I've been thinking for some days if I should write this entry or leave it as it is. I finally decided to do it, because I think that after all the support you have given you deserve to know all the details, you deserve the whole truth. The title I've given it is not because I'm yellow or because I want to draw attention to it, it's simply because it's the subject of the mail I received clarifying the whole process. The truth is that I think it's the most appropriate title for the subject to be discussed.
As you may know (because I recognize it, I've been quite heavy about it), the path to the Blog Awards started last September 22nd, when I presented the blog for the Best Technology Blog category. Week after week, the partial results were updated until we finally managed (all of you and me) to get to the final in first position (THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU).
The winner was announced at a ceremony in Madrid on November 27 (where almost all the finalists travelled from many parts of Spain). Only one of the three finalists would lift the prize. He was confident of victory, but he also knew that Commodore Spain He considered that the prize should go to one of the two blogs because the other finalist (which I won't even mention, it doesn't deserve it) considered it more generic, simply offering news from the mobile phone sector. Nothing special.
When the winner was announced, I was a bit disappointed. I assumed that the jury had not understood my proposal or that of the other finalist and that they had decided to give the prize to a more generalist technology website. So much for participation and, although the final prize had not been won, for me my prize was in your votes and in the support I received from you.
But everything turns around when on December 4th, a week later, they send me a link to a news item published by the organization through their social networks, which you can read here: http://premiosbitacoras.com/2015/12/04/retiramos-premios-bitacoras-2015-readwriteweb/
First and foremost, I would have appreciated a phone call (because in fact during that week they asked me for the phone via Twitter, supposedly just to keep it in their files) to receive an explanation. This did not happen and they have already apologized. Apology accepted. They did try to contact me on one occasion that same afternoon, after having launched the news, but at that time I was in a meeting and I could not answer the phone.
This press release details how the winning blog reached the final through the fraudulent use of Twitter votes, and using a recently acquired domain with good positioning in Google. A Cheater who takes advantage of the loopholes he finds to get to a place where others find it very difficult to get to (only those of us who are behind a project of this kind know how many hours are invested in shaping it). But worst of all, a cheat who a jury has given him an award.
If it was a movie script, now comes the horror one
All this is revealed, it seems, by the mail sent by an anonymous user on Monday 30th December. This mail was sent to us after the publication of the press release and we received it on 5th December. It details step by step the whole procedure I had followed until I found the cheater. Obviously I cannot share this mail as it is a private communication and I do not have permission to do so, but it basically tells the same story as the organisation's press release, although with a little more detail.
However, there is one point that is still missing from that press release, and that is that it seems that the first article published by that website was on November 14 (when the public voting period ended on November 13). I myself have been able to check the dates of the website and its social networks. The organization has indicated that on October 13 the website had content, they do not know exactly what kind, but it was not empty.
The fact is that their current articles are a little more than a month old, and that's all I can confirm today. And with a few fraudulent votes and content created during a little more than a month (even if it was since they bought the domain again, 5 months ago), it has been enough to win a prize as the best blog of all 2015.
I have no use for the justifications given by the organization
I understand that you can sneak the blog into the final through an automated method. It can happen that the system doesn't warn and nobody notices, but I think you should have some manual control from time to time, although I can assume that mistake.
But being very sorry for the organization, what I can't accept is the justification offered to give the prize to the winner, of which I put now the extract of the press release, that you can read in the link I put above.
I don't understand the jury's verdict. As they imply, the award is given to that blog for its "track record and reputation". Is it named Best Technology Blog of 2015, not for what it has done in 2015, but for its "track record and reputation"? Well, I thought that what they were going to award is the quality of content, the service provided to the community, the reader satisfaction. All those things that I, as an Internet user, am interested in a website.
Nor do I understand how relevant the date you joined Bitácoras is to all this, or how many editions you have participated in, or even the evolution in the rankings.
It is as if Schiffer was given the prize in a Miss competition, but after doing so they realise that they have not given it to Claudia Schiffer, but to Manolo Schiffer, the bearded man of their nephew, and they justify it by saying that after seeing the surname they thought it was the original.
Has no one reviewed the content of the web pages, which should be the main thing when choosing the winner?
This is all because I don't know how to lose
Nothing could be further from the truth. In fact, what I care about most is that Javier (and I have let him know), the man responsible for Commodore SpainHe was also denied promotion by news reports in different national media. In short, a winner who cannot feel like a winner, because a Cheater to agree to the final.
I'm also angry that the final was altered, that a page was snuck in without deserving it at all, simply for its own sake of search engine positioning. And in fact I'm satisfied with the result. As I said at the beginning, I understood that the prize would be between those two finalists. And the important thing is that justice has been done.
But where does all this leave the other two finalists? It turns out that, after the deliberation of 11 members of the jury, we came in behind a site with poor content and fraudulent tactics. How does the winner now explain his award? "No, the jury gave it to someone else, but they withdrew it because they made a mistake". Are our pages so bad that they are even worse rated than a website that has been publishing news for just over a month?
Next year to win
I'm sorry, but I doubt very much that I'll be running for office next year, at least not yet. Obviously, life can take many turns, but there are many things that should change.
It is clear that I cannot prevent anyone from voting for the web, but at least for my part I will not campaign. It is a lot of time and resources dedicated to that promotion that is not dedicated to the web, to the content. To what is really important.
The fact that with one week left to vote the voting procedure will not help either (and breaking the mobile vote on the way for a while). But if at least this serves the organization to improve the procedure, welcome. In that case, I leave a list of things that the organization should review:
- Too long to get votes. Almost two months to get votes.
- Too little time for the jury. And then what happens happens is that they vote "by track record and reputation".
- Keep the voting system. You can't change the way you vote in the middle of a contest
- Simplifying the voting procedure, for many it becomes complicated
- Transparency in what the jury is going to vote on, in what is being rewarded.
- And speaking of transparency, not knowing the number of votes of each participant doesn't help either
I'm just moving on. I'm sticking with the best. With your support, with knowing you've taken me to the 18th position as the most voted blogI am proud to have been considered as one of the top three technology blogs (when for some it is just "another running blog") out of more than 23,000 nominees. This is the biggest award podían give me. It means that you appreciate all the work that goes into this, which is a lot. That each of the many hours invested in the tests and articles are well received and appreciated.
And I don't need a statuette to remind me of that.
Thanks for reading me!