An experiment in transparency

Sooo, the blog awards are almost here and voting ends in 24 hours time. I’ll lock the voting system then and sort out the shortlists. Some are going to be very very close. I’d like to go through the costs behind the event now and at the end of this post I’m asking for suggestions on some things.

  • The room is costing me €220 ex vat and I hope the fiver fee I’m charging as an entrance fee will cover that.
  • All prizes are sponsored and all sponsors are paying €50 per category except for Blacknight who are sponsoring a 2gb iPod Nano for the Best Blog prize. Blacknight are also hosting this site for free.
  • The domain cost €40 ex vat.
  • Spolitchild did the logo for free.
  • Rick O’Shea is doing the MC gig for free which is fantastic for someone of his calibre.
  • Bitbuzz as well as sponsoring a category are also sponsoring Internet Access.
  • o2 are sponsoring some i-mode phones as spotprizes and for a draw for voters.
  • Bifsniff are giving me a t-shirt with one of their surreal cartoons as a spotprize.
  • A cool guy named John Greene is donating two bottles of wine as spot prizes.

I am not getting anything extra from any of the sponsors. I will apparently have one PR company buy me lunch though. I’m a fan of the Mermaid Café by the way. 🙂 I’m paying for two nights in the Hotel myself and the train/plane. I must also get some trophies made this weekend, which for now will come out of my pocket. I have no issues paying these costs myself.

What I want to ask though is that I got a good few enquiries from companies and PR people wanting to sponsor the overall event this year. As in they wanted “Irish Blog Awards – Sponsored by Widget Limited” but I turned them down as I thought it unfair to the category sponsors and that they’d be overshadowed. Plus almost all costs were covered. So, next year do you think it would be ok to have an overall sponsor as well as category sponsors?

And now for the most important question: Should I personally profit from this next year? I’m sure I can ask much more for category sponsorship and overall sponsorship and with that comes a bigger venue, maybe better prizes and I want to pay the MC next year (and I’d hope it’d be Rick) but even then I’m thinking there would be money left over. Should I expense my hotel stay and trip and put any spare cash into my wallet? Or what should I do?

I am already profiting from it in a way as my traffic to my site has jumped and I seem to be getting to know PR people a bit more and may work with them on other blog related events. So I will be clear in that I am making something already from it. Anyway, I want the community to decide on this as this is your event and without you I wouldn’t be doing this and having so much fun. And to note, whatever you suggest I will honour it because I really don’t give that much of a damn about money. So, over to you…

32 Responses to “An experiment in transparency”

  1. Paige says:

    Damien, not only should you personally benefit from any profits next year but also you should not be out of pocket this year. You’ve done a tremenous job. You should have no hesitation in putting any surplus into your back pocket.

    As regards an overall sponsor. I’d say absolutely. Sponsorship will help the awards grow, ensure that they are better publicised and so Blog O’Sphere will benefit.

  2. Sponsership – YES
    Personal Profit – YES

  3. auds says:

    Why not benefit from it? Or do what you want with the extra cash? You deserve it.

    The most dangerous question in the world – asking anonymous people, who for the most part you’ve never met, to suggest things for you to do and you’re promising you’ll honour it!

  4. that girl says:

    I’d say yes to both but I’d be careful that you don’t give too much away to a title sponsor up front…there would want to be significant benefits for you and the awards to give the title away…

  5. EWI says:

    I agree. So long as the sponsors don’t in any way influence the actual awards themselves, go for it.

  6. Michele says:

    We’d be more than happy to contribute more – so don’t be shy
    As for next year – overall sponsor etc., makes perfect sense and would also help promote the event to a wider audience

  7. frankp says:

    Yes to both sounds fine to me… I certainly wouldn’t have any issue with you getting paid for your troubles!

    Did you get my email btw? I have that T-Shirt for you. 🙂

  8. Dermod Moore says:

    Go for making it a profitable venture, definitely – it’s your energy, it’s your integrity, and you should definitely not be out of pocket this year. Bloggers aren’t a charity! We’re attention-seeking opinionated entertainers and thank the gods for that. Squeeze us for every penny we’ve got, until we squeak! 🙂

  9. MJ says:

    I don’t think it should be:

    “Irish blog Awards, sponsored by Widget Ltd”

    Smacks too much of the overbearing sponsorship in other awards ceremonies. Unless of course they pay YOU a shedload of money to actually DO this – you know – enough that it would be worth your while. If they pay you enough to cover your salary for the year then, sure. But I’m wary of corporate sponsorship like that (and yes, I’m a company owner and yes I’ve sponsored things and yes I want more control….)

    It definitely should cover all the costs and your time, like it or not, is a cost that must be borne by the event.

    This is when conventions and awards ceremonies start to grow up. I reckon you’d get enough sponsorship for next year to make this a growing (as well as a going) concern.

    But what do I know.

  10. Sinéad says:

    Damien, I think you’ve worked so hard on this that you should definitely not be out of pocket and if you can make some money from it next year, you should.
    I think an overall sponsor is a good idea but I agree with That Girl – being the main sponsor of something that will continue to grow over the years is very beneficial to one entity, so don’t undersell yourself, the title and what you have built up through hard work here. That said, one overall sponsor who has a lot of money to spend on awareness/PR/advertising could raise the profile of the awards significantly.

  11. Fiona says:

    Yes to both and particularly to ensuring that your travel and accomodation costs are covered.

  12. the saint says:

    Take the money and run. You deserve it defenitly

  13. Elana says:

    I’m just adding a me too. You’ve put a ton of work into this, and the brainpower alone is pretty impressive :-).

  14. mbf says:

    Let me first say you’ve done a tremendous job and any comments here come from my own personal bias and are not meant to denegrate anything you’ve done.

    I’d say you should have all of your expenses covered, although I’m not sure about anything else.

    For a first year, these awards are already very successful, but they’re also quite commercial with sponsors and prizes.

    This has led to crass electioneering which, because of the country we’re in is seen as being a bit cute rather than the blatant whoring that it is.

    Electioneering leads to cliquism, elitism and a greater divide between those who are comfortable with shameless promotion and those who are not.

    Irish blog awards should be a recognition of those who have made a contribution to the Irish blogosphere, not those who are greedy enough to want the prizes.

    I’d be in favour of replacing the prizes with award statuettes and/or contribtions to the charity of choice of the winners to remove the lust for personal gain from the entire proceedings.

    Damien, none of the above is aimed at you. You’ve done a great job and should be recompensed for all your expenses, including your time.

  15. Dave says:

    What’s wrong with commercialism?

    Also I haven’t seen any blatant electioneering, maybe I just read the wrong right blogs.

  16. Kevin says:

    No, no, not at all!

    I mean yes to both.

  17. mbf says:

    The problem with commercialism, especially sponsorship, is that they’re not happy enough getting their name associated with an event. They want more control than that.

    If an event promotes something that’s contrary to their concerns, there will be tremendous pressure to “misplace” any nominations or votes for said blogs. So in effect, commercialism leads to censorship.

    It’s completely understandable from the point of view of the sponsors – they don’t want to be seen to be promoting anything they see as dangerous for their image, but you may as well start calling it “The Corporate-approved Irish Blog Awards” at that stage.

    This may seem a little hyperbolic, but sponsorship almost always leads to less freedom of expression.

  18. EWI says:

    you may as well start calling it “The Corporate-approved Irish Blog Awards� at that stage.

    Goodbye Twenty?

  19. David Doran says:

    I think that if you start something like this that you have full right to have your expenses payed for and a reasonable amount for profit if it’s there.
    You should strictly control primary sponsorship because companies will try and have you call it “X Company Irish Blog Awards” everytime you mention it and we must keep the real spirit of the competition alive!

  20. mbf says:

    Totally agree, David. Spirit, purpose, freedom and control should always remain and not be sold to Company X.

    Seriously, stellar work, Damien and congrats for getting sponsorship without relinquishing any control as of yet.

    Speaking of transparency, though, are we going to know who the panel of judges are?

  21. Damien says:

    There are in total about 16 judges. When I have them all assigned categories and they are happy with them I’ll list them but my only worry is any soliciting that will happen. Anyone that does though will see me when I get annoyed. 🙂

  22. red mum says:

    The work you’ve done on the awards has been tremendous and it is certainly your baby and like the great debates of late has hit a spot with bloggers.

    I’ve enjoyed the electioneering, and have done my own vote for me banners, it’s been a bit of craic as well as drawing my attention to blogs I didn’t know before, as indeed has the awards. And the extra traffic has been great.

    Breaking even for you has been important and I am delighted that you have succeeded well done! And if you make money, great, as I said it has been your baby and we have all watched it grow from a thought on a post to the general buzz around Irishblogs.

    Regarding more sponsorship, why not! As long as you retain control so the scenario of blogs being excluded because a sponsor has a problem would not occur. Why not turn it into a bigger and better event each year!

  23. the saint says:

    I don’t think the prizes are driving anyone. It is the recognition everyone craves. Who cares if it is commericalised. The blogosphere is not some experiment in maxist theory you know.

    Bring on the sponsers.

    personnells i think the Ferrari irish blog awards sounds good.

  24. Yes to both. Shouldn’t we all just setup a pledge now using Pledgebank or Fundable?

  25. […] So, simply, what I’m going to do when I’m going along for the night, is pay €10 instead of €5 at the door. If everyone does the same it will cover his hotel and travel costs, as he outlined them here. And if he has something left over he can buy himself a hat. Or some kind of talking orange. We’ll leave those details up to him. […]

  26. […] Just to be clear, my transparency post was not me with cap in hand, more me just being upfront with costs and what it takes to run an event like this. I have talked to other people who look like they are going to run some other interesting award events and hopefully my post helped them out. […]

  27. Paul Browne says:

    As a sponsor of one of the prizes , thanks for not diluting it (this year) by taking overall sponsorship.

    Of course , next years is fair game : Overall Sponsorship = more likely for event to continue = more recognition of Irish bloggers = Everybody happy.

  28. Rick O'Shea says:

    Yes, yes, yes to all.. Having dealt with evil, eh…..lovely corporate sponsors before it’s always a question of maintaining total control yourself while letting them have their little logo on the posters 🙂

    Don’t undervalue the event either – if Corpoglobalhypermex want to give you €100,000 next year so be it; if not we’ll tootle along as we do now….

    You should profit from your own hard work which this event most certainly is. The organisers of the radio awards certainly coveer everything and I’m sure have left overs at the end…

    As for me being paid next year – whoo hoo!!!!! 🙂


  29. What?! You have to PAY to get into the blog awards?! You mean it’s not free?

    Ah only joking, a fiver is fine by me, I’d even pay the tenner as someone else suggested. I dont’ think you should be out of pocket because of this Damien so if there’s any profit to be had at the door, it should go to you.

    As for sponsorship, go for it. Perhaps be a little wary of the larger companies taking over the whole thing, but look into it for sure. And you know…I’m a journalist..I might see if I can get a little mention of the awards into my newspaper, just to let people know what it’s all about. (And for next year, sure, you never know, I might be able to get a bigger piece into the papers!)

  30. […] door. If everyone does the same it will cover Damien’s hotel and travel costs, as he outlined them here. And if he has something left over he can buy himself a hat. Or some kind of talking orange. We’ll […]