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Five reasons not to give an award

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There are few things more pleasurable than providing a site that you have evaluated with a well earned reward. The evaluator feels content that he has seen something of note. The recipient feels content that he has received acknowledgement of his hard work in producing the site.  However awards should be given for the right reasons. If you create an award program with stated aims and objectives and with specific criteria, then awards should only be provided to sites that meet those aims and objectives and criteria. However we are all human...well most of us at least ;) It is all too easy for us to be deflected from our purpose by other issues or situations.

We hope to briefly discuss five situations where it might be tempting to provide an award, but where an award should not be provided.

Reciprocal Awards

It is possible that as you have developed you own site, you have felt it to be worthy of an award or two. You may have even submitted your own site to an awards organisation or awards program. If you are lucky - or rather if your site meets the criteria of that program  - then you may have been blessed with an award. Often sites only become aware of the existence of other award programs when the owners of those programs apply for awards. So a situation could arise in which the person that has just presented you with an award, applies for your own site's award.

An award should only be given if their site meets the criteria of your program. Under no circumstances should a site be given an award simply because they have awarded you one, unless this is what your program intended. To provide reciprocal linking, and thus bypassing the criteria of your program, makes a nonsense of your award program and devalues it considerably.

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Good causes

Often a site will present itself, which is noble in its intent. Such sites may seek to raise awareness of a particular illness, or attempt to lift the human spirit in some way, or may seek desperately to find a loved one missing for years. Although the purpose of such sites may be laudable, if the site itself does not meet the criteria of your program, then it should not be presented with an award. If you are intent in acknowledging the efforts and nobility of such a site, then you should seek other ways to do so. For example, signing the guest book or including a text link in a free for all links section on your site or even creating a graphic with a link to the site that can be displayed on your own site. Do not let the emotions raised by the site obstruct the purpose of your award program.


No doubt you will have friends that have created their own sites, be they commercial or personal. Indeed as you join award organisations and interact with others you will find yourself making friends with program managers, and webmasters alike. One of the hardest things to do is to say no to a friend. And this is certainly true when it comes to the provision of awards. But friends should be treated no differently than other award nominees when they submit their own sites for awards. Provide an award for a friend's site if it meets the criteria of your program. If it doesn't then, no award should be given.

Laudations in guest books

You may have a guest book on your site. If you do it is possible that one of your visitors will praise your site to the hilt within the guest book. Such praise may be followed by an application for your award. Do not let flattery go to your head! Remember to treat your guest book and your program as two separate entities. The fact that someone has stated how much they like your site should not influence your judgement one way or the other when it comes to providing awards.

Other awards

It is so tempting when evaluating a site, to take a peek at the site's award section to see what other awards the site may have received. It takes a strong character to ignore the fact that a site may have received the highest accolades from some of the most prestigious award programs. This fact alone can influence your judgement. Indeed when you view the awards that a site receives after receiving an award from a top class program, it is noticeable that the awards tend to follow the same line. Evidence of influence indeed. Despite protestations it is clear that people can be easily influenced by things such as this. But remember, a site can receive a myriad of gold awards from top class award programs and still receive nothing from your own program if the site in question does not meet the criteria of your program. Do not give a site an award simply because others do. Do so only because the site meets the stated criteria. If you fear the influence of other program - and it is no disgrace to admit the possibility - then simply leave the examination of the awards section until the very end of your evaluation. This should help to minimise the influence this section will have on your own judgement.


In short, it is far to easy to be diverted from your purpose when awarding sites. Stay focused. Remember your goal, and be true not only to yourself, but to your awards program.

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