Wednesday, September 1, 2010

SA Blog Awards 2010 - is anybody out there?

In an email I wrote to the SA Blog Awards this morning I said that I would wait 24 hours before posting about my frustrating experience in the last 14 hours with the Awards. That would give them time to respond to my second email to them. However a comment on (the Food) next door has pre-empted that post so I should explain:

By chance last night (already the 1st of September in SA) I noticed that a visitor to (the Food) had come from the Awards website, where finalists were to be posted today. So I went over there and found, to my utter surprise, that (the Food) has been listed as a top ten finalist in the categories for Best Photography and Best Overseas Blog.

That might sound nice, but here's the reason for my confusion and intense frustration:

This blog, 66 Square Feet, is nowhere to be seen. And this is the blog that 1. receives the traffic and 2. received the most nominations from you, dear Readers (based on the comments and emails I received). For Photography and Overseas.

(The Food) had an outside chance in the category of Food and Wine, in my opinion, because of its lower traffic and high competition from other food blogs. Shake the nearest tree and a food blog falls out.

So how on EARTH did (the Food) land in the two categories for which 66 Square Feet was nominated, and for which, logically, it is a strong contender?

1. I had trouble registering both my blogs, once they had been nominated. I wrote to the Awards on August 25th, heard back once (All they said was, cryptically, "Which categories?" - huh?). After I wrote that I imagined Photography and Overseas for this one, and (the Food) for well, Food, I did not hear back.

Apparently it was not resolved.

Kyk hoe lyk ek nou!

2. I think, because of the similarity in the blogs' names, and url's, some one made a mistake and mistook (the Food)'s url for this blog's url.

So now I have a Food blog erroneously (in my opinion) competing for best Photography and Best Overseas blog. When the real action is here! AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAH!

My concern:

This blog is a contender (Marlon Brando rasp - I coulda bin a contenda!). (The Food) is about...food. The photography is here. Most of the content is here.

More disturbingly, my own feelings aside: if a mistake - as I believe this to be - this elemental is made: if a url is not checked; if registration is not confirmed, if the finalist is not even notified by email prior to the finalists' publication (as promised) on the website, and, above all, if the actual nominations take a backseat to an individual Award-employed human's faulty decision-making then the process is deeply flawed, and its integrity must be questioned.

In response to my first email I was told that (the Food) didn't get enough votes to be a finalist in Food. I expected that. Fine. No worries. But with tears in my eyes, I ask you how it jumped into those other two categories, ahead of this blog?

My second email said that their explanation was unsatisfactory, and I have asked, again, whether they can double check their facts, and replace (the Food) with 66 Square Feet in the finals, as I believe, truly, that this was a sloppy mix up of urls.

I know this may all sound silly, and remote, if you are not in South Africa. But I like the idea of the SA Blog Awards. I love promoting South Africa. And am eager to meet new readers through this exposure.

But if the process is this prone to error, what are the awards really worth?

If it cannot be fixed, I shall have to decide whether to compete actively, turning my energy next door, happy that more people have found (the Food), or whether to sulk, and sit it out in principle.

And if you have been receiving constant emails from the Awards, I am really sorry. It seems to have been an unforeseen (by me) consequence to readers who were good enough to nominate blogs.

9-1-10, 7pm: This has been corrected!

9/30/10: an Open Letter to the Organisers of the SA Blog awards, by Cook Sister!, a finalist in best Overseas and Food and Wine and previous winner and sponsor of the awards.
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