Red Herring, an English idiom, refers to a logical fallacy which involves feeding wrong and misleading information to people to lead them to most unlikely conclusion. It seems the Red Herring award is living up to its name. Red Herring Award, apparently a prestigious award in the past, has come down to a group of people tricking the startups in paying them large amount of money in a hope of being awarded.
The startups that apply for the award, either on their own or in response to an e-mail by Red Herring, are called and asked to pitch about their company. The startups then receive an e-mail asking them to fill up a registration form and submit a payment of USD 2900 to 4900 as an entry fee. To win the award, a representative from the startup then needs to attend a conference and present before a panel of judges. The conference takes place at foreign locations (mostly in Honk Kong for Asian startups) and the startups have to bear the travel expenses themselves. Based on the testimonials found on the internet, apparently there are no panel of judges and only few startups showing up on the conference day. It’s then that you realize that you have been fooled (read screwed).
After applying for the award and
passing through two review phases (submission review and Due Diligence),
Janaki Technology, too, has been selected as one of the finalist this year (see
the list of finalists from Asia here), but has decided not to attend the
finale. It would be meaningless to get an award (which as it seems doesn't
exist at all) by paying such amount of money, they said.
|Red Herring Award Registration Form|
But internet is also flooded with large number of companies proudly announcing that they have received the Red Herring Award and how it has helped them to grow. Also, there are people complaining that it’s just a hoax cheating the startups for few hundred dollars.
Hoax or not, the question is would a startup pay such an amount for an award which it might not even win? Is it fair to charge startups to award them? The issue is debatable and all we want is for the startups to think wisely and research well before they are enticed by the advertisements and success stories on the internet.
For details and news on Red Herring Award, click on the following links