The UD awards were an idea that was interestingly put together to celebrate social media in the hobby. Instead, they have created riffs and accusations among the nominated and the snubs, causing more problems than partying over being recognized as one of the best. On Twitter, many of the blogs (nominated and not) have been discussing a better system and suggestions to revamp the awards to be more mutually inclusive rather than exclusive. Although SCU was left off the ballot due to some odd occurances, this site was actually among a large handful of pages that were not among the nominees. Considering that many of the top hobby blogs were left out of the awards, the disappointment felt by those sites is definitely warranted.
I will say that even if the UD awards were all inclusive, it would remain a popularity and traffic driving contest rather than who actually deserves to win. Even now, communities are bickering over cheating accusations and vote stuffing instead of trying to show why their site deserves the award. One forum has already said they are giving everything back if they win, which could be likely considering the race.
In my opinion, these awards are intrinsically flawed because the sites with the most traffic will always have the advantage. One could argue that traffic is gained by the effectiveness of the site, but Im not entirely in support of that. There have been a few suggestions to redo the format to neutralize this fact, and I think its worth repeating here due to the number of manufacturers that read this site over twitter.
Instead of an awards program, I am suggesting the creation of an MVP program or something similar. This means that no one site or forum gains all the spoils of an award based on who can drive the most people to a poll. The manufacturer would designate blogs, forums, youtube box breakers, whoever they want as part of the program either through application or recognition, and that person would be able to display a badge on their site proclaiming as such. The MVPs would get the product to open and giveaways, much like the awards are now, and the manufacturer would get free advertising on the site thanks to the badge and the posts about the giveaways. Multiple people would be able to be recognized for their contributions rather than one or two. That would solve lots of the issues created by the awards, and it would be a great boost for the people who gain MVP status.
Sooz from Cardboard Problem suggested a bracket style tournament where each blog would face off against another until only one remained. It would give more people more chances to win, and let people decide based on the matchup rather than everyone all at once. Personally, I still think this has the traffic problem, as the more popular site will always have the advantage.
The hobby’s only card marsupial suggested that Upper Deck recognize each blog with a letter and a pack of cards for their contributions. I think this is a good idea, but when it comes to recognition, this idea really doesn’t give that. For the sites that could use the recognition, it doesn’t give them a bump, even though they are receiving contact from Upper Deck thanking them for their work.
Im interested to see what other people think, hopefully there will be some great ideas. I think at the very least, there needs to be more order in running the awards, and more security measures to prevent cheating. Maybe next time this will be the way its done. I hope they move away from recognizing so few people, as there are tons of sites that deserve to be in the spotlight.