If spec is evil, then what are "contest" sites?

I admit that I feel a little sorry for Derek Powazek here, since he has the awesome trackrecord being one of the founders of JPG Magazine.

His new toy, Pixish isn't receiving the rave reviews one might expect. Why not? Because it smells like spec work and spec work is shit as we all know. Even if Powazek doesn't think it really is spec.
If you didn't realize spec was bad for you (and me, and everyone else) here's ten reasons to ponder over at No Spec! which we've shown you y'all before.
PDN Pulse sums it up with "Will Work For Prizes"

What's really scary is that young, tech-savvy artists are being groomed to think they are contestants reaching for a prize, rather than creative professionals with valuable talents.

Beckley works says "I beg to differ. Pixish is work on Spec".

The whole “contest” concept is the problem. If the winner gets paid it doesn’t mean the many others who submitted work didn’t waste their precious time, and undermine their field. The only party guaranteed payment in this scenario is Pixish.

I find it interesting that all this is happening after Lunarstorm launches Xtraworks.se, a site they describe as "job site for young creatives"!, though the whole concept is that young creatives pitch on jobs out in the open on the web, and somebody "wins" the job. That's spec baby.

Also related is Openad, which is a bit like a "stock concept" site that launched a few years ago.

To be clear, Pixish clearly isn't a place where the pro's want to play, it's aimed at the dabbler, the hobbyist, the n00b. Yaknow, so they can "get a great piece to put in their portfolio". Oh, wait, where have I heard that one before? Am I being cynical? Honestly. You can tell me. I won't bite.