Word of mouth is winning global attention for a Hong Kong-based internet commentator. Web-log author Phil Ingram last week launched the Asian Weblog awards, after noticing that Asian sites were losing out in similar contests in the United States. 'The Asian blog scene is big enough and lively enough now to be able to depend on itself and not depend on the US. It's amazing how much good stuff there is in Asia,' said Mr Ingram. 'In terms of publicising, I have written to many blogs but I have not written to any media. I must admit I did not deem it worthy of media attention but there you go.' Although a handful of visitors have accused him of promoting the awards to boost his site's traffic, Mr Ingram said he only launched the awards to enhance the region's blog community. 'I am quite serious about trying to get some buzz into the Asian blogging scene. It is big enough to gain momentum on its own,' he said. 'I am not the start nor the end of this process, but at least I can say I tried to do something while most people just sit on their backsides and moan.' While expecting a relatively small number of votes from among the region's blogging community, Mr Ingram has seen visitor numbers grow rapidly, with his site's traffic nearly doubling since the competition began on Thursday. On his blog yesterday, Mr Ingram said: 'I am encouraged by the response. My target was at least 5,000 votes and I think I will surpass it.' With national pride at stake, Mr Ingram has also found that there is more to running an awards site than writing the database. Two blog authors have asked to be removed from the list, for political or personal reasons, while others have already attempted to corrupt the results. So far most of the cheating had been from Malaysia and Singapore, said Mr Ingram. Although Mr Ingram is removing fraudulent votes, he cannot block individual sites. Rather than offer a list of his own favourites for people to choose, visitors can nominate their own candidates. This has also led to complaints from some sites that their categories were wrong or that they just did not want the publicity. 'It's not been perfect, if you want to be serious it [can be criticised] in terms of execution, but after all, I did it in a day,' he said. The site's categories also have been criticised. For example, the lack of an 'adult entertainment' award. 'There's only one boobies blog, and he's already winning the Hong Kong category,' said Mr Ingram. He said that if the awards were held next year, he might involve other bloggers to help choose categories. He also intends to launch the 2004 awards as a separate site. 'The main aim of this, which was to add some buzz to the Asian blogosphere, is having some effect. It is not perfect and it has been an experiment first time round which has had its problems but in its basic aim it is proving successful.' The Asian Weblog Awards site is at flyingchair.net/awards.php.