Webby Awards persevere and party

It's not just about excellence, it's about perseverance. With that opening mantra, Tiffany Shlain--the founder, director, and "digital diva" of the Webby Awards--set the tone for Wednesday night's fifth-annual awards ceremony.

As always, the event was festive and strange with a dress code described simply as "gutsy." While the evening was largely a celebration, nobody was pretending the last year was an easy one on the Web. Host Alan Cummings even executed several skits to help explain the Web's drastic economic downturn, which he described as "the great cash drought."

Filled with industry in-jokes and nods to some Web sites that few average surfers would recognize, the ceremony itself proved as eclectic as the guests. After an interesting opening video montage that explored themes of natural selection and rebirth, Shlain gave an industry pep talk suggesting the woes of the last year can lead to "a more resilient industry."

Then, in an unintentionally awkward nod to those same powers of commerce, Shlain brought the event to a screeching halt to list and thank the event's numerous sponsors.

Glitterati parades

San Francisco Mayor Willie Brown helped jumpstart the proceedings with stories of New York Mayor Rudolph Giuliani trying to steal the Webbys away from the West Coast.

"You can't take the Webbys out of San Francisco," he said.

Once the awards began, the ceremony moved at a good clip as dignitaries such as Intel's Andy Grove, ABC News's Sam Donaldson, and environmental activist Julia Butterfly Hill presented awards. Unlike other big-name awards shows, winners had to limit their acceptance speeches to five words.

From VolunteerMatch, the winners of the Activism award: "Bush volunteers. It's that easy." From Best Community site winner, Craigslist: "Hey Mom, I love you." And from Strange Web site winner Peter Pan's Home Page: "Weird? God loves us all."

In one of the more surreal moments, a heavily tattooed "tele-actor" filming the event for the live Webcast sized up ABC's Donaldson. Then she asked attendees to shout out which three People's Voice category winners they wanted to hear, since the winners were too numerous to list them all.

It was probably one of the first times in history a live audience and home viewers communicated in such a manner. And it could only happen at the Webbys.

Winners listed

The awards include both People's Voice winners and those chosen by a panel that includes celebrity judges. Members of this year's International Academy of Digital Arts & Sciences include familiar names from the tech industry, such as Larry Ellison, Rob Glaser, James Clark, Guy Kawasaki, and Meg Whitman.

But it also draws notables from diverse fields. Participants included U.S. Senator Barbara Boxer, political commentator Ariana Huffington, athlete Jackie Joyner-Kersey, chef Julia Child, and business consultant Tom Peters. Representing diverse entertainment fields were Dilbert creator Scott Adams and Simpsons creator Matt Groening; musicians David Bowie and Courtney Love; and actors Gillian Anderson, Parker Posey, Patrick Stewart, and Robin Williams.

This year's award winners include:

Activism: VolunteerMatch

Broadband: Heavy

Commerce: Travelocity

Community: Craigslist

Education: NationalGeographic.com

Fashion: Hint Fashion Magazine

Film: Requiem for a Dream

Finance: Yahoo Finance

Games: 3D Groove

Government & Law: Nolo Self-Help.

Law CenterHealth: Planned Parenthood Golden Gate.

Humor: The Onion.

Kids: Fact Monster.

Living: Campaign for Our Children.

Music: Sputnik7.

News: Inside.

Personal: Dancing Paul.

Politics: OpenSecrets.org.

Print & Zines: Plastic.

Radio: BBC World Service.

Science: Plus Magazine.

Services: Volunteer Match.

Spirituality: Zen.

Sports: Swell.

Travel: Expedia.

TV: PBS Online.

Weird: Peter Pan's Home Page.

Best Practices: Google.

Art: Young-Hae Chang Heavy Industries.

Technical Achievement: Microsoft Windows Update.

Lifetime Achievement: Ray Tomlinson.

Lifetime Achievement: Douglas Engelbart

Join the newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.
Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Tom Mainelli

PC World
Show Comments

Cool Tech

Toys for Boys

Family Friendly

Stocking Stuffer

SmartLens - Clip on Phone Camera Lens Set of 3

Learn more >

Christmas Gift Guide

Click for more ›

Brand Post

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Aysha Strobbe

Microsoft Office 365/HP Spectre x360

Microsoft Office continues to make a student’s life that little bit easier by offering reliable, easy to use, time-saving functionality, while continuing to develop new features that further enhance what is already a formidable collection of applications

Michael Hargreaves

Microsoft Office 365/Dell XPS 15 2-in-1

I’d recommend a Dell XPS 15 2-in-1 and the new Windows 10 to anyone who needs to get serious work done (before you kick back on your couch with your favourite Netflix show.)

Maryellen Rose George

Brother PT-P750W

It’s useful for office tasks as well as pragmatic labelling of equipment and storage – just don’t get too excited and label everything in sight!

Cathy Giles

Brother MFC-L8900CDW

The Brother MFC-L8900CDW is an absolute stand out. I struggle to fault it.

Luke Hill

MSI GT75 TITAN

I need power and lots of it. As a Front End Web developer anything less just won’t cut it which is why the MSI GT75 is an outstanding laptop for me. It’s a sleek and futuristic looking, high quality, beast that has a touch of sci-fi flare about it.

Emily Tyson

MSI GE63 Raider

If you’re looking to invest in your next work horse laptop for work or home use, you can’t go wrong with the MSI GE63.

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?