The Podcast Awards – The People’s Fraud

The third annual “Podcast Awards” are once again here, and what once a noble idea to recognize the hard work of podcasters has evolved into another way to generate revenue and self-promote the organizers and their endeavors. 

The site, opened up to accept nominations on July 1st is now greeting visitors with a page full of ads.  When the page loads it’s hard to see where your eyes should focus as the logos, navigation and content are broken up with banners, badges and Google Adsense advertising.  My friend Matt nailed it when he sarcastically said “nothing says ‘we really care about this award and what it stands for’ than trying to generate revenue from it.”

There isn’t a clear description of what the podcast awards are about, or why I would want to nominate a podcast I produce or listen to.  I found myself having to read over the content twice to find the “Click here to nominate” text.  I have to do a lot of digging around to begin to understand the process and how I should participate.  The category listings are laid out in a prominent manner, but are littered with redundant “Your Company Here!” linkages. 

The page just comes across as tacky and would be better served with just saying “Give Us Money” – oh wait, there is a PayPal donation button.  I understand that sponsors are needed to make these things happen, but solicitations need to be done discretely and respectfully.  I could see how an advertiser would be leery in associating themselves in a site that puts so little emphasis on podcast outreach to promote blatant advertising.

As for the categories themselves: it seems that the organizers learned no lessons about distinguishing the differences between a science and technology podcast.  Technology –  arguably podcasting’s biggest topic – doesn’t even merit it’s own category.  It gets lumped with “Science”, doing both podcast genres an injustice.  There are many great scientific podcasts out there that will go virtually ignored due to the need to nominate the big tech podcasts.  Likewise you will see a worthwhile technology contender left out because at least one scientific podcast should be represented.  At this point an “Entertainment” and “Movies / Films” grouping would make more sense.

It’s interesting to see that the “Best Podcast Directory” was left out of this year’s awards?  Was it because iTunes, last year’s recipient realized how these awards are perceived and had no interested in taking part?  Apple is many things, but one thing they are is PR-savvy.

One last thing, and this may be some picky criticism coming from the son of an English teacher, but a good proofreading seems to be in order.  The grammatical and punctuation errors cries out “unprofessional”.

I appreciate the intentions of the Podcast Awards, but unfortunately the poor execution does more harm than good.

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