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How Do You Measure Success?
By Wendy Russell and Wendy Sears  -- March 3, 2004
Wendy Russell For as many times, as one asks this question, there will be as many different responses to it...

So, what is it that validates the measure of a successful of an awards program? Is it the rating level of your awards programs? Is it the number of applications it receives monthly? Is it how many winners’ that your program displays? Is it the quality of the application submissions? Is the answer in the statistical data that is proof of how difficult the award is the earn? Is it the longevity of the program itself? Are these legitimate barometers to measure the success of an awards program, or is something missing?

Well, so far we have come up with more questions than we have answers.

So let us examine each one of these issues point by point.

Is a rating a measure of success?

Some might say yes, and others say no. There are many awards programs with excellent criterion and winners’ list that are not rated with ratings indices. So, is this a sound barometer of success?

 Wendy Sears

With all due respect to the ratings indices, in our humble opinion, not completely. Each awards rating indices has certain criterion that the program must meet in order to achieve each level of rating. The higher the rating, the more difficult it is to achieve all the requirements. These are not easily accomplished, and therefore require much effort by those who have successfully climbed to those higher ratings. The expectation was greater, and those who received the higher rating met those challenges.

The ratings indices offer a comparative measure of the degree of difficulty of the awards program. It then becomes a challenge and or/ a test sort-of-speak to those applicants’ seeking to earn the highest rated awards possible. Wondering to themselves ‘does my site measure up to these criteria?’ We all have that natural curiosity, otherwise, why do awards programs exist at all. They allow us to challenge our abilities, and seek direction to build upon what may yet be needed to earn the award.

So in essence, these awards are more difficult to earn. It should also be remembered that there are many award programs that choose not to be involved in a rating indices for various reason. Those reasons are by personal choice of the awards program owners, and we respect that. Therefore, this begs to ask the question, is this a measure of a successful awards program.

Is it the number of applications it receives monthly?

We put little to no value on the statistical ratio of applications received on a monthly basis. There are just to many variables to have any quantifiable value. For an example, something as common as the weather can influence this data. If the weather is beautiful, the applications numbers are lower, who is going to stay indoors and online when the sun is shining and warm. Another example, on special occasions or at holiday times, applications will be lower. People are naturally more focused on their families during these periods spending less time online.

Is this data more indicative of the ‘popularity’ of the awards program or can we consider this a measure of success of the awards program. We suppose, if popularity is your goal for your awards program than it can be a measure of success. However, is that enough?

Is it how many winners’ that your program displays?

When you visit an awards programs’ winners list, are you impressed by how many winners’ are displayed. Do you visit them to see who were awarded?

We am not easily impressed by the shear numbers of awarded sites. Instead, we are more impressed by the awarded site itself. we enjoy visiting those winners’ site, seeking an understanding of what the awards master saw that earned this site their award. We find much more value in quality rather than quantity. This brings us to the next issue.

Is it the quality of the application submissions?

This is an important issue from our prospective. We feel so much satisfaction and gratification, when we get that very distinct impression that our awards program criteria have been read and understood by the applicants. This means we have done our job by explaining what it is we are seeking to award. By having done this successfully, we indeed are getting quality site submission applications. That in itself is a measure of success.

Is the answer in the statistical data of how difficult the award is to earn?

Albeit very interesting to see the stats on applications ratio to the winners’ awarded. Is this a predictive factor of how successful your awards program is? Well, we guess it is all ‘in the eyes of the beholder’. We do dot place a great importance of this data either.

The reason being, it could have been a very simple and ‘silly’ error that may have disqualified a potential winner. If they only typed their URL, e-mail address correctly or filled out the application completely as the instructions required.

Is it the longevity of the program itself?

We have to admit, that when we see an awards program that has been in existence for many years, it impresses us. Even in our relatively short career of three years in the awards community, we have witnessed so many programs come and go. It takes so much devotion and commitment to endure over time. We find that, and whom now understands this commitment, automatically respecting those who ‘have been there and done that’.

At some point in time, we all have had a mentor and have sought the advice of those who have the answers. This is something we shall not forget nor take for granted. This is a precious resource; one we hope never diminishes over time

Is longevity as measure of success? We are inclined to believe that it is. If there is a demand then there will be a supply and visa versa. Otherwise, one can argue that these programs would have disappeared as well. Nevertheless, they have not, and that speaks volumes.

Are these legitimate barometers to measure the success of an awards program, or is something missing?

Is something missing, we are not sure. We am inclined to believe it is not one sole factor but a combination of the above mentioned. When you really think about it, every awards program aims to award something slightly different. So why then should their goals or measure of success, be any different. Each awards program is seeking to be ‘Unique’ in their own right. Therefore, there cannot be any hard and fast ‘rules’ that govern or measure that success.

What needs to be kept in prospective is this “ We enjoy the experience of owning and operating an awards program, and learn a great deal from doing so. So success is relative to our experience with it”.

Wendy Sears
Wendy Russell
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About the Authors
Wendy Sears is a law graduate who is currently employed as a health and safety adviser for local government in England. She has been creating websites for over three years and was the awards manager for the retired Assess Risk Website Awards program. She is an advocate of computers for all, from 9 to 90, and believes we have only just begun to scratch the surface of this media's potential. She also believe that there is such a wealth of talent out there that remains untapped because of a misguided belief that the internet is the sole province of the pre-pubescent. It is a pleasure to correct this myth where-ever she hears it espoused.
Wendy Russell is the co-owner and co-webmaster of Casey’s Celtic Charm and awards program, which is rated AS! 5.0 and is a WTA with Superb Website Awards. A member of CEM/CEMA, Apex and AEC Global.

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