Fixing The Upper Deck Awards

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.

My Suggestion

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.

Cardboard Problem’s Suggestion

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.

Wax Wombat’s Suggestion

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.

Upper Deck Awards – Voting Starts Today

For those of you who have been following along, Upper Deck has been soliciting noms for their awards that celebrate different parts of the Hobby’s social media. Voting is scheduled to start today, and SCU should be among the blogs with a chance to win. As soon as the link is up, ill post here so that you can vote on the Facebook page. Even if SCU is not considered for the award, be sure to vote for your favorites, as everyone definitely deserves the consideration.

Here is the link to UD’s facebook page where Voting will take place.

For the winner of each of the categories, Upper Deck is providing a bunch of giveaways that look to be pretty epic. They have announced that one of the prizes will be a football signed by all the attendees of the 2009 Rookie Premiere, meaning Sanchez, Harvin, Stafford, Moreno and such. They will also get a bunch of other stuff to give away, which I am excited at the possibility of doing.
Hopefully you will vote for this site, as I have worked extremely hard to make SCU worthy of your support. Otherwise, I will be first in line to congratulate the winner.
Thanks guys!

I Have Been Had By The Fake Twitter Account, As Much As I Hate To Say It

Yesterday, the web was all abuzz with the promise of the UD Awards unveiling. One person, someone close to the program it seems, took the opportunity to capitalize on the event. This person created a fake Twitter account (@upperdeckawards), started tweeting, and we listened and responded quite intently. There are definitely some questions I have, especially considering that UD had nothing to say about it, even now.

First, the Upper deck account knew quite a bit about what was going to happen. How would they have that info? We could all guess, but they were pretty much on top of a lot of it.
Secondly, Upper Deck has more than one twitter account that was active, why didnt they tweet their followers to inform them it wasnt real? Its quite simple, just tell us. We could have avoided lots of confusion since almost all of us follow both accounts.
Lastly, I get that these awards are polarizing, as are some of the responses to it. However, I feel like someone is pulling strings that shouldnt be pulled. I guess when you offer free stuff, including elusive recognition, we all freak. We all want a piece of the action, and a lot of us throw caution to the wind (myself included) when we get a whiff of a cool opportunity.
I failed to follow my own rules about fakes, and I should have known better. My apologies to everyone. Be sure to voice your support for SCU on the awards, I guess I am now eligible again.

What The UD Awards Say About Hobby Reporting

Since 2008, the hobby media has gone through MANY significant changes, especially with the advent of social media. First there was the 2008-2009 blog boom, then facebook, then twitter, all of which contributed to collectors being the most informed “generation” in sports card history. Message boards also have contributed their share of connection tools as well, mainly that there is a growing number of places where collectors can converse without leaving their house. Thanks to sites like eBay, Blowout Cards, and DA Cardworld, the internet has basically rendered the shop and show obsolete, and I am one who welcomes the digression from the norm of the last 25 years. Collectors are now tied together more readily and easily than ever before, and I love it.

Yesterday, we entered a new chapter in this ever changing saga, as Upper Deck became the first manufacturer to offer awards for excellence in these mediums. Unlike other hobby media who loathes the loss of their reporting territory and prominence, Upper Deck has chosen to embrace it. Although the idea is most definitely a publicity tool to drive people to their site, the concept reflects how social media has revolutionized the hobby’s reporting crew. Three years ago, if a anyone offered awards like this, there would only be a handful of people around to accept them, now there are thousands. Collectors are starting blogs like it’s a job, mainly because of the wonderful community that has been established by the hundreds already in existence. Twitter is catching on as well, with manufacturers starting their own pages to complement the many blogs and message boards that are already established. Through these Blogs, Twitter and Facebook, collectors no longer have to search for the info they need through pages of outdated and disconnected magazines or through posts on countless forums. Instead they can go to the Blogs or Facebook pages and see a ton of information as it becomes available.

With the recent advent of awards for best of the best, I can forsee a lot more people getting started in speaking their mind through places like Twitter and Blogs. With magazine readership dropping, people who do it for fun have become the best resource for information and commentary, as there is no ad revenue or editors to worry about. Most of the time, that leads to free roam of the hobby landscape, something that has never been offered before, ever. It also gives people the opportunity to police the douchebags, as previous hobby news sources still try to shy away from exposing the “dark side” of collecting.

For a lot of the people who casually stumble across the hobby, the mantra usually is a variance of “its just card board,” but for a lot of us, its more than that. Its something we use to better writing skills, build resumes, and most of all have fun doing. There are no limits and no censorship, and because of that fact, online collectors are quickly starting to outnumber old and stubborn curmudgeons.

I doubt the Upper Deck awards will be the last of its kind, because its obvious that its online success will produce copycats. Im fine with that as long as the contests facilitate more people take up the banner and start their own way of reporting on the hobby they love. Just because there are hundreds of blogs and message boards out there already, doesn’t mean there isnt room for you to find your niche as a new member of the online community. As I have said a hundred times before, I will not hesitate to add any new people to the sidebar and give you a link, or answer any questions you have in getting started.

Remember, if you have something to say, there will always be people willing to listen. Then, if you are fortunate enough to have great content and good readership, you now have the ability to be recognized industry wide.

Vote For Your Favorites in the Upper Deck Awards

This year is a first for these types of things, but I think it bears mentioning here. Over on twitter and possibly facebook, Upper Deck is soliciting collector votes for their favorites of the net. Award categories include collector of the year, blog of the year, forum of the year, and the like.

As a person who puts a ton of work into this site, I would love your support for Blog of the Year, but I am not eligible because I contribute to UD’s site. Therefore, throw your support to who you feel did the best job this year, and hopefully, they will be recognized.

You can nominate blogs and collectors by responding to Upper Deck’s facebook page, and im sure their website will also be a hub for vote collecting. Even if you are not going to be voting for this blog, I encourage you to support your favorites by checking out the contest.