After six years of designating the best of the Web, the Webby Awards
is spinning off a new awards show to recognize the Web's best business
Long known for its fast-paced presentation and colorful nominees, the
Webby Awards this week will start accepting entries for The Webby Business
The new program will have the comparatively dry mission of highlighting
"best practices for business sites and how the Web is serving business and
making it more efficient, driving more leads and increasing ROI (return on
investment)," Maya Draisin, executive director of Webby Awards sponsor
The International Academy of Digital Arts and Sciences, said in an interview.
Business categories will include automotive, creative services,
food and beverage, health care and pharmaceuticals, information technology,
marketing and communications, media and entertainment, professional
services, retail, technical services, telecommunications, and travel and
tourism. A "Good Deeds" award will be included, with a cash grant to nonprofits.
Other awards will honor particular business accomplishments.
These categories include branding and design, cost-cutting/operational
efficiency, customer relationship management/customer loyalty and
retention, integration of online/offline marketing, product
optimization/personalization, and sales lead generation/increased sales.
The academy's new focus on the business of the Web is somewhat at odds
with the awards show's rhetoric since the dot-com boom went bust.
In an interview last year, for
example, Webby Awards director and founder Tiffany Shlain said the demise of the commercial Web bubble would help the medium regain its core values.
"So much has been written about the Web boom's focus on moneymaking--and
its failure," Shlain said. "Yet commerce represents only a minor capability
in comparison to the Web's power to connect people. Now that the hype is
gone, the focus returns to the Internet and the Web's core strengths--as
communications tools and information sources."
Entrants to the Webby Business Awards will face steeper fees than their
For the regular Webby Awards, entries received before Oct. 11 cost
$85 to $100 per site. After Oct.
11, the entry fee climbs to between $95 and $150 per site.
Business sites, by contrast, will pay between $150 and $200 per site,
depending on whether or not they qualify as "good deeds" or nonprofit, if
they enter before Nov. 29. After that date, the fee goes up to between
$200 and $250 per site.
Draisin denied that the business spinoff was a strategy for the
organization to raise more money.
"We are not officially a nonprofit, but we operate like one," said
Draisin. "The academy is akin to the Motion
Picture Association or the television
academy. "Our goal is to forward the industry."