With great popularity comes great responsibility: Maroc Web Awards

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The Maroc Web Awards (MWA) have come a long way since their launch in 2007. This year however, the competition, which celebrates Moroccan web players, received over 200,000 votes and had to face two new challenges: fraud, and vote relevancy.

A beautiful ceremony

“We’ve lowered the number of participants [editor’s note: the ceremony went from 1,500 participants down to 1,000], but we’ve raised the bar in terms of quality,” explained organizer and Synergie cofounder Younes Qassimi.

The team brought in Moroccan bands who’ve made their name online, and installed a variety of booths, including one where you could have your pictures taken with the background of your choice, and one where you could have a customized flip motion book made.

Ambitions for this year's awards ran pretty high and this year the team almost suffered. “We wanted to do the ceremony in a giant tent outside of Casablanca, but it turned out to be too complicated, and we had to postpone the event by two weeks to secure an alternative location,” said Qassimi.

A jury keen on quality 

While of course the ceremony was very important to the team it is the election and winners that take president. “Deliberations have been very slow and intense, especially when for the photo of the year,” reported Qassimi. “The picture wasn’t technically impressive, but she had a great message.”

The role of the jury was more important than ever. The competition works on a two-stage process: people vote for their favorite player in each category, and then the jury choose their favorite one from the five that received the most votes. But as the competition grows, votes are loosing their qualitative edge.  

Qassimi believes that this loss of quality can be blamed on both the increase of voters who don’t have a clear view of the Moroccan web as a whole, and an obsessive race to get the most votes from some candidates. “Some have been working for a year to convince as many people as possible to vote for them. The jury considered that the number of votes were not always representative of the quality of the nominated.”

As a result, the jury chose to pay little attention to the technical prowess of the nominated or the number of votes. “The jury focused on quality,” repeated the organizer. “Sometimes the finalists were the one of the five semi-finalists who had the least votes.”

In total, 15 prizes were given: 

  • Personnalité web de l’année : Ali Bedar
  • Podcasteur de l’année : Simo Sedraty
  • Blogueur de l’année : Hamid Oumoumen
  • Créatif de l’année : Mehdi Annassi
  • Utilisateur Instagram de l’année : Marouane Beslem
  • Article en ligne de l’année : طاح الشعر و بقات الكرامة
  • Webzine de l’année : NssNss.ma
  • Photo de l’année : الوحدة في الاختلاف
  • Vidéo de l’année : المغربي ملي كطيح ليه 200 درهمApplication Mobile de l’année : Hellofood
  • Application Web de l’année : Carte.ma
  • Start-up de l’année : Vayago.com
  • Application Mobile de l’année : Hellofood
  • Page Facebook de l’année : Almarssad Les Pros Marocains مرصد المحترفين المغاربة
  • Plateforme eCommerce de l’année : Sardi.ma
  • Evénement digital de l’année : What’s your dream? – La Toile de Rêve

Say no to fraud

Before announcing the five semi-finalists of each category, the team had to take on a mammoth task. “Each year, [the competition] gets more and more important and now we’re seeing fake votes coming from Asia,” laments Qassimi.

Since they can’t possibly know if those fake votes are the results of the nominated, their competitors or fans, they can’t eliminate the player receiving fake votes, and have to eliminate the alleged fake votes one by one.

To do so, the MWA team had to analyze each vote, and visit each voter’s social profile to check if they were coming from a real person, and if that person was a real voter, such as checking the language of the 'voter'. 

A long road

Back in 2007 Qassimi couldn't have imagined how big the compeition would have grown. As he remembers: “We started off with a simple meetup of 25 people. There wasn’t even an award ceremony, it was just people having coffee."

“For your first award ceremony, there were only 200 people and we had to do the show ourselves because we didn’t had a budget for a host. When the models that were supposed to do a fashion show cancelled, we had to replace them, and do the show ourselves.”

And this is only the beginning, hinted Qassimi. So, don’t be surprise if you see Maroc Web Award venture outside of the Kingdom in the coming years.

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