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:
After registering and paying $200, you cross your fingers and wait. A while later, you get an email.
You are happy of course, overjoyed even! But then, you click on that link and surprise surprise!
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:
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:
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.
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.