30 years

Blogging Is Not A Competition

Todays post was originally going to be an entry into a competition by a company to win a ridiculous amount of shoes.

But obviously, its not. (I think I just heard Alex breathe a sigh of relief.)

Recently, there have been so many “competitions” and “awards” where the main objective for the company has seemed to be to get as many incoming links and mentions on Twitter, increasing their own visibility whilst masquerading as giving something to the blogging community. That may be a very cynical way of looking at things, but before this shoe company (I won’t put the name here, but I think most of you will know – and really, if you don’t, its irrelevant anyway) started their “ambassador scheme”, I doubt many people had even heard of them, and before their competition was announced, I hadn’t even been to the site. The competition is to write about a pair of shoes from their site – before I started this post, I was intending to enter and spent a few hours idly browsing their website and even contemplated a purchase. Job well done, shoe company.

Before Big Fashionista posted her post yesterday about the popularity contest side of things, the shoe company intended to narrow down the hundreds of entries down to 5, then “let the public decide”. My least favourite part of any competition. Y’see, companies have realized that instead of getting a small team together in house to pick a winner based on their actual entry for something, they can instead get the finalists themselves to hunt for votes, whoring themselves as much as possible. You may remember last year, I was one of the final four in a competition to write for a lingerie company website. I felt incredibly uncomfortable asking people to vote for me (I’ve blogged recently about how I dislike promoting myself) but I did as much as I felt comfortable with. I didn’t think I had the best entry, but I didn’t think that the eventual winner was the best out of the four. Does being able to ask for votes really qualify someone to write well?

Which kinda brings me on to blog awards. I’ve made comments on Twitter (of course, its where I get my bitchyness out!) but haven’t really had a chance to get things out properly. Cosmopolitan, Marie Clare, More, Company, Look, Glamour…the list of magazines starting to use bloggers as features is increasing. A number of these magazines have blog awards, and two of them are ongoing at the moment. While I am pleased for my friends who are nominated, it feels quite uncomfortable to me that the prizes in these awards is often the “chance” to write for the magazine. You win the chance to provide them with free content? It just doesn’t seem much of a prize for those of us that blogging and writing is a hobby rather than a career. However much I would love some recognition that non blogging friends would understand, the truth is in my industry, an award for blogging is about as useful as that 400m swimming badge I got when I was…um…15.

The worst part about these awards is when there is more than one person in the category that you like a lot. I ended up registering with a few different email addresses for the Cosmo awards recently so I could vote for each of the lovely ladies in the fashion blogger category – which seems rather pointless!

Blogging is not a competition. We shouldn’t be fighting (politely, of course, but still fighting) over something, but working together. Instead of being evasive over what you’ve said to a company or something, what is wrong with sharing the knowledge? (I’ve gone all evangelical, I do apologise – but I never know how to respond to emails about my blog and I would find it so useful to be able to get help from other people besides poor ol’ Sarah.)

I don’t know. I’ve spilled out my thoughts on this, but I don’t feel any better for it! Am I just burbling away crap to myself, or do you guys agree? Are awards and competitions actually beneficial to the blogger who wins in the end?

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