Web Awards: Are They Worth It?

A site we created for our Neurosurgery program recently won an ‘outstanding achievement’ award from the Interactive Media Awards.

This is one of several awards programs that I follow (and occasionally submit our sites to), the others being:

The emphasis is on health care is because I work for a children’s hospital and am therefore interested in comparing our web sites to our peers.

Even though this is the third award our team has won, I can’t help but feel somewhat ambivalent about the whole web awards thing.

I realize that there’s value in winning a web award:

  • It’s a morale boost for your team.
  • It looks good at annual evaluation time.
  • It helps bolster your position as a subject matter expert when you’re discussing web-related issues with a customer.
  • It looks good on your resume.
  • Once you win a few they look nice together on your wall.

But when you consider just how many web awards programs there are out there it leads me to question their real value.

How Much?

When it costs upwards of $100 to submit your site for an award, I have to wonder if the whole thing isn’t just an ingenious money making scheme for the organizations that created these awards.

Of course, I realize that if they were free these awards programs would be awash with entries, many of which would not be worthy of inclusion.

However, this doesn’t prevent me from feeling uncertain about whether spending money this way is a wise use of resources (instead of, say, buying some software or taking the web team out for lunch more often).

Who Judges the Judges?

My other concern regards the quality of the judging.

The Interactive Media Awards is the only program I’ve entered that actually requires you to provide a written summary of the goals and audiences for your site, the process you followed, challenges you overcame and areas of special interest on your site.

Without this context, even experienced judges will find it difficult to make qualified judgements on criteria that require this information — for example, how well a site meets its users’ and organization’s goals, the quality of the content, even how usable the site is.

And as for criteria such as aesthetic design, that is an area that’s so subjective as to be almost impossible to judge objectively.

Of course, as the saying goes, “You’ve got to be in it to win it.” So, I guess

I’ll keep submitting our sites to awards programs, even if I’m not completely convinced about their value.

Sidenote: what other awards programs are worth entering?

4 thoughts to “Web Awards: Are They Worth It?”

  1. Well, I won’t take any speculative jobs just for the shake of award. To be good, an award should not costthe entrant any single penny, because they have indirectly receive publicity for their own promotion, on the other side, award nominee may have work very hard to furnish their site much further. It’s a win win situation that would break when we put nominee fee into consideration, good things will just be shifted to ugly flame-prone event.

  2. Andy – in an ideal world award programs would be free. However, that would be impossible to manage as they would be flooded with all kinds of entries.
    So, what’s the alternative to a paid model? I’m not sure that I have one.
    However, that still doesn’t get away from the fact this this model does not favor the little guy who may not be able to afford to submit sites to multiple awards programs.

  3. I don’t know that I have a viable alternative to a paid submission – but I agree that paying seems counter productive.
    Even if there are lots of entries, you ultimately are paying on some level to obtain that reward.
    Maybe make the admission process much more involving, so only serious people submit? Like you referenced, in depth reports on the site, results, statistics, etc would cut down on those who hope to type in a URL and get mentioned…

Comments are closed.