|The Status on Status & Statistics|
By Nicole S. Porter -- March 2, 2005
|Coming from the viewpoint of both a (former) award giver and an award seeker, I often ask myself, "Are status and statistics pages really necessary to a successful awards program?" Let's explore the arguments below.|
The Lowdown on Status
Status pages were begun by innovative and well respected European awards programs, and have risen dramatically in popularity over the past few years.
In the beginning, status pages listed the applicant's Web site (and sometimes their name), and showed the viewer whether the site was still being "visited," whether it had won an award, or whether it had not. This outraged many applicants, as they felt that their right to privacy was being violated. Many heated discussions took place on whether a program should post such sensitive (and possibly shaming) information.
This prompted a few program owners to "code" their status pages. Instead of site or owner names, they would post a code, such as "HD45," and then send the code to the respective applicant, so that the applicant - and only the applicant - would know the status of their application.
The code approach has been very successful and well received. It allows applicants to see their progress, instead of "waiting four weeks" for their results - or never hearing back from a program at all. This approach also allows the applicants to retain their privacy and dignity.
Provided a program owner has the time, coded status pages are indeed a useful and satisfying element of the successful award program.
Many awards programs offer lists or graphs of statistics, which we'll define as the number of applications submitted to the program in a certain time frame (usually a month). Some programs break the listing down by award type (gold, silver, bronze), awards given, or awards not given. The question is, is this necessary?
Some award program owners claim that seeing the statistics helps candidates determine whether their site qualifies for an award. They argue that it might dissuade less qualified applicants from submitting their Web sites.
Does seeing the number of successful (or unsuccessful) candidates to a program help me as an applicant? No. I apply for an award based on whether I feel my Web site meets its standards, not based on whether 2 applicants got a bronze and 0 applicants got a gold in January of 2003.
Then there's the argument that statistics can be falsified. I myself have clapped eyes on a low rated, brand-new program that claimed to have gotten over 600 applicants in its first month of operation. And I had to wonder, why on earth did they feel the need to make that up? Even most well established programs don't get that many applicants in a month!
The third argument is that a statistics page exists merely to "stroke the ego" of the award program owner by showing the world just how tough and successful their program is. Does the statistics page impress me? Sometimes it does, sometimes it doesn't. To be frank, as a seasoned applicant, I am more impressed by a program's winners and ratings than by its statistics.
In conclusion, it can be argued that statistics pages are wholly unnecessary to the operation of a successful awards program. On the other hand, status pages can be vital to a program's success and applicants' happiness.
The choice is yours.