Why public likes and votes are a terrible way to judge competitions.
I bet most people don’t know that there are groups you can join on Facebook, or websites that you can go to, which consist of thousands of people, who will vote for you in a competition, in return for a vote for them in another competition? Or, that Facebook likes, or retweets and followers on twitter can be bought for a small fee?
A simple googling of the term “vote for me and I will vote for you” yields this gem as the first result.
If you are lucky enough to be in a competition with people who don’t utilise services such as this, then you are in a constant state of begging for likes/votes on social media – which is more annoying than brands retweeting their every mention. (And I’m guilty of begging for votes too, but popularity has never been my strong point – so it is futile)
There are thousands of examples of such competitions, and regular folk who just ask their friends and family for votes, often get disheartened, even if they had the “best” photograph/witty saying/blog/hairstyle/wedding/panda out of the myriad of entries.
I’m not professing to be a social media expert, but most Facebook competitions, where number of likes determine a winner, contravene the terms and conditions of the site. Which is so eloquently covered by this article on memeburn.
Simply put, if you are running a competition on Facebook, you need a 3rd party app for people to enter competitions on. One example of a number of companies who get this right is Pick ‘n Pay, as can be shown by the app for the Freshly Ground competition in the picture below.
Whilst I understand that public opinion is an important aspect in determining a winner where specific content is judged, I don’t think it should be the only criteria. Including independent assessments from a range of judges, would surely result in the best content, rather than the most popular person being chosen as a winner?
Having a look at the recent disaster that was the SA Blog Awards, people could nominate themselves, then ask the adoring public to vote for them. The winner was then chosen based on who got the most votes. Which can easily be skewed by utilising services such as “Get Online Votes”. They didn’t even have a ceremony this year, so I’m not even sure what the winners received, besides for a mention on the website.
The Irish, those jolly people, have their own blog awards, which have a fantastic starting point for the criteria on which blogs should be judged.
I’m sure that this could be used as a starting point for our own blog awards, with many more criteria that could be added for specific categories.
For example, if judging the “Best South African Food Blog”, the following criteria, in addition to the criteria mentioned above, could possibly be considered.
- Original recipes vs. reposting of recipes from other sources
- Own photographs vs stock images/images from other sources
- Format of recipes, i.e. are they easy to follow?
- Do the recipes actually work?
- Are recipes easy to find on the website?
- Does the blogger engage with their readers via social media?
- Are reviews honest, or just a way to say thanks for the free meal/product?
Would it be fair that a blogger who just reposts other peoples content win an award, rather than someone who spends hours on a single blog post?
One post that I came across whilst researching this(the comments on the post were fantastic) mentions that perhaps there should rather be an award for “Best contribution to food blogging” rather than “Best food blog”.
Based on the above criteria, I would probably never win any awards, but at least if you know what is being judged, there is less room to complain when the “better” person wins.
What do you think about public likes and votes for competitions? Love it? Hate it?
What criteria would you like blogs to be judged on?