want all that attention while I’m in the middle of my grieving process.
Again, I know their heart is probably in the right place. As a hospice chaplain and grief counselor, I understand that people often feel powerless. I’m sure they feel they can’t do anything and desperately want to feel like they’re doing something, anything, but is this really the best way to go about it?
Lack of trust
While I’m not overly impressed with most winning selections (including the big famous ones like the Academy Awards), at least ones that are selected by a panel of “experts” and similar people tend to shoot for selecting quality over just “flash.”
Many of the sponsors of these contests try to make things a bit more fair by limiting people to one vote a day, but there are multiple methods available to easily game the system. For example, the common way to attempt to make things a bit fair is to have recognition of IP addresses so you can only vote once a day.
That is easily bypassed, though. With a VPN, you can change the IP address. When you go to Starbucks and access their WiFi, it allows you another vote. Ditto for every subsequent location you go to that offers WiFi or a wired connection.
The best of. . .
According to whom? I can easily tell you which blogs I think are the absolute best, but does that truly make them the best blogs?
This the same reason I avoid doing “best of” type posts for everything: beaches, hotels, cities, etc. I know which places I loved, but I’m fully aware that there will be others who completely disagree with me. What’s great for me isn’t necessarily great for anyone else. Even accounting for my impeccable taste.
Who really benefits?
I think most of us enjoy winning awards and getting recognition, but who is really benefiting from these contests? If a company expects you to put a post on your site promoting them so you can be officially entered into their competition, who is really winning?
The company or site is getting a crapload of increased traffic and an increase to their Google ranking for essentially nothing.
And every voter is helping them.
I saw this a year or so ago with a contest run by a popular site. The contest made it seem like the winning blogs would be recognized; however, it turned out there was no end date to the contest, and really it was just a complete traffic grab for the site. None of their staff or representatives would respond to emails, Facebook messages, or tweets.
At least be honest about it, folks!
Win my contest to get a press trip, etc. . .
This is one of my big pet peeves when it comes to blogging. Companies take advantage of hopeful independent bloggers to increase their exposure and traffic. The blogger enters and gives away free advertising for the company in the hope that they will be selected to go on a press trip or enjoy a cool experience with their company.
Naturally, if they do win, they’ll be expected to give the company even more coverage during and after your trip. Meanwhile, all the ones who didn’t win have eagerly donated to the sponsor for nothing.
How about companies check out the bloggers that apply or express an interest and decide which ones best fit their brand and/or goals? Why the gimmick BS?
And why in the hell do people participate in being taken advantage of?
If you put a lot of care into developing your blog and your community, you seriously deserve better.
And if you made it this far, thanks for reading my rant.