Congrats! You are an idiot! Pan Arab Web Awards Academy Scam

Let’s say that you are some kind of business and that you have a web page. One day someone tells you about the Pan Arab Web Awards Academy on panarabwebawards.org and you believe that your website has a chance to win. So you decide to register.

On the registration page, you get this message:

1 Congrats! You are an idiot! Pan Arab Web Awards Academy Scam

After registering and paying $200, you cross your fingers and wait. A while later, you get an email.

Award E Mail1 Congrats! You are an idiot! Pan Arab Web Awards Academy Scam

You are happy of course, overjoyed even! But then, you click on that link and surprise surprise!

First Option Fee Congrats! You are an idiot! Pan Arab Web Awards Academy Scam

Second and Third Option Fee Congrats! You are an idiot! Pan Arab Web Awards Academy Scam

You wonder WHAT THE HELL? You have to pay tickets + fees to claim your reward? You won and you don’t care about the advertising options. Oh, don’t worry, it’s been taken care of:

Please Note Congrats! You are an idiot! Pan Arab Web Awards Academy Scam

Congrats! You won! To claim the trophy, a piece of paper and watch some people you don’t care about make speeches, get photographed and cut a cake, you have to still pay $1000.

Wait, it doesn’t end here! There is an offer for Web Design Companies, something you surely would not want to miss:

Web Design Company Offer Congrats! You are an idiot! Pan Arab Web Awards Academy Scam

Needless to say, the company who receives such an e-mail and doesn’t pay to receive the award is not listed among the winners. I went through the winners and I’m rather bedazzled: The Jury made of Mr. who knows? awarded a list of websites; some of which don’t even open. Go figure.

Jury Congrats! You are an idiot! Pan Arab Web Awards Academy Scam

You know what? I’d say: Congrats! You are an idiot! Let’s shake hands.

Next time to decide to go for big names and try to buy credibility, think twice and dig further; whenever you see trophies, awards, certificates and whatnot to sell credibility, ask what it took to get it. Pan Arab Web Awards Academy looks more like an advertising ceremony than a real Awards Academy and that’s too bad.

I may understand the need for a paid registration when you get thousands of submissions, but not the rest. Such ceremonies usually offer sponsorship and media packages and DO NOT:

  • Make the winners pay for their trophies; it is not ethical and goes against logic.
  • Deny the award to the ones who received the “Congrats” e-mail because they did not pay and move on with someone else. A winner is a winner. Period.
  • Give the award to the unannounced ”1st running up” if the winner does not confirm presence for the ceremony. And if runner ups exist, they should be publicly announced and rewarded as such.

When it comes to the Jury, members should be publicly identified with a clear photograph and a short biography. People should also be able to see the members of the jury of every year next the list of winners in the different categories.

Last but not least, why would the winning e-mail be sent to people and companies who did not even register? Not enough registrations, so it’s OK to go against the announced procedure?

Trying to make money from so-called awards is one thing; but MISLEADING the public opinion is another. I’m outraged because these companies and people really think they can get more business and be trusted because they “got”, no, wait… they BOUGHT an award.

If there is something I missed, feel free to clarify.

NB: The company that received this e-mail and the category were deleted for privacy purposes.

Update 1: This post was subject to a libel and slander lawsuit in August 2013. Here is what I had to say concerning this matter: My interrogation with the Cyber Crime Bureau – The case of the Pan Arab Web Awards Academy.

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18 Comments

  1. January 28, 2013    

    I’ve felt something fishy going on.
    I found another article on the internet about the same group where their credibility is questioned.

    • January 28, 2013    

      Feel free to share the link!

  2. nadinetawk's Gravatar nadinetawk
    January 28, 2013    

    I would like to add also that my company had similar experience last year where we were contacted in the same way. And what is shamefull that our website won on the wrong category. They didn’t even check what’s our type of business … I doubt if there is a jury in the first place. We didn’t participate in the event and we didn’t pay so they didn’t provide us the trophy :). Thank you for bringing this up.

    • January 28, 2013    

      Thank you for confirming the facts!

  3. January 28, 2013    

    but guess what! Mona Abu Hamze’s blog got a second prize award although it has only 2 lame entries! that cost quite a bit .. no? … lame awards!

  4. January 28, 2013    

    Thank you for that. I knew about it but didn’t have all the information. Stupid awards.

    • January 28, 2013    

      You’re welcome. It’s sad to see people trusting companies based on awards they bought.

  5. January 28, 2013    

    Thank you to the pple/companies who are honestly coming forward & confirming this Pan Arab Web Awards Academy Scam

  6. January 29, 2013    

    it is a cheap price for companies who want to get more sales and advertize, its lame though. I’ve been telling people about this since the first year they contacted us (5 years ago!!!) but I am AMAZED that they still find victims??? How come people aren’t realizing this??

  7. January 29, 2013    

    Well said, the whole thing started with some hope to get better with years and it is getting more and more absurd… and surrealistic… we used to participate the first few years until we were completely disgusted 5 years ago…

  8. Necolas Hamwi's Gravatar Necolas Hamwi
    March 19, 2013    

    I guess there’s nothing more to add. Brilliant article, thank you :)

  9. August 22, 2013    

    Just saw this post
    https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=538853309495382&set=a.194153880631995.46816.194147200632663&type=1&relevant_count=1&ref=nf

    and apparently complaining on the internet is a cyber-crime, I guess the Lebanese government have been reading too much 1984 lately -.-

  10. Avedis Sarafian via Facebook's Gravatar Avedis Sarafian via Facebook
    August 25, 2013    

    Good Luck! :)

  11. August 25, 2013    

    Lol. “Stop blogging”? What needs to be done is exactly the opposite.

  12. Hisham Abou Nasr Assaad via Facebook's Gravatar Hisham Abou Nasr Assaad via Facebook
    August 25, 2013    

    Good luck. They look like they’re backed up by someone

  13. August 25, 2013    

    Well. you should be the one filing a complaint to the consumer protection bureau. that’s a fraud and a scam…

  14. danymoussa's Gravatar danymoussa
    August 26, 2013    

    I didn’t know about this post until now.
    No agency with values fall or decide to join such scams.
    Finally, i’d love to see more posts about such things. Good job =)

  1. Arab World: Pan Arab Web Awards Academy Scam · Global Voices on January 28, 2013 at 11:11 pm

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