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    Get Ready for the 5th Annual Plutus Awards at FinCon14

    We’re gearing up for the 5th Annual Plutus Awards. Each year has brought improvements, and we’re thrilled to be a part of the closing night festivities at FinCon14. We’re looking forward to being even more closely integrated with FinCon — and ready to recognize what’s best about the financial blogging community.

    There are a number of exciting changes in the works for Plutus. A new website design is on the way, along with a process for easier voting and increased social integration to make it easier to share your Plutus votes with your peers.

    This year’s MC for the Plutus Awards is Ashley Jacobs, from Wise Bread. After her performance in the “Thrift Shop” parody from last year, we’re excited to see what she brings to the Plutus Awards.

    We’re also bringing back some categories that were axed from the Awards in the past, and adding new categories that reflect the growing diversity of the personal finance blogosphere and the multimedia efforts that many bloggers are making.

    As we’ve done in the past, we will open up nominations in categories to the public. Once nominations are collected, the top five vote-getters in each category, with the exception of Blog of the Year, Lifetime Achievement, and People’s Choice (each has 10 in a category) will be announced as finalists. A panel of personal finance bloggers will then vote on those finalists, choosing the winner in each category, with the exception of the People’s Choice award, which is given entirely on the basis of a popular vote.

    Here are some of the important dates to be aware of as we approach Plutus Awards season:

    • Are you a company hoping to reach thousands of personal finance bloggers and perhaps receive recognition for your products and services? You can submit materials for consideration in specific categories, increasing your reach. Watch for a sponsorship guide in the coming weeks, detailing the process. You can also contact [email protected] or [email protected] to add your company to a list to receive sponsorship information. Materials must be submitted by June 27, 2014 to be added to the Plutus site and considered.
    • Want to join the voting panel for the Plutus Awards? Panelists will be selected by an application process this year. We will begin accepting applications for panelists on July 15, 2014. The panelists will be announced on August 1, 2014.
    • Nominations for Plutus Awards will open on August 1, 2014, and we will continue accepting nominations/votes until August 25, 2014. People’s Choice voting will continue until September 17, 2014.

    The 5th Annual Plutus Awards will start September 20, 2014, at 4:30 p.m. at the New Orleans Marriott in the Mardi Gras Ballroom. A happy hour will be held from 6:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. that night. Following the happy hour, you can eat dinner and then attend the FinCon14 Closing Party, which starts at 9 p.m.

    It’s going to be an exciting year for FinCon and for Plutus. We hope you’ll join us.

    The Plutus Awards Ceremony

    To start off the Financial Blogger Conference weekend, the Plutus Awards ceremony in St. Louis put all conference attendees in the mood for an exciting weekend. Kevin McKee, from Reward Boost andThousandaire created two musical numbers for the event, and for the opening number, he was joined on stage by Ashley Jacobs of WiseBread.

    After the opening numbers, Plutus Awards panelists and other volunteers took the stage to present awards to the winners of the blog categories. Thank you again to all the volunteers who helped make this year’s awards ceremony one of the highlights of the FinCon. Thanks also to the Hyatt Regency St. Louis at the Arch for providing the great space for the ceremony, and to Philip Taylor (PT Money) and his team for putting on a great conference and inviting the Plutus Awards back this year.

    Thanks also to our main sponsors for the night: Scottrade, who sponsored the after-party; Fidelity Investments, who sponsored the entertainment; and State Farm, who sponsored the gift bags.

    For my summary of the conference, which includes my thoughts on the Plutus Awards, the awards ceremony, and after-party, head over to LukeLandes.com.

    Do you want to experience the ceremony again? Or, if you weren’t at the awards ceremony, this is your chance to see the performance. Here is the official recording of the Fourth Annual Plutus Awards ceremony. It’s worth watching for the performance at the beginning (after I leave the stage).

    Behind the Scenes at the Plutus Awards

    This year marks the fourth year that we have held the Plutus Awards. We’re excited that, thanks in large part to our sponsors, this year’s Plutus Awards ceremony promises to be the best yet.

    But the Plutus Awards couldn’t happen without the efforts of those who work behind the scenes (and in front of them) to put together a great show.

    Luke Landes

    The founder of Consumerism Commentary and the Plutus Awards, Luke Landes does a great deal of work to make the Plutus Awards happen. Luke is organizing and producing the event, working with sponsors and involving as many bloggers as possible. He makes sure every detail is considered from the nomination process to the after-party, and has a range of management responsibilities.

    Athena Lent

    Athena, from According to Athena, has been integral to the Plutus Awards this year. She helped identify potential venues for the after-party, speaking with the proprietors of several St. Louis restaurants. She was also the main driver behind arranging for Scottrade to sponsor the after-party. Athena has also been helping with virtual assistant tasks.

    Tom Drake

    Tom is the founder of Canadian Finance Blog and the owner of Drake Media. He is responsible for managing everything pertaining to tech for the Plutus Awards. He handles all web-based efforts, including the design of the nomination forms and the tallying of the votes. He also manages the private discussion area for the Plutus Awards blogger panel.

    Kevin McKee

    Last year, Kevin provided first-rate entertainment as the M.C. of the Third Annual Plutus Awards. His sites,Thousandaire and Reward Boost, provide often-entertaining insights into finances. Kevin is hosting the awards ceremony and developing its multimedia again this year, and it promises to be interesting and fun.

    Miranda Marquit

    Miranda, the owner of Planting Money Seeds, has been working with sponsors for this year’s Plutus Awards. Miranda has arranged the details of the sponsorship programs and has performed various administrative tasks to keep things running smoothly. Miranda will also be the stage manager of the awards ceremony.

    The blogger panel

    We have a great panel of bloggers helping with the overall planning, who also have the ultimate say on the finalists and winners in each category. As you know, the finalists in each of the categories was determined by the number of nominations received via the voting form. Top vote-getters were named finalists in each category, and voting by the panelists determines the winners in all categories — except People’s Choice, which is entirely based on popularity. (Vote for People’s Choice, and encourage your readers to vote, here.)

    We do understand the conflict of interest that can come if the panelists are allowed to vote on their own entries. As a result, any panelist who is a finalist in any particular category does not vote in that category.

    In addition to those mentioned above:, this years panelists are as follows:

    Paula Pant from Afford Anything
    Jim Wang from Bargaineering and Microblogger (he will also be the assistant stage manager)
    Peter Anderson from Bible Money Matters (he will also be taking photographs of winners with their trophies)
    Jana Lynch from Bloggers Helping Bloggers (helping with live tweets during the ceremony)
    Crystal Stemberger from Budgeting in the Fun Stuff (she is also the “swag mistress”)
    Ryan Guina from Cash Money Life
    Sof Kd from Caviar and Quarters
    Kelly Whalen from The Centsible Life
    Jaime Tardy from Eventual Millionaire
    Glen Craig from Free From Broke
    FMF from Free Money Finance
    Shannyn Allan from Frugal Beautiful
    Kathleen from Frugal Portland
    Jeff Rose from Good Financial Cents
    Len Penzo from Len Penzo dot Com (he is also the “trophy master”)
    Jackie Beck from Money Crush
    Pinyo Bhulipongsanon from Moolanomy
    Andrea Whitmer from Nuts and Bolts Media
    Marissa from Thirty Six Months
    Suba Iyer from Wealth Informatics (helping with social media)
    Ashley Jacobs from Wise Bread (she is also the transportation coordinator for the after-party)

    Thanks to our great team of bloggers and panelists! If you’re a blogger in the personal finance space who is interested in being on next year’s panel, reach out to Luke Landes.

    Thanks to Our Plutus Awards Sponsors!

    This year, we’re trying to make the Plutus Awards better than ever, and we have some great sponsors to help us make it happen.

    We’re very excited about the entertainment, including Kevin McKee from Reward Boost and Thousandairereturning as Master of Ceremonies and the after-party planned for The Dubliner, a restaurant not far from the Financial Blogger Conference location. Last year’s Plutus Awards was a success, and we’re hoping to take it up a notch.

    This level of awesome doesn’t happen on its own. We’re grateful for the sponsors generously helping us out, as well as for the panelists, planning committee, and others working behind the scenes.

    After-party sponsored by Scottrade

    Scottrade LogoOur headlining sponsor is Scottrade. Scottrade is based in St. Louis, and is perfectly situated to get involved with the Plutus Awards at the Financial Blogger Conference. Scottrade, as you probably know, offers online brokerage services and online banking services. The company is sponsoring the After Party, which should be a lot of fun.

    The Dubliner is a great location, and the party will feature a DJ spinning great music. Get to know your blogging friends the first night of the early weekend. We’re excited to kick off FinCon, and we appreciate Scottrade for helping us do it right.

    Online investing services firm, Scottrade, Inc., improves the lives of people by helping them overcome barriers to financial success. The online investment services firm was founded in 1980 to provide investors with a better way to invest and make their own trading decisions. Today, Scottrade operates the largest branch network among any online brokerage, with more than 500 branch offices across the country, and empowers clients through online trading tools and stock market research to buy stocks online, many at just $7 per trade.

    In order to get an idea of how many people will be attending the ceremony, particularly the after-party, please pre-register (for free) below. Attendance is open only to participants of the Financial Blogger Conference. If you need to buy your ticket to the conference, get your tickets before the event is sold out.

    Entertainment Sponsored by Fidelity

    logo_fidelity_color_printFidelity is sponsoring the entertainment at the Plutus Awards ceremony itself. Fidelity is a well-known financial services company, offering a wide variety of low-cost funds and retirement account options, among other investment products.

    Fidelity Investments is among the most diversified financial services companies in the world, offering a full range of products and solutions for individual investors. The company’s fundamental mission is to help customers and clients achieve their financial goals.

    As America’s Retirement Leader (the no. 1 provider of 401(k)s and IRAs), Fidelity offers retirement planning, portfolio guidance, brokerage services, college planning and many other products and services to more than 20 million individuals.

    Bags Sponsored by State Farm

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    Our winner gift bags are sponsored by State Farm. Each category blogger winner receives a gift bag with a little swag. State Farm is providing the bags, and including a gift item as well. Other companies providing items for the gift bags can be found below.

    State Farm and its affiliates are the largest provider of car insurance in the U.S. and is a leading insurer in Canada. In addition to providing auto insurance quotes, their 17,800 agents and more than 65,000 employees serve 81 million policies and accounts – more than 79 million auto, home, life and health policies in the United States and Canada, and nearly 2 million bank accounts. Commercial auto insurance, along with coverage for renters, business owners, boats and motorcycles, is also available. State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Company is the parent of the State Farm family of companies. State Farm is ranked No. 43 on the Fortune 500 list of largest companies. For more information, please visithttp://www.statefarm.com/or in Canada http://www.statefarm.ca/.

    We have other sponsorship opportunities available. If you want your brand front and center during the awards ceremony, contact [email protected] or [email protected] for more information on how you can boost your visibility to some of the most influential personal finance bloggers and journalists on the web — people whose combined readership is in the millions.

    Trophy sponsors

    This year, sponsors are helping out by sponsoring particular awards. Plutus recognizes the best and brightest in the personal-finance blogging world. You nominate your favorite blogs and bloggers, and a panel votes on the finalists. Here’s what you need to know about Plutus Awards voting.

    Awards can be sponsored by bloggers and blogs, but it’s important to understand that sponsors of trophy awards aren’t allowed to be finalists in the categories they sponsor. Here are this year’s trophy sponsors:

    We have more trophy slots open; you can contact [email protected] or [email protected] for information on how to sponsor an individual award.

    And don’t forget to nominate your favorite blogs, and encourage your readers to nominate/vote for you!

    For your consideration: Product sponsors

    As you know, the Plutus Awards is designed to recognize the best in the world of personal finance. However, many great products aren’t recognized as they should be. Bloggers vote for the best products and services in addition to the best blogs and bloggers; as bloggers complete nominations under the products and services category, pay attention to some of our sponsors. They have provided materials for your consideration:

    Gift bag sponsors

    All Plutus Awards winners will receive gift bags. We have a few sponsors providing items for the gift bags, including Betterment, BeFrugal.com, JemStep, Ally, and Savings.com.

    If you want to provide some of the most influential bloggers with branded items, contact [email protected] or [email protected]

    Thank you, sponsors, for helping us make this the best Plutus Awards so far! We’ll continually update this acknowledgement as more companies complete their sponsorship requirements.