Behind the scenes with the Indian Blogger Awards #IBA2017

Dear Bloggers,

2017 marks the Tenth year of IndiBlogger as a free platform for Indian Bloggers across the world. As we bid adieu to this year, we can’t help but feel that it marks the end of an era for us. At the outset we would like to thank all those people who helped this little platform on its journey with acts of kindness that super-ceded the average human’s empathy index! This landmark year was the reason why we wanted to hold our two most loved Blogging initiative’s, #BNLF and #IBA2017.

Below are some feedback, notes and observations by the various judges who volunteered to rummage through hundreds of blogs and come up with a winner. We wanted to give you all an inside peek into how this years #IBA2017 was organized.

1.  Opinions Matter:

Blogging is a great way to express your opinions and experiences, but at times our judges were swamped with “How to” posts, faceless “news” like reporting and “tips and tricks”.  Although, such bloggers were prolific in their posting, it lacked that extra bite and insight. At times the judges had no choice but to award a blogger who may not have posted as often but had some thought provoking articles.

On the flip side, there were some insightful thoughts and some of the comments said it all. These comments weren’t your run of the mill “Hey great post”, they were deeply entwined in the bloggers thought process and subject matter of the article. A well written and insightful blog definitely caught the attention of our judges as it did with readers.

2. Focus:

A Blog is usually a potpourri of experiences. Many Bloggers write about everything that affects and effects their everyday lives. However, at this years awards we found our judges leaning towards people who had focused on a niche. It made the content easier to follow and it gave the judges a very clear indication of the personality, interest and core knowledge of the blogger.

Bloggers who wrote about a mobile phone in one post and a travel experience in the next didn’t give the judges the confidence that the opinion or experience was believable. Some judges even went on to award bloggers who would write about a very small niche as opposed to commonly discussed upon topics. This however didn’t apply to some categories like the “personal” category where bloggers were expected to write on a myriad of things.

3. The Invisible Seams:

We have always found it hard to categorize blogs. Even after doubling the number of categories since our first edition in 2013, we found these unique blogs that could not be stereotyped into a specific category. An example would be something as “innocent” as the parenting category. Some bloggers would have boys as kids and their experience would predominantly revolve around that, some had girls and their content would reflect that, then there were those who struggled to have kids and their blogs would have content such as the latest IVF treatments, then there were those who wrote about their experiences of raising adopted children. If we were to be thorough, we would have to have at-least 5 or 6 categories for Parenting alone! In a category like this that depended on specific life experiences, it was a challenge to select just one winner. As far as the judges  were concerned there were at least 5 winners.


The same could be said for the “travel” category. There were people who focused on the USA or Europe or India. There were some who focused on the medium of travel such as road, air, ships etc. These bloggers were not supported financially like some grossly over-funded companies, but the experiences put forth in these blogs were no less unique. They were prolific too, with hundreds of posts. Judging it was like the movie sophie’s choice where a mother in a concentration camp was forced to decide which of her children would live and which would die. #unbearable.

We feel we should give everyone who participated in #IBA2017 an award just for giving their life experiences 🙂

4. The lack thereof:

Some judges asked us why there were a lack of entries in a few categories. some of the sub categories of “Regions” and “languages” that were introduced in this edition did not do well in terms of numbers (although, some of the bloggers were unbelievably awesome). We feel in this regard we will need your help to reach and encourage more of such bloggers to join IndiBlogger. We will also try some alternative strategies come 2018!

5. How did IndiBlogger execute  #IBA2017 with the judges?

Here are some insights:

(Specifics of the below screenshots from the IndiBlogger internal dashboard have been “Blue screened” so as to not give away the final outcome. You are most welcome to speculate.)

We built a system that would help the judges seamlessly look at each of your blogs, the three chosen entries that you submitted and the testimonials by your . We wanted them to have not only a birds eye view but the ability to dig deeper.

We asked the bloggers to add three of their personal favorite blog posts to give the judges an idea of what they felt was their best work on the subject.  We asked them to get their readers opinions via FaceBook to help the judges understand how regular people would perceive their blog. Comments received on their blog posts added another perspective to individual blog posts and it helped identify why some people would gravitate to the thoughts on your blog.

After checking out a blog, a judge could perform a few actions on it including shortlisting, reporting a wrong category or rejecting them. Judges could also see the other categories that the blogger had applied to, including the status based on the color coding. Yellow showed the other categories applied, Green meant shortlisted and a red strike through meant that the the blog was not shortlisted.

You could also filter entries based on various criteria and once a judge was happy with the shortlisted entry, they could choose a winner.

Winners were indicated with a green marker in the main dashboard as shown in the screen shot of two of the marked winners who were announced earlier at #BNLF this year!

We welcome you to the official winners announcement of #IBA2017 at 11:00 AM on December 30th, 2017. This will be the last big noise we make this year so lets holler away for #Blogging one last time this year.

https://www.indiblogger.in/iba/

After all this, one thing was certain , all these blogs were playing a huge part in steering humanity to venture out of their comfort zone, experience new things and understand their present lives. The overall feedback from the judges were one of amazement. Some of them had been a part of the 2013 edition and they cited a marked increase in quality and maturity of the articles.

We wish you a very happy new year and good luck and fortune in the days to come.

Cheers.

14 Responses

  1. Ruchir says:

    An insightful article. Reassures a blogger like myself that a good deal of efforts and care went in by Team Indiblogger and the Jury behind the scene so far.

  2. Mahesh Yadav says:

    The award ceremony of Indiblogger will make thousand of person inspired for blogging and writing good content for the world. Thanks Team Indiblogger !!

  3. Such an insight about the discussion, feedback from judges, internal dashboard, and detailed explanation. We’ve to give you a best blogging network award.

  4. Deeba Rajpal says:

    Thank you and the judges for picking me a winner in FOOD. I am amazed at the transparency of the system and the effort ‘behind the scenes’. Hats off to you folk.
    Have a fabulous 2018. Looking forward to hollering louder through the new year!

  5. Interesting… especially the niche insight. That was, well, maybe not a mistake, but definitely a conscious choice on your part that tells your approach. Well, that means I will never win- and I dont mind. Will keep participating, though. The contention that those who write on several aspects are not believable is regrettable, and ill-informed to say the least. I, for example, pen on Business, Management {My professional specialities}, Books {around 180 reviewed} and spirituality {extensive scriptural reading, faithyfully documented in precise detail}. You cannot contend that people like me are not believable, or that we dont exist. I know of many others. Anyway, your choice – what this immediately does is lessens the value of your award, as you choose from a specific niche segment. Your call; maybe I am wrong, who knows? Relax, not a complaint, and certainly not sour grapes. Honest feedback.

    Second, the list of winners shows a preponderence {maybe I am wrong} of people with own domain names, or developed sites. Well – a good site costs a packet to maintain. Again, highly niche. How do I know? I head a Software firm, that’s why!

    Third, people like us cant maintain 3 blogs. Win or not- my blog is a professional tool that represents my personality to clients, prospective employers and serious change agents; it is a tool to showcase my innate abilities that dont manifest fully on my job. Keeping 3 blogs or 4 will immediately negate any and all advantages I am getting.

    So… no hard feelings; I am quite happy. Especially since the Winners whose blogs I did visit were all A-Class, really good.

    But, the strategy stated above is highly limiting. It doesnt give weightage to the content, not as much as it should. Remember, it is the CONTENT that is the product we are selling, not the embellishments … my 2,222 cents.

    • anoop says:

      Hey Vishal, Thanks for your 2,222 cents 🙂 and thank you for reading through the whole post and absorbing the info .. It shows in your comment 😀

      Content definitely mattered in these awards. Reading through the article again, I definitely seem to have picked some poor choice of words like the “believable” part :-). I was more referring to commercial posts of mobile phones etc that would pop up in a blog. It stood out like a sore thumb for some reason and the content pertaining to such endeavors was very emotionally detached at times. It was almost as if the blogger never wanted to write the post in the first place. That was a bit of a turn off for some judges. There is definitely no harm in putting your real feelings, knowledge, emotions and thoughts no matter how varied they may be. So the best course of action is to just be yourself.

      You mentioned the fact that people who had their own domain names may have had an advantage. I would say people with good content and a well designed site including navigation etc had an advantage for sure. free themes can tend to look very messy but that doesn’t mean that they weren’t taken seriously.

      Your comment had tickled my grey cells as well and I will do my best to investigate further and give more insights into the awards.

      Thanks again 🙂

      • Thanks for engaging with the comment; relax – the winners deserved to win. If you read me, you will know I am blunt on my writings. No point being artificial. So, I mean that – the resultant winners were good.

        Now. of course content mattered; that is clear when I admire the winners in the end of my comment. But, the issue is an inordinate focus on presentation that is lessening the inherent value of our industry. You and I are in the same trade.

        The preponderance of own domain names will demotivate the ones who do write. Owning a self domain and developing a proper interface – even in WP – {near impossible to do} is a costly affair, to say nothing of AngularJS or Python.

        How many people can afford it? Cant those who dont have these sites write? They can – as you yourself state.

        I am blunt – personally, I dont go for navigation; in this stage of our industry, we need to encourage people to write, not invest in sites. And it is costly, trust me. Sure navigation is important; but only to a point. The emphasis should be, or ought to be, content.

        Niche – why should only focussed writers be considered, or given more weightage, as opposed to the content they pen on the category concerned? That is irrelevant, to my mind. Anyway-that is entirely your call. Agree to disagree.

        Thanks for the positive response.

      • anoop says:

        All very valid points Vishal and i would discuss this all day than talk to my folks about cutlets as I am doing right now 😀

        The key learning for me was seeing the trend of people not wanting to see just great content, they wanted to see it packaged well. That seems to define the modern blogger. Maybe its expensive, but there are some basic errors like improper advert signs etc, a huge pop up that’s intrusive and that will never go away, incomplete about us pages, poor organization of categories and a lot lot more. Just basic issues which can be rectified without any expenditure.

        The mobile phones make it really easy because all it needs is simple readable designs . It costs nothing. The only thing I feel is worth an investment is a domain name and that costs very less these days.

        Just to add to me thinking out loud …

        This is a very creative industry and no one can place 100% weight-age on anything. We had instructed 80% of weight-age to content and 20% to testimonials. It looks like people are expecting a lot more from Bloggers because on the internet everyone is the same. Most may not stop to think who or what bloggers are. To the uninitiated, they all may seem like a website. It seems like, blogging cannot be just content. It has to be something more. The whole site has to show one’s personality. I feel that’s a big difference between writing a book and being a blogger.

        thanks for some intriguing thoughts and points of view 🙂

  6. Tikuli says:

    Thank you Anoop for sharing this. Such a wonderful bunch of guys you are. Relentless, passionate and so caring. I can say that coz I’ve been with Indiblogger since long. It is amazing how much energy you instill in each one of us.

    Thank you for the special VOW award for Poetry. It means a lot to me.
    Have a great 2018 and I look forward to more interaction and a fabulous Delhi Indimeet soon. Been long since we oldies met. We must do something.

    Cheers!

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