So after months of targeted marketing and urging from my followers and friends I had finally succumbed to the thing that is AVBOB’s supposed poetry competition.
Here is my review. In English. Because apparently that lasts a bit longer than writing in Afrikaans!
Landing and Registration
The Avbob poetry competition is fairly easy to do. Enter your deets, submit and click on registration link.
The problem lies therein that the site states CLEARLY that users who don’t comply with the terms and conditions will be disqualified. Unfortunately, the site and terms state you can submit 20 poems, whereas the submission pages and emails state you can submit 30.
After poems are disqualified you are once again reminded that you can submit 30 poems, but you never know whether this is in addition to, in total, or after deleting rejected poems.
Neither can you actually get info on the basics of the competition anywhere. Not the genres, criteria or prizes. Well, of course you can get those on extensive googling, but not on the actual site.
So who knows?
Languages and judging
After submitting 15 poems, all my Afrikaans poetry had immediately returned emails from AVBOB stating that none of these poems had been accepted and all English poetry had been rejected within a day or two. This may make me sound like a bit of a sourpuss, but as someone who has received a fair share of critique and rejections it really doesn’t phase me that much.
It does frighten me to think what such swift rejection will do to young and inexperienced spirits who are keen to write. Perhaps AVBOB should have thought this through and offered a secondary platform for digital publication of poetry.
On submitting poetry in a language other than English you are offered the chance to submit a translated version which the site states is “optional”. Given the immediate rejection of Afrikaans poetry, however, I would advise others to just write English poetry from the get-go.
Themes and terms
Also, there are four themes only—birth, death, love and hope. AVBOB doesn’t state how the poetry judging and critique works or what the gist of one’s views on birth, death, love and hope should be.
The Terms and Conditions have not been updated to include 30 poems as opposed to 20 and the rules are not in line with CPA and POPIA regulations pertaining to the protection of personal information—for one, the rules stipulate that the organisers have the right to publish user information worldwide as they wish, which is not quite how it works. The competition winnings aren’t stipulated either. So the legal print clearly has significant oversights.
Should you wish to no longer see AVBOB poetry competition posts on your social media, however, it’s as easy as, for instance, clicking on the three dots next to the post on Facebook and stating that you no longer wish to see further advertising from them. At least therein you have power over the marketing. And follow similar prompts for other social media channels.
- Encouraging the writing of poetry
- Encouraging South African writing
- Incentivising writing
- No clear editing criteria or guidelines
- Horrible landing page and initial instructions
- Disparity between advertising and terms
- Rejection of poems could dissuade writing
I give AVBOB poetry competition website and interface a score of 4.5 out of 10.
It is a great idea which clearly has a grand amount of money in its marketing budget but the user interface sucks, instructions are vague and they are a bit quick to discard user poetry which may break some SAFFA spirits.