PAY TO PLAY
Pay to play awards serve no real point. Be it Red Dot or some other award where the participants must pay to be in consideration serve no purpose except a few days' worth of Twitter patting on the back. Congratulations, you won the best of show of people who pay to be in best of show consideration.
With extensive marketing teams and budgets, large companies can simply throw dollars and personnel at pay to play awards. He with the most dollars win, even if the products aren't that great. We should be more concerned about what the users think of our products.
From Red Dot "In case of an award, you have to purchase the “Winner Package”. Yeah.
The winner should be the users
BEST OF SHOW
Best of show finalists should not be announced a month or more before the show even starts. Does anyone understand how silly that is? I'm looking at you, Enterprise Connect.
This would be a better idea:
A Best New Product award voted on by attendees beginning on the first day of the exhibition and wrapping up on the last day. The award could be presented during the "lock note". There could also simply be a "best product" as voted on by the attendees. That is more meaningful to know what users think.
Voting would be easy since at the end of every conference track we received an email to rate that talk. A simple box to write in a product could be easily added. The more conferences you rate, the more votes you get (that will also help garner more track reviews).