SA Beauty Blogger Awards

SA Beauty Blogger Awards Bitch Brawl

A few months ago I was notified of the SA Beauty Blogger Awards. It had only just kicked off and would be a new thing in South Africa. I toddled over to their website and was less than impressed. It looked a bit wishy washy to me. A few months on my initial thoughts seem to be concerned with the awards causing a beauty blogger brawl all over the interwebs.

It started when two of South Africa’s biggest and most successful beauty blogs chose to remove themselves from contention for the awards. Both bloggers chose to also publicly document why they were removing their blogs from the awards. You can read Lipgloss is my Life and Pink Peonies posts if you would like a bit of background.

And then the communication gap widened.

A few other beauty bloggers on social media decided to respond. Those responding were shortlisted in the awards. There was some cattiness and bitchy attacks of “don’t be sad you weren’t shortlisted”. It seemed these bloggers missed the point – the biggest beauty bloggers in South Africa (the two above were not the only ones who withdrew) had chosen to remove themselves from the competition. This was not sour grapes at not being nominated. They had seen what so many others had missed. For fairness I’ll share the other side of the coin – For the Beauty of it – defended the awards on her blog. However, most of her information is rather inaccurate. Here’s why:

Tech Girl was able to get an interview with Greg Gunner who is organising these awards. I have his commentary included as part of the concerns.

Judging criteria

The first issue is that the judging criteria is rather vague. Directly from the website:

  • All nominations received which are relevant for the Awards (I.E. appropriate within Beauty and / or Lifestyle) are published to a Longlist.

  • A Shortlist will be selected with 10 Blogs per category. This is based on a score for each individual category involving quality of Design, Content, Author Experience, and Social Media activity. The Shortlist will be released on the 1st of August 2015.

There is no indication how the shortlist was decided. The “judges” only make decisions in the final phase. So who put together the short list? The criteria is ambiguous at best. I raised this with Greg and used the social media activity as an example (as it can mean anything). Needless to say, the judging criteria is still not clearly defined. My question and the direct answer:

Is it possible to get some clarity on what the judging criteria is for the awards. For example “social activity” is rather ambiguous?

We used the BuzzSumo algorithm to calculate a rating. There tool is very accurate in determining the number of shares each blogger got and has a bearing on the Social Media ranking.

So shares of what? Blog posts? Tweets? I get a hell of a lot of shares on my personal twitter account when I toss in a few funny memes. Notice how there was no reply to the rest of the criteria. Way to dodge a question.

Selling data?

Something that bugged me when looking at the SA Beauty Blogger Awards website was the following:

SA Beauty Blogger Awards

What database? Who owns it? Are you planning to sell it? When I questioned it Gunner responded with:

I’m not sure where this information comes from as it is not a requirement.

Really? Because you’re offering the database up to potential sponsors? (As pulled from the proposal sent to brands to sponsor the awards. I screengrabbed these from Leigh van den Berg’s Twitter account):

SA Beauty Blogger Awards

I wonder how nominees feel about an unknown company profiting off their data? Do they care?

Take all the money

If you are shortlisted you will need to pay to attend the event (yes, really). So even if you win, you’ll be paying to go to the fancy awards ceremony in Johannesburg (as yet unconfirmed). However, brands are being approached for sponsorship:

Headline sponsors were asked for R35 000, Category Sponsors R12 500, and Goodie Bag Sponsors R3000.

Let that sink in. If you want to put a sample in a goodie bag you will need to pay R3000. But then nominees have to pay to attend as well? Where is this money going? I asked.

There have been some allegations on social media that you are proposing to brands that they pay R30 000 for sponsorship of the awards. Is this true and if yes what does the sponsorship entail? If there is a charity donation how much of the proposed amount is going to charity?

Yes, Sponsors are vital to run an awards like this. They were asked for a financial investment to cover event costs and the balance of this will go to the Charity. To ensure transparency with the Sponsors, we involved an organisation called Connect Fund Grow to assist and they are managing the funds coming in and going out.

Another question dodged.

Taking advantage of bloggers?

Sponsors of each category have been asked to provide a hamper for the winner. So if you win, you get a hamper of some free goodies that someone needed to offload from their marketing shelf. If you’re lucky your hamper costs more than the ticket price for the ceremony. As a condition of nomination you’ll need to write a blog post about the event.

SA Beauty Blogger Awards

Yet the organisers have gone to great lengths publicly to claim this is not the case and attempt to save face. So what is it? What exactly have bloggers on the short list got themselves in to?

SA Beauty Blogger Awards

What do we have here?

A bunch of conflicting statements. Based on what I’ve seen and the answers from Greg Gunner, I don’t think these awards are legitimate. I realise it is the first year and they are learning as they go but to be honest it smells of a money making scheme that once again abuses bloggers and their worth to sell off to brands. We are worth something and we don’t deserve to be treated like commodities whose piece of the pie consists of a paid for (by us) goodie bag and mention on a shortlist.

The bigger beauty bloggers in South Africa saw this, stood up and said no thanks. 

As an industry this was an opportunity for everyone to group together and make a stand to improve blogging going forward. Instead it turned in to a catty bitch fight on twitter that resorted the entire industry to a bunch of screaming teenage girls clawing each other’s eyes out.

I’ve spent this entire post (and most of my blogging articles) basically shouting that brands should treat us professionally. Yet based on the behaviour we’ve seen on social media from the beauty bloggers over the last few days, it is no surprise events like the South African Beauty Blogger Awards pop up to take advantage of the industry.


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