I guess you can tell what I think about the Annual Weblog Awards judging by the title of this post. Looks like with each year it’s getting worse, but nevertheless its popularity of an Oscar-like award for bloggers has increased exponentially.
It is understandable why the spot on the Bloggies site is so coveted – it can bring a much needed recognition to an unknown to big masses blog. Most of us regard Weblog Awards as a great opportunity to discover some outstanding blogs that we otherwise wouldn’t have heard about. The problem is that it’s rather our hope to find new interesting blogs on Bloggies, when in fact year after year the same old “faces” and names show up in the final nominations list.
Could someone please enlighten me why Dooce and PostSecret are so popular? Why Digg is nominated for the best community weblog? How come that none of the five Best Photography of a Weblog nominees talk about photography? Why was the Best Web Development Weblog category removed from the 2008 Bloggies? Is it because nobody seemed to understand what the requirement for that category (“Weblogs completely about Web design and development”) actually meant, and for two years in the row Problogger was nominated for that, and actually winning that spot in 2006 (beating “456 Berea Street”)?
Do you know what’s common between Gizmodo and Consumerist, Deadspin, Defamer, Fleshbot, Gawker, Gridskipper, Idolator, io9, Jalopnik, Jezebel, Kotaku, Lifehacker, Valleywag, Wonkette? They all sport the SAME theme, same design, and apparently all belong to Gawker Media. But then why Gizmodo is the only one who got the nomination as the best-designed blog? How can it be the best, if there are fourteen (14!) other blogs that are designed exactly the same way (with the exception of a few colour changes)?! What’s so beautiful about the design of Engadget? Is it the number of ads on the site, or is it the “ground-breaking” three-column layout of the blog? I could probably guess how Dooce ended up being next to Web Designer Wall and Design*Sponge (the only two blogs who truly deserved to be in that spot) – it must’ve been the cute face of the puppy that decorates Dooce’s header. Other than that I don’t see anything outstanding in the design of this site that would make it the best-designed blog in the entire blogiverse. Can you see something that I failed to notice?
If you’re wondering why am I so bitter about these Awards, no it’s not because Inspiration Bit didn’t get into the final list of nominations (I’m sure there are many other blogs that deserve to be nominated more than mine does). I’m disappointed in the 2008 Bloggies, because I got a taste of what was happening behind the scenes, before the final list of nominations was posted on January 22. I was chosen to be one of the 50 people who were selected to be on the panel that chooses the Bloggie finalists. I didn’t get an opportunity to judge all nominated categories, only the random ten, Best Kept Secret and Best-Designed Blogs being two of them. I’m also dismayed seeing I Love Typography being nominated only under the Best Asian Blogs category. So if John, didn’t move from UK to Japan, his amazing blog on Typography (that gathered over ten thousand loyal fans and subscribers in less than four months) would’ve not gotten any nominations?!
Guess who was among the Best Kept Secret blogs? Lifehacker. How many of you have never heard of this blog before, or how many of you think that it’s “The best underrepresented weblog”? Fortunately, it didn’t end up in the final list under this category, but it looks like the best kept secret blogs are only the personal ones. I don’t really have any problems with that – personal blogs are supposed to be secret. But then wouldn’t it be more appropriate to change the caption from “The best underrepresented weblog” to “The best personal weblog”, and have a separate category for the “The best underrepresented weblog”?
Now guess which two sites were among 30 other sites nominated for the Best-Designed Blog category, but fortunately didn’t make the final list either? Myterritory.com, that’s not even a blog, and perezhilton.com, with the ugliest blog design ever. Other six of the 30 sites in this category were the blogspot blogs. How many beautifully designed blogspot sites have you seen? Here are just some of the sites who were among the 30 nominees for the Best Designed Blog award. You be the judge:
- sparklette.net (be patient with this one – it takes a few minutes to load the homepage – you’ll see why)
- There were also these two well-known for their design sites: Veerle and Pearsonified.
I think one of the problems with the Bloggies is a very short period of time – less than 5 full days – given to the panel of 50 people to judge and nominate over 300 sites in 10 different categories, while giving 9 days to chose one of the five nominees for each category. Wouldn’t you agree that it takes more than just a few minutes to decide whether or not a blog that you’ve never visited before deserves the title to be the Best in its respective category?
Now, after looking at the final list of nominees in the 2008 Bloggies Awards I’m discouraged with the fact that I haven’t really discovered that many new outstanding blogs, and I’m pretty tired of seeing the same old names getting several nominations for no other reasons but being famous. What about you? What are your thoughts about the 2008 Bloggies?