Feb 23

The Problem With Blogging Awards

by Hannah Holt »


In the past week, Lightbulb Books has received not one, not two… but three blogging awards.

I am genuinely touched by my benefactors and appreciate the sentiment. But as you’ve probably guessed, this is not going to be a post where I tell you ten random things about myself.

Instead, I’d like you to consider a few reasons why you should “just say no” to blog awards.

1) They hurt people’s feelings. These awards tend to move around blogging social circles like coffee drinking squirrels, but inevitably someone is left out. Is Suzy No-Award’s blog less worthy than the rest of her friends? Probably not. In the flurry of awards, she was simply overlooked.

2) But who cares if someone is left out? These awards only go to quality blogs, right? No. Blogging awards are quantity (not quality) driven. Consider this: Versatile bloggers assign the award to 15 new bloggers each turn. It would only take 6 iterations for this award to reach more than eleven million unique blogs. Now that takes versatility! With quantity like that, quality could never be a serious consideration. The Liebster, Kreativ, and other awards are only slightly more exclusive. It would take them ten rounds to cross the million blog mark.

3) Because of their overused nature, blogging awards don’t increase site traffic for awardees. You might occasionally snag a new reader or two, but the chances are slim. They have been passed around so frequently that reader’s eyes gloss over at the very sight of them.

4) They encourage bad behavior. Does this sound familiar? “Did you get my award? Did you get it? You have to pass it on. You have to thank me. You need to link my blog to your blog…” Don’t do stuff like this. We all have enough stress in our life without inventing new ways to torture each other. Blogging awards have become the chain letters of adulthood.

Now it’s nice to be recognized, and spectacular blogs deserve promotion. So here are a few guilt-free ways to promote the blogs you love.

1) Pingbacks. Like a post? Link it on your blog.

2) Give a shout out! Spread the word about articles you like on facebook and twitter.

3) Leave thoughtful comments. Bloggers love thoughtful discussions in their comment sections. If you like an article, stop by the comment section and say so.

Finally, for anyone who’s always wanted a blogging award, I’ve created an open award: “The Flexible Otter Award.”

It’s an award bestowed upon über-cool bloggers capable of performing these four vital tasks:

1) Recite the flexible otter oath, “I do solemnly swear to avoid chain letters, hungry sharks, and over preening.”

2) Do a headstand.

3) Wink at a picture of David Hasselhoff (or a celebrity of your choice) while performing the same.

4) Post a picture of this on your blog.

Like so…

That’s it.

If you would like the flexible otter award, just leave me a comment saying “yes!” And congratulations! You deserve it!

How do you feel about blogging awards? Do you have a favorite/least favorite? Maybe you had a positive experience with one. If so, tell us about it.

  1. Joanna

    Oh, Hannah, I LOVE this! This has been a real dilemma for me. Twice I have said yes and gone through the whole chain award thing and numerous times I have said thank you very much and simply gone on with daily blogging.

    YES to the Flexible Otter Award. I think it is about time I wrote another otter poem and revised my otter manuscript.

    Thank you for writing this post.

  2. Hannah Holt

    Joanna, so glad you liked it. I’ll admit I sweated a few bullets this morning before hitting post. I can’t wait to read your otter poem!

  3. Heather

    This made me laugh! I did post my five facts and chose 5 blogs when the first person sent me the Liebster. They’re 5 blogs I truly enjoy and appreciate and I hope a couple of readers gave them a look. There was no expectation for them to do anything with it. The next 2 times it was sent to me I thanked the giver with a link to their blog and I linked to my original post. It didn’t feel right to keep writing about the same topic.

    Your suggestions for the three best ways to show a blog appreciation are things I try to do with several blogs every day. Spread the love, right?

    I would have to pick John Cusack – love those quiet, geeky guys 😉

  4. Hannah Holt

    Heather, Cusack is an excellent choice. And I agree. You shouldn’t recommend blogs just to fill the numbers.

  5. Lissa Clouser

    Blog awards don’t bother me. Before I received any (and when I was watching friends receive a bunch) I never felt hurt or sad that I didn’t have one. I really think they’re just a way to have a bit of fun and share some recognition to some of your favorite bloggers. I don’t do them for site traffic, I know that doesn’t work. And I’ve never had anyone exhibit bad behavior with an award in any way. If I get a duplicate award I try to only go through the big charade of the “rules” the first time.

    I really see no harm in them, but it’s a personal choice whether or not you want to participate. I do pingbacks and shout-outs too, and try to be a good commenter. But I think it’s all a matter of your personal blogging style too. =)

  6. Hannah Holt

    Lissa, Thanks for your comments and insight. Yes, I suppose I am making a mountain out of this mole hill. I have a tendancy to do that. :)

  7. Lissa Clouser

    No worries! It’s the way you feel about the subject, and this is YOUR blog so you’re supposed to tell us how you feel! =)

  8. Catherine Johnson

    Well said. A long time ago I started hiding mine because you seem to attract them once you’ve had a few, but all these posts do leave people out and the quality of the post in terms of content or engagement is poor and they take forever to do all the links.

  9. Hannah Holt

    Thanks Catherine. You bring up some more good points. They do multiply at an astounding rate.

  10. Julie Hedlund


    I could not agree more. Although I haven’t written it down, I have an unwritten policy to neither accept nor distribute blog awards for all the reasons you have here plus one more: my blog schedule is pretty tight these days. I don’t have much room for spontaneous posts, but when I do, I don’t want to use them by answering the award questions.

    Thanks for saying what I’ve been thinking for a while.

  11. Hannah Holt

    Julie, Thanks for stopping by. I know how tight your schedule is these days. I get tired just thinking about everything you are doing. You continue to amaze me.

  12. Erin Bylund

    I have never received a blog award, but I still think my blog is pretty cool. I wish I could have a flexible otter award, but I don’t think I’m capable of doing headstands anymore. Good job on that, by the way. I’m very impressed you could take the picture while standing on your head.

  13. Hannah Holt

    Erin, I think your blog is pretty awesome. I’ll give you the otter award without the headstand if you would like. With all you do, you deserve it!

  14. Andrea

    Interesting to read your thoughts. I tend not to pass on blogging awards either, and you’ve pointed out some of the reasons so nicely.

  15. Hannah Holt

    Thanks, Andrea.