Bas's column: SEMMYS: where was Europe?
Last week the Semmys were awarded. In no less than 18 categories winners were picked who wrote this year’s best posts in search engine marketing. Two of the 18 winners were Europeans.
First of all congratulations to all those who won a Semmy. There are some truly great stories in there. All posts were from a high level and the prices well deserved. However one question arises when reading through the entire list: where are the Europeans?
Looking at the list of winners we can only see two European winners. Oddly enough the two winners are both Dutch: Joost de Valk and Wiep Knol. I don’t know if that is a coincidence or not, but it does say something about the Dutch Search Marketing industry: it’s internationalizing and growing.
Joost's winning post
However, when we look at the whole of Europe two out of 18 winners is way too little. Why is that? Are Europeans that lousy writers? I don’t think so. Let’s take a closer look.
First of all there is the language barrier. There are a lot of European blogs about search or related subjects. Most of them though are not in English. Countries like Germany, Holland and Spain are very blog-minded and there are a lot of SEO’s writing about search. But mainly in their own language. And off course those posts don’t make it to the SEMMY’s.
Then again, there are also a lot of bloggers who do write in English. Hell, we even have the entire UK blogging in their native English. Where are the UK-writers? Where’s Dave Naylor or Mike Grehan? Where’s our Danish Dynamite Mikkel deMib? The answer to that is simple: they don’t blog enough and they don’t blog articles which are long enough. Most articles nominated for a SEMMY were extensive articles. Still I believe there are a lot of good, long European posts which should at least be nominated.
A third issue which might influence the reason why so little Europeans were winners is the reach. This is off course very much related to the language issue. In the US it seems that the reach is bigger. You can more easily get more readers. In Europe English is not the native language for most so an English written blog won’t be the first blog one puts in its feedreader if you’re not British. And Americans don’t easily look at the European blogs. They focus on the US blogs first and look outside only when you really step out.
Wiep's winning post
It’s not really a surprise. The search industry is an industry which is very much based on friendships. That’s nice because in a way it helps the industry get forward. People tend to help each other and share.
On the other hand if you are not careful it will divide the industry: if you don’t ‘know’ those who matter in the industry you might not get as far as you could. Besides that the industry might be missing out on some pretty good information provided by those who do not attend events or write on a ‘big’ blog or are from outside the US. And I believe there are a lot of very good SEO’s out there who can really contribute to the industry.
To say the least, contest are always disputable. Almost never there is a contest which has the full support of everybody involved. Whether it’s the Oscars, the football-player of the Year or the SEMMY’s, there’s always someone who disagrees.
One could ask yourself if organizing these kind of contest is a smart idea because you know you will get slaughtered by those who missed out on the awards and will be loved by those who won. Still I believe contests like this are very useful. It helps those who want the attention to get the attention and it can help others, the ‘newbie’s’ in the industry to get familiar with the names that go around.
Therefore I believe that the SEMMYs can also be very useful. And as said before, all winners deserve their awards, yet I do think that the SEMMYs would be a lot better if the focus would be more widened. Do not just look at the ‘inner circle’ but look at the entire world of posts.
But maybe we as Europeans should have our own contest? What do you think, should we give it a try and go for a European award or even a worldwide award? Will that work? Or will we only get slaughtered? ;)
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