So tonight was the long awaited Cosmo Blog Awards Night!
Firstly, thank you so much to everyone who nominated, and then voted for 30 Dates for Best Sex & Relationships Blog. It really was a marathon affair which went on for weeks, and the voting pages were by no means the easiest to navigate, so thank you so much for all the effort you guys went to.
If I’m totally honest, my whole impression of the Awards hasn’t been the best, but seeing as right from the start Cosmopolitan has urged us to write and tweet about it, it only seems fair to tell you the whole story. I like to think that you guys all know me well enough from my writing, to know that whilst I’m obviously a bit peeved that 30 Dates wasn’t recognised tonight at the Awards, I’ll still tell it like it is on here! A lot of what I’m about to write are comments which were made tonight at the event, not just by me, but by other bloggers, from all over the country and in various different categories.
On the one hand I think it’s great that Cosmopolitan are doing something to recognise bloggers. Because the magazine makes so much money and has such good sponsorship links, they have the means to run really large, well-promoted events, so it’s brilliant they’ve chosen to use those means to showcase bloggers. It’s also great to see a Sex & Relationships category (very few other Awards distinguish dating blogs from general lifestyle blogs).
However there have been a number of issues along the way –
1) The Voting Website Really Needs Improvement
People kept thinking they’d voted, but all they’d actually done was click links through to the blogs. The forms weren’t self-explanatory, some categories automatically nominated a blog without you clicking on the category, and the website didn’t work from most mobile phones.
2) Voting Wasn’t Monitored
The problem with public voting is that it can be very easily manipulated. One girl was overheard at the event boasting that she’d voted for herself every single day during the 2 month voting window. IP addresses should have been carefully checked and multiple votes disallowed. There also wasn’t any transparency about who the judges were, how many votes each blog received, or what the judging team were assessing our blogs for. In my opinion there is a huge difference between a blog which is updated on a daily basis, and one where the blogger only writes once or twice a month, or rarely writes about the subject they are nominated for.
3) The Awards is just a big PR stunt for Cosmopolitan and Next.
Whilst this is something we come to take for granted in 2014, the focus of the entire event has been more on getting #CosmoBlogAwards trending, than actually promoting and recognising the very best candidates. At every step of the way, we needed to tweet, Facebook and harass friends, family and readers to vote.
That’s meant all the major bloggers in the country were talking about the Awards for about six months. However, when it actually came to the Awards ceremony itself, tonight we spent three hours in a room surrounded by logos to take photos with, only for the actual Award ceremony to barely last 20 minutes!
4) The Shortlist Wasn’t Representative of the Best Talent in the Country.
I can count at least five bloggers in my category alone, who I know were nominated, who didn’t make the shortlist.
Instead my category included a number of bloggers who are in reality just broad lifestyle bloggers, or who write about dating once a month if you’re lucky. Particularly in a niche area like Sex and Relationship blogging, I’m fully aware who my biggest ‘competition’ are, so it was a real shame to not see the most deserving bloggers in the country up for the title, when they had been nominated.
5) The Awards Seemed Like An After-Thought
The set up of the Awards was a big long room, filled with sponsors sharing their wares (presumably how Cosmo fund the event). Make up companies were giving make-overs (in itself a bit odd at an event which you’ve already dressed up to come to), and you could get false eyelashes fixed on midway through the evening, should you wish! Great photo opportunities for the magazine, but not really a traditional Awards event, or that practical in real life.
After an hour and a half, we filed into a long narrow room, like an extended school assembly. Twenty-odd rows back, will no screens showing what was happening on stage, we could barely see or hear, and some winners were announced while the previous winner was still on stage! The whole ceremony had the feel of a cattle market. And then back we returned to a room full of branded stuff.
6) The Awards Didn’t Go to the Right People –
This obviously goes back to point 4) to some degree, but even within the Shortlists this wasn’t the case. And whilst I appreciate it’s hard to be objective within your own category, having looked at some of the other categories this definitely was the case across the board. Even within my own category, I’m self-aware enough to know who I should have lost out to, and I can hand-on-heart say it wasn’t the two blogs who were Awarded recognition this evening.
The overall winner openly admitted that she writes a Lifestyle blog, not a Sex and Relationships blog, but (and I quote) “I’d never stand a chance in the Lifestyle section”, and the Highly Commended Blogger posted 2 blog posts all of September! (To put that in context, there were 34 new blog posts about dating on this blog last month!)
Finally, and I wouldn’t normally be this petty (I actually saw this video a few months back and never said anything) … but seeing as the winner of my category actually came up to me and one of the Dating Bloggers, and asked us “So how does it feel to be losers?” (Genuinely the only thing she said to me all night!) ….
Here’s is a video by the eventual winner of the Best Sex and Relationships Blog category about why she should win the Cosmo Award. I think it speaks for itself, and the ridiculousness of the Award.
Why Awards Should Matter
Yes, I know it’s just an Awards Show, and as the lovely Jordi from 30 Something London pointed out, “tonight changes nothing”. But, as another blogger also highlighted tonight, for a lot of us, blogging is a huge commitment, and it’s something we put our hearts and souls into. When you spend in excess of 40 hours on something each week (on top of your 9-5), it’s a big deal. And it’s lovely to be rewarded for that effort now and again.
I love the idea of the Cosmo Awards, because it’s actually rewarding people for those efforts. But I really think they could do so much better in the execution. If you lose at an Awards ceremony, you should feel like you lost to the right person, and it should inspire you to emulate that person…. I certainly won’t be reaching for a cat any time soon, or trying to win Best Sex and Relationships Blog by ranting on about giving money to animal charities??!!
If anything, tonight has definitely inspired me, as Head Judge of the upcoming UK Dating Awards, to ensure that all the Awards go to the right people and companies. The Awards should set aspirational bars for the rest of the entrants. Finally, on the plus side, I met some LOVELY bloggers tonight, and learned about some great new blogs … so every cloud …!
Miss Twenty-Nine xxx