I've been a bit of a creeper when it comes to the happenings in the cosplay community over the past few years. As a sociological circle to observe: It's interesting! In fact very interesting. And I've made a few observations as of late that I KNOW hold a good weight behind them now.
Cosplay has become a sort of "fame-seeking" hobby. Girls put themselves out there in a model-esque manner; showing off the product (their costume or sometimes body), doing their best to look good (self) and generally being an over-all package deal (the character). This has resulted in a LOT of very talented people getting swept under the popularity rug due to them not being the "package deal". What I mean to say is that a lot of people whom are very talented at their craft will get totally ignored just because they're not deemed pretty enough! I always felt as though this was somewhat messed up. Especially considering that the very opposite often happens: Where an attractive person will get tons of attention for a costume that is hot glued together or is made out of whatever they could find at a thrift store that somewhat looks right to what they're doing.
Not to say "closet cosplay" is bad as sometimes that's all a character calls for. But to try to make something like Sailor Moon's eternal form out of some skirts and a swimsuit you found at the local thrift shop? Come on.
Another deciding factor has been photo quality. How do people get so many great photos anyway? Yes I'm somewhat personally upset about this as I don't exactly have the funds to pay for pro photographers for all my cosplay :( But I honestly wonder- are they friends? Trading services (sew a cosplay for them for photos)? Or what! My guess is a bit of everything really.
A good photo of a shitty cosplay will always garner more attention that a crappy photo of an amazing cosplay.