Blog Awards 2009 – Rule change – Should past winners be eligible?

At the Blog Awards this year Twenty Major and Sinéad Gleeson pulled off a three in a row each and have said they will not enter into the Awards next year. There are other blogs too that could do a three in a row in 2009. Now there’s the idea of giving other people a chance at winning a category but there’s also the idea that talent is talent, repeat or not. The IIA Netvisonary Awards have a rule that if you’ve won in a category before you are not eligible for it again.

I’d like your views about whether a rule like this should be implemented for the next Blog Awards. Win it one year, not eligible ever again or just not eligible for the follow-on year? Or keep it as it is, no changes? If you win in a category one year, can you be entered in other categories though?

Once I go over all the feedback hopefully I can make an informed decision then.

70 Responses to “Blog Awards 2009 – Rule change – Should past winners be eligible?”

  1. Andy says:

    I don’t see why not – if it’s judged over the condition of the blog over the year since the last awards, and a previous winner is deemed best, they should still deserve to win. Like Twenty & Sinéad, it should be at their discretion.

  2. Katherine says:

    I think it would be nice to give others a chance though. The not-allowed-win-it-two-years-in-a-row option sounds good to me!

  3. In my opinion the Best Blog award should be given to the best blog- not the Best Blog that is not Sinead, Twenty or A.N. Other – for one thing the new name would be rather unpalatable.

    Not that I ever anticipate being nominated for an award in 2009 (or ever for that matter), but I think people would rather win the “best blog” award (or any other) because they deserved rather then Twenty’s enforced absence from the nominees (self imposed or otherwise).

    In any case, shouldn’t it just be about meeting peers, chatting, having a bit of a laugh and sharing opinions on a whole myriad of topics. If too many rules are introduced you run the risk of the blog awards become all a bit luvvie and taking themselves too seriously.

  4. Darren says:

    I can see why you might ask this and it’s good of Twenty and Sinead to step aside, but they earned their awards each year and I don’t think they should be deemed ineligible from winning again.

    Perhaps just make it so they can’t win two years in a row, but are eligible once again in the third year. That might be fairer.

    But truthfully, I don’t think there’s a need for the rule change.

  5. Grannymar says:

    My thoughts on the subject:

    I had my turn this year, time to move over and give someone else the limelight. We need to be inclusive and encourage new talent.

    So I go along with the ‘not-allowed-win-it-two-years-in-a-row option’!

  6. mj says:

    If you’re going to forcibly restrict it, then why not just have a raffle.

    Sure – is it fair that blogs which do not provide what the market wants should have a better chance of winning an award? If I started some spurious tales of my encounters down the pub interspersed with wretched puns, would I snatch the title from Twenty? Who knows. I’m not interested in stealing that niche so we’ll never know and I like reading Twenty rather than resenting the fact that it’s popular and gets a book deal.

    A compromise might be that the winner from the previous year has to do the presentation.

  7. Keith says:

    Perhaps “Best Blog” can only be won once by a particular blog, and other categories are on the basis that you’re excluded from a specific for one year after winning that category.

  8. paulmc says:

    I think that disallowing previous winners on the basis of their results for the previous year would be doing a disservice to other bloggers and cheapens what an Irish Blog Award is about.

    By removing the previous years winners, do you not leave yourself open to the accusation that the current winner only won it because their main competition was not allowed to enter and that they are in fact not the best blogger in their nominated category?

    If you want the Irish Blog Awards to be a “Late Late” prize – one for everyone in the audience – then I would agree that removing the previous winners from consideration is the way to go.

    If on the other hand, you want the Irish Blog Awards to be something that Irish bloggers should strive for, and that should require an amount of dedication, hard-work and talent, then I don’t believe previous winners should be penalised.

    I suppose it boils down to whether you believe the Blog Awards should be about recognising the most talented bloggers for the year or whether the Awards are just a pat on the back for joining the party.

    My 2 cents,

  9. Ben says:

    Whether its a blog awards or other competition it can get a bit tediously boring watching the same results year in year out. I would compare it to if Brazil won the world cup 3 times in a row, it nearly would be a forgone conclusion the 4th time around. This takes the excitement out of watching the world cup etc

    The range of talent in the Irish Blogosphere varies and as a new comer it is a struggle to get people to read your blog or even getting anything close to the standard of the larger fish in the pond (900+ readers a day etc)

    I think Twenty’s and Sinead’s blogs are great and im a regular reader but when does it just become the Twenty Major Awards.

    I would be in favour of some kind of change to the rules but again i am fairly wet behind the ears when it comes to this and my comments are general.

    This is not to take away from the great work that the big blogs do. They do deserve any award or acknowedgement they receive.

  10. Brian Honan says:

    I vote for leave it as it is. The best blog is the best blog regardless as to how many times it has won in the past. It is up to us other bloggers, and I speak as someone who was Best Business Blog finalist for the past two years, to up our game and knock the incumbents from their perch.

    As they say on the financial ads, past performance is no gaurantee for future returns.


  11. Piaras Kelly says:

    I’d say one year. As a judge I found it very insightful as you might automatically go to vote for the usual suspects, but going through the entire list really opened my eyes to the breadth of the Irish blogosphere. I think the ineligibility is good for two reasons – gets your to read new sites and stops a gang mentality devloping around the awards.

  12. Two comments.

    I’d support a two (or one) year limit on winning a category, though I think that the Best/most humorous post categories should be left open, and probably Best Blog too.

    While the rules committee is out, I think I’d limit blogs to appearing in two shortlists – rather than this year’s one. A lot of blogs straddle a range of topics – becoming prize-winning in none! Either that, or you need to particularly remind multiple-category nominated blogs that they can remove themselves from the long listed categories they don’t want to be further considered for.

    Alternatively, make a new general odds-and-sods category and give out three equal prizes to recognise that there’s a big pool of non-single-issue blogs and people need to be encouraged.

    PS: Thanks for thinking about next year early. That means you’re not throwing in the towel!

  13. I think that it should be open with no restrictions. It would be like Dublin winning the All Ireland and banned the following year.

  14. Helen Brown says:

    IMHO the best should win, regardless of past glories.

    Seems to work well enough for the World Cup, the Oscars, Eurovision… ahem.

  15. conor Byrne says:

    To be honest I can’t see any good reason for that rule, like you say quality is quality, if you are the best in the category you are the best.

  16. Catherine says:

    I don’t know about the “at the winner’s discretion” thing – Twenty and Sinead have been very gracious but I think others might feel under pressure to do the same thing in future years even if they didn’t want to.

    The Irish blogosphere is still pretty small, with an even smaller number of super popular blogs, so I think it’s only fair to restrict things a bit to widen the playing field. Not allowing consecutive wins seems the fairest way to do this for now.

  17. Ciarán says:

    This may be a bit left-field, but instead of having a direct vote for ‘best blog,’ why not derive it from other votes: if people could give a positive (or negative) score out of ten to every shortlisted blog/post (either across the whole competition or vis-a-vis the shortlist for best blog/post), you could tot everything up and decide that the ‘best blog’ was the one with the highest rating.

    That might reduce the probability that the vote becomes a straight familiarity/popularity contest and would push people to think of it as being about consistent quality.

    As I said, left-field…

  18. Niall Kitson says:

    I’m with Ben and Piaras on this one. One-year on, one-off is a good idea for growing the appeal of the awards and the Blog O’Sphere in general.

    As an impartial observer, seeing the same people win as last year implied that either there is a dearth of talent in the Blog O’Sphere (which I know isn’t the case) or that things are getting just a little too cliquey for comfort.

  19. It’s a competition not an exhibition! I’m all for ‘caring and sharing’ but if you apply any limits on winning in the interests of growing the ‘hall of fame’ then you lessen the competition and the standard falls. I respect what Twenty and Sinead have said but I think they are mistaken. Not everyone is worthy of being a winner and that is a message which is not palatable in our culture which perpetuates the myth of universal celebrity. So Damien – keep up the good work and don’t mess with something that works! Pleeeassseeeeee! 🙂 If I ever win even a category which is most unlikely I want it to be because I was the best not because it was my turn.

  20. Ah, the blog awards 2009 which are being held in Limerick, right Damien???

    I think the best blog, is the best blog regardless of how many times they’ve won it. I don’t think the rules should be changed.

    I do think that some type of feedback should be sent to the final list in each category. Maybe a breakdown of how the winner was chosen and what set that blog apart from the others. It could be a valuable learning tool for people new to blogging or perhaps from people that have been nominated in the same category a few times and never won. With something like this in place the problem of the same blog winning each year might be eliminated.

    Anyway regardless of whether they are held in Limerick or not 😉 I’d be happy to help out with stuff for the awards 2009. Contact me if you need anything.

  21. Kevin Peyton says:

    Having it so that you are “unable” to win two years running makes sense.

    Unable given the proviso that a category winner becomes category judge for the following year – that way theres continuity and means that a winner is not just blowing in the wind when the next awards shortlist is drawn up.

  22. John says:

    I’d prefer to leave things as they are. If the same blogs win every year, maybe it’s because they deserve to.

    The best part of the Blog Awards is the publicity it generates for sites, and for blogging in general – and that publicity begins once the long-lists come out. I was lucky enough to be short-listed in a category and it drove lots of new viewers to the site.

    There has been plenty of change from year to year in other categories – it will happen in the Best Blog category in time too.

  23. Re the Netvisionary awards (bad link in your post by the way) they seem to be for an innovation which is by its nature once off so it makes sense that you only win once – not the same thing as blogging which is a continuous process (or occassional in my case).

  24. In other endeavors where I have played, winning three in a row retires the trophy. From the outside looking in, the same old same old parade of winners does not seem inclusive.

  25. Declan says:

    If you introduce a “not-allowed-win-it-two-years-in-a-row” rule then it would completely devalue the award. In fact even letting winners stand aside for the next year devalues it. Who ever wins next year will be the 2nd best blog because the real best blog wasnt there.

    If the same people keep winning awards then the problem is either that a certain set of blogs are the only ones that get really considered by the judges and that they feel influenced by a blogs reputation more so than its current quality or, more likely, that the other blogs are simply not good enough.

  26. Excluding people devalues the award.

    Set out the judging criteria in detail and there will be no confusion.

  27. Johnny says:

    Winners are winners for a reason. Leave winners in so bloggers have something to aspire to.

  28. Not 2 eligible years in a row….

    And as someone said, the previous year should be asked to present the award on.

  29. Mark says:

    I think it depends on the main goal of the blog awards.

    If it is to recognise the best in Irish blogging, then keep it as it is with everyone in.

    If it is to promote Irish blogging and help foster a sense of community, then you need to stop the same people winning it year in year out. If the same people win year after year it will look like a small clique is running the awards and smaller and new bloggers will quickly become disillusioned.

    Perhaps something like if you win a category two years in a row you become ineligible for that category the next year, might be a good idea.

  30. squid says:

    Just give 20 major a lifetime achievement award and we can bump him off a few months later 🙂

    If the best blog from one year is the best blog the next year then it should get the best blog award, if people don’t like it then they should learn to up their game and their standards.

  31. “You can only ever win once” would change the awards, but not the real world. Sinead’s not winning repeatedly because of some massive fan bandwagon – it’s just that nobody’s taken it off her yet. I’m absolutely sure that following the IIA would just make the awards a little bit more irrelevant every year. Just like the IIA Awards, in fact: all the “traditional” awards they have are dull as fuck and everybody knows that the ‘best’ web developers in the country are nowhere near that ceremony.

    “Not-two-years-in-a-row” would be OK, if we must. But I think it’s quite safe to leave it alone. This year’s process finally got it completely right (the lack of public complaining about anything supports that) and I wouldn’t change it without a better reason, honestly.

  32. Adam says:

    I’m a little uneasy at the prospect of excluding someone from winning an award just because they’re consistently good but I can see how one person/site winning again and again would be discouraging or off-putting to many.

    I think there’s a compromise to be found that ensures the cream will always rise to (or stay at) the top without having to actually cut someone off and each year the judging structure seems to be getting closer to the delicate balance necessary.

    With Best Post people are expected to give a very specific example of a blogger putting something good out there – perhaps with the Best Blog and Best [topic] Blog award categories nominators should be expected to give more detailed reasons for their choices to ensure that they’re making them for genuine reasons and to ensure they’re not just nominating a blog on the back of previous form, rather than something the blog has done in the previous 12-months .

    Of course within this you have to ensure you’re not making the nomination process too cumbersome and that those appraising the justifications for nominations have a tight enough brief to ensure there’s a fair and consistent procedure in defining what is and isn’t a good enough reason to nominate.

    What I’m basically saying is that perhaps nominators should be expected to give a genuine reason for their choice without being obliged to write an essay. So justifications should rest somewhere between “because it makes me lol” and a 50-page powerpoint presentation on the matter.

    If it just so happens that Blog X is constantly raising the bar they should be recognised for that – unless they decide they want to opt out for their own reasons.

    As long as they are nominated and judged upon fairly then it’s only right that they get what they deserve.

  33. If we can kick Cork and Kilkenny out of the GAA Hurling Championship and Man United out of the Premiership then I’m all for it…… not. Talent is talent as you say, and can never be recognised enough.

  34. Declan says:

    The only thing I would change is make it the criteria clear as to how blogs qualify for certain categories.

    For example how many people qualify to make a blog a group blog, 2 or 20? What percentage of photographs on a blog make it a photoblog not a txt one with photos that discusses many topics including photography? Who is a journalist, NUJ membership or does a weekly column make you a journalist, writing a book or contributing regularly on tv/radio? What is a blog as well? Does a group on flickr qualify as a group photo blog if they regularly post pictures from Ireland or do they have to be hosted on blogger/wordpress/etc?

  35. Emmet Ryan says:

    Personally I’d opt for the system Twenty & Sinead opted for of choosing to do so yourself if you feel like it.

    As a sports nut I see dynasties as both historically significant and there to be broken, not something to step aside from. Boxing would never have seen Patterson-Liston or Liston-Ali if that were the case, the Diamondbacks win over the Yankees in the 2001 series (trust me it’s baseball but it’s dramatic) wouldn’t have happened and closer to home Kerry’s bid for 5-in-a-row wouldn’t have been broken by Offaly.

    That said I do respect when a champ steps away gracefully at the top, like a Marciano.

    So essentially let the winners decide for themselves, don’t place a limit on success.

  36. mj says:

    Put it another way: if someone really wants to win, then they just need to look at the winning blogs and emulate them – and do better.

    I don’t write my blog to fit neatly into a category and therefore I have zero chance of winning. I’m okay with that, I was writing it before I knew of the Blog Awards.

  37. It would be a pity if only replicas of existing blogs had a chance of winning.

  38. Declan says:

    Agreed, if next year 40 Silkcut who writes about her friends in a local coffee shop wins Best Blog next year I’m quitting blogging 😉

    Please dont let there be a 40 Silkcut out there to take offence 🙂

  39. H says:

    The awards should be left as they are, if this year’s best are still the best next year then give them the award. If you want to make it fairer, introduce guidelines some months before the awards, explaining what the judges are looking for in each category. That way newcomers and competitors to the main bloggers would be given a chance to improve their site in time for the nominations.

    Of course, there’s no substitute for interesting and well-written content but at least it would point out other areas that might require attention such as the design/usability of your blog.

  40. Adam says:

    Bock is right – a blogger that just mimics what is popular in order to get noticed should only be recognised for their distinct lack of original thought, nothing else.

    To propagate the myth that there is a single, definable and replicable format for being an award-winning blogger would be a very silly thing to do.

  41. The feedback for this so far has been great. Thanks everyone and hopefully more people will give theirs too. Not going to decide in this right away.

  42. Fergal says:

    I’d take the “talent is talent” view, though at the same time I think it was graceful of Sinead and Twenty to withdraw. In a voter system, there’d be a danger that a blog which isn’t as good as it used to be, but still had a big fanbase, would win because of numbers rather than quality, but that’s not a danger here. So long as winners are judged only on what they’ve done during the year, there should be no cause for complaint

  43. Sharon . says:

    Hi !

    If it’s not broke , don’t fix it – and the existing formula seems to be working, as the most popular blogs are rising to the top and will no doubt continue to do so . As it should be.



  44. Green Ink says:

    If Twenty and Sinead are judged the best, then they’re judged the best. To exclude them (or any other winner) the following year actually lowers the bar. Who’s to say that next year another blog won’t overtake previous multi-year winners in the judging criteria? Keep it as it is.

  45. Kieran says:

    From my perspective, I think that winning two years in a row is plenty and decided some time ago that I would not put myself in for 2009. If you want to keep the competition lively, you could add a “Blast from the Past” category where last year’s winners could go head to head. I don’t agree with publishing the criteria – I think that runs the danger of people gearing the blog to what they think you want. I don’t think that the person who wins best business blog next year will be in any way diminished that I’m not in the running. Finally, I would like to be involved in the awards in some way – perhaps as a judge for the business category.

  46. Michele says:

    I like the way the IIA don’t allow you to win in the same category two years in a row. “Elevating” the last winner to judge means they’re still involved, but allows for more variety.

  47. manuel says:

    original content is the key for me…….posting other peoples youtubes does not a blog make……

  48. I think it would be devalued if the “best” blogs were eliminated from the competition, it’s up to everyone else to up their game, if twenty remains the beat blog then so be it.
    I think the judging process should be more transparent though’
    for example is a blogs popularity measured? I realise interaction with readers is a vital part of what makes a blog “great” but it’s impossible to compete with established blogs that have 1000s of readers on that level

  49. Steve says:

    Personally speaking the best win because they are the best. To exclude because no one has, to quote fungus-face at Manure, “knocked them off their f&%$in perch” would be an insult to the awards. I think one of two things has to happen:

    1) The criteria for the category you are in needs to be refined a bit. I think that, as some have alluded to, some blogs cover a wide range of subjects and so cannot fit neatly into one category. Maybe a new category needs to be added? I find some blog posts in a blog interest me but others don’t and therefore they wouldn’t be a daily read – but would be a daily look. Others, like Twenty, have good stories and he drives up some controversary (and loads of comments) with come posts and therefore he stays in the mind. And that’s what a good blog does in my opinion.
    I also think the judging needs to be refined a small bit. Having judged the last two years it has got better each year but more needs to be done. One problem with judging is that you can’t read the entire year’s entries for the blog and make a completely informed decision. I know I didn’t have the time to read a huge amount of posts on each blog judged so I took a certain number of posts per blog and looked at it that way. It is very intense and time consuming and it’s a pity there isn’t a way of rating certain categories through the year (maybe if a blog post if worth nominating for that category people could email in the link somewhere??)

    2) We have a government style €300,000 jolly to discuss this but really only come out with an answer of doing what other countries do. But we enjoyed ourselves making that choice 🙂

    I know that to win any award is incredibly difficult and this should be no different. From the winners this year can you honestly say that anyone didn’t deserve to win? People just need to up their game if they want to win but sometimes, as in sport, natural talent comes through and that’s what should happen.

  50. Talent is talent as somebody said earlier on. But what are the awards for? To my mind their goal is to introduce new blogs to new people, its a cross fertilization process. When the blog awards started it was geeks all the way down, its now a broad cross section of society.

    We need to encourage that and also encourage a wider audience at the blog awards. Those goals are not served by being slaves to the natural power laws of blogging that will continue to promote A-List bloggers. Not winning an award for a third or fourth time in a row will not dimish twenty’s blog. However if the same set of winners roll up next year, why would I attend the year after?