The winners of the 11th Annual Webby Awards, which are devoted to "honoring excellence on the Internet," have been announced. Encompassing nearly 70 categories in Web sites, interactive advertising, mobile media, and online video, this year's winners ran the gamut from a site devoted to cute photos of baby animals to the hit NBC sitcom The Office.
Each category had five official nominees, and within each category there was a judge-picked winner as well as a "Peoples' Voice" winner chosen by a popular vote. (In some categories, the same site won both awards.) A full list of winners is available here.
There was a distinct emphasis on the media-sharing sites that have popped up over the past few years: the Yahoo-owned photo-sharing site Flickr won in three categories: Community, Best Practices, and Design-Function; and video blogging platform Blip.tv won in the "Broadband" category." Viral video, too, was also heavily recognized. Costumed video podcaster Ask A Ninja was selected for a "Best Actor" award in the Film & Video division, while "Lonelygirl15" actress earned the "Best Actress" title. There was a separate award for the best in viral phenomena, which was won by The Extreme Diet Coke & Mentos Experiments video in which two guys in lab coats set off .
The "Person of the Year" awards, appropriately enough, went to co-founders Steve Chen and Chad Hurley.
But not all of the winners fit the profile of user-generated online content: NBC's The Office won in the "Best Comedy" category for its short "webisodes." And in the awards presented for design, major corporations dominated: Sony.com earned a "Best Home/Welcome Page" award; Ikea Dream Kitchen was recognized for its navigation features; and Altoids won in the category for the best food or beverage site.
The Webby Awards, first held in 1996, are presented by the Academy of Digital Arts and Sciences, a group that counts musician David Bowie (who was presented with a Lifetime Achievement Award this year), The Simpsons creator Matt Groening, and Virgin Atlantic chair Richard Branson among its members. This year, the Academy says that it received over 8,000 nominations from 60 different countries.