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The New Award Program - Ethics of Self Promotion
Brian Forrester -- August 24, 2005
As we travel the Internet today and learn of the many great sites, we also find many new award programs wishing to establish themselves in the award community. The new award program may feel in order to establish themselves they will need to promote their program through self-promotion.  

Brian Forrester

While self-promotion can be advantageous to the program, we must first examine the ethics of this venture. In order to fully understand what this entails we must first understand what ethics and self-promotion actually mean.

Ethics is defined as...

  • The discipline dealing with what is good and bad and with moral duty and obligation.
  • A set of moral principles or values
  • A theory or system of moral values the present-day materialistic ethic
  • The principles of conduct governing an individual or a group (professional ethics)
  • A guiding philosophy.

Self-promotion is defined as...

The act of furthering the growth or development of something; especially: the furtherance of the acceptance and sale of merchandise through advertising, publicity, or discounting.

With this in mind we must ask ourselves how can we accomplish our task and still stay within our own personal ethics and the ethics established for the award community. The new award program may feel that by putting their url on their award graphic is the best and easiest way to accomplish this self-promotion. In by doing this they have successfully begun an advertising campaign that can only lead to a downward spiral. While getting their url out to the general public by means of using their award graphic you must remember that by doing this, you have, without permission inserted a link onto the winner’s website. This action is not only ethically wrong but is also in violation of the code of ethics set down by the awards community. Another way the new program may try to promote their program would be to solicit applications. While this would be a great way to get applicants this only cheapens the program and gains the program the reputation of being a give away award. This practice is also is against the code of ethics that all award programs aspire to adhere to.

So now you are asking yourself if I may not do any of these things how do I ethically promote my site? Today’s award community is full of ethically established rating programs, these programs have been established to meet the needs of the award community and to allow the award seeker a chance to apply to rated, ethical programs that follow a strict code of ethics. While these rating indices do not support any programs, they do however maintain the integrity of the award program by handling complaints and investigating any complaints concerning award programs. Having an award program listed with these different indices also is the best way to advertise your program and still maintain your ethics that you have sworn to uphold. Another way is to become a member of an organization such as APEX or TEAM you will show that you and your website place ethics as a corner stone of your site. These programs are in place to show your visitors that you hold ethics in high regards. Also by being a member of any of these programs you are telling the award seeker that you will uphold the ethics set down by the web site community and that you will evaluate their site ethically by use of your criteria.

The final and most important way to advertise your program is by your actions as the award program owner and by the way your evaluators review a site. If you and your team adhere to your criteria and review sites without prejudice of forethought then you can honestly say you have upheld the ethics of your program. This will gain you respect and notoriety not only from award seekers but also by your peers.

We have now covered what is ethical and what is not, now it is up to you as to what road you wish to take. We wish you many years of success in the awards community.

Brian Forrester
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About the Author
Brian Forrester is a 44 year old risk management coordinator working with children who have autism. I have been involved in the awards community for about five years with his SFG Award Program, and started my first web site about 6 years ago. I am a U.S. Navy veteran and the family member of a Marine killed in Vietnam which is what got me involved in the pow/mia issue and the inspiration for my pow/mia information site. My greatest love has always been art which is how I got started in graphic art work and running a site that hosts many of today’s best fantasy artist and gives a place for new artists to show their work. When I am not working on web sites, my time is taken up with my 5 year old grandson and sitting on a human rights committee for autistic children.

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