One way I'm a victim of TOP's success is that I've gotten on a number of PR firms' mailing lists. Not that I mind, but the applicability of much of the information I'm sent is so ambiguous—it's not obviously right for us, but it's not obviously wrong, either, which obliges me to investigate it more carefully. Considering the sheer mass of the incoming, it adds up to more work than you might think.
One thing I don't usually choose to publicize are contests. There's nothing wrong with contests—there are usually good and bad examples of anything, and that includes photo contests. I guess I don't really care much for them in general, however. Maybe half are exploitative in some way, either knowingly or inadvertently (see the linked essay for chapter and verse about that). Conventional wisdom says they're involving for readers, but my feeling is, why "involve" people using a mechanism in which 99.9% of the participants end up as losers? That doesn't seem quite faithful to the spirit of photography to me...photography is not so strictly hierarchical that one best shot has to stand above all the rest. That's no more accurate to the way photography actually works than kindergarten competitions in which everybody wins and nobody loses.
In the only contest I ever designed myself, there were three judges and each judge got to pick his or her own first prize winner...and then had to defend the choice in print. The three of us came up with very different winners.
(I still think mine was the best.)
I've just added to the archives a brief 2008 essay originally published in Black & White Photography magazine called "On Photo Contests." I don't think my editors there liked the essay much—probably because the magazine itself runs contests! You know what they say: oh well.
ADDENDUM: Here's the winning photograph in the Zone VI contest that I mentioned in the comments, sent along by Peter Pflasterer (thanks, Peter). The picture is by Phillip Dunn, then of Austin, Texas. This is scanned from the poor-quality halftone printed in The Zone VI Newsletter.
Peter remembers that there was a "big stink" about the winner, which seems understandable since Fred Picker and most of his followers were large-format Zone System photographers!
I'm pretty appalled by how bad my memory was for this picture. I haven't seen it in 27 years, granted, but I really only remembered the landscape, the fact that it was taken in a pickup truck bed, and the girls on the far right and the far left; I elided the figure with her back turned, which is understandable, perhaps, but I also didn't recall the hugging adult. Very strange; my visual memory for pictures is usually a lot better than that.
Featured Comment by Stan B.: "I can see why the photograph won—(as you yourself said) it's very much alive, spontaneous and...imperfect. The composition isn't quite there, the photo is split into halves, yet the action on the left together with the almost surreal image on the right is dynamic enough to make it work anyway. And I bet the majority of complainers submitted those technically perfect, classically overcooked, picture postcard nature or landscape compositions. A lifesaver thrown to a drowning man."