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Parents Magazine Offers The 2011 Best Blog Awards

By cecilyk |

Today Parents Magazine ended the many months of anticipation and hectic voting to choose its 2011 Best Blog Awards. The overall winner was no other than the indominatable (and rather delightful, but I might be biased, since we’re friendly) Liz Gumbinner of Mom 101. When she discovered the happy news, she said on Twitter, “So wow, @Parents Magazine voted me best all around blog. I’m kind of blown away. Thank you.” (She addressed missing @ParentsMagazine in her next tweet.)

What went into the contest? Parents Magazine stated the following:

These days, the influence of a blog, especially a blog written by and for parents, is undeniable. That’s why we decided to recognize the best bloggers in the blogosphere with our first-ever Parents Blog Awards. We asked readers to nominate and vote for their favorite blogs in 12 parenting-related categories.

While the blogging was vigorous this year, (Parents Magazine states that over 33,000 votes came in), I found it pretty interesting that I heard very little about this contest, even though I’m familiar with nearly all the nominees and winners.

Why? Because most bloggers are no longer participating in popularity voting contests. ***Author Note: About half the winners of the Parents Magazine contest were selected by the editors, NOT by voting, and Liz of Mom 101 was one of those winners.

In the early days of the blogosphere, before SEO (search engine optimization), blog awards were an honest way to recognize other bloggers. A handful of online publications had more elevated awards that were carefully thought out, and individual bloggers also created and gave out awards to honor their friends and favorites.

But it wasn’t long before vanity blogger award contests cropped up; SEO agencies sprung into existence and suggested that running a blog award contest was an excellent way to create inbound links and buzz from the original site – not to mention drive massive inbound traffic.

It took a few years, but eventually bloggers began to set aside their vanity (hey, it IS nice to be nominated after all) and began to realize that incessant begging for votes did their blogs no favors. I spoke with a handful of bloggers and asked their opinions on the subject.

I hate that I feel like they’re a big sham, but I do. Basically they’re meant to drive traffic to the contest site, nothing more. – Tina of Rock On Mommies

It doesn’t matter how many times my mom, and my second cousins aunt vote for me, it does not mean I am the ‘best’. Voting should be conducted by an independent panel of judges who are in no way showing bias in their decision making. –  Tonya Staab of TonyaStaab.com

I’m not comfortable with asking my friends and family to vote, often numerous times over an extended amount of time, for something that will ultimately only benefit myself or my family. I would rather my being chosen for an award, honor, or job be based upon my merit rather than the amount of support or votes. – Amanda Henson of High Impact Mom

Being one of the people who WAS begging for votes and stressing I can say that I’d rather NOT ever do something like that again. It made me feel like I needed to bother people to validate me when my readership and decent stats should be enough to tell me that I AM validated. It helped me to re-focus on WHY I blog in the first place. – Clarissa Nassar of  The Posh Parent

I don’t claim to know what Parents Magazine’s motivations were for running this contest; I’m hoping their primary objective is to honor the bloggers selected (and fine bloggers all, too). But it will be interesting to continue to watch the impact these voting contests have on the blogosphere in the future. If the bloggers refuse to play, will they go away?

…………………

I’m going to head something off at the pass here: there are many that feel that Babble’s blogger awards fall into the vanity voting category. That’s because there is some widespread confusion about the nature of Babble’s awards. The intial Top 50 lists are incredibly carefully selected, after months of work by a panel of judges. There is literally no way to rig the voting; I know this because I participated in some elements of the judging on the Top 50 Dad Blogs list. As much as I have my obvious personal preferences, there are plenty of checks and balances in place to make sure that no single judge has any major influence, and Babble picks judges they believe will be fair.

AFTER the announcement of the Top 50 lists, a section appears on the blog to nominate those that were left off that list. And while those nominated bloggers may be considered the following year, the voting that happens is just for fun and doesn’t impact the original or future lists in any way. Just for the record.

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About cecilyk

cecilyk

cecilyk

Cecily Kellogg writes all over the web, including here at Babble for Voices and Tech. She neglects her own blog, Uppercase Woman. Read bio and latest posts → Read Cecily's latest posts →

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6 thoughts on “Parents Magazine Offers The 2011 Best Blog Awards

  1. Kalisa says:

    The Parents Magazine awards also had Editor’s Choice awards, which I’m sure were also carefully considered and unbiased. Whether they’re voted on or not, most people recognize ALL the blog (and twitter, etc) lists as link bait for increasing traffic.

  2. drhoctor2 says:

    And the voting criteria again , nicely sidestepped. You haven’t laid out any methodology for ranking Best of Lists. “There is literally no way to rig the voting; I know this because I participated in some elements of the judging ……” Some elements ? OH, GOOD..I guess… making no sense there. You’re telling people to take your personal word for it cos it’s your personal word. That may not be as comforting to people as you seem to think. It can’t possibly carry any unbiased weight as you work with and for many of the nominees. Babbles Best of lists are every bit as much of a marketing gimmick as anyone else’s. Either lay out the scoring system or drop it all together. There are easily identifiable standards for writing excellence. That’s not what Best Of Mommy/Daddy/ Bloggers lists are about. If anything a secret method of classifying bloggers is LESS fair than a readers voting system as bias can run unchecked. Unless judges are using blind entries, bias is present. Due to the closed system familiarity of Mommyblogging blind entries can’t guarantee impartiality due to knowledge of entrants writing styles or subject matter.
    Kind of a rude shot to qualify Mom101′s popular win by cracking that you didn’t really know about the contest because “nobody does THOSE anymore” .

  3. lolly says:

    Is this article satirical? Is BABBLE– notorious for being the worst kind of link bait listers and contest beggers– seriously dissing a respected, long standing magazine like Parents? I don’t know whether to explain “pot meet kettle” to you or explain hypocrisy. There is no unbiased blogging contest in existance. Period. If I gave you 20 blog posts from unidentified bloggers, my bet is maybe 4 would be from “Babble’s Best” winners. That’s fine but at least be honest about it. If nothing else, thanks for the giggle! Oh, and this is against this writer at all. It’s just Babble in general that needs a hard look in the mirror.

  4. mom101 says:

    I need to clarify, not just on my behalf but the other Editors Choice Winners like Leticia Barr and Wendy Aarons and DadCentric, etc. that those were chosen by editors, the same way Babble’s lists seem to be.

    Each category had both a “popular vote” winner, as well as an editorially selected pick. I was truly honored that a writing staff of a national magazine that I admire (and read!) saw fit to include me here.

  5. Julie says:

    First thing fist, Cecily, I’m a fan, and have been since I got forwarded your blog’s link about the situation with your daughter’s preschool. I admire your style and the way you address issues relevant to the world of “mom bloggers.”
    So, your prespective on the Parents Magazine contest is really eye-opening.

    This was the first blog contest – and award – my husband and I participated in all 10 years of our blog. That’s why we were blown away when we earned the Reader’s Choice for Best All-Around Blog, especially since we didn’t beg for votes. We were notified we’d been submitted by a reader, got a badge (which we posted on our sidebar, naturally) and mentioned it on our blog and individual Facebook pages a few times. (That isn’t vain or begging, is it?) We are lucky in that we are not dependent on the few dollars we get from our ads (although I do get a manicure whenever that check comes in), so the need for clicks is irrelevant, and we don’t do giveaways on our blog, either, so I like to think readers voted because we post great content because, frankly, that’s all they get out of the deal.

    I didn’t realize there was so much doubt in these contests, but it’s obvious I’m a few years behind the curve on this one. Shouldn’t be surpising, though – my cell phone is still only capable of making phone calls and sending texts. Oh, and occasionally working as an alarm clock. :)

  6. Ellen S. says:

    I helped judge a category of entries for Parents.com, I blog for them, I blog for Babble and I made it onto Babble’s awesome Top 50 List last year—so I qualify as the opposite of objective, all around! But I have to say, I’ve seen voter-driven awards before that were so shamelessly driven by the desire to boost traffic they should have had a banner “VOTE! WE WANT YOUR PAGEVIEWS!” This is *not* Parents, who genuinely wanted a mix of crowd faves and editors’ picks.

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