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 AWARD SITES! 5.0 Elite Member Badge
Member Since Sample

5.0 Elite Member Criteria
Revised February 12, 2007

AWARD SITES! 5.0 Elite Member Badge

Recognized as an Elite Award Program (Best of the Best and top 1%) by the original and premier award rating service . . . a "5.0" rating also means reaching the summit of Award Sites! after a hard and rewarding climb up the mountain of excellence. 

5.0 Criteria4.5 Criteria4.0 Criteria3.5 Criteria3.0 Criteria2.5 Criteria

Note: 5.0+ Requirements are only for listed 5.0 rated programs.

  • Prerequisites compliance... Non-rated and 3.5 to 5.0 rated programs being submitted for an initial and upgrade rating review, respectively, must first comply with the 20 Prerequisites, which includes plagiarism, copyright, and listing winners.  (Owners of 3.5 to 5.0 rated programs in good standing just need to check the "Revised date" to make sure no changes to the Prerequisites have occurred since their program was last reviewed.)

  • Program's Age Relative To Achieving 5.0 Elite Rating Level

    • Non-rated award programs (by Award Sites!)... It is exceptionally rare to achieve this level through an initial rating request and with no chance for any program under a year old.  (Only one program has achieved the 5.0 level since 2000 and was well established.)  It is critical for an award program to be well-established with a history of consistent excellence. Most programs reaching this level have been established at least three years and usually through an upgrade rating review.

    • Rated award programs by Award Sites... While being upgraded to 5.0 below the 4.5 level is possible, it is very rare.  Your program must be rated with Award Sites for at least one year before it will qualify for 5.0 Elite consideration.

    • Being rated at the top level by another service or having another 5.0 rated program at Award Sites! does not influence how your program will be reviewed by the Award Sites! Rating Panel.

  • Well-defined purpose (like a mission statement)

  • Separate award page with detailed criteria (what a site will be judged on)

  • Submit form with demographic requirements other than name, email address, and site URL are optional.

  • Special Winners List Requirement... Separate winners' page is required with at least ten "quality" winners listed along with a description of each one.  (Screenshot of each winning site is advised for a top level or a single issued award.)

  • Overall site must . . .

    • Be excellent in all areas, especially in content, site design, and navigation, which present a visually pleasing and informative visit.

    • Have quality download time that is relevant to bandwidth and individual visitor connection speed with emphasis on dial-up connection.  (Flash and other sites requiring a long download periods need to post a notice, static option, and/or skip introduction as it applies to pages, sections, or the entire site.)

  • Excellent designed award graphic (sample okay) that represents the purpose must be displayed.  Byte size under 10k is advised, but a larger size up to 15k would be considered.  Sample image must be displayed or easily accessible for viewing by visitors.

    • Notice About Display of An Award Image . . . An award program rated by Award Sites! may include as a point of criteria the requirement that its award image be displayed on a page containing only award images from award programs with the same Award Sites! rating level.  (Higher rated program has priority over lower rated program.)

  • Must have direct link to award program's main page (criteria / information / introduction) including if it is in frames or flash format.

  • Easy to find navigation link to the main award page must be on all other pages if the award is part of a website.  (Visitors need to find the award program from any where within a site.)

  • No link requirement or password access prior to submission

  • An e-mail link as an alternative to form submission and for purposes of contacting with questions / assistance.

  • Stated review time period and who will be notified (winners or everyone)

  • Judging process via an experienced review panel for optimum objectivity is a plus, but not required.  Still an individual judge must be experienced as would be indicated by the winners listed prior to requesting a rating.

  • Any award program incorporating features that require a certain minimum version of Internet Explorer and/or Netscape above 5.0 must state prominently what is required or will not be rated above 2.5 nor upgraded beyond its current level.
  • A period award will have an exceptional purpose and/or detailed explanation of its specific criteria.


  1. Seek peer assistance at Assembly (opens in new window) to for improving your award program before requesting an initial or upgrade rating review.  (Membership is required.)

  2. You can print all the levels' criteria and rules for future reference, but you need to review the respective criteria and listing rules pages online for each upgrade request to make sure no additions have been made that could impact your program's review since the last one.  (It is also where you access the initial and upgrade rating requests submittal forms.)

  3. Unauthorized use of the copyright rating level banners are prohibited!

(Listed programs use the Change Form for new URLs, updates, and other changes.)

Removed award programs must contact Award Sites! with rating level
when listed, date of listing or last upgrade, and reason for being reinstated.