The last submission came in about four or five days ago, so I have already processed them all (testing a few out as banners on the site internally) and Joseph is the winner.
I received a staggering number of entries, especially for all the work involved and all were thoughtful. Many were excellent. Some were down right punny (that is pun-funny) which is hard to achieve with just images (the words, after all, were all the same). The winning entry is the banner above. Included in the submission was a logo as well.
Wain's entry won for a couple of reasons.
First it was very simple. It stood out right away when I saw it. It was memorable in the same way that the icons on an iPhone are memorable.
Second, and this is what set his entry above the other elegant designs, it was web-ready. Literally open the file, upload the images and I was good to go, no monkeying around with size or backgrounds. There were four images in total, two seals and two banners. The banner is up. The seals are useful and are going to start appearing in other places. If you see me on a forum (I frequent EDCF, CPF, USN, and BladeForums) you should be able to click on the logo in my signature line and it will take you the page. I am also going to use them in reviews. When a product receives a perfect score, not just a 20/20 but a 20/20 with nothing I would change, I am going to follow up the review with this logo:
This will signify that the item in question is the best of the best. So far I have plans to add it to the reviews of the Spyderco Dragonfly II with ZDP-189 blade, the Muyshondt Aeon, the McGizmo Haiku, and the Leatherman PS4. Other items that scored a 20/20, the TT Chopper, the Sebenza, and the Moddoolar Light, are still under consideration.
The third reason that I liked these so much is that they will translate well in a number of different formats. If I decide, at some later date, to do a video review of something, I'd like to use the logo. The modular design, along with the other two reasons, made Wain's design the winning one.
Thanks to everyone that participated. It was an awful lot of work and as a way of saying "thanks" I am going to hold on to the names of people that submitted stuff that didn't win and they will automatically be entered into the next product giveaway. They will be the only folks in that giveaway. So even if you didn't win this time, you have a good chance of winning in the next small giveaway.
This brings me the another idea. I don't plan on turning this into a profit making enterprise, so the ad revenue will go towards giveaways. What I'd like to do is have two tiers of giveaways--small giveaways, like if I get a product to review and the company doesn't want it back, and big giveaways using the AdSense revenue. I'd like to use the next installment to buy a few items for review, smaller things, and give them away. One thing, in particular, I had my eye on for a small give away is a Kershaw Cryo. I'd buy one to review with the AdSense revenue and then once the review was done give it away, using the comments-based lottery like I did for the CardSharp 2.
After that, I'd like to store up the Adsense revenue for a bigger giveaway, something super ambitious. I still haven't decided what I am going to give away or when, but what I think I will do something like this. I will open up the website for reviews of products using the 20 point scoring system, any kind of product that I have covered thus far--a knife, light, MT, or bag. You write the article and I will post it. At the end of the time period, I will choose the best five and then put them up for a vote. The winner would get the giveaway item. I am not sure how long the contest would run or what the giveaway would be, but I was thinking something big.
It could be something like an HDS Rotary light, a Sebenza, or if people would prefer to wait, something even bigger, like a McGizmo custom light or a custom knife. All of this is up in the air, but that is the idea--a two tier giveaway system with small stuff going out semi regularly, and one big thing going out annually or thereabouts depending on the ad revenue.
Let me know what you think in the comments below. And congratulations to Joseph Wain.