The recent 10th Philippine Web Awards concluded with more than its own fair share of controversies. Even before the events night, there were too many issues cropping left and right that made this year’s awards an interesting eye-opener.
- Like any other year, contestants have repeatedly questioned the expertise and experience of the panel of judges. That does not even include potential conflicts of interest. Although I reckon that in any contest there will always be people challenging the results or the outcome. This time, however, nominees are voicing out concerns even before initial judging began.
- Participants are now requesting copies of the scores from the semis to the finals for transparency. This was to eliminate any doubts in the scoring process for each site considering that some judges have been previously involved with nominated sites.
- SMS voting was delayed and no details were posted on how to submit votes under the People’s Choice category. Likewise, a number of nominees are also lobbying that the voting count for SMS be made on the basis of a unique mobile number instead of just multiple votes. The existing system favors entities or organizations that have the financial capacity to push massive amounts of votes from their end. This trend has become very obvious because in the last 3 or more years, the same sites or nominees win the People’s Choice Award for their respective category.
- Disqualifications are being debated constantly with offenses ranging from a modified design during the judging period to semi-finalists not abiding by contest rules in displaying official PWA banners on their respective websites indicating their inclusion. This has not been clearly resolved even after the awards itself.
- The expensive nominations fees (Php2,500) have drastically limited the total number of entrants every year. It has been raised that the exorbitant entry fee makes the verified nominees not a representative of the entire Philippine webosphere.
And just recently, a winner has also been disqualified:
Media G8way Corp. (MGC) has announced that the winner for the Best Website and the People’s Choice awards under the Arts & Portfolio category of the recently held 10th Philippine Web Awards has been disqualified after it was found that the winning entry, www.einsteinarts.com, was an imitation of an existing template design being offered for sale.
In an e-mail to MGC, Einstein Gan, the designer of the Website, volunteered that he be disqualified, but stressed that he did not know about the existing template.
“œIt has come to my attention that many people have pointed out that my site www.einsteinarts.com had used a template from the site http://www.24-7media.de/os/popup.html,” Gan wrote in his e-mail. “œFor the record, I would like to clarify that I did not blatantly plagiarize the said template/platform.”
Gan said he got hold of the template as part of a CD archive of design templates given to him. “œI then tried to adapt and modify the template for my site,” he explained. “œIn any case, I realized that I have offended many of my colleagues in the business because of this. Also, to protect the good name of your organization, I would like the PWA committee to disqualify me from the recently concluded 10th Philippine Web Awards. I am willing to return the two trophies you have given me.”
Gan also voluntarily closed down his Website.
It’s a little disheartening to say the least but IMO the PWA should undergo some serious re-thinking.