(Writing) Contests and Participating Fees

Hmmm… so an organisation/company/private person establishes a writing contest. And offers prize money. YAY!

BUT… in order to participate, you need to pay a participation fee. This seems to have developed into a rather common practice nowadays.


…is this a legitimate way to finance the contest?
…or is this just another way of getting money out of aspiring authors?

“What say you?”