Blog Awards and Danwei

I have been asked to help spread word about some Chinese blog awards. I have to admit I don’t pay much attention to these myself, but I do think they’re a good thing. And in one case, you can actually win real money! (Well, real monopoly money, anyway.)

Best China Blogs is the China blog awards event giving away close to 10,000 RMB (over US$1000!). “The Admiral” of China Moon is organizing it. (Some of you might know him as a regular commenter on TalkTalkChina.)

I noticed on Danwei that there’s another Asia Blog Awards going. AsiaPundit is a great blog (I wish I had time to read it more often), so I’m sure it’ll do a good job.

And finally, I just have to comment on Jeremy’s post on Danwei:

> Danwei probably does not count as a blog any more: there are too many contributors, and we are trying very hard indeed to sell out, by accepting advertising. If you are interested in this type of award, please vote for another website.

First let me say that I love Danwei, and it’s a truly excellent site. You’d be hard-pressed to find a better group of dedicated people putting out original, quality content for an independent website (ESWN is only one person, and arguably superhuman). But I don’t think that saying “we’re not a blog anymore” works.

The reasons Jeremy gave as to why Danwei is not a blog don’t stand up to even mild scrutiny: many blogs are group blogs, and many blogs sell advertising. (No, I don’t mean just Google Ads; there are plenty of blogs that sell real advertising.) So what’s the deal?

Well, I think it’s clear that Danwei very much wants to be seen as a news source. Danwei TV has taken a big step in that direction. The Danwei team obviously works very hard and puts out excellent researched content. Blogs are often seen as childish or faddish, and Danwei perhaps aims to rise above the label because it quite clearly offers content superior to 99% of the blogs out there. If any blog ever deserved to transcend the blog label, it is certainly

But can you cease being a blog simply because you don’t want to be seen as one anymore? I’m not sure what it would take for me to see as something other than an excellent blog with some non-blog features, but for me, at least, it’s not there yet.


John Pasden

John is a Shanghai-based linguist and entrepreneur, founder of AllSet Learning.


  1. Two other questions:

    Does it matter? Does anyone care??

    (Yes, I anticipated this reply from all you caustic commenters…)

  2. Actually, what I took away from Jeremy’s post was that he was just politely saying, “We’ll kick your ass, so we’ll take ourselves out of the running to give everyone else a chance.” 🙂

  3. It’s all a matter of semantics. And I agree with your sentiment that eventually the concept of “blogging,” which stinks of fad, will die down, and we will just go back to calling them websites. There will just be a load more of them and they’ll be a lot more diverse. Just like “RSS,” “blogging” is a techie word. The overwhelming majority of consumers don’t care about the how, they just want it to add value to their lives. That’s why apple doesn’t sell bytes, it sells cool music. And that’s why Nikon doesn’t tell owners about camera technology, it tells them how to take great photos. So as these technologies migrate into the mainstream “subscription” and “(easy to set up and edit) website” will do just fine.

    And now climbing off my soapbox and back into the debate… I think it is very interesting that Jeremy should choose to opt out of bloghood. Knowing him only by his online output, I’m inclined to agree with your analysis. For all their dissing of the terrible mainstream western media, I get the impression that is what they aspire to….

  4. Blog on! Maybe the caustic commenters aren’t current on their blog reading. Do you have access to “Pearls Before Swine” comic strip? I’ll have to send you a few of his blog-related items. Keep up the good work — & keep letting people know what they might be missing elsewhere.

  5. Not that my opinion matters 🙂 But I think that Danwei still qualifies as a blog. But we’re still waiting on someone to nominate him…..
    I think that zhwj, phil, and I can agree that jeremy is just being modest. He deserves a nomination.

    As you may know, Sinosplice is already nominated (twice if you count his involvement in for a Best Blog in China Award.
    May the best 老外 win!

  6. I don’t mind if people think of Danwei as a blog: it’s got all the features of a blog, and although I am nominally the editor / publisher, I don’t edit any of the other contributor’s work or have any say in what they post. We also still suffer from typos, publish rants that would not find a place in a conventional news website. have comments, etc. And of course, we don’t charge for our content, and never will, which makes us socialistic anarchists in Martin Sorrell’s view.

    As Phil says above, I do hope that Danwei can become a part of the dreaded MSM. I just think the MSM, especially in this part of the world, could use a kick in the butt from people who publish on the Internet because they are fascinated by it, not just because it’s a job.

    So please do nominate Danwei if you think it fits into the competition, I would be happy about it. For myself, ESWN remains the king of the hill: despite multiple contributors and our MSM aspirations, we still can’t keep up with the depth and quantity of his translations and commentary.

    On the other hand, if you are even vaguely interested in China and use the Internet, you probably already know ESWN. I think that the function of these awards should be to encourage quality blogging (web publishing, non-corporate journalism, whatever), so perhaps it’s better if some of the newer voices on the scene win.

  7. Can you mention the Best Blogs in Asia awards also? We’ve been around since 2004 and have regular submissions.

  8. Misohoni, the Taiwan part of that site is missing most of the big Taiwan blogs, and it’s full of ads.

  9. ESWN is awesome. Sinosplice can be good at times. TalkTalk China is my current favourite. I haven’t looked at any others.

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