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I'm new here and trying to figure out how contests really work. So far, I've observed that many contests seem to be won by pieces that strike me as being far from the best of the submissions. It could just be that I have different tastes from most, but I've also seen comments in some contests telling people not to try to "solicit votes". The overall impression I seem to be getting is that contests are generally won by those who tell their friends to vote up their pieces.
Am I wrong?
So far I've entered a couple of contests myself and not gotten any votes at all. Are people allowed to vote for their own work? That would explain the sea of single votes I see in so many contests. I can't vote for 15 more days.
No offense is intended here, I'd just like to understand all of this better. (Also, I'm not looking for charity votes from anyone on any of my images!)
Hi, Charles. This is something that gets brought up alot.
Are FAA contests really popularity contests? The answer depends on what kind of contest they are. There are three different types of FAA contests that members can run. Open voting to all visitors to FAA, voting open to only FAA members, and voting done by a jury.
Contests where voting is open to everyone are popularity contests, which isn't necessarily bad. It means that more people visit the contest, and so there may be a greater chance of your work being seen. But it also means that the person with the most friends usually wins.
Contests that are only open to FAA members probably receive less vote solicitation, but they can still turn into popularity contests at times.
If you are looking to enter a contest where the best artworks win, then you need to enter a juried contest, where the jurors are artists whose opinion you respect. Unfortunately, juried contests are not as plentiful, because they take more work.
I hope that helps you understand the contests better.
If a contest is not decided by a jury, it is nothing more than a networking opportunity. Unfortunately, many of the 'contests' here are not true verifications of merit, only popularity, networking, etc. best to enter your work in juried brick and mortar shows, where even getting in is a plus as you know your work was juried by professional, unbiased jurors. I don't enter contests here as I will not beg people for votes. Winning a contest here is not something to be proud of, especially if you solicited votes. Only juried contests count.
technically they are marketing tools. many solicit to get votes, many are annoyed because of this. i use contests to get more noticed, to get more people watching and favoriting me (helps in the search), i like to see that i have a topic for whatever crazy thing they have). and it lets me double check my keywords at a glance to make sure i didn't put the wrong things and to add more. i've found many mistakes in my keywords with this method. and sometimes i win some.
I have won contests without solicitation and not won where I tried hard. To be honest, soliciting is WAY to much effort and time for me unless it is a meaningful prize that I can turn into real money. (Read, 150 gift cert or TV ad) IF it is one of those two prizes, then it is nothing more than a business move and cost analysis of time v. benefit potential.
I just won a flower contest without being on the first page of submitted images OR soliciting which is cool since I don't shoot many flowers. The next time I enter that exact image in a similar contest it might not get a single vote so it is somewhat random too.
I am going to go join Jim's contest in a minute but won't solicit a bit. It is really all about exposure and marketing
i think out of the 200 or so i entered so far, from what people have told me because i usually forget i entered it and they sure don't post anything, i think i won 7 of them. 2 in first, a few ties and a couple in 3rd. most i forget to vote on myself.
I have entered some art competitions and have won a few honors (not on FAA) but I must tell you they are usually meaningless in so far as sales are concerned. It's an ego thing that serves no real purpose.
It seems that they are more popularity contests than anything else. I entered 2 different contests just to see how things were done. In one, my photo got 3 votes. In the other contest, my photo and several others had disappeared. The admin said she had no idea what happened because she did not delete any. Hmmm..
A new group helps to address the issue, however. http://fineartamerica.com/groups/contest-jury-depot.html?tab=overview It's called "Jury Depot".
I have NO idea if I have ever sold directly because of a contest but they ARE exposure. Even if that exposure is only among FAA artists that can still increase comments, votes and favs which increases the internal search position WHICH can lead to sales. It is debatable whether contests help google but I do get bot hits upon entering them, that indicates to me google knows all.
I enter because it's another opportunity to share my photos. I E-N-J-O-Y sharing. It gives the people who don't/wouldn't come to my homepage a chance to see one or two of my images, that's all (well...except in the contests that end up with 1,000+ images, because people poop out on voting after 300, or so, and mine is usually #883, or something like that). I don't enter contests here to win - I enter to let someone see something cool or interesting they would have otherwise NOT seen. Just the way I am. I don't have expensive equipment or any editing skills to speak of, but sometimes...I'm in the right place at the right time and I capture something I'd like to share. Hell...I almost went into cardiac arrest when I sold a greeting card on Red Bubble - A contest win or sale here would probably mean the "big one" for me! LOLOL :))
I never win FAA contests, but they always increase my views; and, while views don't necessarily equal sales, without views there would be no sales -- so, every view counts. Potentially. (The Marketing Factor.)
Also, I really enjoy exhibiting my art. (The Ego Factor.)
Two reasons why I sometimes enter contests. :-)
@John Ayo -- it's time to put those 'blooms' out of their misery. The expiration date appears to have come and gone. ;-)
I stopped entering the contests when I realized that the winners were winning by popular vote. I don't participate in popularity contests, so I don't enter in any FAA contests. They are looking to make more of the contests here juried, but that is also using artists here. Which means if somone is not sure what to choose for their vote, they will likely vote for the work of someone they know. But that's just a speculation.
Winning a popularity contests means you have more friends and family willing to come here and vote for you. I speaks nothing of the art.
I found an easier way to increase my views. I used Twitter. And I enter contests that are not on FAA.
The root of the problem between those who favor solicitation and those who oppose it is that we view the contests differently AND the fact that FAA guidelines not only never prohibited the practice, but in the case of "Open voting contests" strongly imply that the practice is to be encouraged. In the absence of official policy (or even worse policy they disagree with), certain individuals chose to make their own unwritten "moral code" and attack those who broke their secret "rules".
I never saw the contests as anything more than a way to increase views, which may result in increased comments and votes on the image itself which in turn increases the chances that the image will appear in the first or second page in a keyword search. They are a means to an end and that end for many of us has nothing to do with bragging rights or stroking egos. It has everything to do with finding a way to force an image to a better position in the FAA search algorithm.
For those who have not figured it out my "Free for all" contest was an indirect response to an open contest that runs contrary to the official guidelines (I did not even enter any of mine in it). Seems to me that for every person that "hates" solicitation there is another person who couldn't care less whether it is done or not.
Popularity or well judged, the bottom line for a site like FAA is publicity..no offense on that specially that most if not all contest here are simply bragging rights and no serious incentive to impede artistry.
Okay, then let me be more specific. I enter Art Competitions. Not contests. These competitions, judged by people I don't know, are based on if the art I submit meets, as well as how well it meets, the criteria requested by the organization, or individual, hosting the Competition. This has the benefit of putting my art in front of people in the art world.
When it comes to marketing, I think we can all agree that you spend your time on what works for you. Since I don't beg for votes, which is the staple of the popularity contest, the contests here would do nothing to increase my visibility. So, I don't waste my time.
they do in a way. i don't beg for votes because i don't care if i win or not. i kind of like seeing what people like and what they chose. but more so you get comments, vote, etc from the exposure and however the site is set up that helps you in the search. i try to bring up old images whenever i can to keep stirring that pot. i find many new people looking and for all i know some of the viewers could be customers. heck the contests could be run by galleries and maybe this is how they attract new work to them.
the people who one aren't posted anywhere. even a featured image gets that tiny thumbnail for a while on the picture. i don't see why anyone would beg for anything.
Wow, I thought I was the only contest deadbeat. Beth. lol I've never won either, but I may yet win.
Off and on, I go back to trying very hard to get attention for my work. That's mainly what contests are about for me at this stage. The competition aspect doesn't appeal to me. But it's part of being an artist on zero income. One of the few free ways to advertise.
I struggle with self doubt and have been feeling demoralized since I entered a local contest. I was mainly interested in learning the technique we were taught for a small fee, but the person in charge made it into a contest. My local art groups do this too. If they didn't, they wouldn't get as many artists interested in partcipating, IMO. It seems to be a necessary evil.
I feel that if I can ever win a place in the contest, it will be a nice pat on the back and some encouragement, which I wouldn't refuse. It's very difficult for me to do local shows. I'm still having trouble with fatigue over a health condition. Some avenues open to others who feel better physically are closed to me. It's one route I can take without all the trouble and exhaustion that comes with setting up and breaking down at shows. A lot of shows charge more than anyone is able to earn back, too, so they're a financial loss. How bad depends on how well you can absorb the loss. I don't have a lot of money to spread around in juried shows where you only submit a few works either.
Re: no sollicitation, that's a myth. If it's in the contest rules, it won't stop the sollicitation. It will just shift the profile of the big winners to people with many adult children who they can call and ask to vote from computers at their separate residences. And artists in other situations like that where the sollicitation isn't easy to trace.
it's all up to you. it's no different than putting it into a group. i have found more people favoriting and voting on images i put in (and voting in real life not just the contest). new people are looking at my stuff. and that's all that matters. i enter them as they come out and every sunday i'll flash through them all for any i missed. it's just another way to advertise. even though it's an internal advertisement you never know who might see it or if they may buy.
Beth, are you still the person who has the answers to questions like this? The reason I found this in the first place was from a search of discussions. I couldn't find the anwer to this question here, where free vs. premium membership features are listed.
Does free membership include full partcipation in contests? I have artwork entered in 2 contests and am getting votes. I don't want all the votes I've gotten to be erased because I just discontinued my paid, Premium membership this afternoon.
I am not sure if there is a right or wrong here Charles. If the administrator of the contest asks participants not to solicit, then I think it is only right to follow those guidelines. Either way, I don't solicit votes in the contests I enter. I don't have the time or energy to do so. Those People who would vote for my images wouldn't purchase it anyway. Even so, I have won a contest and come in second and third in two other contests.....but haven't sold a darn thing on FAA yet though. I have taken Mikes advice :-0 and I use the contests to get my work seen so that I get more comments as well as to view other works and see what keywords they use. I tweet, stumble and use FB. Cat, I agree with you and I will probably join the Jury Depot because I spend lots of time looking at other entrants. (I travel allot and it passes the time.)
Enter or don't enter contests. It is your choice. I am well trained in marketing and take advantage of every opportunity here, and that includes contests. I enter my images in groups hoping to get featured.....more views for my images and more comments which get me close to the front of the search pages which may at some point lead to a sale.
The best part of this site for me is meeting professional artists and learning from and with them. Good luck Charles and welcome to FAA.