It's An Honor Just To Be Nominated
The results are final for the 2006 Weblog Awards, and there was no change in the results in the highly prestigious "Best of the Top 2501-3500 Blogs" category -- meaning, I finished a very respectable 2nd place. I really can't let this opportunity go by without thanking everyone who helped me do so well -- and also made the whole week a lot of fun.
First and foremost, I wanted to thank everyone who voted for me so diligently and so often. Special thanks goes to Eric at The Sub Report Blog and Alan at IdaBlue who took it on themselves to come up with posts for the "U-Boating of Bubblehead" meme. Thanks also to everyone who "endorsed" my campaign: Ninme, Blackfive, Adam's Blog, Red State Rebels, Noonz Wire, SubSim.com, EagleSpeak, BurstBlog, Huckleberries Online (Idaho's biggest blog) and several others I probably missed. Thanks also to my fellow nominees, who showed amazingly good humor about their portrayals in my "completely impartial Voters Guide". Last but not least, many thanks to my campaign manager, without whose help I'm sure I wouldn't have done as well as I did in the vital teenage on-line strategy gaming community. (That's actually the one good thing about me losing; there may have been some rash words implying that I might come up with a PlayStation 3 for Christmas if I won, and I really don't have any leads on one that costs less than an arm and a leg.)
While it's fresh in my mind, here are some lessons learned I came up with that might help anyone who wants to try to win one of these awards next year -- especially someone looking for an excuse to get to Las Vegas, since that's where they're going to be presenting the 2007 Weblog Awards there next November.
1) Don't be afraid to nominate yourself; I did. On the other hand, it probably didn't hurt that two other people also nominated me. Ask you friends to help you out.
2) The Denizens of Castle Argghhh!!! pointed out that I got more votes than all but two of the blogs up for the Best MilBlog award, even though that's a much more popular category. The lesson learned here is that unless your blog is really, really good (like the nominees for Best MilBlog, and unlike TSSBP), try to avoid the "theme" categories, and go for the Ecosystem ones. There's less chance of fratricide there (two blogs from the same blogging community going against each other), although we did see that with CDR Salamander and EagleSpeak in the 3501-5000 category).
3) The folks at Wizbang who run the awards do check for cheating; while it's possible to clear the cookies and whatnot that they use to prevent you from voting more than every 24 hours from the same computer, they still seem to be able to figure that out eventually. Since they say they don't necessarily disqualify excessive votes from the same IP address, they must use something peculiar to each computer, like Flash serial number. Therefore, if you have a kid in high school with access to lots of Internet-connected computers, you shouldn't be afraid to get him (or her) to have their buddies vote for you in their computer apps class. My campaign manager will have to remember that for next year.
4) At least in the lower Ecosystem categories, total votes seemed to be pretty much proportional to daily site visits -- you just didn't see the several dozen hit/day blogs beating the several hundred hit/day ones. While endorsements from the big bloggers are nice, I didn't notice a big spike even after a huge event like Blackfive's endorsement of me. Basically, pin a reminder to the top of your page, and your regular readers will vote. Everything else is gravy. (On the other hand, if your company lets you send a mass E-mail to every employee, that wouldn't hurt either -- which is how I suspect mAss Backwards probably got his big vote surges the last two afternoons.)
5) Most importantly, have fun. Interact with your fellow nominees. Question their ancestry. Accuse them of pulchritude. Anything for a laugh.
6) Always remember to prepare for next year. A good way to start is getting all your friends to permalink anyone who beat you last year, so they'll move up in the Ecosystem and out of your category. I hope to see mAss Backwards on every submarine blogger's blogroll soon.