Is the Chicago International Blog Awards a scam?

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The 2nd annual Chicago International Blog Awards on August 23, 2012 is rapidly approaching and Chicago couldn’t care any less.

While it sounds like a legitimate event for bloggers in the Chicago area to earn some recognition, I think the whole thing really just looks like a scam, therefore, I would like to respectfully decline any involvement in this guy’s little scheme (I already won best blog for 2012 in my own awards anyway).

Why does it look like a scam? Take a look at the entry form. It looks like a decent blog contest, right up until you see the $299.95 entry fee. Why does a entering a blog cost $299.95? Last year, the Chicago International Blog Awards offered free entry for a period of time, which seems much more fair than the $300 they’re charging this year. Sure, the $300 bucks will get you a ticket to the “big event” along with some posters and other souvenirs, but as far as winning a prestigious award with international reach, it doesn’t look like you’ll be getting much exposure at all.
First of all, their Facebook page only has 70 ‘likes’, which is not exactly a wide reach. And as far as the traffic their main site gets: my little blog space, Chicago Rants, actually has a higher page rank and almost as much traffic as Thirdly, we can take a look at who’s running this “event”- Edmund Dantes Hamilton. His Google+ profile  lists him as “Business Owner (Entrepreneur)” and his education is listed as “NUNYAB- Minding my own business,” ummmm, ok?… He also runs a Chicago WordPress meetup group and charges people $249.95 to teach them how to use WordPress.
He also hosted a workshop to launch a WordPress online store– it cost $995.00.
He also hosted a similar, free workshop, which one attendee reviewed as “not really worth while, unlike some people, unfortunately i did stay until the bitter end for a promised reward that never materialized First 50 RVSPs Receive Complimentary 2nd Annual Chicago International Blog Awards 2012 Entry emails to dante went unanswered.”

As far as legitimate contests go, I’d stick with the Reader’s ‘2012 Best of Chicago‘ and enter and vote for blogs/websites there. (Vote for Chicago Rants as ‘best local blog’). And as far as learning how to use WordPress, most of it is self explanatory. And all of your questions can be solved by Googling “how to use WordPress.” Problem solved. I just saved you $300.

In other news, Chicago Rants will be hosting a Facebook seminar workshop next week, at the Starbuck’s at Clark and Adams in the loop. Please attend this fun and informative event. Earlybird registration starts at only $195.99… send me your money.


  1. You didn’t mention the internship program. Every dollar made by these workshops is used to create paid student interns- That is why prices are so high, it is a form of fundraising. I have been an intern at this company, and can say it is completely legitimate.

    • chicagoranter says:

      thanks for the insight. paid internships are hard to come by nowadays, and this seems like a good idea for a seminar, but I don’t feel the price is right for training on one of the most easy to use blogging platforms, particularly for introductory courses that teach information that could be easily found in WordPress FAQ.

  2. Peter Archanjo says:

    You sound a bit jealous my man, or woman(who knows who anybody is on the internet. Anonymous rants by a person who has never personally an even usually amount to envy. I am just saying. But maybe I am wrong, maybe you called the Awards up and asked them all these questions and I am just speculating. But since this is a ‘rant’ maybe you do not feel obligated to do any kind of factual reporting.

    This is humorous. Most telling about YOUR Best Blog List is this statement, “Want to see your blog on the list? Link your site in the comments and I’ll throw you in!”
    So you control the list and maybe even invented the category for the reader? I am getting the impression that organizations are added if they are not competing with you, in your opinion. They need your blessing. Please correct me if I am wrong!
    Now If it was me, I would consider this article libelous and take you to task for it. Anybody can star a blog and ask leading questions, “Is Chicago Rants a Self Serving online rag that sings it’s own praises and libels others in the process”

    See how easy that is? Now I could place this in a few choice places, do some good keywording, over about a week until it because a part of Google search results and voila, instant whack job on you online.

    But why is this kind of stuff necessary? Why are all not occupied enough with our own work and projects that we have to waste time undermining others efforts?

    When you call something easy, for your assessment of fees for learning, in a course you have never taken, I question how you determinewhat is easy for other people. You clearly have no experience teaching. How do you assess easy for the nontechnical person who had barely used Word, or done anything beyound watch video and do email on their computers. Response to the adverts will tell the tale of if it is too high or not.

    I have paid for software online to have access to support, CSS and php questions answered.

    I just find your reasoning in this Rant flawed and self serving.
    Slandering people online is troll work, ebing in Reard Best Blog List, I really expected better of the work you produced.

    • chicagoranter says:

      First of all, fan or not, thank you for finding and reading my blog. It sounds like you were a bit confused as to the context of this piece. It is an opinion article on a personal, one-author blog. While I do like to practice better journalism and get both sides to the story, representatives at the Chicago International Blog Awards did not return my calls about what the $200 entry fee exactly goes towards, which led to the speculative, opinion-based rant.
      Secondly, as far as my Best Blog list goes, I compiled 10 or so blogs which I enjoyed reading, and offered for anyone else to throw in some suggestions, or link their blog. Its tough to get recognized and find someone willing to offer some free press, with organizations like Chicago International Blog Awards charging $200 for the relatively small exposure which they offer. Given that my exposure is just slightly smaller, I thought ‘free’ was a fair price. Blogging is about reaching out and building a community, not a competition.
      Thirdly, nothing on this blog is libelous, most of my posts are opinion articles that border on satire. I poke fun at the Chicago Reader and the Redeye, hell, I mention Darth Vader in my “November voter’s guide.” To put the Chicago International Blog Awards in the mix, positive or negative light, is a step in the right direction, because for a startup with a small following comparable to Chicago Rants- any press is good press.
      Had someone wrote a post “Is Chicago Rants a Self Serving online rag that sings it’s own praises and libels others in the process,” I would be both humored and honored that someone took the time to post a writeup about my little webspace here at Chicago Rants, because as I said, at this point, any press is good press.
      Why is this stuff necessary? Because people are sharks. People take advantage of other people’s ignorance and put a price tag on it. Does this post take advantage of anyone or their money? No. Did you find anything unfactual in this post? I put several links throughout the post you can check out.

      This post is just here to add another side to anybody that does their homework before giving somebody $300 for wordpress lessons, or $200 for an ‘entry fee.’ Thanks for reading Chicago Rants, I just report what I see, and call BS when I see fit. And the Chicago International Blog Awards is one big rant-worthy pile of BS.

      • You have made no phone calls to our office. I, as well as my colleagues monitor the phone system daily, and all valid calls are returned.

  3. Dude you only have 76 likes on Facebook yourself, They have 112 now, thanks to you most likely. :-) I will like it to. Hell I will even like yours. You need to be monitored a lil bit! LOL

  4. Jordan Holmes says:

    Dante Hamilton is a complete scam artist, I wouldn’t advise anyone to pay to enter their blogs…The guy is uneducated and trying to squeeze money out of bloggers.

    • @Jordan Do you have any evidence of a scam this guy has commited? In my experience on the internet it is usually the people making accusations that have the most to hide. CAn you clarify who you are and how you come to such a conclusions? I am just curious. If you google me you can see exactly who I am. So you will never see me make an accusation I can’t back up. Let’s see who you are.

      • chicagoranter says:

        @floyd what is your relationship w/ Dante and this blog awards? u seem to have invested a lot of time in this little mission of yours…

        • I am in the same office space as the head of the Blog Awards. All I see is a guy who works very very hard to accomplish something.

          I am not part of the Awards. It bothers me that you make these accusations and do not give any evidence. I have been the victim of Internet trolls and trouble-makers and have won against them in Federal Court (Aguiar Vs Webb, MA, I don’t like seeing it done to other people, especially when that person is choosing to create something good.

          Now that is my story. What is your beef with Mr Hamiliton that you have to accuse him of being a criminal and if you have evidence of his being a scam artist why have you not reported it to appropriate authorities?

          I think it is low down and despicable that people use their time to disparage the efforts of others for no good reason. If you have a reason why please couch it in language that is factual and providing evidence of anything illegal Mr Hamilton has done.

          It seems to me, as an outsider, that you guys would be better off working together. But the title of this post says you have no intentions of causing Mr Hamiliton nothing but harm by using the internet as a tool for your seemingly illogical accusation, as you provide no proof and anecdotes, except hearsay and disagreement with an idea and/or it’s execution.

          So please explain it to me?

          • And Mr Holmes, where is your reply to my questions? Or are you Chicago Ranter as well? Multiple personalities do abound on the internet when trolling is involved.

        • With a title like this post, would you not agree that you would appear to be on a mission of your own? Since scam is to imply fraud let’s examine the accusation in legal terms.

          “Fraud is generally defined in the law as an intentional misrepresentation of material existing fact made by one person to another with knowledge of its falsity and for the purpose of inducing the other person to act, and upon which the other person relies with resulting injury or damage. Fraud may also be made by an omission or purposeful failure to state material facts, which nondisclosure makes other statements misleading.”

          I merely want to know in detail with evidence the nature of your accusation? Is that too much to ask?

          • chicagoranter says:

            all claims in this article are cited with a hyperlink unless clearly stated as an opinion.
            And I have no idea who jordan is.

  5. Look dude, you are free to use your speech any way you want to. If you cannot see how your “opinion” is dishonest and that you could be said to be LYING, then far be it from me to be your judge. I think we have accomplished quite a bit regarding the credibility of your stated “opinion” haven’t we.

  6. Jordan Holmes says:

    I tried entering my blog! The website is less than impressive. I tried emailing and calling, no response? Also I have heard nothing from other bloggers about the award, no one has a clue about it. I am interested also in this Dante character because I too looked him up, and the 1st Annual Chicago Blog Awards and could find nothing. His personal profile was unprofessional. The awards show cost $300 to enter your blog, what accolades DOES THIS GUY OR HIS AWARD SHOW HAVE?

    • So because his event does not have any accolades and you do not agree with the associated fees, you feel free to call him a scam. Cool. So you have no proof, or evidence to support accusing the man of scamming and fraud except your singular opinion, which you are entitled to.

      I just wanted to be clear, thank you.

  7. Jordan Holmes says:

    Well this guy is entertaining! Well how about we wait until the award show! Will it be aired? Probably not. Will there be any videos online to recap? Probably not. I can find no record of the 1st award show, how about someone send me one so I can see proof that a GALA took place last year

    • chicagoranter says:

      My opinion is based on the facts presented in the article, both about Mr. Hamilton, who went to school at “none yo business” and the blog awards, which I find very shady, I couldn’t find any pictures from last year’s event either. But I did stumble upon a page that presented the winner, but I could not find a list of all the blogs entered last year or how many there were..

      • Have either of you guys ever participated or organized an event of this type? You guys must have some impressive credentials yourself. Can you share that experience and credentials?

        You guys love this attention. That is why there is just the three of us on this discussion. Feel free to hate. Trolls feed on hate.

        My final message guys. Y’all have a nice day.

  8. Jordan Holmes says:

    Whoever you are you seem to take a rant page way too seriously and personal Hmmmm I have a better idea who you really are! Im not trying to charge people ridiculous amounts of money for a ridiculous and illegitimate “Blog Award” so my “accomplishments” wouldn’t matter.

    • chicagoranter says:

      thanks Jordan, at least one person here knows whats up

    • Maybe the problem is you do not take your behavior online serious enough? Accusing people of fraud is libelous and uncalled for. So If the guys is charging, what is in your opinion, “way too much” why not give good examples and be constructive instead of disparaging? Like I said before, you are free to say what ever you want.

      As to who I am, I am the most transparent person and exposed person here. You can call me up on skype and see who I am at floydw2k. I don’t need to hide. I am easily found.

      The real question is “who are you guys?” and why are you so quick to rush to judgement? What you do and say online IS serious. it will not go away.

      After you have been on the web as long as I have you will see. Some things can and will come back to haunt you.

  9. Jordan Holmes says:

    As I stated the before and will state again. The 2nd Annual Chicago Blog Awards is a scam.

  10. I worked in Dante’s office on the Chicago Blog Awards project. Although I cannot say with exact certainty whether or not it’s a scam, I strongly suspect it is. All of the interns in the office within the past month have quit because they weren’t getting paid.

    • chicagoranter says:

      well.. thats not surprising at all. Thanks for chiming in. Why did you leave the project?

      • I worked for Dante as a copyright intern and never received a paycheck. He has no money and no relationships with anyone at the Cultural Center. He is being kicked out of his own office for non payment.

        • chicagoranter says:

          sorry to hear, but thanks for the info. I will continue spreading the word. Hopefully this is the last year he tries the “international blog awards.” I will stay on it.


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