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Today's Awards Community!
By David Bancroft -- June 6, 2001

“Bettering the Net By Striving For Excellence” . . . perfectly symbolizes everything about today’s growing and diverse web awards community.  And yes, it happens to be the Award Sites! (AS!) slogan.

These seven words also represent a stark contrast to what I encountered five years ago when I launched my first site, FOCUS Associates, and sought recognition of my site development efforts.  I quickly discovered that most site awards offered were more like promotional stamps for the issuing site, which had little or no criteria let alone a purpose for being besides the obvious.

David Bancroft, owner of Award Sites! and  president of F0CUS Associates (business and marketing consulting)

Now don’t get me wrong . . . attracting visitors to your site is a very good reason for offering an award program. However, it was more like finding a needle in the haystack back then; not at all like today’s awards community.  (Take a look at the History of Web Awards by Míc Miller on Awards Scoop to learn more about some of those rare needles.)

In fact, my dissatisfaction with what was offered for commercial sites, especially small business ones without the financial resources to be recognized, lead me to develop the FOCUS Marketing Award (FMA) for the purpose of honoring only the best in marketing presentation . . . regardless of business size.  I even sought input from other designers with marketing expertise before I finalized detailed criteria and helpful hints along with guidelines / parameters for FMA’s review panel.  (I retired FMA after three years as an original AS! 5.0 rated program.)

Sound familiar?  It should for those of you who have read the criteria and rules of AS!  Even the AS! Rating Panel has a similar approach.

And just look at the quality of programs today!  The number of site owners who are striving to offer topnotch award programs has increased every year since the debut of AS! in the spring of 1997.  Even the 5.0 rated level award programs have improved during this period with today’s Elite far superior to those listed at the same level in 1997 or even 1999.

Of course, there are notable exceptions . . . including two original AS! 5.0 rated award programs: Surfers Choice and Learning Fountain.  Both have met the challenge as pioneers in their respective areas to remain as part of the Elite!  Other quality non-rated programs like the Webby Awards (best known with multiple categories), IPPA’s DX Award, and Tenagra Awards for Internet Marketing Excellence (goes beyond the site) that were born five or more years ago still shine brightly today.  And even some recently retired AS! 5.0 programs like Internet Brothers Presents and Fortress Key Site Award were mainstays that contributed to what the Web Awards Community is today.

Moreover, AS! 4.0 and 4.5 rated programs would have made the 5.0 level in 1997 and 1998 with most of the 4.5’s probably making the 5.0 rating level in 1999 based upon that year’s criteria and review process.  That also means significant improvement has occurred for award programs currently rated 2.0 to 3.0 by AS! with many having the potential to achieve higher ratings if the dedication is there like it is with owners of higher rated programs.

Women are well represented . . . in this phenomenal push toward excellence as well.  Female web designers and website owners who offer quality award programs have increased significantly, for instance.

  • Monika Carter (TMC Exceptional Design Award - now retired)

  • Barbara Tampieri (BTDesign Awards)

All of these women have achieved the AS! 5.0 rating level with several more excellent woman-owned programs knocking on this Elite door.

Of course, the contributions of these and the other women award program owners do not diminish what men have contributed to today’s award community.

  • Don Chisholm, Míc Miller and Jef Peace, who are my Awards Scoop partners, all have AS! 5.0-rated award programs.

  • Another is Rick Doran, who has fostered more than a few men and women to excel with their own highly rated award programs.

Apologies to all the other men and women who deserve mentioning, but I would have to put on my novelist’s hat to do so.  Also, special recognition goes to those younger designers of both genders still in high school and college who have made valiant efforts in their award programs.  Yes, most are short lived due to the hectic life of trying to finish school and start a career . . . but even their limited presence makes the web awards community better.  And hopefully, many will return one day, seeking awards and/or offering awards.

Tireless Dedication . . . is another attribute that exemplifies the overwhelming majority of today’s award program owners and their reviewers.  Ironically, it is probably the least appreciated aspect from those who apply for awards who do not offer their own award program . . . which probably accounts for 95% of the site owners, webmasters, and designers seeking site recognition.

Simply put, the time involved to visit sites and then maintaining / updating an award program can literally equal a full-time job, but without the compensation package.  Even just spending 10 hours a week adds up quickly.  Imagine doing it for five or more years . . . Do the math and start appreciating the real value of receiving any award that your site earns relative to its quality and meeting the specified criteria.

And most importantly is that today’s web awards community is a . . . COMMUNITY!

It is made up individuals who live all over this globe with a commitment to improve the Net so that everyone can enjoy quality sites with interesting content no matter where their travels take them.  Moreover, they are neighbors to anyone willing to participate in bettering the net by striving for “web excellence”, which includes those who desire recognition of their sites and/or design efforts.  (That could not be said five years ago.)

Interesting what can be accomplished when it involves community participation!

Copyright © 2001
All Rights Reserved
David G. Bancroft

About the Author
Besides being the founder / owner of Award Sites! . . . David Bancroft is the owner of FOCUS Associates, a business and marketing consulting firm; founder / owner of USA Patriotism!, a showcase of love and pride of the USA with top rankings at Google and other search engines; Poetry Galore, a showcase of original poems, short stories, and resources; and co-founder of Awards Scoop, an online media kit concerning the awards community.  Additionally, David has authored two fiction novels, Mere Chance and Cemetery Wood, 100+ poems, and many articles.

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