The Podcast Awards are an alleged money-making scam created by self-proclaimed "podcast pioneer" Todd Cochrane who just happened to register PodcastAwards.com before anyone else.
Every year, this guy hosts "The People's Choice Podcast Awards" (or much more commonly referred to as "The Podcast Awards"). The way the awards generally work is that Todd gets podcasts to throw traffic at his web site to attempt to nominate them for an award (and coincidentally drive ad impressions on his site). After a period of "review" (which includes judging podcasts on stuff like if they have any Android subscription options on the podcast's site, not so much on the actual content of the podcast itself), Todd announces the nominees (in what appears to be a basement)...and has been known to skip nominees and mispronounce them with astonishing frequency. In 2016, there was a new fee which was required to be paid in order to be qualified to be considered a nominee. (If you were not nominated, you were not refunded.) After the nominees are announced, he'll ask those podcasters to tell their fans to go vote for them every day on his site in order to drive ad impressions and create revenue. Quite a sweet little operation.
As of the 2016 awards, The Podcast Awards is owned and operated by Podcast Connect. Podcast Connect (not to be confused with Apple's "Podcasts Connect" service) is "the personal website of Podcast Pioneer Todd Cochrane" and a business that Todd and his wife operate their personal business under which includes Geek News Central, NewMediaShow.com, and The Podcast Awards. Todd is also the CEO of RawVoice / Blubrry, a podcast hosting service.
2009 Scam School Nomination
FrogPants shows The Morning Stream, Coverville, and Film Sack won. Tech News Today won as well.
TL;DR: NSFW was nominated in the "Entertainment" category and lost to a bunch of unknown podcasts. Clearly these awards are a Sam. Leo presented the awards this year during New Media Expo on January 7, 2013. After the presentation ended, he agreed to match funding for next year's awards. (Lisa likely had a panic attack at that announcement.)
Coverville won "Podsafe Music" for the second year in a row.
NSFW was nominated in the "Best Video Podcast" category against iPad Today and Frame Rate. Sword & Laser was nominated in "Cultural/Arts". The Morning Stream won "People's Choice" and "Comedy" categories, Film Sack won "Movies/Films", Coverville won "Podsafe Music" for the third consecutive year, and Tech News Today (with Tom Merritt) won "Technology" and beat out Security Now and This Week in Tech.
These were actually held on April 14, 2015 for some reason. Also Chatrealm decided to give a shit this time, along with the Tadpool. t2t2 made a bookmarklet that helped people vote for the Diamond Stream ticket, which consisted of Night Attack for Mature and Video, DTNS for Tech, The Morning Stream for Comedy, Film Sack for Movies, The Instance for Gaming, and Coverville for Podsafe Music (whatever that is). Diamond Stream was 7 for 7 this year.
Shwood was in attendance and Brian Ibbott wore a funny hat. The Podcast Awards hosts were terrible and unfunny. The best part of the show was seeing Shwood and Brian get up over and over to get all the awards.
I guess since they 2014 awards were so late, they decided to skip ahead a year? Whatever.
In February 2016, Podcast Awards announced that "Podcast Awards is going to need a serious re-work of the site itself, a complete revamp of the rules and awards processes." This may have been in response to complaints that certain shows and hosts appeared to dominate the awards. (Tee hee!) Go read about the amateur-ish production.
This year's awards were even more of a shitshow. Todd Cochrane (who it should be noted works for the overpriced Blubrry podcast hosting network) lost all his helpers and is back to doing it in his mom's basement. He spent a lot of time begging for an excessive amount of money to finally redesign the stupid website, makes podcasts pay to be nominated (with no guarantee that they'll be nominated), and has a "committee" of unknowns (except for one guy who showed his face in the nomination announcement video) who get to ignore popular nominees and decide if a podcast is worthy of inclusion. (Criteria apparently places A LOT of weight on the podcast's website and if you have ID3 tags and Android subscription links...because that's important, not the actual content of the podcast, right?)
With the new rules excluding previous winners and any podcast that has won a certain number of times (which is obviously in response to our sweeping the awards last year...and not in line with professional awards which let The Daily Show win for 42 consecutive years), Chatrealm and the Tadpool teamed up for "Hatting the System" to ensure the continuation of inclusion funny hats and friends of those with hats. Nominees were taken for each category in a sort of "primary"...and then Chatrealm banded together behind that single nominee. You only had to vote for a nominee once.
In May, nominees were announced. For some reason, The Giz Wiz got nominated as a "Technology" podcast up against Hak5. (We suspect Chad's Minecraft fans were responsible.) When Todd announced it, he pronounced it "The Jizz Wiz". (His history of mispronunciations goes back to "Sam Schoo". How is this guy the face of the awards again?) Since Hak5 was our chosen candidate in that category, we stuck with it. Sorry Chad.
The awards ceremony was held on June 26, 2016 and the Hat lineup took home 14 of the 17 awards they were nominated for.Or did they? #Foreshadowing There were a TON of Diamond Club mentions, shirts, and hand signs, there were even more tech mishaps and then some lady called Justin "Robert Jason Young". The awards ceremony was a massive step down in terms of production from last year, but hey I thought the host, Jason Bryant, was actually pretty good considering all the tech stuff that went wrong. Nice job Jason! Oh... Full disclosure, I wrote that last part before he showed up in the Diamond Club irc channel a few hours after the show. What a cool dude! Anyway, the only shows of ours that didn't win were MatMen in Sports and Recreation (lost to The Fantasy Footballers. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ I guess they just had a super dedicated audience), Cordkillers in TV & Film (lost to Post Show Recaps. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ I dunno) and NoAgenda in People's Choice (lost to The Fantasy Footballers... again). But HEY! Still a great night! ... OR WAS IT?! LIGHTNING CRASH
So during the award show (WHEN WE WERE BUSY WINNING ALL DEM AWARDS!) this dude who had found the hat.t2t2.eu website a couple weeks earlier started going off on twitter about how it was an automated voting website and the awards were a sham. Some Chatrealmers saw him and told him how it's just a bookmarklet that highlights the shows we wanted to vote for and that all the votes were manually cast, but he wasn't having it. He seemed pretty sour and he ended up losing to JuRY in the mature category. Anyway, yadda yadda yadda we won 14 times, whatever, the show ends.
BA BAM! FUCK YOU hat.t2t2.eu! Todd Cochrane is calling YOU out! The official Podcast Awards twitter tweeted that there was apparently some cheating going on and that all the winners are under investigation. Ok. So most of the hardcore Diamond Clubbers took to twitter to explain that the bookmarklet didn't automate voting, ya know, all the stuff I said before. Then the front page of the podcastawards.com was updated numerous times with different messages as to what was going on with this supposed "scandal". The site was updated A BUNCH, but I think I captured all the major changes here:
- Update #1: A message stating that all the shows listed on hat.t2t2.eu shouldn't be celebrating quite yet.
- Update #2: All winners are on hold
- Update #3: Our shows are more educated, not necessarily better
- t2t2's response: " I didn't know it was the best show awards...."
- Update #4: Few people would know how to do this, it's unfair to the other shows
- Update #5: The voting wasn't illegal. Things will probably change in the future
- Update #6: Removed the hat.t2t2.eu url and got rid of the part where he said we may have ruined the spirit of the awards
- Update #7: I'm sorry if you're offended
The mood in the chatroom at the time ranged from "Ohh come on!" to "LOL *popcorn eating gif* ". And boy, t2t2 was throwin' ALL KINDS OF SHADE on Twitter! It was great!
As of 9:30 PM pacific time the night of the awards, the front page of the podcast awards site showed all of the winners that were announced on the stream. Then @podcastawards tweeted to Adam Curry that the votes will stand and that all the winners are actually winners. So there ya have it. We won… fair and square? Lol who cares.
11:19 PM Pacific - THIS AIN'T OVA! @podcastawards returned to twitter to clarify to everyone exactly how we totally owned the awards this year (and also last year). In a string of five tweets, he tweeted screenshots of the bookmarklet in action, a link to the nomination methodology on GitHub, and a planning thread on Reddit. He even retweeted t2t2 who sent him links to three other related Reddit threads. Of course, he continued the tradition of screwing up names (see Sam Schoo and "Jiz Wiz" for just two examples) by referring to the people behind hat.t2t2.eu as "Diamond Group". Oh, Todd. Here's the screenshots of the five tweets.
I honestly thought this whole thing was done 3 hours ago. It's currently 12:25am Pacific. Is this the end? Probably not! What will happen next!? Who could have predicted the Podcast Awards would be such a shitshow? Well… Ok. Don't answer that.
Winners are given the option to buy their own outrageously priced trophies. The cost is $400 (+$40 shipping) for large trophies and $250 (+$35 shipping) for small trophies.
On May 1st, Todd unveiled the new rules. They clearly targeted Diamond Club. One section, titled "Spirit of the Podcast Awards" says as follows:
- It's the spirit of the Podcast Awards for individual shows to work with their audiences independently to ask for nominations for a Podcast Award. That said, shows often collaborate -- aka team up with other shows -- to get each of their audiences to nominate a specific slate of shows and maximize the number of listener nominations. Networks are allowed to work together with the following caveat that applies to all.
- The podcast awards committee reserves the right to disqualify any show or network of shows the committee feels violates the spirit of the Podcast Awards or bring discredit to the awards or the process. The Podcast Awards committee decision on disqualification will not come lighty[sic] but will be final, a disqualified show can appeal disqualification in writing within 48 hours to firstname.lastname@example.org. Disqualification will result in forfeiture of the registration fee and the Podcast Awards committee may and can invoke multi-year suspensions from future participation.
Under "Forbidden Activities", it originally read as follows:
- Expressly forbidden are automated program, web assist templates that interact with the Podcast Awards site, web overlays, and no nomination tool or macro is allowed. The podcast committee reserves the right to revise and amend forbidden activity details at any time throughout the awards process.
After it was pointed out on Reddit that it didn't mention "bookmarklets", Todd added that in...thus eliminating any possible doubt that this was specifically targeted against Diamond Club.
On May 9th, Todd spammed people with a mass e-mail trying to get them to submit nominations to The Podcast Awards. Oddly enough, the e-mail says, "Let the PCA committee know how you feel about the awards changes via Twitter @podcastawards using the hashtag #pca17"...but he will just block you if you say you don't like it. He hates any ciriticism from people who know what an insignificant little man he is, how nobody really cares about the Podcast Awards, and how his Blubrry podcast service is vastly inferior to his competitors like Libsyn. He also seems to obsess over it and is definitely going to be reading this sentence at some point. Hi Todd. Maybe you should have thought to include people from our large voting block in your plans rather than fight against us? No? Oh well. DIAF.
As of May 9th, there were 14 tweets about the Podcast Awards using the hashtag #pca17. Not including the 5 by @podcastawards, 7 were negative, 1 asked if someone was entering, and 1 said he was entering...and 36 #pca17 tweets were about the Powercat Choice Awards (some kind of Kansas State Athletics award). By our count, this is overwhelmingly negative...yet a May 6th tweet by @podcastawards says "95% are pleased". Math.
A competitor to the Podcast Awards is the Academy of Podcasters awards. These seem to be quite classy!
Another competing series of awards are the Webby Awards. Those things are pretty sweet! They are usually presented in June during Internet Week in New York. If you win, you have to submit your 5 word acceptance speech in advance. Because they have literally HUNDREDS of categories, only the best speeches get to go up on stage and "accept" their award. (It's just one physical award there. You get your actual award later.) Oh, and tickets to the event? Like $7,000 per table.
Another series of awards are the Streamy Awards, which started in 2009. The 2010 Streamy Awards ceremony was, by all accounts, a horrible failure due to issues such as technical mishaps and extremely crude, self-deprecating "humor". They can DIAF.
In 2012 and 2013, we did the Chatrealm Podcast Awards.