SA Blog Awards 2008

It’s SA Blog Awards time again, and I am happy to say that some of comments and recommendations a colleague of mine made on Inside Politics last year appear to have been taken on board.

Inside Politics came fifth in the political blogs category last year; but the winning blog – Steve Hofmeyer’s – while picking up on a couple of political issues from time to time, could not really be classified as having a political theme. This year the rules state that nominees have to fit the category in which they are placed. Good move.

I still think that Celebrities’ blogs (as opposed to Celebrity and Entertainment blogs) have a built-in fan base that gives them a clear advantage over bloggers who have to rely on building their readership by providing quality content and working hard to market their blogs. They should really be in a category of their own (perhaps with a reduced weighting on reader votes to avoid a simple celebrity popularity contest).

My colleague also suggested that readership should count for something. I think that the 70% weighting for readers’ votes takes care of that. The more readers your blog has, the more votes you’re likely to receive. I also think reader loyalty/activism should count for something. One of the things I’d like to change on Inside Politics this year is to provide for reader comments appended to posts. Providing a forum for engagement encourages participation, rather than lurking, and participants are much more likely to vote for your blog than lurkers. (They’re also more likely to become multipliers of your message.)

I like the fact that the organising committee has gone outside of the local blogging community for its judges this year. I think we’re a bit of an incestuous community, and we need to make sure we’re spreading the net as widely as possible to discover and nurture the talent out there.

Related to this, I really like the new category for “Best undiscovered blog.” It gives blogs with limited readerships (like mine, for instance 🙂 ) the opportunity to get some wider exposure (similarly, “Best new blog”).

I’d like to make one further suggestion in this regard. I’m not sure whether the organising committee does any marketing beyond seeding the established blogging community with news about the awards (here’s one example of how that works). But, ideally, you want to get radio deejays blogging and talking about the SA Blog Awards; hopefully, you want to get popular sites outside of the blogosphere, like News24, to advertise the awards. There are probably a number of bloggers out there doing their own thing, blissfully unaware of the SA Blog Awards, but with a gem waiting to be discovered nonetheless.


2 Responses to “SA Blog Awards 2008”

  1. 1 Stefano Kezzing 28 January 2008 at 8:36 pm

    It looks like Seth at 2oceansvibe has other thoughts! He won virtually every award in the first two years and then pulled out last year because of “irregularities” which he says was mentioned in the sunday times.

    It looks like he is doing it again.

    More info at

  2. 2 ahazell 29 January 2008 at 10:26 am

    Hi Stef,
    Thanks for pointing out the other thoughts. I’ve only been blogging for a couple of months, and wasn’t aware of the changes between 2006 and 2007.

    I’d say Seth had a point last year, but has less of a case this year. (I think it’s much better having complete outsiders who don’t know any of the nominated bloggers judging, but I don’t think having nominees judging categories in which they’re not involved was quite the corruption he made it out to be)

    I also think that he could argue that it wasn’t sour grapes last year , but harping on this year, in my opinion, is. The public vote counts for 70 percent. The judges would have to think it was totally crap for the most popular choice not to win.

    My point about pure popularity contests was about bloggers that have a lot of readers because they are celebrities, rather than the other way around. The fact that they can mobilise their fans to vote via a number of channels (e.g. concerts, radio interviews, media releases, etc.), regardless of whether those fans have ever visited the blog before gives them an advantage over other bloggers. The celebrity is the major draw card, not necessarily the quality of the blog.

    Having said that, the SA Blog Awards are about promoting South African blogs AND blogging. So it’s important that the awards aren’t just about the established blogs.

    Finally, there’s no monopoly on blog award competitions. Those that are unhappy about how the SA Blog Awards are being run could always organise another competition with a different format.

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