Congratulations to the 2004 Best Blog winners, and thanks to the 826 tough judges who carefully evaluated 29-nominated blogs to pick them.
Best group weblog on the general topic of marketing and advertising
Honorable Mention: MarketingVOX
How the Best Blogs were chosen:
In April 2004, we asked MarketingSherpa's 173,000 readers (who are mainly marketing execs at medium-large businesses and the agencies who serve them) to nominate their favorite blogs on the subjects of marketing, advertising, and PR.
It's awfully easy to start a blog on an impulse, but equally difficult to keep the effort up posting consistently over the long-term. So we cut nominated blogs that had been started after January 1st, 2004 (you guys can try again next year.) A total of 29 blogs qualified for the next round.
Next, we invited all MarketingSherpa readers to vote for the best Blogs in the six categories listed above, plus a write-in category where they could put any blog's name. We included hotlinks to every blog so folks could check them out prior to voting.
We also allowed nominated blogs to post links to the voting form for their own readers, however we asked all voters to evaluate every nominee in a category and not just one single blog. (Which worked out fine.) However, MarketingSherpa staff were not allowed to vote, or influence results in any way.
Voters were asked to rate each blog in a category by one of three designations - "Excellent", "Not bad", and "Blah". To make sure everyone understood what was expected from an "excellent" vote, we included the following instructions:
Is there a clear personality? Do you feel like you know the writer(s)? Is there a feeling of intimacy that may be missing from mainstream media?
Is the information either darned useful or very enjoyable to read? Did it make you think, or laugh, or click? Are there handy links to other places?
#3. Writing style:
Is it a sales pitch badly disguised as a blog? Is it a long-winded column instead of a snappy, slightly-informal blog? Is it just news briefs without analysis or insight?
#4. Usability & design:
Is the typeface easy to read? Can you find links to archives? Is the writing concise and skimmable? Are graphics limited to what's useful or fun?
#5. Would you revisit?:
Is it useful or engaging enough for you to visit it again someday? Or will you forget it the minute after you vote?
On June 2nd, we closed the voting form in order to tabulate winners. 826 people had cast votes. Roughly 35% of votes appeared to come from links from the nominated blogs. Interestingly, these voters swelled our numbers but didn't appear to change the overall results. So, the same blogs almost certainly would have won even if only MarketingSherpa readers had voted.
Also interestingly, in several categories, the blog that was probably the best known to voters prior to voting, did not end up being the winner. So, fame didn't make a big difference.
We did see some evidence of attempts to sway results in our write-in category, where several particular blogs were nominated in a rush of votes all at about the same time, and then never mentioned again. (The voting form did not allow duplicate entries per computer, but people with multiple computers or persuadable friends got around that a bit.)
However, our chosen write-in winner appeared entirely genuine, as it not only had the most write-ins, but also was repeatedly named throughout the entire 32-day voting period.
What did winners get anyway?
Aside from fame, hotlinks, and glory, winners received an award icon they can put on their Blogs (if they choose) to impress visitors. They will also receive a lovely MarketingSherpa Best Blog 2004 t-shirt to wear all summer and make their neighbors jealous while mowing the lawn.
I got a shirt as a prize. It was tres huge.