If you go back to my previous post, you will find that I have updated it after someone had left a comment, pointing me towards their own and several other blogs with warnings about participating in the "Facsination Awards" in any manner. I was quite unsure about what to do, since of course I do not wish to cause any harm to anyone by anything I put on my blog, whether it is something I write or something I link to.
And since I could not find anything that appeared to me incriminating or illegit on the websites related to the Fascination Awards, I decided to write to the person who had originally notified me of my nomination.
This morning, I found their reply in my inbox:
Thank you for taking the time to express your concerns. We value your feedback.
Our goal is to seek out only the most fascinating blogs on the web, and we achieve this goal through a very thorough (and time consuming!) nomination/voting process. It is true that the Fascination Awards generate exposure for our website, but that doesn’t make it a scam. On all of the fascination awards pages, including the polling page, you will not find any advertisement of any kind. We also do not collect any kind of personally identifiable information on these pages.
In our most recent application of the Fascination Awards, the ‘Most Fascinating Teaching Blog of 2011’ poll received over 2,200 votes. We take various precautions, such as randomizing the nominees on the poll every time the page is loaded, to ensure the fairness and integrity of the results. We utilize the enterprise version of Survey Monkey’s polling software, so you can be sure that we are serious about our goal, which is to select the most fascinating blogs in the fairest way possible.
We used the results from the poll to create a list titled “Top 100 Teaching Blogs”, you can view it here: http://www.online-phd-degree.net/top-100-teaching-blogs-all-the-best-teaching-blogs/
A similar list for Librarian blogs will be published after voting is finalized.
If you have any more questions or concerns, please don’t hesitate to let me know.
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Naturally, I did NOT expect them to come back to me saying "Oh dear... you found us out... yes, the whole Fascination Awards thing is one huge scam, set up for naive guys such as yourself and your readers to make piles of money out of every mouseclick on our pages".
But still, the reply sounds reasonably logical to me, and as if it was written by a real person instead of just a standardized answer from some bot or other.
What do you think? Should I leave the nomination badge on my page or remove it? I am not much nearer to a decision than I was before; I do take the concerns voiced by the other bloggers seriously, and they are probably a lot more knowledgeable about such things than I am.