King of the Web’s Battle Royal 2012 has come to a close. TotalBiscuit has smashed the competition into dust. He won all but two days and took the grand prize. Both he and 2nd place winner, JesseCox, will be donating the $50,000 combined earnings straight to Charity: Water. All in all, doesn’t sound too bad right? Well, I’m going to give my thoughts as a voter and my perspective on the happenings that went on. Here are my thoughts on King Of The Web (KOTW)…
So what feels like a long time ago, one of the YouTubers I had subscribed to at the time wanted to run for KOTW. TotalBiscuit wanted to run primarily to donate money to a charity called Charity: Water. The basic idea is that your money goes directly to projects in 3rd world countries to give the people there access to water, via various projects like well building. Which is a big deal for people who don’t have access to clean water like we in the States do. While I hadn’t heard of Charity: Water, their mission seemed solid enough.
So I decided to participate in this contest. Mostly for charity, but partly to see how people on the Internet would act in popularity contests like this. And before you say it, yeah, I know. But humor me here, I wanted to see what would happen. I know I didn’t really do all that much for charity. I clicked on a vote button 10 times a day for more months than I care to think about. Basically, I participated in slacktivism, but that’s a discussion for another day. I kept my distance from KOTW and the website. But despite the distance, I still heard of the drama that went on. People weren’t happy with who won, KOTW wasn’t reprimanding people for attacking others in the contest and KOTW changed the rules when it suited them. So it was what you would expect from such contests that contain a lot of egos clashing against each other. A big old mess.
Popularity Contests are inherently flawed. You win by having the most amount of votes and in most cases, it doesn’t matter how you get them. You just have to get them. Its why I’m opposed to the entire idea of them because they are inherently unfair. It is also why I kept tweets and posts about it to a bare minimum, merely throwing out a passing mention of the contest online. As KOTW demonstrated, it was just one clear winner and no one else trying to fight him. That’s not really a contest and I have to say, the “Battle Royal” was one of the most boring contests I have ever watched.
KOTW is all about “rewarding those who make the Internet awesome” or rewarding YouTube creators for excellence, as I understand it. The thing is, they don’t really reward those things at all. What they DO reward is the person with the biggest amount of followers he/she accumulated on YouTube and could throw at the contest. And though Totalbiscuit won the contest, several bigger YouTubers were not seen at this contest. Had they shown up, they would have likely destroyed even his chances of winning. So to me, it seems like KOTW is just rewarding those with a bigger crowd. It doesn’t matter how much work or effort they put into YouTube. It doesn’t matter how good their videos are to watch. All that matters, is that you have enough voters and you win. And I have little doubt that sooner or later, someone will exploit KOTW.
I can’t say I much liked how KOTW handled the entire contest to begin with. The biggest irritant to me was the couple of videos that they published. They were extremely patronizing to watch and annoying to absorb. I expect videos like these to come from mainstream TV, not from people on the Internet. There was other particular behaviors the site as a whole exhibited that really made me question their intentions. Things like KOTW changing the Battle Royal rules a month before it was to be held or how they didn’t stop people from encouraging harassment of others. These things just make me really suspicious of the companies intentions and hard to trust in the long run.
Don’t get me wrong. I’m glad TotalBiscuit won the contest and that the money is going to those less fortunate than ourselves. And TotalBiscuit didn’t let the contest go to his head, holding himself with class during the entire Battle Royal. I have to give kudos to him for that. Usually contests like this lead to some major ego tripping at one point. Its nice to see someone in that position act like a respectable human being on the Internet for once.
As I finish this post, my account is deleted and I’ll forget that this contest ever existed. I don’t like the fact that I supported this kind of popularity contest in the first place. I have been opposed to contests like these and I will continue to do so. Sure, this contest was for charity. But does the cause make everything that went on in this contest ok? All the drama and unknown consequences of the actions taken by people in it? No. No, it really doesn’t. I guess if nothing else, this contest will remind me that the ends do not justify the means, even when it seems harmless. There’s a lot more to look at with this contest such as fanboyism and human behavior and maybe I’ll talk about it in a post later on. But for now, I leave you with my thoughts on the King of The Web, though I’d like to hear your thoughts.
Until next time…