The Webby Awards are a Scam

SFist: Let’s Buy Us A Damn Webby!: I’ve never been a big fan of the Webby Awards. For some reason I find that their version of what is the best of the internet does not always jive with mine.

One thing though that I really don’t like about the Webby’s is that they basically are a racket intended to extract fees and money out of websites for their own profit. Don’t get me wrong. I kind of like the idea of a democratic process that helps refine the best internet sites out there.

And I think that sites like digg and delicious and reddit and a number of other sites help you find compelling new content. But you know what? digg and delicious and reddit don’t charge you a $245 to list your site on their service.

$245 is just unbelievable. Certainly I can understand entry fees for contests, but $245? What a crock.

From SFist: “We checked in with a friend of ours whose company won a Webby last year, and he confirmed our darkest fears. “They do this for an salary, not to celebrate the internet. They charge us the “processing fee” and also charged an entrance ticket fee (I think it was $250) to the awards ceremony.”

Another prominent blogger told us that “Apparently this year, they’ve extended the ‘nomination’ period at least once, maybe more, because I guess they haven’t made enough money. It’s most definitely a ‘who’s who’ type scam.” In the words of one of our esteemed colleagues, “That’s some racket the Webbys have going!””

While I can see why people would participate as the publicity/traffic/ad dollars/brand awareness probably pays in the end but how about having a contest that didn’t gouge the participants?

Update: I think using scam in the headline and in this article is too harsh a word. I took a look at the Webby’s FAQ just now and the enterance fee is prominently disclosed. There is also a $195 early bird enterant fee option available. While this contest still doesn’t sit right with me and I still feel that the fee is excessive, scam is a loaded word that is more than what is deserved in this case.

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2 Comments

  1. Does anybody even care about the Webby Awards? I can’t think of a single site that has won one.

  2. Jason says:

    Mr. Hawk-

    “Scam” may be too harsh a word. But while the Webby site may disclose the fees for entrants, I think they do an amazing job of keeping that fact hidden from the rest of the world. That part reeks of lameness.

    News reports treat the Webbys as a legit awards ceremony, rarely if ever mentioning that it’s essentially the worst kind of popularity contest: only those who can afford it even have a shot.

    Some may complain that while other ceremonies like the Oscars may not charge, they suffer via other tactics like jockying and massive promotion.

    Obviously, there’s no “pure” awards ceremony. But I’d much rather have the politically-charged vying of the real awards ceremonies than one that involves straight-up entrance fees any day.

    The Web has a come a long since having a “cool site of the day” banner in your footer meant anything. It’s time for a legitimate awards ceremony that reflects the democracy, disintermediation, and diversity of the web.

    A final note to this year’s Webby awards winners: For $120 (about half the cost of a Webby), I will happily confer upon any one of you the “Best Website of All” Award, and include a nifty logo you can place on your homepage.