14 January 2009
Weblog Awards 2008
The Weblog Awards 2008 ended a few hours ago and sadly Neil Clark was unable to win a second straight victory in the Best UK Blog section. Neil finished a credible third behind Created in Birmingham and Melanie Phillips, so let's begin by congratulating the brummies on their victory and la Phillips for her strong second place showing.
Why did Neil lose? Well, a too strong belief in the willingness of his own readers to vote for him was certainly a factor. Neil reckoned that out of his 400 or so daily readers, 150 would probably vote every day for his blog, but sadly he only managed to get between 50 and 75.
To make matters worse most of the voting took place last week and last week just happened to be the week of the Orthodox Christmas festivities, so all those Serbs and Russians that we were relying on to vote were too stonked out of their brains on incense and vodka to care. The final kicker, of course, was that Mexican students were still on their Christmas vacations. Your friendly old Exile was planning on turning out the son and his cousins' army of mates, but most of them only dribbled back to Mexico City at the weekend so that was a non-starter.
Created in Birmingham, the eventual winner, is a corporate type blog with links to the city that it boosts. Obviously every computer in the town hall was voting for their blog every day and that gave the blog around 200 votes a day in the early stages of the contest. Melanie Phillips was not scoring very highly in the UK, but was pulling in votes from the eastern United States. Neil and I had a midweek discussion and decided that Created in Birmingham would probably not pick up many votes over the weekend because most of their voters would not be at work. If the Phillips' crowd were Jewish, then they might not vote on Saturday, so Neil had a chance to overtake CiB on that day and then go head to head with Melanie P. during the final three days of the race.
Alas, the view took hold on the web that the way to stop Melanie was to vote for CiB, so their vote increased over the weekend. Melanie's vote did fall on Saturday, but Neil could not overtake either her or CiB so his vote began to be squeezed from Sunday onwards.
It is true that there was a stop Clark campaign, but I only found out about it thanks to Neil himself. I doubt very much if old wank put out on fora that most people do not read had all that much effect on the outcome. The problem was simple: we did not get the Clark vote out. Thanks to that we fell victim to a classic third party squeeze that any Liberal-Democrat reading these words will know only too well.
Let's hope that we have better luck next year.