Sadly, none of the 11 Australian-produced websites that were shortlisted (including Tourism Australia's australia.com, Wanted Digital's 12 Canoes, Moshcam, Commsec's iPhone application and Anthill favourite, RedBubble.com) took out top honours in their categories.
The Webby Awards rock. This year they attracted nearly 10,000 entries from more than 60 countries. Official category winners are determined by the 650-person International Academy of Digital Arts and Sciences, including David Bowie, Arianna Huffington, Matt Groening, Vinton Cerf, and Richard Branson. The public also gets to vote for a "People's Voice" winner in each category.
As in the past, this year's winners are an interesting mix of big brands - NYTimes, Digg, NBC, The Onion, YouTube, BBC, Wired, TED - and smaller organisations doing great things. I love discovering quirky sites that ascend to global legend status as soon as they are touched by Webby Awards triumph. Take the overall and People's Voice winner of the 'Blog - Culture/Personal' category, 1000 Awesome Things. What a delight! Reading it returns you to the simple joys of childhood. A sample of awesome things: Blowing your nose in the shower, Using Rock-Paper-Scissors to settle anything, Your pillow, That pile of assorted beers left in your fridge after a party, and Airplane toilet flushes.
It's a little odd that the winners are announced over a month ahead of the official gala ceremony in New York City on 8 June, but I suppose this helps with logistics. And, while winning (and presumably losing) means a lot to entrants, the gala celebration is a refreshingly wry affair. Each award acceptance speech can be no longer than five words, which has become something of a contest within the contest. Last year, satirist Stephen Colbert accepted his special achievement award with: "Me. Me. Me. Me. Me."
This year's special achievement honourees include Jimmy Fallon, Trent Reznor, Sarah Silverman, Lisa Kudrow, Seth MacFarlane and Twitter.
Check out the full list of winners at: www.webbyawards.com.