Webby Nominees: Mainstream or Too Arty?

They announced the 17th Annual Webby Award nominations the other day and it made me wonder how some of the best Websites or Website features compared to how they performed for advertisers, or with consumers for that matter.

 In other words, if the Webbys were the Oscars would the nominations be going to the Clint Eastwood or Jennifer Aniston sites, or to the arty-but-accessible Weinstein Bros. sites or to the sites that mimic the subtitled movies at the Angelika in SoHo?

Unfortunately, giving you the answer is a little difficult because there are approximately 8,000 sites nominated. Not true. I exaggerate and I’ll explain in a minute.

So, for example, there are the nominees for Best Home Page (with an implied .com after each): Squarespace, CondeNast, Interview magazine, Pitchfork, DuJour. And then it does goes on and on. There are over 100 categories with five nominees in each, but there are 11,000 entries, too, from 65 countries. Nike has the most nominations (17).  There are several nominations for advertising and related video endeavors, and awards for animation and graphics and best practices and navigation. Just getting nominated, the organizers like to tell you, puts you in the “esteemed group of industry leaders such as Twitter, Google, eBay, Pinterest...” (and here may I just say “so on and so forth” because the list goes on to put you in a group with everybody you’ve ever heard of with, as far as I can tell, the exception of  Fox News.)

They’ve been giving these things away since 1996, “they” being the International Academy of Digital Arts and Sciences (IADAmS). This year, Webby Awards expanded to including awards for excellence in Social which goes along with awards for best this or that for Websites, Interactive Advertising & Media, Online Film & Video, Mobile & App.

What impresses me (though the organization gets tweaked for it) is that the categories are so wide and deep. But when you look at just some of the nominees, they’re all so good in diverse ways.  The Webby Awards presents two honors in every category — The Webby Award and The Webby People's Voice Award— in each of its five entry-types. Members of the academy (why is it always an academy?) select the nominees and their judges pick the winners.  Regular online folk pick the Webby People's Voice winner.

Millions of people vote and this year you have until April 25, and the winners get announced on April 30 with an awards show May 21 in New York. You should really check the Website for full details.

 I’m no fan of awards, to tell you the truth, but I am as it relates these Webbys because the academy (there they are again) actually break up the nominations into things that do matter, like, as mentioned, navigation.  

If you’re in the biz, or if you just look at video a lot, there’s a special sense of connectedness that is somehow part of online video. And because there’s a huge universe online, it’s hard to visit even a fraction of it, so seeing the nominees makes you aware that what you do “know” is just a fraction of a fraction. The Webbys motto is “The Internet is Huge. Winning is Huge.” It’s true.  So check it out, and vote.    

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