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The Webbys must go on

A down economy hasn't dimmed the lights on the off-beat awards show designed to honor the best the medium has to offer.

The fact that many Web sites are barely limping along isn't tempering enthusiasm for the awards show designed to honor the best the medium has to offer.

On Monday, organizers unveiled nominees for the 6th Annual Webby Awards in a chirpy press release that declared the "Web is really getting back to what it does best--connecting, building communities, entertaining and enhancing everyday life."

The nominees included Web workhorses such as Amazon.com and Google as well as struggling sites such as Beliefnet, which has filed for bankruptcy.

In the early days of the Web, many of the winners were Internet-only ventures. This year, the sites of age-old entities such as the Vatican are contending with repeat nominee Google for the best practices award, or the site "that serves as a model of excellence."

Starting today, Web enthusiasts can vote for their choice in the People's Voice Awards. That is, if they can get to the site. On Monday afternoon, it was nearly impossible to access, perhaps reflecting the popularity of the awards even in a down economy. Webby organizers said they received a record number of entries.

"We've reached a stage where the Web is part of the fabric of our lives," Maya Draisin, executive director of the International Academy of Digital Arts and Sciences, which organizes the event, said in a statement.

Winners in categories including activism, sports, spirituality and weird will be announced at a ceremony June 18.