Awards Programs: EthicsWritten by Richard Lowe
One of characteristics of an excellent awards program is presence of solid ethics. This is very important as all awardmasters must understand that they weld a certain amount of power over their fellow webmasters. They have power to cause individuals to blossom and become better at their tasks. Conversely, they can easily cause discouragement and despair which can lead to much evil.
That's probably one of most important facts to remember about being an awardmaster - you have power to help or to harm. Use that power wisely and you will give people pleasure, reinforce their self-worth and perhaps make them better webmasters. Use it unwisely, and you could even cause them to stop creating web sites altogether.
Don't believe me? Take a look at this note from someone who won one of our awards:
"Hello Mr. and Mrs. Lowe, I want to thank you from bottom of my heart for "heart and Soul" award! I cried when I saw it, as I had given up on it! My health is taking a downward plunge, therefore it means a whole lot more! You just can't imagine how informative and useful your newsletter is to me. Hang superstitions; Friday 13th is lucky for me! :o) Mrs Lowe, I hope this letter finds you in good health! God Bless"
Wow! Now that's having an impact on someone's life!
This is why it is very important to be completely ethical when you run an awards program (we are talking about real website awards programs here, not those that simply give awards to whoever applies). What makes an ethical awardsmaster?
First and foremost is a desire to be constructive at all times. Never give any kind of criticism. Some awardsmasters give advice when specifically asked - personally, my recommendation is to stay away from this practice. Why? Unless you are very, very good at giving advice without making it seem like criticism you are bound to cause someone to become discouraged and upset. Really, your goal is to award good works (and you define what is a good work), not to give out advice.
You should have a well written set of criteria which more or less explains exactly why a site did not win. There really is only one answer to losers - "look at criteria. Compare your site to criteria, point by point, and it should become obvious why you did not win."
Attention to Detail or Learning How to Hate Humble PieWritten by Tom Cornwell
Having been in printing & graphics business for past 25 years, I can attest to importance of attending to details, both in work quality and customer satisfaction. E-commerce is not so much different, especially in principle.
A typing error can not only be embarrassing, but also cost printer a lot of money, considering waste in paper, time and labor. On Internet, fix is cheap - sometimes - unless that typing error alters data such as pricing, in which case it can create an expensive mess, or nothing at all - such as 'no sales'.
Last week a fellow wrote to tell me that links on my pages didn't work! I thought he was out of his mind, but decided to go through and check them out - just in case he wasn't. After wading through a half-dozen pages, finding no problems, I finally arrived to a group I'd put up about a year ago. The links at bottom of pages surely did not work!
When I originally composed pages, I did a quick 'cut & paste' of hyperlinks at bottom so I would not have to retype same information over and over. Unfortunately, I copied a bad link; all my hyperlinks were now calling for files in my 'A-drive' rather than those within directory on my server. I unwittingly pasted them on each of new pages I'd composed that afternoon and loaded them up to server. It probably wouldn't have been much of a big deal, but those pages were describing a couple of books I am marketing and reader simply could not get to order pages from those pages - after, of course, they were very interested in doing so!
Now, you would think I'd have double-checked those links at some point soon after, but I was in a hurry to finish and confident that I had done a good job, besides, sales were coming in, so why worry?
The sales were coming in, however, from readers determined to circumvent worthless links and buy books any- way. How many sales did I lose from those that gave up after hitting my 'problem' hyperlinks?