Saturday, January 30, 2010

I'm Not One To Rant, But I Gotta Rant

This is a post I was going to wait until February 14th to make, but Zombies Don't Run got me all riled up with a recent and very similar post to the one I was going to make come that day and I feel as if now is probably the best time to get this off my chest. This is also a post that I was considering not making at all. I thought i'd take the high road, play nice, not say a word, and not lose an online friend - and most of all, not come off like a sore loser. But after some thought I realized that that wouldn't be the high road at all. The high road would be sticking up for my fellow horror bloggers who I respect so much. Though it might not sound like it, this is the high road and while I hate to say what i'm about to say, i've always found it best to speak the truth....

As i'm sure you're all aware by now, Bloody Disgusting recently kicked off a Horror Blogger Awards poll, designed to find and crown the horror blogger of the year. Though it's only been a few days, this poll has already shown serious signs of failure. The horror blogger of the year is not being found, what is being found is the horror blogger who can convince the most people to vote for him - and that quite frankly defeats the whole purpose of this thing.

Now before I go any further, I want to make a few things clear. This is not me being mad or upset that i'm not in the lead in Bloody Disgusting's poll. No, not at all. I quite frankly don't care about that and I didn't even vote for myself. What this is is me being mad and upset that a deserving horror blogger is not in the lead. I don't care about winning, I don't feel as if I should win, but I do absolutely feel that the blogger who has the best blog deserves to win. Isn't that the whole goal of the award? There's literally dozens of bloggers nominated in this poll who pour so much time and energy into their blogs and continually produce great and original content, day after day, week after week, and in some cases even year after year. These are the bloggers that Bloody Disgusting is trying to honor with this awards ceremony and these are the bloggers that deserve to win. But who is currently in first place, with over 10% more of the votes than ANY of the other blogs?

Benevolent Street.

If you haven't heard of this blog, you're not alone.

Benevolent Street has a whopping 13% of the votes at the time of writing this. Nobody else has surpassed 5% yet. Not even Final Girl. Not even Vault of Horror. Not even Day of the Woman. 13% is not a statistic i'd be surprised at all to see from either of the three afformentioned blogs and i'd fully support such a statistic for any of those blogs. They have huge fan bases and are respected by horror bloggers and readers the world over, including myself. But Benevolent Street? Really? Does any blogger in the horror community even know where the hell Benevolent Street is?

Here's a little backstory on Benevolent Street. The site is run by Tony Carroll, a longtime online friend of mine. We've been speaking online for years and he's always been incredibly nice to me, even offering me a writing gig on the site when it first started over a year ago - an offer I took him up on. I wrote for the blog for a few months before calling it quits due to the fact that I just felt the blog wasn't up to snuff and I wanted to have my own content on my own blog. Now if anyone was going to be happy for Tony and his 13%, you'd think it would be me - we're friends, afterall. But the bottom line is that Tony and Benevolent Street do not deserve this award. Sorry, Tony, but it's the truth and i'm here to speak the truth. Benevolent Street is a site that's written by a couple friends that Tony hired and it's updated max a couple times a week, with nothing but poorly written regurgitations of news stories from the big horror sites and occasionally, a review of an old horror movie that we've all read hundreds of reviews of in the past. Barely any work or effort is put into the blog and Tony himself hadn't even made a post on the blog for months - until of course he was nominated for the Bloody Disgusting award (most likely by a friend or staff member). So how is Benevolent Street in such a strong lead over so many respectable horror blogs?

I call shenanigans, pretty obvious shenanigans at that. I don't know if multiple accounts were created or if Tony just got all of his friends and family to vote for him (I do know that he created a "Vote For Benevolent Street" Facebook event page - can you say douche chills?), but one thing I know FOR SURE is that this high statistic is absolutely in no way a reflection of how the readers of horror blogs feel about his less than mediocre site. In fact I don't think they feel anything whatsoever about the site being that most of them don't even know about it. Again I say, sorry Tony, but it's the truth and you know it. When you have a poll designed to pick the best horror blog out there and Vault of Horror has 3% while a completely unknown blog that no effort is put into has 13%, you know something is seriously wrong - that's something that nobody can deny. Not even you, Tony.

This poll has failed all of the great horror bloggers out there and that is a serious injustice that I hate to see. While awards ultimately mean nothing, getting a link and such an honor from a site like Bloody Disgusting is huge exposure for a blog that deserves it and it's a damn shame that it looks like Benevolent Street is going to be getting that much undeserved exposure. While the hits may pour in after the announcing of their impending win, I think we can all be pretty sure that those hits will quickly dwindle down once the readers who click over realize that they've been duped. Sadly, however, the damage will be done and this is going to look bad for all of us horror bloggers. There's surely going to be a few readers who will question the quality of all our blogs when they're duped into thinking that Benevolent Street is the best the horror blogging community has to offer.

In closing I just want to say that i'm fairly certain that Tony does not have bad intentions with this whole thing and i'm not saying he's a bad guy - he just wants hits and recognition for his blog. Don't we all? All i'm saying is that Benevolent Street did not even deserve to so much as be nominated for such an award and I wish that Tony had played fair and let the readers vote on their favorite blog. What he has essentially done is taken a huge shit on all of us who spend our days working to make our blogs the best they can be. Tony, you should be ashamed of yourself and I can guarantee you that the backlash you will get from this obvious scam will toss you right out of the tight knit horror blogging community - a community that plays fair, respects one another, and quite frankly a community that you were never even a part of anyway. Sorry friendo, but it's the cold hard truth.

To any horror blogger who is feeling slighted by this poll, just know that all of the readers and fellow bloggers respect and appreciate your contributions, whether you ever receive an award or not. It's not the awards that matter, and this poll shows that better than anything ever could.

As for the readers, head over to Bloody Disgusting, browse through all of the blogs, and vote for your favorite - the way it was meant to be done.


Chris Hallock said...

Thanks for speaking your mind, Johnny.

Other than just letting a few people know about the nomination, I've paid very little attention to this. I don't believe in campaigning/spamming my friends about stuff like this. I also don't like how these contests start turning everyone against each other.

At the very least, it's nice that some traffic was generated to all the deserving blogs as a result of being mentioned. All I'm really interested in is being part of a community, and I like to think we do a good job of that.

Johnny said...

Amen. As much as I hate to get involved in all the drama that these awards bring, I just had to get this off my mind and I know that many of us in the community have been thinking the same thing and maybe were just afraid to post about it.

Wings said...

Great post Johnny, and kudos to you for your honesty and keeping your post civil and polite. Great to see these days.

I perused the poll when it was first put up, but I refrained from voting. There are frankly too many horror blogs I love there, and I felt like I couldn't choose one over another. So, I left my vote out.

Sorry to hear it has become more of a popularity contest. That really does suck.

Hope you don't get too much flack over this post. You did take the high road, in my opinion.

the jaded viewer said...

Johnny - Why are you scanning my mind?!??! Damn you said it bro, everything I was thinking you said word for word.

Here is the current standings

Benevolent St - 13%
Spooky Brew - 5%
CNAMB, DOTW, Dolla Bin, Final Girl, Freddy in Space (you!), From Midnight with Love - 4%

I got 2% but than again I didn't vote for myself so I'm freakin amazed somebody voted for me...other than me!

I just went to BS and its just a mainstream site posing as a blog. A real horror blog is taking the minutae of horror movies and making it interesting...detailing stuff people may have missed...not telling is what Rob Zombie is up to next.

Jennie Boots said...

I think it is very unfortunate that in what I have always viewed as such a tight knit community, the horror blogger must be brought to call out a friend/ community member in a scam such as this one. As John's girlfriend I know how much time, effort and love he puts into his blog. Countless hours and days spent pouring his all into his posts. Nights where long after I'm asleep beside him he types silently in the dark to catch up on posts, chat with his fellow bloggers and research new ideas and stories for his blog, I know the guilt first hand that he feels when he hasn't updated in a few days and the tremendous responsibility he feels he has to the horror blogging community and its fans. I also know that the horror blogs he enjoys put just as much effort into their own blogs and inspire him to be an even stronger writer. I also know how this deplorable situation has left him undecided on whether or not to call out a friend. But what it really comes down to is that Benevolent Street has really insulted the community as a whole. I feel that ultimately the people who really know who is most deserving of winning the title are the horror bloggers themselves. Being that most of the horror blogging community hasn't even heard of Benevolent Street says a lot. John, I really commend you for doing the right thing, no one could've put it better. Love you.

Tony said...

I won't lie. This was a little painful to read. But yeah, it's likely that it needed to be said. When these awards were formally placed on bloody disgusting, I simply did what I thought everyone would do. I promoted it. Anywhere and everywhere I could. There's no "scam". Nobody created multiple accounts or anything of that sort. That can be proven. I simply used every resource I had, from horror celebrities, toy companies, message boards, etc. Because I thought everyone else would do the same. I was not trying to step on any toes or anger an entire community. And I sincerely apologize if anyone felt this way, and it seems like plenty of people are.

I love the horror community with all my heart. I've met some of the greatest people I've ever known within this said community and knowing that some see me in a negative light feels like a shot to the heart. I understand that when doing this, you take the good with the bad. But when it comes down to it, sometimes it's just not worth sucking it up and taking the bad.

I apologize to anyone who may have taken it the wrong way. I've contacted BD and it's likely that we will be bowing out at this point. I'm not in this to cause hard feelings. That's not what it's about for me. I love interacting with people, talking and getting the word out about horror. Yeah, as said, we're probably not the best of the blogs. I'm not even close to being afraid to admit that. I also do not update on my own as much as I should have in the last few months due to various reasons that do not need to be discussed on here. Thankfully I have some awesome staffers who do the work when there's work to be done. Regardless, of whether or not I'm doing the posting, I'm on somewhere pushing the articles and getting them read. I just have a drive for getting the word out about anything I'm passionate about. Perhaps I overdid the promotional part. But I enjoy doing it. If I've stepped on any toes in doing so, please accept my apology.

Best of luck guys in anything you do guys. Everyone on that list deserves to be there, and regardless of what happens with B Street exiting the list, I will continue to put these awards over and get people to vote in the poll because these blogs deserve any and all attention that they get.

Planet of Terror said...

Well said Johnny. It needed to be said for the integrity of the community. I'm definitely angry but you've expressed all my sentiments in a more eloquent manner. No reason to throw gasoline on the fire.

And I think its a nice gesture for Tony to admit that he was wrong. But in the end, the damage is done.

Johnny said...

My intention was not to strongarm you or your site out of the competition and if you say that no scam was being run, then I accept that. If the case is just that you promoted the awards in various outlets and got many people to vote for you through that then I think what rubs people, including myself, the wrong way is you campaigning so hardcore to win an award that you don't deserve to win when meanwhile the real horror blogs that deserve to win are voting for other people and not urging anyone to vote for them. Like I said, this wasn't supposed to be a popularity contest and I think that's where you went wrong. This was supposed to be about who the readers of these blogs think puts out the best blog, not who can get the most people to put in a vote for their own blog. Perhaps this is more a fault of the way the contest was run than anything else (it'd be like having a popularity poll to determine who wins the best actor Oscar) but I think BD's main intention was to increase exposure to some horror blogs that need it and that has been done, so i'm happy that they held this "contest".

I appreciate and commend you for sharing your side of the story on this and like I said, I believe you when you say that no secondary accounts were made or anything of that sort. If you choose to bow out, that's your own choice and it's not something I was trying to get you to do. I just merely wanted to speak out about the fact that such an unknown blog was reigning supreme over the titans of the horror blogging community. It just felt wrong and I and many others knew that something was up.

I guess nobody can really fault you too much for campaigning and for trying to get as many people to vote for you as possible, but that's just not the way we do things around here. We all have great respect for each other and this was supposed to be the awards that were fair and were judged on by the readers, not by people that we urged to vote for us. Any of us could send out mass Facebook and MySpace messages and e-mail everyone in our address books and come out on top, but that's just not fair and what pride is there in winning that way anyway?

I Love Horror said...

Pandering for votes is pathetic. Place a simple link on your site and leave it at that. If at nay point you actively asked people to vote for you, you need to fucking take a step back and look real hard at what you're doing.

Bjornabo said...

I'm just a reader of this and a couple of the other blogs, In my opinion the whole voting thing ain't the most important issue here. Sure it would be nice to see one of the blogs that I read was "winning" this award, but the most important thing it that ALL of the blogs get some more attention. I have over the last couple of days been reading almost almost everything that has been written on almost every blog, and I'm happy to say that I have discovered some new "favorite sites".

There were a couple of these blogs that I had never visited or ever heard of, but now I check them every morning to see if there have been written something new.

So my point is that this award should get MORE people involved in horror / horror-blogs etc, not get the bloggers "mad" at each other. No matter who wins this award I think that all the blogs that were nominated will get more visitors and more fans and that it will be good for the "community"


Tony said...

Glad you didn't wait til February 14th. Either way, it's good to get some insight from everyone. Wish it could have been in a more private setting. Yeah, I campaigned to those that I'm associated with. Then those people campaigned. etc etc. I won't deny it. As I said, I used all of my resources and it ballooned from there, through Scare Fest and other things that we've been associated with, I've met a lot of amazing people. It helped tremendously. I've simply been trying to increase readership even further. Yet It still doesn't feel good to read so many negativities. And for that reason alone, it's no longer worth it to me. I appreciate it regardless, and when doing this, you take the good with the bad. Best of luck from here on out guys.

Chuck Conry said...

As I'm sure you know Johnny, I agree with you all the way and salute you for saying what you said here.

Andy said...

It's pretty tough to vote for a "Horror Blogger of the Year" in the first place. What parameters do you use? Johnny Boots and Stacie at Final Girl are my favorite horror bloggers just because I've been following you guys for so long and you both have a humorous, appealing style. But that doesn't make you the most informative about the horror genre. So what is the criteria? Many of the constantly updated "news and reviews" sites read like they were written by Languagebot 3000. But I check them out to keep up with what's new.

In short, every blog nominated has something valuable to offer. Just seems like trying to compare apples and oranges.

(Still Freddy and Final girl are my faves)

Johnny said...

Bjornabo - You're right, the most important thing is that blogs are getting attention/hits through these awards. I almost feel like Bloody Disgusting should've just made a post linking to different horror blogs around the web, rather than holding a vote for "the best". Would've saved us all a lot of drama, but at the end of the day what matters is the increased viewership of various horror blogs.

Andy - The idea was to just vote for your favorite blog, the one you enjoy reading the most.

Quanthor said...

Damn, that was kinda harsh, a lot of truth to it but that hit went straight for the jugular.

I recognize your passion and even though I love Tony, there are a hell of a lot more deserving blogs for the award than his. That being said, I'm not so convinced the winner really matters. Perhaps to you and others like you it does and I can see why because you worked your ass off to provide awesome material.I guess what I'm trying to say and this isn't the best analogy but it's the first that came to mind is that... Kubrick never won an Oscar for best director and yet he's regarded as one of the all time great influential directors ever. Likewise with Hitchcock and yet people continue to seek out their work more so than every guy that beat them for the award. In other words, great material wins out with or without the accolades of an award.

So, even if B-Street wins or some other non-deserving blog does the chances are if the material isn't up to snuff, whatever newcomers they acquire as a result, wont stick around and will likely end up where they should have to begin wtih.

I for one did in fact vote for my favorite blog, presented by yours truly, Freddy in Space. At the same time I did wish them luck whether they deserved the mention or not. It was a site that kicked off with a lot of promise and then it just kinda... died. Some of this was because of poor leadership, some of it was poor staffing, some of it was lack of promotion and some of it was lack of commitment form it's members. However, to their credit when they could have just rolled over and quit,even if all the effort wasn't there, they kept it going and are in pure survival mode right now. As one of their original followers, I have remained somewhat loyal to their blog(can't say that about the forum though)and I feel like they deserve a second chance. While they don't deserve the recognition, I feel as if this is an opportunity for them to take the initiative and have the blog they always dreamed of having.

Anyways, I feel like I should give my two cents, since I might be one of the very few that actuall follows both blogs.

Johnny said...

Quanthor, I totally agree with you on the second to last paragraph and Tony, I truly hope you do take this experience to heart and turn Benevolent Street into the blog you've always wanted it to be. I wish you the best of luck with that whether you believe me or not. Who knows, maybe next year i'll be saying Benevolent Street should in fact be voted blog of the year.

And Quant, as i've said several times now, the winner really doesn't matter and winning in this competition is not at all important to me, as I also stated in the original post. Just being linked to on Bloody Disgusting is enough for me, as it should be for everyone.

And for the record, I don't think I was too harsh. I was stating facts, that is all. It wasn't a personal attack on Tony.

Anonymous said...

I think it's hypocritical to call Tony out on this sort of thing, but then promote Final Girl, VoH, and DotW as exemplars. The latter two are constantly promoting one another's crap, down to a the Ms Horror Blogosphere thing in which the host site ran, as a contestant, the owner of the sister site. Guess who won?

And Final Girl, who of the three is really the only blogger of note, is constantly cross promoting her various projects.

I'm going to have to disagree with I Love Horror. Entering a popularity contest and then calling foul because somebody better marshals their popularity to win votes is far more pathetic than treating it honestly and drumming up votes however you can.

Johnny said...

First of all, i'm glad this is inspiring discussion and i'm glad, Anonymous, that someone who feels the opposite of what most of us feel is sharing their viewpoints.

Right off the bat, in regards to the attack on Final Girl, there's nothing wrong with promoting your own shit. Nobody ever said there was. We all do it and we all have to do it, or else we'd have no readers. That's not the problem here. The problem is pandering for award votes, not promoting your own site.

Along the same lines, what the hell is wrong with two blogs promoting one another? I see no problem with that and it was, for the record, the readers that chose BJ-C as the winner of Ms. Horror Blogosphere, not B-Sol. The way I see it, B-Sol is the Tarantino to BJ's Eli Roth - more power to the both of 'em for supporting and helping each other out. B-Sol saw a talented blogger and knew that he, being established with a readership, could help her out and get her voice out there. What's the problem with that?

As for the "popularity contest" and the "marshalling of popularity", this was not a popularity contest and Tony was not "marshalling" his popularity - he was getting friends, family, friends of friends, friends of family, and whoever else he could to vote for him (most of who have probably never even read his site). He even openly admitted on his blog a few minutes ago that he was offering prizes in exchange for votes - I think it's pretty clear what we all have a problem with here and Tony himself totally understands and apologizes for his actions.

I Love Horror said...

I'm going to have to disagree with I Love Horror. Entering a popularity contest and then calling foul because somebody better marshals their popularity to win votes is far more pathetic than treating it honestly and drumming up votes however you can.

It's only pathetic if you do the same thing and are just bitter you're not winning. I explicitly stated on my own site that I only want you to vote for me if you genuinely feel I deserve it.

Self-promotion is all well and good, but when it comes to being rewarded for your work (even if it's a stupid little picture you can put on your site), it's only respectable if it's done on the level. Telling people to vote for your displays a distinct lack of integrity and ethics.

It's fucking bullshit.

Johnny said...

Amen and I think that's the perfect point to end this discussion on.

Uranium Willy said...

You mae some excellent points here. Do not feel too bad. I have never even been nominated for these award sites for The Uranium Cafe. I want to feel bigger about it but I do feel dejected really. I can now see I am not in the 'clubs' or something. I ave seen other sites do similar things, rally their pals and friends of their pals to vote them up on ranking sites. I do not have enough energy for that and I am not alone in being left out. There are great blogs that never get a mention in these things because the blogger is bust making great well reserched posts. I think we just should just continue our passion for horror/cult films regardless. Thanks for the angst and rage.


Stacie Ponder said...

Ah, another contest, another raging debate. :)

Thanks for the kind words, Johnny, it's much appreciated. As for me, I mentioned the contest in passing and that was about it. I don't want to seem ungrateful for the nomination, because that's always wonderful, and getting your URL in front of new eyes is great. But lately there are just so many damn voting contests where we can vote and name the "best" this and "best" that it's tiresome. People get so wrapped up in awards and rankings on various websites, all of which are nice ego boosts but really serve no real purpose- and they don't always speak to the quality of a site.

If people would just write for the sake of writing and, in the case of horror blogs, for a love of the genre, then the entire blogosphere would be better off. That's what separates the blogs from the major horror websites- blogs allow writers to show their true voices...and that's what's going to keep readers coming back, that's what's going to make you push to become a better writer, not some stupid ranking or a random award.

As for me promoting my projects, am I obnoxious about it? I hope not. If I don't tell people I have a column or what have you posted at another site, how are people supposed to find them? It's not like I have a publicist or something...hell, I don't even have a Facebook fan page! :D

The Film Reel said...

I've tried very hard to ignore all that goes on in the last little while with awards and the Ms. Horror Blogosphere but it seems to be a point of soreness for so many.

I regularly read most of the blogs mentioned but lately it seems like I keep seeing posts bitching about this award, or who won this or that. I just want to read some great stuff about horror, not the horror of the latest award winner.

Who cares who wins what! I write my own blog and probably score about 2000 hits a month. I couldn't even tell you if that was good or not! HAHA! I don't write to win awards or to gather the most readers. I do it because I love film (and it gives me something to do while the kids are at school) and I just want to share my opinion of things.

I've started chatting with lots of other movie lovers and have been able to add to a very large list of movies to watch through other blogs. Isn't that the point? When someone comments to me that they heard about this movie from reading my blog or that they decided to check out a film they loved from my suggestion I'm happy. That's all I ever wanted, to spread the love of movies.

Everyone always talks about the tight knit horror community but when something like this comes up they always seem to start tearing each other apart. It doesn't matter who wins the award, being on the list probably boosted readers anyway. If someone can get more people to vote for them then let them. I applaud them for being able to get their friends and acquaintances to vote for them because I can barely get my friends to read my blog!

Jay Amabile said...

DAMN this whole thing was entertaining. Who gets killed at the end? I was just reading a script to a new slasher film right?....guys? .....oh shit...please don't make me stand in the corner now...