Webbys awarded for Internet excellence
May 7, 2012
by Mark Ollig

Filmmaker and designer Tiffany Shlain, while employed with the Web magazine, was asked to create an award honoring exceptional Internet websites.

So, in 1996, Shlain came up with The Webby Award.

The first time I heard of a Webby Award, I thought of a spider’s web – no doubt something to do with my childhood fear of spiders and the huge webs I usually saw them floating in . . . from which they intimidatingly stared at me.

Today I have (almost) overcome my fear of spiders and their webs.

When we think of the Web these days, we know it refers to the websites on the portion of the Internet we navigate to, using our web browsers.

The Webby Awards have received much notoriety during the last 16 years.

Think of the Webby Awards as we do of Hollywood’s Oscar awards.

The New York Times has called the Webby Awards the “Internet’s highest honor.”

This year’s 16th Annual Webby Awards has collected almost 10,000 entries from every US state, including 60 countries from throughout the world.

The first nationally televised Webby Awards ceremony was in San Francisco in 1997.

The Webby Award trophy itself, is a little over 12 inches tall, resembles a spring coil (think of a giant slinky), and is engraved with a binary coding of 1s and 0s.

Webby Awards, or “Webbys,” are awarded in over 100 categories. For the complete list, see: http://entries.webbyawards.com/categories.

Shlain also co-founded the International Academy of Digital Arts and Sciences (IADAS) in 1998.

Objectives of the academy include recognizing and acknowledging excellence in interactive content among emerging technologies.

Another objective is facilitating growth and development by connecting diverse groups of achievers in the areas of digital arts and sciences.

Importance is placed on educating industry professionals and the public concerning available technologies and their integration into the general culture.

The IADAS Executive Academy consists of industry musicians and celebrities such as David Bowie and Beck, Martha Stewart, a founding father of the Internet, Vinton Cerf; “Simpsons” creator, Matt Groening, and Huffington Post Founder; Arianna Huffington.

IADAS has brought attention to the technical resources and advancements of the Internet and developing social media by presenting the Webby Awards since 1998.

May 21, New York will play host to this year’s Webby Awards.

Webby Awards industry experts attending this year include mobile phone inventor Martin Cooper, Huffington Post founder Arianna Huffington, Twitter co-founder Biz Stone, and business and television personality Martha Stewart.

Webby winners are selected based on certain criteria.

For film and video, the winners are decided upon concept and writing, quality of craft, integration, and overall experience.

Interactive advertising Webbys are based upon creativity, integration, and overall experience.

The websites and mobile apps category criteria is centered on content, structure and navigation, visual design, functionality, interactivity, and, you guessed it: overall experience.

I found it amusing to learn the winners of a Webby Award are required to give a speech limited to just five words.

The Webby Award’s website states its famous “5-Word Acceptance Speech” keeps the celebrations “vibrant and exciting.”

The following are some of last year’s more memorable five- word acceptance speeches.

“Try stealing this content, Google!” declared the person accepting the Webby from Yelp, winner for Best Guides/Ratings Reviews category.

“Area man finally beats Onion.” In an obvious jab at the popular The Onion website, these words were spoken by the representative from College Humor, winner for Best Humor website at: http://www.collegehumor.com.

“The tentacles go to eleven,” said the recipient for Best Cultural Blog at: http://laughingsquid.com.

“BabyCenter, we don’t sleep either,” spoke the winner for Best Family and Parenting website at: http://www.babycenter.com.

“Who says YouTube ain’t cultured?” exclaimed the Google YouTube Play recipient winner of the Webby Award for Best Events at: http://www.youtube.com/user/playbiennial.

In a bit of a twist, with the familiar National Geographic yellow frame covering her face, this award winner said “Our world. Our lens knows . . .” she then removed the yellow frame and finished her sentence with “no boundaries.” This Webby award winner for Best Magazine Website can be seen at: www.nationalgeographic.com.

The NASA homepage on the Internet won for Best Government website. The representative accepting the Webby Award imparted these words when receiving the trophy, “Bringing the universe to you.”

The New Yorker, http://www.newyorker.com, won the Webby Award for Best Magazine website. Their spokesperson said “Long articles, but short speech.”

Saving the best for last, this five-word speech was given by the AARP to all of us baby boomers, “We make 50 look good.”

Some notable past Webby winners include: Twitter, Google, eBay, Yahoo!, iTunes, Skype, BBC News, CNN, The Guardian, The New York Times, AOL, and The Onion.

To watch video of past winners’ acceptance speeches, check out: http://www.youtube.com/user/TheWebbyAwards.

This year’s Webby Award winners will be given their Webby trophies during a live-streamed Internet broadcast at the Hammerstein Ballroom in New York.

The awards ceremony is May 21 at 4:30 p.m. CDT on the Webby Awards website: http://www.webbyawards.com.

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