The Guardian claimed the competition would 'promote and reward the cream of British bloggers', but Tom Coates - winner of the European Blogger of the Year competition for plasticbag.org - called it "a bloody stupid idea".
In a series of exchanges between Mr Coates and digital publishing director Simon Waldman, published on the Guardian site, Mr Coates said: "I think The Guardian has moved from supporting a grass-roots movement to attempting to appropriate it. What unites bloggers is a certain authenticity of voice; real people talking about what matters to them.
"Pitting such radically different sites against one another undermines that, but more importantly it seems impossible to judge and unfair to do so. Is one person's life trauma a better read than another's thoughts on contemporarily politics?"
Mr Waldman replied: "Pitting different types of weblog against each other is no different from comparing comedies and thrillers in the Oscars... this competition is the result of our respect for the movement." The competition deadline is 6 September 2002.
Meanwhile, the Salon Media Group has launched a service allowing users to publish their own blogs through the Salon.com site. The proposed cost will be around US$40 a year, following a 30-day free trial.
MSNBC.com also plans a weblog, designed to replace its existing discussion boards. Weblog Central should be up and running this month.
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