Tag Archives: JP Naude

2013 SA Blog Awards winners largely unknown, now a joke!

saba2013votebadgeWe have become increasingly critical of the SA Blog Awards, the organisation of it having become so bad that we have decided to not enter again unless the organiser JP Naude is not involved anymore.  The winners and runner-up list contains largely unknown blogs.

We first entered the SA Blog Awards in 2010, in which year we made the Top 10 ‘Most Controversial Blog‘ shortlist.   In that year Will Mellor (better known as his alias Seth Rotherham of no longer vibey 2Oceansvibe) won almost every category (there were many more in those days), even though 2Oceansvibe could never be described as a blog!  He was a co-organiser of the Awards the following year, and seems to no longer be involved.  We have criticised former Good Hope FM sport presenter JP’s role as organiser and co-ordinator, not being a blogger!  JP cannot write to save his life, as this classic paragraph on his website www.jpnaude.com illustrates:  ‘During this time JP worked for Mr Tokyo Sexwale and succesfully managed the Bastille Festival as well as the launch of the Nelson Mandela statue at The Drakenstein prison where for president Nelson Mandel (sic) was released from‘!

Every year the announcement of the SA Blog Awards is later and later, and feels like an afterthought, and so too it was this year.  Being on their mailing list, we received an e-mail to announce the Awards competition, and requesting one to enter.  We were sent the SA Blog Awards voting badge to add to our blog.  None of the few e-mails from the SA Blog Awards identified the name of the writer of the e-mails.   Continue reading →

South African Blog Awards 2012 an insult to bloggers!

Every year since we have participated in the SA Blog Awards over the past four years or so, the Award organisation has become worse, reaching the lowest of low a few weeks ago. The South African Blog Awards are now so poorly organised that there is no interest in them, and that few bloggers would care to enter them in future, despite feedback provided.

The South African Blog Awards 2012 were announced just as businesses has closed down for the Festive Season holiday, and the voting period ran for a short 10 days, from 19 – 28 December.   Every blogger knows that businesspersons read blogs at the office, and that their traffic drops to record lows over weekends, and during holidays.  A large part of the loyal blog readers would have been on holiday during the South African Blog Award 2012 voting period.  Interesting is that the website for the Awards is so scant on information that one does not know who organised the awards, or who the judges were per category.  In the past the Awards were organised by sport presenter JP Naude, who does not blog himself, and adman Chris Rawlinson. The SA Blog Awards website is a poor reflection of the quality of blogs the competition is meant to judge and evaluate. There was barely any Tweeting to encourage blog readers to vote for their favourite blogs. The design of the Voting button was said by some to look like a design from the ‘Fifties! There was a typing error on the Home page, unforgivable for a blogger! Overall, the South African Blog Awards 2012 appeared to be a last minute rushed non-event!

We congratulate the winners and runners-up of the 2012 SA Blog Awards, most blogs being unknown:

2012 SA Blog Awards overall winner
http://yomzansi.com/
The Best Entertainment & Lifestyle Blog
Winner http://yomzansi.com/
Runner Up http://www.wonkie.com/
Runner Up http://www.watkykjy.co.za
The Best Business Blog
Winner http://deloitteblog.co.za.www102.cpt1.host-h.net/
Runner Up http://www.ecr.co.za/kagiso/content/en/east-coast-radio/east-coast-radio-blogs-consumerwatch
Runner Up http://www.look4itknysna.co.za
The Best Photographic Blog
Winner www.rangerdiaries.com
Runner up www.COLOURStyle.tumblr.com
Runner up www.blacktopmedia.co.za
The Best Science and Technology Blog
Winner www.TheTechieGuy.com
Runner up http://www.digitalstreetsa.com
Runner up www.el33tonline.com
The Best Music Blog
Winner http://yomzansi.com/
Runner up http://www.watkykjy.co.za
Runner up www.wonted.co.za
The Best Fashion Blog
Winner www.fashionbybrettrobson.blogspot.com
Runner up http://www.simplysiyaam.com/
Runner up www.bakedtheblog.com
The Best Food or Wine Blog
Winner www.cookstudio.co.za
Runner up http://www.nanima.co.za
Runner up http://www.food-blog.co.za
The Best Sport Blog
Winner http://www.compleatgolfer.co.za/
Runner up www.blacktopmedia.co.za
Runner up http://www.theyellowcap.com/
The Best Environmental Blog
Winner www.rangerdiaries.com
Runner up www.umngeniriverwalk.wordpress.com
Runner up http://blog.africageographic.com/
The Best Best Travel Blog
Winner http://blog.getaway.co.za
Runner up www.davidbatzofin.com
Runner up http://blog.africageographic.com/
The Best Political Blog
Winner http://www.inside-politics.org
Runner up http://www.wonkie.com/
http://www.gaywarfare.blogspot.com/
The Best Educational Blog
Winner http://www.e4africa.co.za
Runner up http://www.digitalstreetsa.com
Runner up http://www.ecr.co.za/kagiso/content/en/east-coast-radio/east-coast-radio-blogs-consumerwatch
Religious or Spirituality
Winner http://www.penton.co.za
Runner up www.suelevy.co.za
Runner up http://www.nanima.co.za
Arts and Crafts
Winner www.sacreativenetwork.co.za
Runner up www.cookstudio.co.za
Runner up www.lalapixs.co.za
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We trust that the organisers of the SA Blog Awards will take more trouble with the 2013 Awards later this year!  The 2012 Blog Awards organisation, judging period, and results have not been a worthy reflection of the status of blogging in South Africa.

Chris von Ulmenstein, Whale Cottage Portfolio: www.whalecottage.com Twitter: @WhaleCottage

Blogging Burn-Out? Where have all the bloggers gone?

Has blogging lost its charm and appeal, three years after taking off in a big way?  It would appear so, if the blogging habits of some of the longer-standing food and wine bloggers are analysed.  I have observed, for example:

*   Dax Villanueva, of Relax-with-Dax Blog, recently Tweeted about taking a blogging break.  Some food bloggers identified with the sentiment of the ‘blogging holiday’, but Dax does not appear to have reduced his frequency of blogging.

*   Spill Blog has reduced from one blogpost a day at its start last year, to infrequent blogging on weekdays, and does not blog on weekends.  Their infrequent Tweeting (@MackSpill) has rendered them almost invisible.  One wonders how advertisers view the reduced Blogging activity.

*   David Cope’s The Foodie Blog now sees one blogpost a month, compared to many more when he first started blogging.  He almost exclusively Tweets.

*   The Jamie Who? Blog is interesting, as blogger Andy Fenner closed down his blog by this name last year, and incorporated it into a joint lifestyle blog called Aficionado, with two other bloggers.  Its clean and neat design, and top level brand endorsements, did not attract enough advertising revenue for the three partners to live from, Fenner blogged honestly, and therefore it was closed down last week.  Now Fenner will have to start from scratch in building readership, an expensive price to pay.  Even Fenner’s blogging frequency on Aficionado dropped significantly, only blogging once in the past month.  Fenner may have lost interest in blogging generally, announcing that he is opening Frankie Fenner Meat Merchants in the next month.

*   Matt Allison of I’m No Jamie Oliver Blog has not Blogged since the beginning of this month, and will be moving to a new blog he will call ‘Planting Thoughts’, reflecting his new passion for urban farming.

It would appear that Blogging Burn-out may be occurring amongst more established bloggers.  Either they are making good money out of their blogs (or not), or they are making money from other sources.  Those bloggers who do not accept advertising on their blogs, blogging for the love of it, appear to be more frequent bloggers.  Serious bloggers spend a good two hours in writing a post, and it is the posting of the photographs that is time-consuming, especially those taken with a better quality camera.  Attending the function that one blogs about, driving there, and then writing about it, can take almost a full day, a luxury for bloggers who have a ‘day job’.

Recently a ranked list of lifestyle blogs and websites, some incorporating food and/or wine, and almost all accepting advertising, was published by Wyncc (linked to Spit or Swallow and Winetimes), based on daily page views (on 17/10):

  1. food24.com126 592
  2. 2oceansvibe.com104 158
  3. winetimes.co.za47 539
  4. watkykjy.co.za – 25 105
  5. capetownmagazine.com19 763
  6. imod.co.za16 558
  7. wine.co.za14 956
  8. bangersandnash.com14 422
  9. lifeissavage.com8 546
  10. jhblive.com6 944
  11. missmoss.co.za – 6410
  12. cooksister.com5 341
  13. capetowngirl.co.za4 807
  14. winemag.co.za – 3 739
  15. aficionado.co.za3 205
  16. relax-with-dax.co.za – 2 671
  17. whalecottage.com2 671
  18. kimgray.co.za2 671
  19. whatsforsupper-juno.blogspot.com 1 068
  20. spill.co.za1 068

Using The South African Food & Wine Blogger Directory as a guideline, I checked the Blogging frequency of a number of blogs.  Pendock Uncorked and Sommelier Miguel Chan Wine Journal Blogs post daily or even more frequent blogposts in general, while Cook Sister, Just Food Now, Food & the Fabulous, Hein on Wine, Batonage, Cape Town by Mouth, Betty Bake, and Scrumptious South Africa blogposts appear more than once a week, on average. It is a shame that Sardines on Toast blogger Kobus van der Merwe last blogged in August, and that Pete Goffe-Wood, with a sharp wit, only blogs once in six months on the Kitchen Cowboys Blog.

The annual S A Blog Awards entries closed at midnight, and appears to be a non-event this year, if the low-key Tweeting about it, and the large number of Bloggers who could not be bothered to enter, is an indicator.  Every year the SA Blog Awards attracts criticism, and this year is no exception.  The biggest surprise is that only ten Blog categories will be contested, compared to 24 categories last year, benefiting more focused Bloggers, and not those writing more generally about a diversity of topics:

  • Best Business / Political Blog
  • Best Entertainment / Lifetstyle (sic) Blog
  • Best Environmental Blog
  • Best Fashion Blog
  • Best Food & Wine Blog
  • Best Music Blog
  • Best Photographic Blog
  • Best Science and Technology Blog
  • Best Sport Blog
  • Best Travel Blog

There is very little consistency and comparability with the SA Blog Awards of 2010. Noticeable by their absence this year are the Most Controversial Blog, Best New Blog, and Micro-Blogging (Tweet) categories. The rules have changed too, and for the first time the Blog entries are limited to Bloggers residing in South Africa, automatically excluding regular past-winner in the Food & Wine category, London-based Cook Sister Blog, and the Indieberries Blog winner of last year. Only two categories may be entered per Blogger.  Voting will be limited to one vote per Blog, and closes on 9 November.  Judges will only evaluate the top three publicly-voted Blogs per category.  Judges will choose the Blog ranking in each category.  The judges vote will decide the overall winner of the SA Blog Awards.  Radio sport presenter JP Naude will be running the organisation, not being a blogger himself, with support of last year’s Award’s organiser Chris Rawlinson.

It will be interesting to see how Blogging evolves over time, and whether the rate of new Blog start-ups will reach saturation.   Loyal Blog readership remains at a high level, readers being more active supporters of Blogs than their writers, it would appear.

Chris von Ulmenstein, Whale Cottage Portfolio: www.whalecottage.com Twitter:@WhaleCottage

SA Blog Awards 2010 organisers’ response to criticism poor!

Despite posting an invitation via Twitter to the SA Blog Awards organising committee of JP Naude, Dave Duarte and Chris Rawlinson to respond to our criticism of the SA Blog Awards 2010, we received nothing more than a not-so-understandable Direct Message on Twitter from Chris Rawlinson: “I think if you had taken a few mins to call me you may have most of what you said is simply not true. Hope all well. Chris”

In addition, the organising committee posted a response, two days after our blog post appeared, to the criticism documented not only on our blog, but also written by many other bloggers (see via a Google search), on their website www.sablogawards.com, in the News section, and not on their Home Page, where it should have been featured.  Massive criticism of the Awards organisation also swamped Twitter on Sunday!  One would have thought that the organisers would have sent the response to the criticism to each of the nominees by e-mail, to win their favour for the 2011 Awards!

The following issues raised have not been addressed in the reply of the Organising Committee:

1.   The change in rules in the Awards competition over the two month period

2.   The exclusion from the Awards dinner for the Top 10 finalists, originally indicated to be open to all

3.   Voting at nomination stage

4.   Organisers’ names not revealed

5.   Judges names not revealed, and questionable capabilities of some judges, in not being bloggers

6.   Poor standard of organisation generally

7.   No communication about the rules to those that entered

8.   Massive changes between the 2009 and 2010 competition procedure, categories, prizes and dinner inclusion/exclusion

9.  Sponsorship of some categories, but not all

10.   Role of Afrigator

11.   The controversial choice of www.watkykjy.co.za as Best Blog in South Africa.

12.  Not mentioned previously is the male dominance of the organising committee (3 males), executive judges (5 males) and judges (48 of the 64 were male).  I would like to predict that there are more female than male bloggers, and therefore they may not have been able to appreciate the female touch.  We suggest a more balanced gender distribution for 2011!   From what I could see at the Vista Bar, there were definitely more male than female winners.

We are delighted to read that each of the Top 10 finalists in each category will receive a ‘digital badge’ to feature on their blogs.   We also acknowledge their salute to bloggers and the great work that they do, and the thanks expressed to all participants.  

What is really obvious from the reply is that traditional media such as PR featured more strongly than social media in marketing the SA Blog Awards, an absolute contradiction, given that blogging is the foundation of social media marketing.  The Twitter presence was poor, and the SA Blog Awards should have had a blog!

This is the official response from the SA Blog Awards to criticism received:

“On behalf of the SA Blog Awards we would like to thank all of the participants who contributed this year. These include the public, the nominees, the South African Bloggers and the judges. A special thanks to News 24, our other sponsors and suppliers and partners, without who the awards would not have been possible.

A tremendous effort was made this year to move the SA Blog Awards to a new level. We feel that this has been accomplished. Where there are a few criticisms in the blogging industry, we welcome these and will look to learn from those that are factually correct. In addition we will shortly be implementing our review process, which we hope all will participate in.
 

The SA Blog Awards has been run by volunteers and goodwill up to now and the time and effort has been quite taxing. The new CEO, JP Naude, stepped in after a casual conversations with Chris Rawlinson and Dave Duarte, and recognising the potential of the SA Blog Awards began implementing new support structures, media policies and other processes on a very short notice, and as such was still saddled with some systems which had been in place in the previous years. JP is well aware of the current flaws and has already, in a very short time added enormous additional value. JP immediately recognised that the first priority was to re-establish the credibility and integrity of the SA Blog Awards.
 

Contrary to what has been written in the public space regarding the nomination, registration and voting phases. (sic) We made every effort to notify bloggers to register; we did this via the Afrigator database, email, twitter and notifications on our site. In addition we notified former voters of the nomination phase. During the nomination phase, the public vote phase and the judging phase we continually asked for nominees to register their contact details with us. After all phases had closed we still continued asking nominees to register their contact details. To date we are still struggling to get final correct details, in some cases nominees entered incorrect email addresses. During this process we manually went to the blogs and looked for contact details or mailed them from their site requesting details. Where we had contact details we used them to the best of our ability.
 

When we talk about moving the blog awards up to a new level, we mean an improved voting process, more awareness for the bloggers of South Africa, better criteria for the judges to understand, and ensuring an equal platform for all nominees. All of these were done, but will again be reviewed in order to find the best possible formula. 
 

We asked judges which were subject related to the category to judge. This means the category was judged by an expert in the subject matter of that category which hopefully will assist the bloggers with better recognition, should they choose to seek endorsements or financial support for their blog.
 

This year the SA Blog Awards was supported by News24 who have applied their online support for the bloggers. In addition the SA Blog Awards radio partner, Good Hope FM, supplied radio coverage pre -and post the event. Further has been garnered from the SABC News, SAFM, Cape Talk, 702, eTV News, The Digital Edge and several other online publications. All this was for the first time arranged with the kind support of Atmosphere PR, which added a much more professional dimension than in previous years.
 

As a sponsor and supplier to the SA Blog Awards, Ogilvy Cape Town added their support with additional fun and creativity using a digital photographic concept on the night. These social media pictures have been published and will surely bring enjoyment to all bloggers and other viewers.
 

Our emphasis this year was on the readers of the blogs, with the judges in place to act as the guardians of the categories. We believe the readers of the blogs are of great importance and as such gave them a greater say in the voting process. The public vote counted for 70% and the judges vote 30%. This led us to the 24 hr voting system. This system allowed for blogs with regular readers to show their appreciation, and as such the blogs which have a loyal regular following rose to the top. Falling in line with our policy to continue striving for a better formula this process will be reviewed.
 

We increased the number of active voters in excess of 300% from 2009 to 2010.
 

Our judges were given several criteria to look at, these included, Design, Content Quality, Reader Engagement, Relevance to the category, and Overall Experience. These are factors that we believe make a good blog and bring the reader to the forefront. A factor we believe the judges must prioritise during scoring.
 

Finally we asked an executive judging panel to look at the winners of each category in order to determine an overall winner. The Executive Judging panel then scored the top three blogs they thought were most deserving.  These scores were compiled and an end result calculated to indicate the final overall winner. The results were conclusive.
 

The night itself was an overwhelming success bar one or two glitches. The night was invite only, this meant we arranged an event which was limited in numbers, however free to the nominees and invited guests. The venue, The One & Only, we believe was befitting the stature of the event and was appropriate considering that we were recognising the best bloggers in South Africa. Furthermore the night was well arranged, sound was excellent, light, and multimedia quality was good. In addition, our MC Mumzy was also exceptional.  We would have loved to have all top ten nominees at the awards, but during the 2010 stage this was just not logistically or financially feasible.
 

In terms of prizes we have had queries on several fronts, many say prizes are not necessary and that the prize is the prestige of winning, some say there should be financial incentives. Again we will engage our audience and ask the question.  Which do they prefer? Our overall winner received an iPad from News 24, a Black Berry from Vodacom and vouchers from, Rocket seed, Sunglass Hut and Obox. In addition we commissioned a fantastic glass sculpture as the overall award, again a step up from years before.
 

The category winners each received a glass award engraved with the details of that category as well as the aforementioned vouchers. Each top ten finalist will still receive a digital  badge to showcase on their blog, with category winners, and the overall winner receiving relevant winners badges.
 
Finally we engaged local computer wholesaler Infinitix to supply us with PC equipment for a charity of our choosing. We chose the community centre in Bridgetown. This community is plagued by violence, drug abuse, alcohol abuse, teenage pregnancy and several other social evils. Marlon Parker from Rlabs is involved with this community centre, and they have made a significant improvement in changing the lives of many within this community using social media. We trust that the PC equipment we handover to Marlon will help him with his continued effort to use social media to better the lives of those suffering under the hardships they live in.


We once again urge the bloggers of South Africa to stand by the SA Blog Awards and work towards improving the process together with us. The respect of the blogging community lies in the hands of the bloggers.


At the SA Blog Awards we will continue to seek, recognise and reward the best bloggers in South Africa. Our work is however not finished. We will keep the pulse of the SA Blog Awards alive in South Africa constantly.


Once again congratulations to the bloggers of South Africa whether good or bad, big or small, we are proud of the fact that you are blogging. You are the new voice of society”. 

Chris von Ulmenstein, Whale Cottage Portfolio: www.whalecottage.com