Friday, May 14, 2010

Is An Award Always An Award?

I have spent the past couple of days trying to figure out how to say something about the MyHeritage Top 100 Genealogy Sites without coming off as ungrateful and ungracious. I'm probably not going to succeed but one of the perks of having a blog is that it's a platform to express your opinions so here goes anyway.

I was surprised to see that Documenting the Details made this list because there is one thing I know for sure -  this blog is not one of the top 100 genealogy sites, it's not even one of the top 100 genealogy blogs. I've only been around for a few months and certainly don't have anything near the body of work that hundreds of other bloggers have. Even more surprising is that many of the most well known and respected genealogy blogs aren't on this list. So what is this award really?

According to MyHeritage: .  .  .  we've been scanning the web, evaluating content, and identifying some of the best genealogy sites on the internet right now. We put focus on finding hidden gems in the community, so there's a good chance that some of these sites you won't have seen before." They further commented ".  .  .  we decided that we wanted to go with some of less well-known sites with this." Well, "less well-known" and "sites you won't have seen before" sort of explains how this blog might have made the list but is that really the definition of the "Top 100 Genealogy Sites"? Based on their criteria, I have to agree with Randy Seaver (Genea-Musings) who commented to MyHeritage that "Top 100 Genealogy Sites You Might Want To Visit" would have been a better title. Frankly, if that had been the title I would have immediately written a post about how honored I was to be mentioned.

Don't get me wrong, there are many fine blogs on this list and I don't mean to diminish any of them at all. I read and enjoy over 30 of them on a regular basis and I recommend you take a look at the list for yourself. It's just when they put this blog on the list they made the "award" questionable to me considering the title. My skepticism is compounded because I received an e-mail from this company in January (less than one month after I started this blog) complementing my "beautiful blog" and asking if I would be interested in writing a post about their site. They offered to write the post for me in case I was too busy to do it myself. I took that to be a blatant attempt to take advantage of a newbie to get some free advertising for their company. I hope this "award" was just poorly named and was not simply another ploy to use the genealogy blogging community to promote their site. 


  1. Linda,
    I think you hit on some very good points with this post. You are doing wonderful things on your blog and you deserve to be recognized for those achievements. But the whole list was a little bit off in my opinion between the title, company, and other things. Congrats to you though!

  2. Linda,

    First, you write a great blog!!!!

    Second, that bit about the blog post they would write for you?? Well, I remember that well, they asked me too and I wrote a rather strong response on my blog, even tho I did NOT name names. So, with a serious case of sarcasm, NOW, I know why Reflections was not one of the 100 best. ROTFL

    I have to say, I read a LOT of the blogs honored the other day, and they ALL deserve awards, NO QUESTION. But, there were some on that list that I visited for the first time, and I came away scratching my head, asking, why??

    Keep up the good work!

  3. You said it well....I totally agree with you and Randy.

  4. Linda

    I just wanted to clarify why some companies will ask you to write a blog post for them, and even supply text (I'm not saying this is a good thing - just giving an explanation as to the motivation):

    In the SEO world (Search Engine Optimization), many sites try for a higher ranking on Google and other search engines by having other sites "link" to them.

    It used to be a website or blog would use keywords or meta tags in the backend code. Google and others got smart to folks trying to game the system that way. So now they look for "interaction" and "conversation" between sites via links or linkbacks.

    Some companies supply the text because they think they are doing a favor to the busy blogger with too much on their hands. Personally, I much prefer a review that I write on my own about the site or product.

  5. Thanks all.

    Carol - I remember your post well and because of that one of the 1st things I did when I saw this list was to look for you.

  6. Thanks for this conversation, and thanks to Tom for the explanation of a possible reason that I too received the generous offer of the self-written review.

    In spite of your skepticism...I too follow you, and enjoy your blog.

  7. Linda,

    I have been folllowing your blog for some time and enjoy it on its own merits. I do appreciate your honesty regarding their posting. I must admit I used their list to view other blogs for my own enjoyment, but not in ots own right per say. I believe any of us should appreciate any recognition we get when you consider the large volume of blogs that exist, and for that I congratulate you


  8. Hi Linda,
    I've rejected the award for other reasons, see GIJS'geneaLOG at
    And you are doing fine!


  9. In my opinion, the "Top 100" was simply a way to garner more traffic for MyHeritage. I acknowledged the "award" but have not (and likely will not) include their "badge" on my sidebar.

    They left off too many of the "Top" blogs, in my opinion.

  10. Thanks for all the comments.

    Becky - I really enjoy your photos.

  11. Hi Everyone,
    Thanks for the lively debate on the Blog Awards.
    As you may realize there is no such thing as a perfect list. Are intention was to bring so much deserved attention to many of the genealogy outside of the limelight.

    Any situation can be manipulated to see a corporate guise, but an overarching goal of MyHeritage is democratize genealogy. Take a look at the list and one can find a very broad document outlining some great avenues to information available online. There are many more out there, and we'll continue to cover these and others that are doing outstanding work to the best of our ability.

    If you have any direct questions concerning the award campaign please feel free to contact me :

    Again, we truly appreciate your feedback and your insights, so keep it up so we can get better at our selections and dialogue in the future!