Ross Turk on the SourceForge Community Awards


OSCON 2009 is in full swing, which means you can't walk more than 10 feet without tripping over a well-known geek. We’ve just spoken to Ross Turk, Director of Community at SourceForge, ahead of the Community Choice Awards on Thursday night. Here’s what he had to say on who he’d have chosen, had it not been completely unethical and against all his better principles...

TuxRadar: Go on, who would you have voted for?

Ross Turk: That’s kinda tough. I probably would have voted for and I probably would have voted for ReactOS because both of them are trying to do similar things. I would probably have voted for both of them even though Microsoft sponsors our site sometimes.

I probably would have voted for MindTouch, actually, because I think they’ve got a really interesting approach to open source marketing. They’re kind of loud and boisterous and obnoxious and I like that.

TR: And how many votes have there been?

Ross: Approximately 185,000. There were almost 70,000 nomination and that’s up about 50% on last year. We did 130,000 votes last year.

TR: It’s a big push for you, really.

Ross: It’s a big push and we changed our marketing process a little on the awards. Last year we used a bunch of advertising inventory on the site to promote it. This year it was almost exclusively Twitter. We sent an email at the beginning of the nomination process telling project admins ‘You should nominate your own project and tell all your friends to do the same on Twitter.’ As soon as that email went out we saw this crazy spike in votes. And then we emailed 1,500,000 users and saw a bump. Whereas, last year it was kinda steady and then we did our email and it completely exploded. I think it’s becoming more viral.

TR: They’re doing your marketing for you, basically!

Ross: Yeah, and that was one of the things I took away last year. There is no one who can talk to their communities better than their project leaders. If a project member, or a user of the project, gets an email from the project versus an email from SourceForge, which one are they going to read? Which one are they going to open?

TR: Do you think that’s encourages gaming the results a little bit?

Ross: I won’t argue that the Community Choice Awards is really about who can promote better. You know, it’s one of those things I’ve been thinking about. There are some awards programmes that are chosen by panelled luminaries. Ours is a popularity contest. It takes all kinds, right? We take it seriously, but at this point it’s really just for everybody.

Don't forget, the fourth annual SourceForge Community Choice Awards will be broadcast live at and there are some great prizes up for grabs. Of course, if you were smart enough to join us all at OSCON, you can just come to the live party - see you there!

Ross Turk, Community Director at SourceForge.

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